an egg is an egg...meditating at the Museo Miró in Barcelona

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eating in Paris, 6iéme arrondisement, Left Bank

Arrived in Paris on Thursday morning. Checked into BW Left Bank and decided to just hang around the 6th for the weekend. Had a Ficelle sesame with ham and cheese for lunch [€2.50] for lunch. They just make the best bread ever in France. Started scouting the neighborhood and ended up sitting on Pont Neuf eating the sandwich and looking into the Seine. Not a bad spot for lunch! Coup de Faim literally translates as 'hunger strike'.

Thursday evening, I was ready to eat dinner but the rest of Paris was still sitting around drinking wine. I wandered the Boulevard Saint Germain to find somewhere to eat. Finally decided on this great little restaurant, the Vagenende. No one there until I sat down and then people decided that they were hungry.

Got onto the starter+main+dessert formula and stuck with it. Usually just went the starter+main route. Here ordered the usual glass of house wine [vin blanc] and a eau gazeuse [sparkling water]. My starter was Soupe á l'Oignon [onion soup] and it was one the best I've had. The bread was the typical baguette pieces and good. The main was Choucroute l'Alsacienne which I had never had in Paris. I was worth the wait. A pile of sauerkraut, a boiled potato and a huge amount of wurst, sausage, corned beef and pork belly. Needless to say, it was very filling and the mustard on the side was creamy and added to my dinner delight.
Ended with a Café Noisette and cookies. Cost €35 with change left on tray.

Breakfast was included with my room stay at the Best Western Left Bank on rue de l'Ancienne Comédie. There was an excellent assortment of food. The highlights of the morning were the café au lait and the basket of bread: croissant, petit pan au chocolat and a mini-baguette.

lunch @la rotisserie d'en face: see review on 'meet me for lunch in...'

Found a place for supper where you can eat at any time. This was the Crêperie Saint André des Arts, a cute room that reeked of Normandy. Had a Kir au cidre, a crêpe complet [ham, cheese, egg] and a crêpe au sucre for dessert along with a bowl of cidre [cider].

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé...they had just opened the first beaujolais of the season [we have to wait for Thanksgiving] so I indulged several times. Once was at the Café Fenelon right at the Fountain at the Place St. Michel. Talk about tourists! I was able to get a front table seat on the sidewalk twice. They put your 'addition' in a clothespin on the table; I bought a rose from a street vendor and attached it to the 'pin on my last night there. The beautiful young attendant said to the crowd as I left: 'que gentil monsieur...'.

Le Nesle Bar Brasserie was my lunch spot on Saturday. I had a Crôque Madame [grilled ham and cheese with a fried egg on top (Crôque Monsieur doesn't get the egg)] with salad and a glass of beaujolais nouveau. This little neighborhood place was just down the street from the hotel on the corner of rue Nesle and Mazarine.

Dinner Saturday evening was probably the star of the show. On rue du Buci, one of the many famed streets in the Left Bank, there were several packed restaurants and after many walk-bys I chose Café de Paris. This place is famous for its seafood from Brittany.

There was a Plat du Jour [meal of the day] menu and an extensive 'fruits de mer' menu. I chose from both!
Started with a glass of Pouilly Fuisée and 6 Nº2 Oysters, a glass of beaujolais nouveau and an Entrecôte [cooked á point] with frites a San Pelligrino and a Deca [with cookies] for €48.80.

Service started off brusque and ended very amiably. The restaurant was packed with diners speaking many different languages. The outdoor café was full so I ate in the dining room.

blognotes: Mealtimes are rather rigid: lunch from 12 to 2ish and dinner never before 8.
Bread is exquisite, salad greens are fresh and light usually with a light mustard tang.
Wine by the glass is very common and a good selection; I tended to stick with Sancerre for white and Côte du Rhone for red [except for Beaujolais Nouveau being available].
Tap water is fine but I always ordered Eau Gazeuse and it was usually Badoit which I prefer.
Service fee is included so tipping is easy; just leave some loose coins [remember though that 1€ and 2€ are coins].
Waiters are, for the most part, bilingual French/English but ordering in French is great.

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