Sunday, December 17, 2006

Paris: 4e Jour


Breakfast was originally supposed to be at the open-air market at Place de la Bastille, but with all the luck in the world, I had been ill-advised by Lonely Planet; the market only opened on Saturdays. After an eventual detour to another market at Place d'Aligre, we were ready for lunch

Lunch was originally supposed to be at Les Grand Marchés, a café at Place de la Bastille (which would have been the perfect segue had the market been open), but with all the luck in the world, the café turned out to be closed.

Les Vins des Pyrenees

Luckily, I had learned from the lessons of the previous days, and my back-up was Les Vins des Pyrénées, a bistro not too far from where we were. Thankfully, they were open, and so we installed ourselves for a comfortable lunch.

Soupe au Potiron

My first course was a pumpkin soup, which didn't really break new ground, but it was quite competently prepared, and satisfying on a cold blustery day, even though it was not very hot. Oddly it tasted somewhat carroty, which is unsurprising since carrots are a natural addition to pumpkin soup, but I did think the pumpkin flavour was somewhat overpowered.

Gigot d'Agneau Roti au Thym

My main course was a slice of roasted leg of lamb with thyme and mashed potatoes. I've always wanted to roast a leg of lamb (Anthony Bourdain has an awesome seven hour leg of lamb recipe I've been dying to try), and after trying this tasty morsel, I'm quite convinced that it would be an excellent main course - the lamb was succulent and served with a rich sauce.

Les Vins des Pyrénées
25 rue Beautreillis
Metro St-Paul/Bastille

The rest of the day was spent walking around Paris, exploring assorted food-related joints, such as A L'Olivier, a boutique specialising in olive oils and vinegars. The aroma of the shop was wonderful, with the fruity and oleaginous notes of the various oils blending and wafting to form one unctuous, mellow perfume.

À l’Olivier
23 rue de Rivoli
Metro St-Paul


Another place we popped into was Cacao et Chocolat, a chocolate shop with a South American theme - many of their pralines had Aztec designs and motifs. I was particularly attracted by their macarons, and bought a few, in order to compare them to the ones I was looking forward to from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. Cacao et Chocolat's macarons actually weren't too bad, but certainly weren't as attractive or imaginative as their more famous cousins, as I would find out the day after.

Cacao et Chocolat
36 rue Vielle du Temple
Metro St-Paul

Mariage Freres

Next stop was Mariage Frères, where I was quite surprised at how seriously Parisians took their tea. I always thought the French found tea relatively unsophisticated in comparison to coffee and chocolate, but this venerable teahouse was a clear indication that tea was obviously a respectable drink and a valuable commodity.

Mariage Frères
30 rue du Bourg Tibourg
Metro Hôtel de Ville


Robert et Louise

We went to Robert et Louise for dinner, supposedly a countryside-styled, traditional restaurant, complete with fireplace and leaking rafters.

Pork Rilletes

An old-fashioned eatery calls for old-fashioned food, and there's nothing new-fangled about pork rilletes. Just a lot of pork fat and liver. Coarse, sinewy and porcine, the rillete was very nice.

Confit de Canard

Equally old-fashioned was the duck confit, served with roasted potatoes and some lettuce. While the duck confit was falling off the bone, I was slightly disappointed that the skin wasn't crispy and crackling, as is usually the case here. Apparently the house specialty is a massive côte de boeuf that is roasted over the afore-mentioned fire, and is enough to feed two.

Robert et Louise
64 rue Vielle du Temple
Metro St-Sébastian Froissart

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