Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eating our way through Paris

Paris - one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Except probably not when the city is packed with people - at the Eiffel Tower, at the Arch de Triomphe, at the Louvre... at everywhere really!

Lucky for us, we were able to coax some shop keepers into telling us where to find local, non-expensive yet delicious food. She suggested for us to try Rue Mouffetard. Hence, there is where we headed.

Walking down a street full of gourmet cheese, bread and wine shops as well as plentiful restaurants, we decided to enter Le Mouff'tot - a restaurant which offered set dinners for 15 euros and had a decent amount of customers already seated inside.

Le Mouff'tot

What I loved about French restaurants immediately was the ampliful unlimited amount of awesomely fresh warm bread which are crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffily soft inside. What more, bread from French restaurants are always free!!! We could probably have just been full from bread and butter. But alas, a wonderful 3 course meal awaited us.


For the entree, my partner chose half a dozen snails in a wonderfully garlicy butter sauce. Mmm... the snails were black - which instantly stifled my appetite for them, but my partner swears that they were completely awesome and deliciousness.

Garlic butter snails

My entree choice was the fish soup. This was very very soupy and very very fishy. Importantly, it came with super crispy and crunch croutons, a bowl of parmesan and a bowl of something which looked like a wierd and foie gras orange coloured heap of gloop. This orangey substance tasted completely like balsamic vinegar. Hence, I concluded that this was clumpy balsamic vinegar LOL :)

Well, whatever it was, it was deliciousness! A bit of crouton, heaped with balsamic and then heaped again with parmesan and a slurp of soup on the side. YUM.

Fish Soup

Croutons with balsamic and parmesan

For the mains, my partner chose the confit de carnard (ie. a duck confit) with beans and potato. Duck confit is meant to be a leg of duck which is salt cured preserved then poached in its own fat, then kept and then wither grilled or fried til golden brown resulting in a super tender slab of duck and crispy duck skin. Unfortunately, whilst my partner's duck leg was super tender, the skin was not crispy... it was slightly flabby. Tasty though.

Confit de Canard

I ordered tagliatelle with salmon and basil. This poached fillet of salmon was OMG goodness. It was soooooooo soft and tender and tasty. Possibly the best fillet of salmon I've had yet. This salmon piece was topped with smooth creamy basilly sauce. Complementing it well was perfectly cooked al dente pasta. Mmm... yum.

Tagliatelle with salmon

Now for the dessert. My partner had a vanilla icecream with hot chocolate (turned cold) and cream. Simple looking yet a very delicious mix. I opted for the chocolate mousse. This larget square pyramid of chocolate mousse was soooooo rich and sooooo sweet. I think 3 spoonfuls of this was enough to do me in. Hence, I decided to finish my partner's dessert instead :)

Hot chocolate with vanilla icecream and cream

Chocolate mousse

On the way to the Pantheon (the Paris one), we found this little gelateria which offered gelato pastry puffs. Offering an awesome range of chocolates and gelatos, my I chose to have the pistaccio and 70% cocoa chocolate gelato in my pastry puff. Whilst it looked deliciousness, the pastry puff wasn't hot enough (especially since it was a really cold day). However, the gelato inside was quite delicious. Overall, it was interesting, but I think fried icecreams are better.

Gelato e Delizie D'italia

Gelato selection

Chocolate selection

Gelato pastry puff

Another place the store attendant said was good for eating (but slightly more pricey this time) was in the proximity of St Michel (close to Notre Dame). After wandering the streets and resisting the temptations of an awesome looking kebab loaded with chips, we settled for Lauberge St Severin.

Lauberge St Severin

Again, we were offered awesome bread to start with. Whilst the restaurant was a little dingy compared to our last French experience, the bread was still quite good.


For starters, we ordered the calamari and the mussels. Whilst the mussels were delicious and cooked in a delicious tomatoey based stock, the calamari was only so so. I guess that coming from Sydney, a placed imbued with wonderful seafood, our expectations of seafood quality in France and Italy ought to be lowered.


Mussels in tomato broth

For the mains, my partner chose a beef cooked in a creamy type of sauce and rice whilst I tried their duck confit. This duck was even more tender than previously - but the skin was just as dissappointing. Not crispy - just a fatty flab of skin.

Beef in creamy sauce with rice

Confit de Canard

Dessert-wise, we ordered the creme brulee and cheese platter. One thing about creme brulees in France and Italy is that the top is always flamed into crunch awesome toffee, a guarantee that cannot always be said for creme brulees in Sydney. The cheese platter, on the otherhand was good but not awesome. However, having lunched at Taillevent the previous day, my expectations of cheese was probably way too high.

Creme Brulee

Cheese Platter

Our last French meal took us back to Rue Mouffetard were we had our first experience of French fondue. Mine was a cheese and porcini mushrooms fondue served with bread whilst my partner ordered the beef fondue served with diced beef and potatoes.

La Grange

This was the first time I tried cheese fondue. My honest opinion of it? It was DELICIOUS! With a hint of alcohol, this cheesey mixture stuck to the pieces of bread that I dunked in - making it super cheesey stringy tasty bread. However, after around the 3rd piece, my whole body was already saying "no more!". It was sooooo rich and soooo filling! This French diet is probably not for me.

My partner's beef fondue was also interesting. A pot of boiling oil and a plate full of diced raw beef. Yum but soo sooo soooo unhealthy.

Bread for dipping


Diced raw beef

beef fondue

Cheese and porcini fondue

And that concluded our unauthentic French dining experience.
Why unauthentic? It was because our stomachs weren't huge enough.
French people start with an apperitive, appetiser, then an entree, a main, a dessert then coffee. Like our last meal, whilst my partner and I were fully stuffed with a fondue each, we weren't eating like the french do as we skipped the entree and we didn't order a dessert.

To us, eating like the Frenchies do was pretty much, mission impossible.

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