Summer in Paris. The streets are teeming with tourists, and the cafes and bars are spilling out into the the streets as sloppy Frenchies smoke cigarettes and drink wine. I walk by glad to have three weeks here to enjoy this pleasurable lifestyle.
In Paris, every restaurant looks like a tourist trap. The usual clear-cut signs that a restaurant is good (aka busy and filled with locals) are blurry and hard to find.
Just up the road from Les Halles, le Comptoir de la Gastronomie is a small but busy restaurant and epicerie. The interior is traditionally French, with wine bottles on every shelf, rustic dark wood tables, and red velvet seat cushions. It floods out on to the street with the traditional Parisian cafe seating outside, and yet, this is no cafe. It is a gastronomic shop front that specializes in foie gras, charcuterie, truffles, caviar, wine, and Champagne. Their menu reflects this speciality.
Our table went family style – we were a table of foodies. We ordered, to start, escargot that was cooked perfectly and covered in a pesto sauce.The duck foie gras and truffle ravioli was heavenly and my favorite dish of the evening. We mopped up the buttery truffle sauce with our bread and wished for more. Then we ordered pan fried foie gras on a toasted piece of gingerbread with mixed leaves that had every texture desired. And that was just to start. For our main, we shared the duck shepherd’s pie with a mushroom sauce that was fluffy and tender and roast duck with mashed potatoes. The duck was cooked perfectly. It was a truly delightful meal.
On the other side of French dining is the restaurant L’as du Fallafel, known to have the best falafels in all of Paris. I agree. The best fucking falafels. I have eaten in the restaurant, and it is nice, but my favorite way by far is to order the Falafel special to go for only six euros. Say yes to every single topping the man asks to put in the pita. Sit down on the street with the pita that is bigger than your face. And eat it. Eat it sitting on the streets of Paris watching the tourists and the Frenchies go by. Eat it, your senses overloaded by the taste, the smells, the sounds, and the visions of Paris.
Photo credit: Samantha Evans