Marais Institution Makes Europe’s Best Falafel

L'as du Falafel 3

If you’ve ever visited the Marais—specifically the Jewish neighborhood along the Rue des Rosiers—you’ve undoubtedly seen the long lines at Middle Eastern restaurant L’As du Fallafel. And virtually everyone orders the falafel pita—deep-fried balls of ground chickpeas seasoned with garlic and other spices and covered with fried eggplant, pickled red cabbage, hummus, hot sauce, cucumbers and tahini. This house specialty even led to the restaurant’s slogan “Toujours imite, jamais egale (Always imitated, never equaled)”—and draws raves from both locals and tourists who say the falafel is the best in Europe. Continue Reading →

Try a Classic French Dish at La Poule au Pot

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History books often claim that the pledge to provide working-class families with a “chicken in every pot” was first uttered by U.S. president Herbert Hoover during the beginning of the Great Depression. But actually, the honors go to France’s King Henri IV, who in the 17th century pledged to create policy so that the nation’s peasants would have a “chicken in his pot every Sunday.” And from that pledge—completely unfulfilled, but the way—was born the classic dish poule au pot (chicken in the pot), a “peasant dish” that has evolved to become a staple of French cuisine. And one of the best places to get it in Paris is at the aptly named restaurant La Poule au Pot. Continue Reading →

Tracing the History of the Famous Tarte Tatin

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A quintessentially French dessert is the tarte Tatin, what many Americans believe to be an upside-down apple pie. But it’s actually a bit more than that. And its origin, although never definitively proven, is akin to how a classic American dish—chocolate chip cookies—came about: by accident. Continue Reading →

How Did Boeuf Bourguignon Become a Classic?

Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon 2

If you’re like me, you like to sample classic French dishes while visiting the City of Light: coq au vin, pot au feu, blanquette de veau, steak tartare … the list goes on and on. But one of my favorites—and a French classic that also I enjoy making at home—is boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy). But how did this dish become a French standard? Like many traditional French recipes, its roots lie in “peasant foods”–dishes that were staples over the centuries for the poor and the working class. Continue Reading →

Au Revoir to Paris’s Best Cassoulet Restaurant

Au Bon Saint Pourcain 1

One of my favorite cold-weather comfort-food meals in Paris is cassoulet. A few years ago, I stumbled across the very best cassoulet I’ve ever tasted, at Au Bon Saint Pourcain — a tiny restaurant in the shadow of Saint Sulpice church. But fellow fans of the eatery began to notice in mid-2014 that the restaurant was temporarily closed, with signs in the window indicating “Ferme Pour Travaillez (Closed for Work).” After several months of seemingly no progress, patrons–locals and visitors alike–began to question when the renovations would be complete. And now we know the disappointing answer. Continue Reading →

Love Truffles? You’ll Adore Maison de la Truffe

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It’s that wonderful, pungent time of year when fresh truffles are available throughout France. The odorous—but delicious—fungi that grows underground near the roots of trees chiefly in woodland areas (and are traditionally found with the aid or trained pigs or dogs) is abundant during the late fall and early winter. And these rare—and very expensive—are available in shavings, slices and even occasionally whole at high-end markets throughout France. But one of the best places to stock up on the smelly delicacy—and one where you can buy truffle-flavored products at any time of the year—is Maison de la Truffe (House of Truffles), a small shop with an adjacent truffle-themed restaurant located directly on the Place de la Madeleine on the Right Bank. Continue Reading →

It’s Chilly. Time for Fondue at Pain, Vin, Fromages

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The weather’s getting colder, and that means it’s time for heartier French cuisine. I’m a big fan of French winter classics, like boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, soupe a l’oignon and other tummy-warming dishes. And you can find these tasty concoctions at many restaurants throughout Paris. Oddly, though, one cold-weather dish is rather difficult to find in the City of Light—fondue. OK, fondue is not French per se, but given that France is world-famous for its cheese, it’s not really a stretch for visitors to Paris to hope to find hot, gooey, melted cheese on at least a few restaurant menus. Fortunately, there’s a fantastic cheese-centric restaurant in the heart of the Marais that offers up some of Europe’s very best fondue throughout the year—Pain, Vin, Fromages (which translates as Bread, Wine, Cheese). Continue Reading →

Quintessentially French Dining On the Ile Saint-Louis

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Parisians and tourists alike have a love affair with the Ile Saint-Louis, the tiny sister island and next-door neighbor to the larger Ile de la Cite that marks the geographic center of Paris. To add to your quintessentially Parisian experience while strolling the island, be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner at the charming bistro L’Auberge de la Reine Blanche. This quaint eatery looks every bit as a Parisian bistro should—timeworn tables packed tightly together, oil paintings and copper cookware hanging on the walls, romantic lighting overhead and a gorgeous antique oak bar overlooking the entire scene. Best of all, the food is superb. Continue Reading →

Celebrated Paris Glacier Raymond Berthillon Dies

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Sad, sad news for lovers of Paris and of the best ice cream available in the City of Light–and perhaps the entire world. Raymond Berthillon, the founder of the famed Ile Saint Louis ice cream shop and next-door ice cream parlor that bears his name has died, the company announced on its website. He was 90 years old. Continue Reading →

Where Can You Find the Best Duck Confit in Paris?

Confit de canard at Chez Dumonet

A dish you’re likely to find on the menu of nearly every eatery in Paris is confit de canard, a leg of duck cured and preserved in salt and other spices, often garlic and thyme, and then cooked in its own fat. Although confit de canard is served throughout Paris, it is often badly prepared. So, when you find a Parisian cafe, bistro, brasserie or restaurant that does serve a perfect confit de canard, you not only make a mental note of it, but you also tell your family, friends and just about everyone else who will listen of your discovery. Here are two of my favorites: Tropic Cafe and Chez Dumonet. Continue Reading →