So when work calls for you to travel to Paris and Brussels; you go…. even if it is cold. Most people have a romantic vision of these cities, spring flowers, girls in sun dresses, lovers enjoying wine by the canal. Seems like every time I get to go Parisians are returning from their month and a half winter holiday vacation and looking to make some progress at work. This puts me squarely in February.
There are still many opportunities at great food though. Since I am on the run most of the time many of my daylight meals end up being at a brasserie (small cafe’s that have coffee/espresso, wine and quick (relative) meals).
Another favorite is the ‘Crocque Monsieur’ which is not only delicious but pronounced hilariously like ‘cock monster’. Basically, it is a fancy grilled cheese, with cheese both on the inside and out, plus a slice of ham inside.
In the evenings dinner restaurants do not typically serve before 7pm. I have a firm belief that this is so you can have wine before dinner. 🙂 But it also allows time for some sightseeing. One recommendation from a Dutch/French colleague was to go to Montparnasse. A bustling neighborhood but also very large modern building that many Parisians don’t particularly like because it does not fit Paris. As he said though, “…it is the best place to take pictures of Paris because Montparnasse is not in the picture.” I only had my phone but still got some neat pictures.
The most simple combinations of food are often the best. The old gentleman (chef/owner) and wife at our dinner spot this night understood this well…
I like my salads without dressing. If everything is fresh then the flavor is there without the fat (I would rather get my fat from meat and cheese). In this case the best of both worlds. A nice chunk of blue cheese and pan sautéed pork belly bits. The heat from the pork drippings melted the cheese a little and created its own dressing while wilting the butter lettuce just a little. BRILLITANT!
Dinner was pork loin cleaved into triangular-shaped chunks with pear. The pork was perfectly cooked (slight pink) and very tender. None of the juices went to waste since they are keen enough to provide ample fresh rolls.
Two bottles of wine later and you will be ready for some dessert. In France that means cheese. Don’t ask me why, I am not going to look it up for you, and I love cheese so I never have questioned it.
Regardless of when you go; Paris is a good town for foodies. The tube is easy to navigate, people are friendly (despite what your expert friends will tell you), wine is good, and the food is often very well thought out. You will have to learn a couple of the customs in order not to go hungry. Timing meals is important since places either don’t open till particular times or even close early. Late night food is sparse, outside of zone 1, but there are kabab places which are open much later for your stumble home. I am not opposed to these and did have more than one night end up at a kabab shop for a fifth meal. Here is something that I did not try:
If you do try one let me know what you think. I could not bring myself to do it.