We’ll Always Have Paris: With Meals at Restaurant Miroir, Jacques Genin, Le 6 Paul Bert, Little Breizh, and Chez L’Ami Jean

June 30, 2014 | By | COMMENTS

IMG_4076

I had a reason for not wanting to go to Paris, this trip, and it was both very stupid and very sweet. Namely, I love Paris so much, I didn’t want to go there again without Craig. Lest you forget, we’d gone together to the Edinburgh Film Festival, he left that Sunday for the Nantucket Film Festival, and I ducked down to London where I ate myself silly and saw lots of theater. I could’ve stayed there for the rest of the week, reconnecting with him in Munich (where I am now) for the Munich Film Festival, only our friends Mark and Diana were in Paris that same week and kept imploring me to come join them. “You’ve already been to Paris without Craig,” said Mark. “What’s the difference?” It was a powerful point. And so, before I knew it, I’d bought a one-way ticket for the Chunnel and figured I’d continue my way from Paris to Germany with a stop in Strasbourg, right on the border of France. When you see what I ate along the way, you’ll agree that this decision should’ve been a no-brainer right from the start.

As the trip to Paris drew closer and closer, I treated it casually. “I’m just going to Paris for two days, no big deal,” I said to myself; trying not to feel too guilty about going there Craigless. Then, as I emerged from the Gare du Nord train station (the train ride from London was so fast, I felt like I’d been beamed over like on Star Trek) the city totally enveloped me with its charm. The buildings, the people, the sounds, the sights, everything just washed over me and I had this huge grin on my face for the whole cab ride from the station to the Hotel Amour (which had been suggested to me by a few friends).

Located in the SoPi district (South of Pigalle) the hotel is like a litmus test for those who love Paris for all its wacky charm and those who prefer a less Parisian experience. For example, this is the lobby:

IMG_3923

It is, in fact, a restaurant with just a tiny desk and a man there who told me my room wasn’t ready, took my bags, including the one with my computer, and when I said, “Oh, there’s a computer in there” he accidentally banged it on the wall, laughed, and said: “Now it is a puzzle. In a thousand pieces!”

The fact that I laughed at that instead of breaking down crying means Paris and I are a good fit. When, in fact, my room was ready, I rode up in the tiniest of tiny elevators:

IMG_4126

To a mysterious hallway:

IMG_4127

To a bright yellow room, decorated by an artist:

IMG_4129

It was a room full of charm. It was also a room with a graphic image of a vagina on the wall. Again, the Hotel Amour tests your Paris mettle.

But I wasn’t there to study hotel room vagina pictures, I was there to meet up with Mark and Diana. So back downstairs, at 12:30, Diana came and joined me and we walked up towards Monmarte for lunch at a bistro mentioned in that NYT article about Paris bistros; Restaurant Miroir.

IMG_3930

If I had to devise a better “Welcome To Paris” meal, I couldn’t do it. The place, with its unprepossessing decor, was pure Paris authenticity. To start, I had this poultry pate with chunks of chicken and liver and wonderful pickled vegetables:

IMG_3932

Diana had a fish pate of sorts made with a whitefish that was also delectable:

IMG_3933

We also had wine to toast the fact that, holy crap, we’re actually in Paris right now.

IMG_3935

My entree was easily one of the best dishes I’ve had in my 10 days in Europe so far; a braised veal shoulder with a deep, brown sauce that makes me want to break out my Julia Child the second I get home. Also, chopped heirloom tomatoes that totally complemented everything on the plate.

IMG_3936

Diana, meanwhile, had a fish dish that was masterful in its execution. Namely, it had a spicy crust that was a delight to crunch through, and a perfectly moist interior. If I ever become a chef, I’ll want to stage here to learn how they make it.

IMG_3939

Instead of having dessert at Miroir (which had a most intriguing dessert menu, including a pistachio fig tart) we decided to walk to a famous Paris patisserie and chocolate shop called Jacques Genin (a serious walk, in case you ever follow in our footsteps).

IMG_3946

Going in here is like walking into a Gucci or a Prada store where the salespeople are dressed better than you are and the pocketbooks and shoes on display, or the chocolates and candies, as the case may be, are treated like the crown jewels. What’s nice, though, is that Jacques Genin has table service:

IMG_3949

So we scored ourselves a table and ordered up a storm (when in Paris!). We started with the most incredible Mille-Fuille with vanilla pastry cream; a dessert that my dad used to order, when I was growing up, only in America we call it a Napoleon:

IMG_3952

If you’ve ever witnessed the creation of puff pastry (and I was once part of an article that never got published where I received puff pastry lessons in the Gramercy Tavern kitchen) you know how much work and care goes into it. A block of butter is flattened on top of pastry dough then folded and folded again until you get a thousand layers (which, actually, is the translation of “mille-fuille”). Here before us was the Holy Grail of mille-fuille. I can’t imagine one better; it shattered beautifully as we cut into it, and each bite was buttery, crunchy, and deep like caramel. This is worth a flight to Paris alone.

Only, we couldn’t stop there. So we also ordered a selection of chocolates and pâte de fruit:

IMG_3957

Who wouldn’t want to be at our table?

IMG_3955

The fruits had such wonderful texture and flavor; and the chocolates were perfectly balanced. One of the highlights, though (and people echoed this on Instagram) was the passionfruit caramels they gave us for free. Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before; tangy, tart, and buttery all at once. They’re not to be missed.

From there, we walked to the Metro and saw so many awe-inspiring sights, it was a constant reminder of how uniquely beautiful Paris is (believe me, I’m not the first to say it):

IMG_3959

IMG_3961

Back at the room, I showered and readied myself for that night’s dinner. Before I knew it, I was running late, so I flagged down a taxi and had the most charming Paris thing happen; at a red light, a juggler came out and did a marvelous routine. My taxi driver waved him over and gave him money:

IMG_3976

Maybe you just had to be there, but it made me all giddy to be there at that moment.

Before dinner, I joined Mark and Diana for a drink near our restaurant:

IMG_3978

Feeling very Ina Garten, I ordered a Kir Royale (that’s kirsch with champagne) while Mark and Diana had Americanos (which, I believe, is something like a Negroni):

IMG_3980

Cheers!

OK, now it’s time for dinner at Le 6 Paul Bert:

IMG_3977

As you know, I really wrestled with where to eat on one of my nights in Paris. There were so many trendy places lobbed in our direction, but both Clotilde and David Lebovitz pointed us towards Le 6 Paul Bert and if you’re going to Paris, best to trust the Parisians. This place was absolutely phenomenal; from the moment we walked in, I knew that we’d chosen wisely.

IMG_3981

IMG_3986

After selecting our food (and there were so many wonderful things to choose from), our waiter helped us choose a bottle of wine; a Chardonnay that had lots of character:

IMG_3988

Then the appetizers arrived and they were totally stunning. Here are the names, in French (you’ll have to use Google translate for this portion of the post).

Mark’s was the most absolutely stunning: Carottes nouvelles, abricot, miel et sureau:

IMG_3990

It was also the most delicious; the way the apricot flavor was worked into those carrots was almost mystical in its design.

Diana had the sardines juste marinees, navet blanc, creme crue et mie de pain:

IMG_3989

And I had the carpaccio de chinchard, eau de concombre et tzaziki:

IMG_3991

It was a most refreshing dish; a light start to the meal, something you don’t expect to experience in Paris.

The next course, sort of a pre-entree post-appetizer course, also brought some dazzlers. Diana and I both had the anguille fumee, ris d’agneau, jus d’herbe et palourdes which roughly translates to EEL AND SWEETBREADS:

IMG_3994

The sweetbreads were crispy and fatty, like the world’s best Chicken McNuggets (sorry to go there, but it’s true) and paired with smoked eel, totally surprising and beguiling and unforgettable. Mark had a carpaccio paleron de boeuf, feves, anchois et truffles d’ete:

IMG_3993

For our entrees, Mark and Diana had the Carre de porcelet, betteraves, yaourt et sucre brun (basically: baby pig):

IMG_3996

And I had the pintade rotie, oeuf au plat, chanterelles et oignons nouveaux (aka: chicken with an egg on it).

IMG_3997

All of this was exquisite and wonderful–a highlight of my whole trip to Europe–but the pièce de résistance was this dessert; a parfait glace a la rhubarbe, sorbet fraise-fruits rouges:

IMG_4003

The ice cream and the sorbet were both terrific, but the element that made this sing was the fruit: those berries and cherries were tear-inducingly lovely. Garden of Eden good.

There was also a cannoli au citron de Sicile, sorbet au from age frais:

IMG_4002

And abricot rotis, gateau carotte, chocolat blanc et glace flouve:

IMG_4001

Our meal here was so good, I now consider it a mandatory stop for anyone who loves food journeying to the City of Light. Thanks to everyone who suggested it.

On my walk home, I noticed lots of people watching some sort of soccer game.

IMG_4007

Must be a French thing.

The next morning, I met up with one of my oldest blogging friends, Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate and Zucchini:

IMG_4018

We had coffee at a place called KB Cafeshop which served some of the best coffee I’ve had in Paris:

IMG_4019

We caught up on each other’s lives, talked all about blogs and books and people that we know, and before I knew it, I had to bid Clotilde adieu to meet Mark and Diana at the Rodin museum on the other side of town. We commented later that, despite the short visit and the time and geography between us, we connect so quickly every time we meet. Knowing Clotilde is one of the best things to have come out of my blog; she’s a swell person.

So, the Rodin museum (aka Musee Rodin):

IMG_4022

How had I never been here before? It’s easily one of the most stunning museums I’ve been to in Paris; but not just museums, just spaces in general. The grounds are tranquil and beautiful and a wonderful place to wander and think:

IMG_4024

IMG_4030

IMG_4032

And speaking of thinking:

IMG_4028

After the musee Rodin, we went to meet a certain person by the name of David Lebovitz for lunch at Little Breizh:

IMG_4051

Since I last saw him, David’s become something of a celebrity with the success of his books The Sweet Life in Paris and My Paris Kitchen. Has all this success gone to his head?

IMG_4057

Well, I’ll put it this way: he made us address him as “sir,” but otherwise he was as charming as ever. Look how he made Diana laugh:

IMG_4058

Little Breizh, a place he suggested, is famous for its buckwheat crepes. Here’s the man who makes them:

IMG_4061

And here’s the crepe I had for lunch, filled, as it was, with ham, cheese, and an egg:

IMG_4053

Let’s have a peek inside:

IMG_4060

Pretty gorgeous, right? And it definitely tasted as good as it looks.

As part of a lunch special, you get the savory crepe, a bowlful of cider, and a dessert crepe. The four of us shared one salted caramel:

IMG_4063

And one chocolate:

IMG_4064

Both of which David suggested we have with buckwheat flour too; needless to say, we swooned over the results.

At this point, Mark had to sneak off to do some work, and David began touring Diana and I around. Can you imagine the nerve of this guy? Who does he think he is?

IMG_4065

We were forced into exquisite chocolate shops, where we bought ourselves more caramels and pate de fruit:

IMG_4066

IMG_4067

And sampled salted caramel-filled chocolates:

IMG_4068

Then he dragged us into a store selling beautifully packaged sardines:

IMG_4069

And a spirits shop selling all kinds of French liquor:

IMG_4070

Finally, after a drink in the Marais, we were able to rid ourselves of this self-proclaimed Paris tour guide. I kid! Having David tour us around was an absolute treat; I feel spoiled even telling you that it happened, but it did. Thanks, David, for making our day so special.

As Diana and I planned to part and reconnect that night for dinner, we found a shop selling French tablecloths:

IMG_4084

And I bought this colorful one for our dining room table for 40 Euros:

IMG_4082

Excited to see how it looks.

That night we had dinner at a restaurant that Mark and Diana fell in love with the last time they were in Paris but–spoiler alert–slightly disappointed us this time around, Chez L’Ami Jean.

IMG_4094

Diana first heard about the place in a New Yorker article about Le Fooding and when they went last time, it felt like the real deal–an authentic, tucked-away Paris restaurant serving hearty, carefully made French food.

On this night, however, the place was overrun with Americans and the staff seemed eager to rush us out of there. We were whisked to a table in the back corner by the kitchen, where this man acted out the part of “angry French chef.” (Actually, it was interesting to see that kind of kitchen, with such a powerful force at the center; sort of like the one Jacques Pepin describes in his memoirs.)

IMG_4110

We ordered our food and then my least favorite thing that can happen in a restaurant happened: they brought it out almost 30 seconds later. The message was clear, “We want you gone.”

My soup, a lobster bisque with squid ink, was an ugly gray color and had bits of shell in it:

IMG_4107

Diana’s appetizer, though, was fun: a preparation of fish with torched herbs on top. She got a kick out of it as the embers were still glowing.

IMG_4104

Fred Flinstone would’ve been happy with the steak-for-two that Mark and Diana shared; it was epic:

IMG_4113

And my veal cheek was nicely braised, if a bit forgettable:

IMG_4112

The mashed potatoes had more butter than potato, but not enough salt, which kind of killed the deal for me:

IMG_4114

But my favorite bite of the night was the dessert; a chilled rice pudding that came with a caramel and a granola to put on top (a great idea I’d recreate at home if Craig didn’t hate rice pudding):

IMG_4119

We all agreed, at the end, that it was a totally fine dinner, just too expensive for what it was and slightly spoiled by brusque service. Still, it was lovely to spend one last night with Mark and Diana in Paris:

IMG_4122

The next morning, I hit the road for Strasbourg (you’ll read about that in the next post), but on this drizzly night, I made my way back to my hotel with the vagina picture on the wall, and sighed the kind of sigh you only sigh when you know it’s time to leave one of the world’s great cities. But the good news is, because I didn’t go with Craig, I now have the perfect excuse to go back. Paris, I promise, I’ll be there again soon.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Travel

  • Maria

    Looks like your trip was totally worth it–thanks for sharing! And I’m glad to know that I don’t really need to go to Chez l’ami Jean :-)

  • Stacey Snacks

    We go to Paris every Sept. 6 Paul Bert on my list this…..sad about L’Amis Jean….used to be so great, however, I agree, all the Americans in there (they should be grateful for the business)…..service was sad and rushed. Too many other great places that welcome our business and let you enjoy your evening.
    Looks like you had fun w/ your blogging buds!

  • http://Healthyroadadventures.blogspot.com Angel

    OMG!!! What a great trip! Love the buckwheat crepes! I’ve been inspired! – Angel – Healthyroadadventures.blogspot.com

  • Andi Montgomery

    Everything sounds (and looks) wonderful! I am envious of that tablecloth. When I was in Paris I picked up a few small porcelain ramekins, but now I’m wishing I’d found something lovely like that tablecloth. Also, I’m glad you enjoyed the Rodin museum as much as I did!

  • Stephanie

    Pintade is Guinea Fowl, not chicken! But it looked really awesome!! So cool you got to hang out with David! If you ever come to Lyon you must go to one of the Brasserie Bocuses..

  • Guido Panzini

    Oh, gosh, what a wonderful tome of eating!

  • Michele

    I love Paris. Everything is just better there. Everything.

  • Stephanie

    Don’t know what world you’re in, but a Kir Royale is crème de cassis and champagne not kirsch. Kirsch derives its flavor from cherries, crème de cassis from black currants.

  • boeufdaisy

    The Rodin museum is, as you say, a superbly serene experience. When you return to Paris with Craig, you may want to check out the Musée de Cluny, a museum of medieval art that is similarly relaxing…though without the beautiful gardens of the Rodin.

  • Janina

    Dear Adam, what a wonderful post! Le 6 Paul Bert has been on my list, too, ever since David wrote about it… and the pictures just look amazing. Do you remember where the sardine- and french-liqueur-magasins were? I’ll definitely need to drop by there on my next trip to Paris. Those sardines!

  • Susan Maxheim Carter

    Was just going to say the same thing – I drink a kir ( white wine instead of champagne) every night before dinner.

  • Susan Maxheim Carter

    Was just going to say the same thing – I drink a kir ( white wine instead of champagne) every night before dinner.

  • Susan Maxheim Carter

    Was just going to say the same thing – I drink a kir ( white wine instead of champagne) every night before dinner.

  • skooj

    Can you please give the name of the shop with the tablecloths? We were just in Paris and looked all over for a place that sold table linens…no luck!

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Hi Skooj, don’t know the name of the shop, but if you’re leaving the Marais walking towards Notre Dame, it’s right there! Best, Adam

  • Charlotte

    The liqueur shop is near the carrefour de l’Odeon in the 6th, next to the Editeurs café on the corner of rue des 4 vents

  • skooj

    Well, I could have looked closely at your photo. There was the name of the store! I found it online and the address, too. Thanks, Adam. And thanks for your lovely Paris post.

  • Hillary

    I would love to know where the store with the sardines are as well.

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    I really don’t remember, but I bet David has it on his blog…

  • Barbara Palmer

    Skooj, I’m not as good a detective as you. What is the name and address of the table cloth store? I will be there in February and love a great table cloth!

  • Hillary

    Was it near Henri le Roux, the chocolate shop you visited?

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    Paris is always a pleasure if you know where to go. Like most big cities, it has its share of mediocre restaurants.

    I’m looking forward to your report about Strasbourg. I’ve been to Alsace only once, but did it top to bottom. I ordered “choucroute” in Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhaus. Boring, you say? Not really. I wanted to see how the most famous regional dish was treated throughout the region. They were all just different enough to have their own signature. The one feature they shared was the serving size — impossible to be a member of the clean plate club!

  • skooj

    I believe it says “Fouta Tunisia”. And the address in Paris is”
    3 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe. But Google it to be sure.

  • http://www.davidlebovitz.com/ David Lebovitz

    It’s Conserverie la belle-iloise at 7 rue l’Ancienne Comédie in the 6th: http://www.labelleiloise.fr/fr/nos-boutiques/paris.htm

  • hr

    golly that woman Diana should be thrown out of paris. comb your hair, wear some lip gloss and burn that hideous grey t-shirt…

  • Caroline @ Shrinking Single

    Was lucky enough to stumble across Jacques Genin when holidaying in Paris last year. Loved the chocolate tasting plate they do and how fresh the herbs taste that are in them. The chocolate and basil wasn’t really my cup of tea but the chilli was fabulous

  • Ginny Murrell

    What a wonderful, wonderful trip. All the food looked, absolutely wonderful. I want to go back. Haven’t been to Paris for years. You brought back vivid memories, of the sights, smells and heavenly food.

  • Janina

    thank you Charlotte!

  • Janina

    merci beaucoup Monsieur Lebovitz! can’t wait to go.

  • http://user.qzone.qq.com/1328609155/infocenter?ptsig=Zs4I0LGI71LUnyD3bkZCQjNMKIQRuBA6TWv9gz3kBbM_ JustinHu

    It really is a wonderful journey

  • http://user.qzone.qq.com/1328609155/infocenter?ptsig=Zs4I0LGI71LUnyD3bkZCQjNMKIQRuBA6TWv9gz3kBbM_ JustinHu

    It really is a wonderful journey

  • ioanna

    Great tips about Paris! And always a pleasure seeing Mr. Lebovitz! One small observation: the soccer is not a “french thing” but the world cup! LOL :)

  • Anonymous

    When you return to Paris with Craig

  • Anonymous

    When you return to Paris with Craig

  • Anonymous

    When you return to Paris with Craig

  • http://healthinformationview.com/ Susan Clarke

    Trying to make some French food today :)

  • http://healthinformationview.com/ Susan Clarke

    Trying to make some French food today :)

  • http://www.quotesquote.com/ Quotesquote

    Thank you for sharing this awesome list. This a great read.

  • http://www.quotesquote.com/ Quotesquote

    Thank you for sharing this awesome list. This a great read.

  • http://www.quotesquote.com/ Quotesquote

    nice info thank’s for your post.

  • http://www.quotesquote.com/ Quotesquote

    nice info thank’s for your post.

  • AliceAndrea

    The next morning, I hit the road for Strasbourg (you’ll read about that in the next post), but on this drizzly night see more http://tiny.cc/8rkomx

  • AliceAndrea

    The next morning, I hit the road for Strasbourg (you’ll read about that in the next post), but on this drizzly night see more http://tiny.cc/8rkomx

  • Marinaartigas

    2014 post site try this one
    http://www.pornworms.com/
    Free XXX Porn movies on Pornworms PornTube. Pornworms is the best free xnxx porn website with the hottest sexy videos. Download, stream or share xxx movies for free. New hot xvideos uploaded everyday by our users.