Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Paris and London by Mouth

It seems that once Halloween happens, the rest of the year just flies by in a flurry of holiday and end of the year preparation. I know that I've been completely remiss in my updates to this site, despite scarfing some pretty delectable bites.
 
I went to London and Paris a couple of weeks ago, and as usual, I like to catalog my eating experiences. I know, I'm a lucky stinker! When I went to London 10 years ago, I was pretty unimpressed with the food. This time, however, I was a little more open-minded, and had my partner in crime to help with the selections. I've also gleaned a lot more recommendations in the 10 years since I've visited, which allowed me to make better choices.
 
One of the best came from Cate regarding the very good Asian fast food spot that all of UK is loving, Wagamama.  Hot, spicy soups and noodles were just what was needed to combat the cold, bleak London weather. Pictured here is the chicken itame (also Cate's suggestion), a slightly spicy coconut milk and lemongrass concoction. So good, with lovely flavor, and warming on a cold day. In fact, I wish that I was eating this soup right now.
 
Yes, there are Starbucks everywhere (even Paris, but I never spyed any in Italy when I was there in 2011). The holiday offerings were up, and I had to try the English Toffee, which is available here, but not featured as a holiday drink. Another flavor was orange mocha, which I did not try. Starbucks was way less sweet in the UK. Yes, apparently, I am Gven now.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
One of the best things that I ate in London was the famed Sunday roast served atop a Yorkshire pudding with roasted vegetables and gravy from the Pig's Ear, a favorite pub of William and Kate. Unfortunately, I did not snap a photo, but believe me, it was delicious! I might try replicating this dish at home.

I have been advised repeatedly to try the Indian in London. However, I was pretty disappointed with the restaurant that Londoners raved was the best. Bland Indian, made of quite a lot of pre-packaged ingredients. I've had much, much better Indian here in the States. I'm sure that there is far better Indian in London, but this experience kind of put me off the cuisine for the trip.



A trip to England must involve a proper tea with scones. I found just that (at an expensive price) at The Crooked House in Windsor. The tea and scones with clotted cream (try it, it's delightful) were wonderful, and again, perfect for the cold weather.


 
On to Paris! We took the Chunnel train, which was uneventful and quite fast. You take a nap, and all of a sudden, you're in another country! I suppose that could be said of plane trips as well...
 
One of the first stops was to pick up some macarons as Laduree. I loved them so much when I visited Paris in 2010, and I just had to have more. Raspberry, Columbian chocolate (my new favorite!), chocolate coconut, vanilla, salted caramel, lemon, orange blossom, coffee...all were delicious. I wish that I'd listened to my husband and bought more.

 
 
We made a point of visiting our favorite restaurant from our last visit, Au Vin des Rues, which has sadly gone downhill. We ordered the Ribeye steak and roasted chicken, and both were very lackluster. My chicken and mashed potatoes were obviously reheated, and the steak with fried was meh. Yes, that's the most descriptive word of which I can think to describe the sadness of this meal. While it wasn't disgusting, per se, it is certainly a place that I will not revisit. That being said, Rue Daguerre and its beautiful market are worth the metro ride to the 14th eme.




A stop at Cafe des Deux Moulins is always in order for a kir and for me to fangirl over the cafe in which Amelie was set.


As well as an expensive happy hour in Pigalle. It's not as trashy as one would think.
Chocolate mousse! This was after some very good wood-fired pizza in the Latin Quarter at Il Gigolo.

 Another great meal on this trip was found at Cafe Pasteur, which was very close to the apartment we rented for the trip. Parisians hardly ever make special trips just for dinner, so we thought we would explore some of the eating options in our neighborhood. I ordered a gravy-covered beef onglet with mashed potatoes and salad, and my husband had a similar dish with ribeye and roasted potatoes. Creme brulee for dessert!

Very good, and not too expensive.









 
Another great find that I didn't get a picture of was the delicious falafel from Chez Hannah in the Marais. Better than L'As du Fallafel, and much less of a wait. And man, their roasted eggplant topping the falafel sandwiches is incredible!


Crepes, of course, were had. For some reason, I just can't like crepes that aren't breakfast or dessert. These were from Crepes Suzette in the Latin Quarter. Mine was a bacon, egg, and cheese, and was scrumptious! However, a turkey and cheese crepe just doesn't do it for me.

Another inexpensive option for dining is the pita sandwich, usually lamb cut from a gigantic wall of meat. Seriously, check it out! There are tons of these shops all over Paris for a quick bite.


 
A trip to Paris wouldn't be the same without a cup of my favorite hot chocolate from Cafe Rendez Vous in Montparnesse. The chocolate is served separately, and you assemble it at the table pouring the rich chocolate into the mug, then following with the steamed milk and adding sugar to taste. Delicious! 


Quickly enough, we headed back to London and warmer temperatures (Paris was freezing!!!) and made another visit to Wagamama, since I was sick and wanted something hot and spicy. This time, I ordered the chili ramen, and my husband got the spiciest thing on the menu, the Firecracker. Both dishes were exactly what we wanted and succeeded in warming us up and giving us a break from the heavy French and English cuisine. I wish that they had these places on the West Coast.






Final English meal: Fish and chips, along with steak and celery pie, served with a cold pint at the Blackbird. Perfect!







Yummy sticky toffee pudding. I'll be making this at Christmas.
 



A final tea in Heathrow before departing.
 
What a great trip!!!!


November 26, 2013 / by / 1 Comments
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