Oh my, I cannot get the ‘60’s songs out of my head. Between Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” I’m in bad shape. Like they said (with a bit of conflating) “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…….Oh, California dreamin'….I could leave today….”
But I’m not thinking about California, I’m thinking about Paris. And what am I thinking about? Not museums, not strolling, not shopping nor stopping; nope, about food. I’m surely one troubled Dude, but the instant I set foot in the States, I’m plotting what and where I’m going to eat next time I’m back “home” - in the City of Light and Lights.
Why do I crave confit de canard so much, and garlic potatoes? Why do I need choucroute with extra juniper berries, couscous with tons of harissa and cassoulet with so much goose fat it verges on the obscene.
Will I be able to convince my three eating partners to go back to places next month, like Le Bistral and Ferrandaise and Au Pied du Sacré Coeur, where I ate this month without them. And if I do, will they turn out to be great disappointments, with four of us sharing the judging honors and the necessity to have 12 winners in all 12 dishes?
Am I the only one, or are there other crazed individuals on the planet who keep a Pudlo and #11 Paris map book at their elbow and like forbidden fruit keep looking stuff up? Do other folks keep lists of new places that have just opened, old places that keep on satisfying and places that were just fine in years past, but we never really had time to go back to. And the lists keep changing; open Saturday, open Sunday, closed Monday; near this place, near that one; one so-so review, maybe demote that one. Then there are the unknowns: places changing hands, places about to open, places one hears have been hyped, have bombed, have exploded in a burst of excess.
Problems, problems, problems. So many choices, so little time.
So to keep you occupied until next time, here are three winners found during a cold, cold month:
80, rue Lemercier, 17th (Metro : La Fourche)
T : 01.42.63.59.61
Closed Sundays and Mondays
Formula at lunch 27 €, menu 30 € (but many 3 € supplements)
8, rue de Vaugirard, 6th (RER: Luxembourg, Metro : St Michel)
T : 01.43.26.36.36
Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday and Monday
Menu at dinner or 3 courses at lunch = 30 €, plus wine running 14-63 €.
Au Pied du Sacré Coeur
85, rue Lamarck, 18th (Metro: Lamarck-Caulincourt)
T : 01.46.06.15.26
Closed Monday lunch
Lunch menus are 9-11 €, at night a la carte is 20-30 €.
*Originally published March 2005.