Friday, March 28, 2014

Birthday in the Best City in the World, Paris!

After the TGV from Stuttgart delivered us to the heart of the 10th district at Paris Est in less than 3 hours, we were in celebration mode and ready to eat and drink our way through the City of Light.

We quickly stashed our bags in a locker and walked 20 minutes along the Quai to Restaurant Pierre Sang in Oberkampf. I had first read about this restaurant in an NYT article and was intrigued to see how Sang combined his South Korean heritage and his French upbringing in his cooking. The meal did not disappoint. For a mere 35 euro per person, we enjoyed a 5 course lunch (wine extra) that was inventive and delicious. The waiters changed it up a bit by presenting the food, letting us try it, then coming back to see if we could guess what it was. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at it. I was even able to identify the tripe course. Oh yeah, you should probably be willing to try anything when you go because its a tasting menu, meaning the chef presents what he pleases.

Although stuffed from lunch, we managed to find room for dinner at Bistrot Paul Bert. While generally recognized as one of the best Parisian bistros by almost every dining authority, we weren't particularly wowed by the experience. Sure, the steak was tasty and the sauce savory, but it seemed overhyped. Not to mention everyone in the restaurant was American. I guess we need to keep searching for our authentic Parisian bistro.

The next night was the eve of my 30th birthday so we decided to go all out. L'Ami Jean seemed like a fun place, they spoke English on the phone and accepted our reservation so that's about all we could ask for! Located in a residential part of the 7th, this restaurant was a little hole in the wall and barely noticeable from the street. Inside was a different story. The place was a non-stop whizz and whirl of waiters rushing around cracking jokes with the cooks in the back yelling and shouting instructions to each other. Guests were crammed practically on top of each other so a romantic evening was definitely out the window. However, we were seated next to a very friendly, food obsessed couple from Singapore, so we had a great time exchanging opinions on which restaurants and cafes have best food in the city.  We opted for the tasting menu and a bottle of red burgundy. Immediately we were presented with an appetizer of pate with rustic farm bread. We were served wonderful food over the course of the night but the highlight of the meal was the risotto with a squid ink sauce topped with shaved squid. I also loved the ride pudding with salted carmel for dessert.

For my birthday brunch, Kent found Un Dimanche a Paris in the heart of St. Germaine. Attached to a very famous chocolate atelier, we dined on baguettes with chocolate, smoked salmon omelets and assorted pastries, before packing up and catching the train back to Stuttgart.

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