Paris – Bloody Marys and Butter Pie

23 May 2008 at 12:02 am 6 comments

“BIG” IN MILAN!!!: Joanne from Frutto della Passione and I are organizing a Sex and the City shindig in Milan. We’d love to meet up with fellow bloggers in the area to see the new SATC movie and have drinks before, during and after. Saturday June 7 is the date. More details to follow. Just leave a comment on either of our sites to let us know if you’re coming. Carrie and the girls need your support!!


Ciao Bloggisti!

I know I’ve been away a while but I’ve been soooo busy at work and at home that I just didn’t have the time to post. But I promise I will make it up to you… starting with this.

Soothing, non? Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to that every morning? Or even after a nap? Speaking of naps, I didn’t have to resort to torturing poor Mimmo with Yoko’s dulcet tones to get him up. I just whispered in his ear that I was going shopping on the Avenue Montaigne with his credit card. Worked like a charm. Never seen a man jump out of bed so fast.

I thought it would be nice to have an apéritif before our dinner at Chez Michel so we went to the Canal St. Martin area in the hopes of finding a nice bar. I’d also never been to the area and was curious to see it.

We got out at Jacques Bonsergent station and walked down the Rue de Lancry to get to the canal. It’s a nice little neighbourhood and I enjoyed the walk, taking snapshots of the buildings and colourful doors.

We stopped in front of the Verre Volé wine bar, which I had heard good things about, but Mimmo didn’t like the looks of it for some reason. So we walked down the Quai de Valmy where I noticed some very cute looking shops, which were all closed because of the May 1 holiday. Arrgh! But I made a mental note to myself to head back there.

We finally ended up having our apéritif at Café Atmosphère on 49 Rue Lucien-Sampaix. Living up to its name, it had a very good vibe – quirky and casual, with a mixed clientele of students, seniors, artsy types and professionals. The staff were very friendly too. (See, more nice French people!)

Mimmo had a beer and for some reason I felt like having a Bloody Mary. Big mistake! It was the worst BM ever – 25% tomato juice, 75% vodka. I’m Canadian and can handle my drink but I almost did a spit-take. Blech! Hey, it would have made a great disinfectant. Thankfully, Mimmo switched drinks with me. Still, I’d go back to Atmosphère, maybe for lunch or dinner. Definitely not for the drinks.

From there we walked all the way to Chez Michel, which is close to the Gare du Nord train station. Not the safest of areas at night. Good thing Mimmo is a big strapping Viking of a man.

The restaurant was super-mega packed and full of tourists, mostly American and German. We were a bit suspicious about the lack of locals but once we saw the menu we were relieved. First of all, it was in French. Second, the the specials of the day written on the ardoise (blackboard) looked delish. The only problem was the waitress actually handed us the ardoise before we ordered. It was heavy and uncomfortable. And once we’d decided what we wanted, we didn’t know what to do with it. Should we put it down? Keep holding it so she remembers to come back to us? Hit her on the head with it? We decided to put it down because I was getting a hand cramp.

Chez Michel offers a €30 prix fixe menu, which included a starter, main course and dessert. Mimmo went for the tomato coeur de boeuf salad and I chose the foie gras et crème de pruneaux starter (not on the prix fixe menu). The salad was very fresh and the tomatoes actually tasted like tomatoes, unlike the ones I usually get at the supermarket. I still don’t know how I feel about my foie gras starter though.

Now, I really love foie gras in paté form but here I got actual slices of whole foie gras with course sea salt sprinkled on top. On its own, I wasn’t too crazy about the taste but combined with the prune cream it wasn’t too bad. Perhaps it was just a tad too heavy for me as a starter. Don’t worry, Mimmo helped me out.

I was more than pleased with my main course: une poêlée de St. Jacques (sautéed scallops) with cumin, parmigiano flakes and cooked in a sort of sweet, citrus sauce. Succulent and delightful!

Mimmo had a wonderfully tender and flavourful pot-au-feu, a traditional meat and vegetable stew. Chez Michel’s pot-au-feu had pieces of sausage, veal, pork, bacon, cauliflower, savoy cabbage, onions, carrots and raisins. Yum!

The waitress suggested a 2006 Paul Prieur Sancerre red to accompany our meal, which she thought would go well with both seafood and meat dishes. And it did.

Then when it was time to order dessert, I was intrigued by the name kouign amman so I asked my waitress what it was. “Oh madame, it’s a sort of pie. But I must warn you, it’s full of sugar and butter.” “Butter pie?!? Pas de problème. Bring it on!” A kouign amman is actually a warm butter cake from Brittany, the home region of Chez Michel chef Thierry Breton. The cake was impossibly rich with a lovely caramelized crust. To die for!

Our meal was even more pleasant after we started talking to the couple sitting beside us. Laurent and Stéphanie were perhaps the only French diners in the restaurant and we had fun talking about Italy, babies and food.

After dinner I wanted to go out for one last drink so we went to one of my old stomping grounds, the Bastille area. I was sad to see that the pedestrian Rue de Lappe had got a lot cheesier over the years and didn’t have the nice bars that I remembered. We stopped for a beer at a little hole in the wall but I was so full and exhausted that I couldn’t keep my eyes open.


Entry filed under: Food, Paris, Restaurants, Travel.

Paris – May Day, May Day! Our Paul Cooks for the Bratty Bambino

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nyc/caribbean ragazza  |  23 May 2008 at 9:06 am

    Those scallops!! That’s all I need to say.

    They sure were nummy!

  • 2. Joanne at Frutto della Passione  |  23 May 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Think there is any chance of getting anything like that in the mensa?

    Hey, let’s check now. I’m starving!

  • 3. Beatriz  |  23 May 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Yum! I would like a slice of that cake, please.
    Thanks for the invite to the “sex and the city” outing. I will LOVE to go and meet you girls. I am waiting to hear if I need to go back to the States, and if I need to, I would leave that Saturday (the 7th.) So, the answer is yes I will be there, unless I can’t 😉

    I really hope you can make it! As I mentioned to Debbie, if too many people have a problem with Saturday we could move it to Friday.

  • 4. Bee in Italy, Debby  |  23 May 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you for thinking of me. I would like to go and meet you. We have planned for a tour of Santa Catarina that day. I am not sure of the times but I imagine it will be hard. Perhaps I will go with Beatriz. I will stay in touch.

    We’re thinking of an evening outing. We’ll see how many people we can rassle up for the 7th. If the date’s a problem we could have it on Friday instead. Vediamo…

  • 5. My Mélange  |  7 June 2008 at 4:59 pm


    So sorry to hear your hubby didn’t like the looks of Verre Volé. We went on our last trip with my friend and we all really liked it.

    The food and the wine was great!

    Maybe next time.

    That butter pie looks to die for 😉

    Definitely next time! A good excuse to go back, non?

  • 6. The Omnivore’s 100 « Frutto della Passione  |  10 September 2008 at 7:14 am

    […] 19. Steamed pork buns 20. Pistachio ice cream 21. Heirloom tomatoes 22. Fresh wild berries 23. Foie gras  24. Rice and beans 25. Brawn, or head cheese 26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper 27. Dulce de leche 28. […]


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May 2008


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