Monday, October 5, 2009

Come Shopping.....Parisien Food Markets

There are street food markets all over Paris, that are open a few days a week. The vendors set up their stalls full of fresh and prepared food, fish, and meats. Flowers and herbs as well as some clothing, jewelry and kitchen wares are also offered. Last week my friend Debbie and her husband, Don and I went to the Grenelle market in Paris' 7th arondissement. It was a sunny fall morning and the crowds were out. We were greeted by fresh fish and seafood on ice.
Elbow to elbow, we were moved along by the sweet scent of fresh picked flowers.

I parted with some euro when I caught a whiff of dried herbs, oils and vinegars, and salt and pepper from the south of France.
There aren't many fruits or vegetables that are allowed back into the US, so we just admired their beauty and bounty.

Each one was more seductive than the next.
The bright and deep greens of the Romanesca, artichokes and cabbage, counterbalanced the creamy colors of the potatoes, pasta and cheese.
I'm not too sure though, that I could bring myself to have a taste of this bleu cheese from d'Augverge.   

Black walnuts, hazelnuts and honey all complimented the many cheeses.
Tea and jam had fresh baked breads and pastries ready to be taken home with them.
Suddenly a loud "cock-a-doodle-doo" echoed under the tented roof. The animated butcher sang the song of the rooster, as he merrily prepared his goods for the waiting customers, on his well worn board. Trotters and tongues mingled with sausages, and hams.  
Roasted whole chickens and freshly laid eggs,

could be taken home alongside prepared lentils with carrots, and rich Potatoes Dauphiois.

And, if all of those fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and flowers aren't the end of the market you can buy some colorful lingerie. But, will you be able to fit into them after the prior indulgences?!

Bon Appetit!
Paris Street Markets locations and times.

Friday, October 2, 2009

This Little Piggy Went To Market...

This little piggy went to market and this little piggy should have stayed home! Walking into the classic and bustling brasserie, Au Pied de Cochon in Paris' Les Halles area, the vision is what you would want in a Parisian dining legend. Waiters are clad in black and white, and have the air of longevity in this Art Nouveau decorated brasserie. Art glass chandeliers hang from the ceiling recalling an era when decor was feminine and joyous.
This brasserie has never closed their doors since it's opening in 1946. It has evolved from a local eatery that has always been open 24/7, to a traditional brasserie full of tourists and  locals. Our cloth covered, reserved table of 4 was pulled back to welcome us, as we took in the atmosphere that was seemingly halted in time.
Menus were presented and a Confiture de Cochon was brought to the table with bread. It was interesting, but not special.
We wanted to order what this institution is known for. None of us were tempted though, by their well known Pig Trotter's in Bernaise Sauce. After a time that seemed extraordinary, the waiter took our choices. More time passed. Finally, we shared fresh and tasty oysters on the half shell that came with a red wine vinaigrette. My friend Michelle, had to try the French Onion Soup that the Les Halles marketeers dined on after the end of their long days, more than fifty years ago.
The cheese was hot and had that long pull to it, but the broth was a tasteless brew. Our main courses were Duck Confit and the plat du jour, Sausages (we got some pork involved!) with Lentils. The duck arrived ice cold and was returned for reheating. The Sausage and Lentils were good when slathered with lots of Dijon mustard, but really not a reason to come here.
We eyed the seafood plate at the table next to us and wondered if it was a better choice.
Maybe yes, maybe no. We thought about trying to snag a crab when they got up to have a cigarette outside.....our experience here was starting to "go to the pigs!" Perhaps dessert would bring us back. A question to the waiter regarding the Molleux au Chocolat, was met with rudeness, so we paid our bill and decided to have dessert back at the hotel. Sitting in one of the small and private pocket rooms in the dining area of the hotel, we had the Cafe with a selection of varied and satisfying desserts.
Commenting, we were glad to have tried Au Pied de Couchon, but we would not be trotting back very soon!