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Paris’ Best Baguette in 2016: La Parisienne

Results from the annual competition to name the city’s best baguette – the Grand prix de la baguette de tradition française de la Ville de Paris – have just been announced. This year’s winning baguette was made by bakers Mickaël Reydellet and Florian Charles from La Parisienne at 48 rue Madame in Saint-Germain.

French Restaurants Offering Doggy Bags

First hamburgers arrived, then Tex-Mex. But never before has the Americanization of French food culture been more evident than on January 1, 2016, when the Union of Hospitality Trades and Industries handed a down a “strong recommendation” to restaurants serving 150-200 covers per day that they make doggy bags available to their customers.

Despite some breathless early coverage, there is no obligation enshrined in law. This misreporting seems to arise from the fact that the recommendation is part of a larger law targeting food waste. Nonetheless, the move is an important one for a country that throws away a reported 7 million tonnes of food waste per year – and where, up until now, there was no expectation that a restaurant would allow its customers to take their leftovers home.

A Pasta Shop for Giovanni Passerini

Giovanni Passerini, the Roman chef behind the beloved and now-closed Rino, has today opened a fresh pasta shop near the Marché d’Aligre at 65 rue Traversière, 75012.

Pastificio Passerini will make fresh pasta daily to cook at home and sell everything needed to make it into a meal, including various jarred ragus and sauces, fresh herbs to infuse into butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, cured meat, and a handful of high-end Italian grocery products.

ragouts pastificio passerini

On opening day, the chef had fresh pappardelle, taglioni, and tagliatelle (fresh and buckwheat), plus three stuffed pastas including Taleggio cheese and seaweed ravioli, ravioli with pumpkin, brown butter, pistachios, and bergamot ricotta, and an agnolotti with mortadella, chicory, pork and veal. Prices for the fresh pasta are astoundingly low for the quality, with plain versions selling for €1.90 per 150 grams and stuffed pastas for €3.90, with roughly 150 grams suggested per person.

A New Wine Bar from the Owner of La Buvette

Camille Fourmont of La Buvette, the beloved gem of a wine bar in the 11th, has collaborated on a new wine bar at the recently opened Hotel Le Pigalle in Pigalle.

Diners can expect simple, seasonal, small plates and excellent wines, per usual. Fourmont says that the bar, also called Le Pigalle, “will be more about assembly than cooking, like a kitchen where most of the preparation is done beforehand. The jam may have been made last summer, and the evening menu this morning.”

For hours and practical info, check out our guide page for Le Pigalle.

Desserted in Paris

The chef-pâtissier Tal Spiegel is putting his extensive shoe collection to work by pounding the pavement in search of beautiful pastries for his Instagram account Desserted_in_Paris.

He seeks out and photographs a different edible masterpiece each day, and his color and pattern combos are a feast for the eyes.  

À L’Étoile d’Or Re-Opens After Explosion

There’s nothing new at A l’Étoile d’Or, and that’s perfect.

Rarely is “it’s just like it always was” a compliment, but a delighted customer at the shop’s re-opening this week meant it as high praise. The iconoclastic and historic candy shop, which features hard-to-find, old-fashioned sweets from throughout France, had been a fixture in Pigalle for over 40 years when, in February 2014, an accidental nearby explosion destroyed the shop and forced its closure. Sweet lovers mourned the loss of unusual candies like the bars of Bernachon chocolates from Lyon (the only spot in Paris to get them) or blackcurrant jellies from Dijon with a liquid center.

Daniel Rose to take on Chez la Vieille & New York

Chez la Vieille occupies an unassuming corner at the intersection of two quiet streets, Bailleul and l’Arbre Sec, between the Louvre and what’s left of Les Halles. It was opened by the formidable Adrienne Biasin back in 1960 and catered – like most restaurants in this neighborhood – to a clientele of workers from the nearby Les Halles market. When the towering iron and glass pavillions were torn down in 1971 and the market was transferred to the sanitary suburb of Rungis, the “old lady’s” place remained as a comfort for locals who were (and still are) mourning the loss of “the belly of Paris.” 

Fowl Play: Chicken Theft at Parisian Urban Farm

Foul play is suspected with the fowl at La Recyclerie, the sprawling restaurant/urban farm/flea market/bar in the 18th arrondissement. Six of the sixteen chickens  were stolen during the night of September 8th from their urban farm alongside the railway tracks, they reported on Facebook.

According to La Recyclerie, the birds are a valuable part of the restaurant team who help maintain the gardens,  participate in their anti-waste and recycling efforts, and serve an important function in their  farm’s educational efforts.

Beards, beanies & bacon jam: Brooklyn arrives at Le Bon Marché

Hovering fifty feet above the corner of Sèvres and Babylone is the image of a hipster eating a hot dog. The waxed tips of his mustache curl up as he gazes down upon the sidewalk scene below: an elegant woman wearing a camel trench coat is loading her shopping into a car. This is the line for valet parking at the city’s most expensive department store, and madame’s bags are bursting with jars of bacon jam.

Between now and October 17, Le Bon Marché (LBM) is celebrating New York’s most populous borough with their Brooklyn Rive Gauche festival.  Throughout the department store and their next-door food hall La Grande Épicerie, black water tower display stands direct shoppers to kale chips, artisanal matchsticks, and beard cream.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2015

The annual ranking of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has just been announced. El Cellar de Can Roca in Girona (Spain) now wears the crown and Copenhagen’s Noma has fallen to #3 with Osteria Francescana in Modena (Italy) sneaking up to grab second place. Here’s a look at where Paris ranks among the best in the world, according to this jury.

Experimental Cocktail Club to Open “Bed and Beverage” Hotel

Grand Pigalle, a 37-room hotel from the team behind Experimental Cocktail Club and its many outposts, will be opening at 29 rue Victor Massé in the 9th arrondissement on April 2nd.

Rooms will start at 200€ and guests will have the option to be chauffeured around town to any of the group’s other establishments – Beef ClubFish Club, Prescription Cocktail Club and Curio Parlour – in a vintage DS Citroen 1973. For those who prefer to stay and stumble closer to home, the rue Victor Massé features plenty of other cocktail destinations – L’Entrée des Artistes, Lulu White, Glass, and Dirty Dick, to name a few. 

Le Grenier à Pain in Montmartre wins 2015 Best Baguette Contest

Félicitations to Djibril Bodian of Le Grenier à Pain Abbesses for winning First Prize in the 2015 Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris,  a.k.a. The Best Baguette in Paris Competition. If Bodian’s name sounds familiar, it’s because the Senegalese born, second generation baker also won the top prize five years ago. His bakery will be providing bread for President Hollande and the Elysées Palace for an entire year, just as he did for Sarkozy back in 2010. 

Eating & Drinking in the No-Go Zones

Nolan Peterson, photo from his Facebook page
Nolan Peterson, photo from his Facebook page

The reliably cynical Fox News network has been broadcasting an interview with Nolan Peterson (photo at right), a supposed security expert and confirmed bozo who has declared Paris to be dotted with “No-Go Zones” where “in just a ten-minute cab ride from the Eiffel Tower, you can be walking through streets that feel just like Baghdad.”

Baghdad, eh? How wonderful for Baghdad if their streets are also filled, as these districts are, with modern bistros, craft breweries, natural wine haunts, vegan cafés, and spots for Philly cheesesteak. Not to mention a place that ranks among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and a bakery that won the Best Baguette in Paris competition.

Inspired by a rebuttal by Sened Dhab, we decided to plot all of the wonderful restaurants, bars and shops that fall within these unterrorized borders. They are some of the most vibrant quarters in Paris and you shouldn’t hesitate for a single moment to visit.

Police Close Shops on Rue des Rosiers

Due to the ongoing hostage situation at a kosher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes, Le Figaro reports that police ordered the closure of shops and restaurants along the rue des Rosiers in the  historically Jewish neighborhood of the Marais today.

Most of the shops normally close for the sabbath on Friday evenings and all-day Saturday, but were forced to take extra precautions and shutter early this afternoon.

Shooting at Charlie Hebdo

We have just learned that there has been a mass shooting  at Charlie Hebdo, a long-running satirical magazine.  Speaking at the newspaper’s offices in the 11th arrondissement this morning, President François Hollande characterized it as “undoubtedly a terrorist attack” and an “act of exceptional barbarism”.

According to Le Monde, two masked men entered the newspaper’s offices with automatic rifles at 11:30 am, killing 12, and injuring at least 10 others.

Read more on France 24 (English) : “Live: ‘Terrorists’ in deadly shooting at Paris HQ of French magazine”

Lawsuits and threats for negative reviews

Update December 16

Following his (really very) negative review of Le Verre Volé sur Mer, writer Aaron Ayscough (Not Drinking Poison in Paris) received this comment from chef Laurent Julien:

your gonna review only soups restaurants after you cross my way motherfucker.You need a good reminder of what respect is.Tu va connaitre ton poid sans tes dents mon enfant de chienne.a bientot

Hot buns from Yam’Tcha’s Adeline Grattard

While their gastronomic restaurant prepares to move to a new location in the new year, the folks at Yam’Tcha are using their space at 4 rue Sauval to sell boxes of bao, or steamed buns, to go. Adeline Grattard’s Franco-Chinois take on les brioches vapeur includes fillings like Comté with sweet onion, Basque pork with Szechuan eggplant, shrimp with gauchoï, spicy shitake & veg, and surprising bite of Stilton with Amarena cherry.

Aizpitarte to open Le Chabanais in London

Bloomberg reported today that Le Chateaubriand (now le Chateaubrand?) will be opening a 90 seat restaurant early next year in London’s Mayfair district.

Le Chabanais, which takes its name from a brothel and is also the name of an international escort service, will be helmed by Paul Boudier, currently Iñaki Aizpitarte’s second in command. The space will be designed by Clement Blanchet who designed, along with Rem Koolhaas, Le Chateaubriand’s adjacent white marble wine bar Le Dauphin

Growlers for Paris Beer Geeks

If you like tap beer but want to drink it in the privacy of your home, you’ll be happy to learn that La Fine Mousse has started a growler program. They’re selling the refillable 2-liter jugs for 20€ and a fill from any of their 20 taps costs the same as five demis (usually in the 20-25€ range) – that’s eight beers for the price of five!

Prodigal chefs return to cook with Passard

For two days in November, chef Alain Passard will be partnering for a series of meals with his former acolytes – chefs who worked for him at L’Arpège before moving on and gaining acclaim with their own restaurants. The list is impressive, and you’ll find the following chefs working together with Passard to create 100€ meals.

Joël Robuchon to return to NYC

Two years after the closure of his first New York outpost, Joël Robuchon will bring his relaxed fine dining back to New York with a brand new restaurant in Battery Park City . This atelier will be considerably bigger (at 11,000 square feet) and will include a bar & lounge space for small plates — a first for Robuchon’s global Atelier empire.

Big Fire at Patrick Roger Workshop

Purveyors of fine chocolate in Paris are suffering major losses this year. Back in February, Denise Acabo’s beloved chocolate shop L’Etoile d’Or was rocked by an explosion. Then yesterday, Patrick Roger’s atelier in Sceaux suffered a major fire.

There were no (human) casualties in the fire that broke out on around 3pm, but production of those delicious pralines and bonbons has of course ground to a halt.

To more fully grasp how awful this is, check out David Lebovitz’ video documenting the delicious work that took place in (and hopefully will return soon to) this atelier.

Anne-Sophie Pic to open in NYC

Anne-Sophie Pic, one of a small number of chefs to possess three Michelin stars and a vagina, has been expanding in recent months at an almost Ducassian rate. In the past two years, the Valence-based chef has opened a casual restaurant called Daily Pic in that city as well as La Dame de Pic in Paris (right across from the Louvre). In 2015, she plans to open two restaurants in New York.

According to the New York Times, “she plans to open a cafe on the ground floor of 510 Madison Avenue (at 53rd Street) that will be a branch of Metcafé, in Monaco. There will a more formal restaurant, “relaxed yet elegant,” on the second floor, with echoes of her Paris restaurant, La Dame de Pic.”

Game on! The hunting season opens in France

wild game

The Pourcel brothers report that the official hunting season opened yesterday in France, so we can expect to see some gibier à plumes (wild birds)  turning up on restaurant menus soon, to be followed later in the season by gibier à poils (wild hare, boar and deer).

An interesting detail: while nearly 580,000 deer and 556,000 wild boars are killed each year in France, most of the wild game sold in France is actually imported from New Zealand and Eastern Europe.

Read the full article from Les Fréres Pourcel

Tous au Restaurant festival begins in Paris

tous au restaurant

The folks at L’Express have created a handy guide to navigating this, the 5th edition of Tous au Restaurant. Just like Restaurant Week celebrations in other cities, Tous au Restaurant (September 22-28) aims to bring more people into restaurants by offering discounted meals – in this case, it’s buy one, get one free. And just like Restaurant Week celebrations in other cities, this is a terrible week for people who normally already visit restaurants (i.e. you, the readers of this website) to set foot in any of the participating restaurants.

Eataly to open in Paris

DSC01959Eataly in Rome

Eataly, the super-sized Italian food court/store with outposts in New York, Tokyo, and Istanbul, has struck a deal to open in Paris in 2015 or 2016. In partnership with Galeries Lafayette, Eataly will open their 6ooo m2 store in the Marais (so as not to compete with Galeries Lafayette’s own food hall) right next to the BHV.

While we were scratching our heads while visiting Eataly Rome, wondering why such a superstore was necessary in a city filled with excellent mom & pop purveyors, Eataly Paris seems like a brilliant idea. There are so few sources for good Italian products in Paris, and (we think) a lot of pent up demand. Between this, the opening of Caffé Stern, and whatever projects Giovanni Passerini and Pierre Jancou get up to next, we’re expecting a big wave of Italophilia in 2015.

Julien Dumas succeeds Alain Senderens at Lucas Carton

Lucas Carton

The Restaurant Senderens has, with the retirement of the eponymous chef Alain Senderens, reverted to its previous incarnation: Lucas Carton. We’ve been hearing rumblings since January about Senderens retiring and passing the reigns to chef Julien Dumas.

Alain Senderens, now 74 years old, made his name at the restaurant L’Archistrate where he won, between 1968-1978, all three Michelin stars. He took over the kitchens of Lucas Carton in 1985 and brought that restaurant to three-star status, before “handing back his stars” in 2005, re-baptizing the restaurant in his own name, and lowering the prices.

Ducasse re-opens Plaza Athénée as vegetarian(ish)

ducasseLe Marché d’Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

Alain Ducasse, who is is often described as the “most Michelin starred chef in the world,” lost some twinkle when his eponymous restaurant at the Plaza Athénée closed last year for renovations. It will reopen on Monday with a revamped décor by designer Patrick Jouin and a dramatically re-envisioned menu that celebrates fish, cereals and vegetables. No meat, or rather less meat.

The headlines have been rather splashy. The Guardian told us on Friday that “France’s top chef bans meat from the menu” after free transport rag Metronews reported on Thursday that “Avec Alain Ducasse, le Plaza Athénée devient végétarien.”

Septime alums to open new bistro in the 17th

bertrand grebaut septime marco gare au gorilleGrébaut’s former sous-chef Marco (at right) will be opening Gare au Gorille in October

Good news for people (like us) who have a hard time getting into Septime: two alums have joined forces to open a new bistro in October on the rue des Dames.

Marco, who was second to Bertrand Grébaut at the time of Septime’s opening, will be running the kitchen at Gare au Gorille. Louis, who is known by Septime fans as “the really tall and nice one,” will be taking care of the front of house.

Julien Duboué sells Dans les Landes, opens A Noste

dans les landesDans les Landes was sold in July

Earlier this summer, Julien Duboué sold his easy-going tapas restaurant Dans Les Landes (included in Our Guide to the Latin Quarter) in order to open a new place near the Bourse. A Noste opened this week at 6 bis rue du 4 Septembre, and John Talbott shared his enthusiasm in a review entitled “Wow, wow, wow, this place is hot, hot, hot.”

There is a taloa truck parked inside, and they seem to be serving the Basque corn tortilla snacks on the ground floor along with tapas and drinks. One floor up, they’re serving a fixed menu that features giant meat skewers carved table side.

Pasteurized Cheese Recalls in the U.S.

Just in time to ruin Labor Day barbecues in America, Kraft recalled over 7,500 cases of "pasteurized prepared cheese product" Kraft Singles due to storage temperature concerns. This is the third such recall this year for the company including a Velveeta, cheese stuffed hotdog and cottage cheese mishaps. Good thing it wasn't raw milk...

Café des Abattoirs in The New York Times

Café des Abattoirs (75001) Lindsey Tramuta reported on Café des Abattoirs in the Times this week, calling it a “modern grill-meets-Lyonnaise bouchon” run by the Rostang sisters who “uphold their father’s penchant for simple dishes prepared with top-tier ingredients, in a family-friendly environment that has a whiff of nostalgia… Despite a few missed opportunities — a short, predictable wine list and uninspired desserts — this is feel-good Rostang cooking at its finest.”

Pietro from Retro’Bottega opens a new wine Squatt

Squatt (75011) Looking for an antidote to the ubiquitous Nicolas chain? Aaron Ayscough suggests the brand new “junkyardy wine shop and épicerie” from Pietro Russano, the owner of Retro’Bottega, which is “stuffed with unusual French and Italian selections, not to mention sincere personality… The selection is a 30% – 70% split between Italian and French wines.” Beware though as “Squatt’s French selection is presently a little patchy.”

Read the full review on Not Drinking Poison in Paris

Lobrano loves the new Cantonese LiLi

LiLi (75016) Alexander Lobrano thinks this brand new Cantonese restaurant will be one of the biggest hits of the rentrée with “an extravagant but carefully edited program of temptations that debuts with dim sum, including the juicy Shanghai style soup dumplings below and also other more delicate and tantalizing versions of the genre, including the lobster-stuffed caviar-dressed single dim-sum that was so good I ate it in one excited bite.”

Find practical information and additional reviews on our guide page for LiLi

Yam’Tcha to close & relocate

Yam'Tcha Paris

Stephane Davet reports today that Yam’Tcha – the celebrated and nearly impossible-to-book restaurant from chef Adeline Grattard – will be closing at some point in the next few months in order to reopen in a larger space. The new restaurant will also be in the Les Halles neighborhood but will pass from 20 to 35 covers and have space for four cooks instead of three. Anyone who has seen their current set -up can understand why she might want some more elbow room in the kitchen.

Bon Appétit reviews Le Comptoir nine years after it opens

Le Comptoir du Relais (75006) Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport acknowledges the (still) impossibility of scoring a reservation at Yves Camdeborde’s restaurant, and then gives it some more much-needed mainstream press coverage. The appeal for him lies in “the restaurant’s bustling, studio-apartment-size space, completely free of pretense in a city famous for pretense,” and the fact that “there is no menu—you eat whatever inventive, abundantly fresh, elevated bistro dishes Camdeborde chooses to cook that evening.” Also, the cheese (much of which comes, we’ve heard, from Twiggy’s place inside the covered Saint-Germain market): “Finally, there is the cheese board, oozing with only-in-France creations (and honey and quince jam and all that good stuff) that your waiter plunks down on the table after your meal and lets you have at it.”