Ahhh… eating in Paris… it was one of the things I was most excited about on the European part of our trip. And the food did not disappoint!
Our first foray into French dining was a bit of a disaster, but makes for a good story. We were dropped off by our Uber driver outside our Airbnb and we had about 45 minutes to kill. We were hungry and I really had to pee, so we started walking. We quickly discovered (and later confirmed) that we were in a super nice section of town and there were only really nice bistros. With such a short window of time, we really just wanted a quick snack (and a toilet!!). We were looking at the menu outside a bistro and this amazing French woman came out, shouting to us in French, and shuffling us inside. She did not even attempt English (we later discovered that most of the restaurant owners had at least a few words so we could communicate). Charlie saw the tapas menu and there was an option for 4 for $16. Using our hands, we tried to communicate that we wanted one order and she should choose what 4 items. I was off the bathroom and then we settled into our table. We also made sure she understood that we really had only 20 minutes to eat.
Within about 5 minutes she starts bringing the tapas to the table. One … after another… after another… 16 in total. That would have been $64 of food we didn’t have time to eat!! We didn’t touch any of it and Charlie tried really hard to explain that we had only wanted 4 tapas, not 4 orders of 4! She swept some food away, packaged some up for us, and we finally and awkwardly came to an agreement that we would pay for 2 of the 4 orders. We probably ate the equivalent of 2 or 3 of the tapas while we were there and a few more as leftovers. Lesson learned: Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are ordering!!! For the rest of our time in Paris we made sure to walk a different way past her shop so we didn’t have to remind her of the crazy tourists who don’t speak French.
One of our must try foods in Paris were crêpes. And they were amazing. We think of crêpes as a breakfast food but most crêperies don’t actually open until 11 or so. Fortunately, we started sleeping in so we didn’t have much trouble. Our first crêpes were at an outdoor vendor and we got to watch him make them. We tried lemon, jam, and ham/cheese/egg. The savory crêpe was more like a quesadilla in taste and was super yummy. The sweet ones were also great and quite messy. The next day we found a dine in crêperie and again tried lemon (For you Sarah Thomas), Siah had banana, and Charlie got an omelette to share with me. On our last day we found a farmers market and there was a woman making crêpes. We didn’t think we had enough cash so we found a bistro and shared an omelette and crêpes again. These were more of a dessert crêpe but the boys still liked them.
Baguettes and Sandwiches
We are spending most of this trip in Asia so we took every chance we could to get great bread! There was a bakery down the street from our home and we stopped every day for a 1 euro baguette. We bought some Brie like cheese from a grocery store and this became our afternoon snack. It was so incredible!
Our go to lunch for two days were sandwiches or grilled panninis and we usually got two and shared them. On our second day it was probably the most incredible sandwich bread I had ever had. Yum!
Our first stop to get macarons, was sadly at a McDonalds. But we had stopped there for a bathroom (recurrent theme) and we decided to try to McDs version of these. It was probably a bad idea. They were tasty but the boys decided they didn’t love them, so they refused to try the ones we got at our local bakery. Charlie and I liked both kinds (real and McDonalds) but probably wouldn’t choose them as a dessert. But they sure are beautiful. We also got a French Eclair (super rich and yummy) and a fruit tart that the guys all loved.
My favorite dinner
We had a lot of fun finding places to eat while wandering the streets but my favorite meal in Paris came from a TripAdvisor search. This was a sausage bar. We spoke with the waiter who decided we should try 6 of their handmade sausages and a big order of French fries (the best I have had… I shouldn’t be surprised), mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut. We loved the sausages so much we had to ration them between the four of us. All except the blood sausage. I waited until we finished it to ask what it was made of. Feel free to google it if you are interested. It was tasty but I am glad I waited to ask.
The French love their wine! Surprised? Not really but we were surprised that there are no open container laws. So most everyone on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower was drinking wine. There was even a guy walking around selling wine bottles. Seemed a bit sketchy but no one was stopping him. We didn’t opt for wine much when we were out, because it was pricy, but we did stop and get a couple bottles at the grocery store so we could enjoy it in our room. And to top it all off, they had free wine and meals on the plane ride to Prague. Not sure how they afford this but it made us feel like we were in first class.
And our final and favorite find was the fresh squeezed orange juice. We found this amazing machine (later I realized that they had them everywhere, including Starbucks) in our local grocery. We got it all three days we were in Paris and it was such a treat. And it was super fun to operate.
We couldn’t afford to eat in this city for long and we definitely couldn’t afford many of its nicer bistros, but we did manage to eat well and stick right to our budget, so a win all the way around!