Paris – The City of Lights – and Food!

It has always been my dream to go to Paris and study cooking.  Paris is internationally known for its cuisine, its top ranked chefs and for Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.  If you’re going to study cooking, it’s the place to go!

Recently I found myself with a little bit of time – so here I am – in Paris!  And I’m taking as many cooking courses as I can while I’m here.  I’m also doing lots of research too.  Meaning I’m going to as many restaurants, bistros, cafes, and brasseries I can while I’m here!

My first meal in Paris did not disappoint.  After a long day of travel with little sleep the night before, I arrived in Paris on a Saturday morning.  The first thing I do is find the apartment where I’m staying.  My wonderful friends, Kevin and Scott, are letting me stay in their apartment in Paris.  It’s in the center of Paris, in the Marais, the oldest part of Paris, how lucky can you get?

The first thing I do is unpack and… take a nap.  I’m exhausted from my trip.  Although the flight was very comfortable, I didn’t really sleep and so even though I’m thrilled to be here, I need some rest.  When I finally wake up, I’m starving.  Across the street from the apartment is Etamine Cafe.  A fantastic restaurant owned by Phillipe and Sylvan.  Kevin and Scott had told me about this place and are friends of the owners.  It’s a Saturday night and  the Cafe is very busy, Phillipe finds me a table dispute the crowd and I am ready for my first meal in Paris.  He gives me a menu and also displays the chalkboard with the Prix Fix menu which changes daily.  I go for the Prix Fix and start my meal with a Warm Goat Cheese Salad.  The goat cheese is a creamy texture, a bit lighter than I thought it would be, and is nestled atop toasted slices of baguette.  Mixed greens are beside the cheesy croutes dressed with a  balsamic vinegar dressing that makes my taste buds sing.  I detect some sweetness as I enjoy the goat cheese and discover thin slices of slightly sautéed apple between the bread and the cheese.  This quickly becomes my new favorite salad of all time and I can’t wait to try and recreate it myself.  Those who know me know that I tend to be a fast eater.  NOT tonight!  I’m taking my time and savoring every morsel.

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

After the salad comes the Beouf Bourguignon.  A traditional Beef Stew cooked with red wine from the Burgundy region of France and perfect for a cold January night.  Although I’ve had this dish many times, and cooked it myself on several occasions, this experience is in Paris! And it is expertly prepared by Sylvan.  The beef is tender, the vegetables still have texture, and the  sauce is velvety.  Served with herbed rice that compliments the dish, I am in heaven as I eat my main course.  I catch my self making yummy noises as I eat and quickly look around the small dining room to see anyone is looking at me.  The I say to myself, who cares, I’m in Paris!!

Boeuf Bourguignon

For dessert?  Being a chocohalic, I go for the Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Mint.  It’s everything I hoped for and more.  The mousse is creamy and delicious and the fresh mint adds texture and freshness.  My palate is happy, my appetite is sated and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my gastronomic exploration of French cuisine!

Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Mint

Sunday will start my walking tour of the area around to the apartment and Monday I’m off to Le Cordon Bleu to confirm courses and sign up for more.  I’m living my dream!!