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Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris is published by Broadway Books.

All writing and photography on this website is protected by copyright. © 2008-2013 by Clotilde Dusoulier. All rights reserved.


Below are excerpts from Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris reprinted with permission from Broadway Books.

If you enjoy these, I hope you'll consider getting a copy of the book, which covers the whole city and lists over 160 restaurants and 130 shops, plus practical advice and recipes.

Breizh Café

3ème arrondissement // Crêperie / Veg-friendly

Bertrand Larcher was a man with a mission: his mission was to break the crêpe out of its rustic rut, shedding the obligatory Breton lace curtains and bulky sideboards to create the new, twenty-first-century crêperie. He opened the first one in Cancale, in his native Brittany (or Breizh in the Breton language), went to Tokyo with his Japanese wife to open a few more, then moved back to France to open this Parisian location in the Marais.

The menu makes equal room for time-proven classics (ham, egg, and cheese; andouille; butter and sugar; salted butter caramel) and modern creations (maki-style crêpe rolls served as an appetizer),all ofthem made with organic flour and artisanal ingredients. A chalkboard lists seasonal specials for both galettes (savory crêpes made with buckwheat flour) and crêpes (sweet ones made with wheat flour), and you can also sample oysters and cheese from Brittany. À la carte: about 20€.

When it comes to drinks, forget water and wine: order lait ribot (a lightly sparkling fermented milk, and one of my absolute favorite beverages) and hard cider or beer from Brittany, of which Breizh Café offers an unrivaled selection (bottles starting from 11€).

109 rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd. cross street: Rue du Perche. Saint- Sébastien-Froissart. phone: 01 42 72 13 77. web: Wed–Mon noon–11pm; Closed Monday night and Tuesday.


5ème arrondissement // Neo bistro

Centering an entire menu on offal was a gutsy move, quite literally, but the gastronomic zeitgeist proved Nadège Varigny right. There is indeed an enthusiastic demand for underappreciated cuts of meat, especially when they're prepared with such a delicate hand as they are here: the pork skin terrine is silky on the tongue, fat capers shine over the pillow-like lamb's brains, and the emphatic veal kidney is tempered by a wholesome gratin dauphinois. The list of wonders doesn't stop here: Ribouldingue is also the proper haven for fans of tripe, sweetbreads, head of veal, pork snout, beef tongue, cow udder, and even veal testicles, modestly referred to as rognons blancs (white kidneys) or animelles.

If you're not sure you can stomach an all-innards meal, however, or if your dining companions are more timid than you are, fret not. There are other, less challenging dishes to choose from: trout rillettes with cress, monkfish blanquette, or seared mackerels with caramelized turnips.

Desserts are offal free -- to everyone's relief, I'm sure -- and enchanting, such as a simple salad of gariguettes (a variety of strawberry) served with crème fraîche or a remarkable cilantro mousse with poached pineapple. The 27€ three-course menu is an excellent deal in the evening; it's a pity there is no smaller formule at lunchtime. The wine menu features bottles from independent producers at gentle prices, starting at 16€. Ask to be seated in the cozy anteroom; it is less noisy than the main dining room.

(The name is a reference to Les Pieds Nickelés, a graphic novel from the early twentieth century that recounts the adventures of three small-time crooks named Croquignol, Filochard, and Ribouldingue; a few pages are wallpapered on the bathroom door.)

10 rue Saint-Julien le–Pauvre, 5th. cross street: Rue de la Huchette. Saint-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne. phone: 01 46 33 98 80. Tue–Sat noon–2pm and 7pm–11pm.

Autour d'un Verre

9ème arrondissement // Wine bar / Outdoor seating

Mari and Kevin, the Finnish-American couple who run Autour d'un Verre, have managed to create a wine bar where customers feel right at home: the ambiance is laid-back, the cooking is simple and served on flea market dinnerware,and the (well-behaved) cat and dog roam around freely.

The daily menu is composed of humble, heartwarming dishes of French inspiration (a country terrine, a broth of peas and scallions, fillets of rouget [red mullet] and mashed potatoes, a butter-soft chocolate cake with berry coulis), to be enjoyed with a bottle of natural wine from the impressive chalkboard list, which the owners will help you navigate. Three-course menu-carte: 17.50€ at lunch and 21€ for dinner. Wines start at 16€.

21 rue de Trévise, 9th. cross street: Rue Richer. Cadet. phone: 01 48 24 43 74. web: . Mon–Fri noon–2:30pm; Tue–Sat 8pm–11pm.

La Petite Rose

17ème arrondissement // Salon de thé / Pastry shop

A dollhouse in shades of powder pink and cocoa brown, this boutique is yet another proof that French pastries and a Japanese approach make for a winning combination (see Sadaharu Aoki on page 167). The chef here is Miyuki Watanabe, a Japanese woman who was trained in Tokyo, came to Paris to work for Gérard Mulot, then set up her own shop a few steps from rue de Lévis.

Her picture-perfect entremets cater principally to the chocolate fan, who will swoon over the Valentin (chocolate and raspberry), the Marius (chocolate and chestnut), or the Délice (chocolate and orange), as the others delight in the lemon tartlet, the Paris-Brest, or the assorted macarons, all of which are reasonably priced for such high quality (pastries: about 4€).

Have your purchases wrapped in the signature pink box and improvise a sweet picnic in the nearby Parc Monceau, or take a seat in the salon de thé area and pair your pastries with a pot of green tea (4€) or hot chocolate (5€). La Petite Rose also sells freshly made filled chocolates (6.40€/100g) and chocolate bars; I especially enjoy the tablette mendiant, a bittersweet beauty in an embroidered gown of caramelized hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios.

11 boulevard de Courcelles, 17th. cross street: Rue de Miromesnil. Villiers. phone: 01 45 22 07 27. Thu–Tue 10am–7pm; Closed on Wednesday.


3ème arrondissement // Spice shop

The long-established Thiercelin family specializes in the trade of top-grade spices and condiments, which they hunt for, import, and process themselves. They sell the bulk of their goods to food manufacturers and restaurateurs, but this shop is the home cook's chance to lay his hands on the cream of the crop at gentle prices -- a benefit of buying straight from the importer.

The neat and welcoming shop is stocked with a thousand objects of wonder, and a short session at the "sniff bar" is enough to knock your socks off, as you smell your way through the range of rare spices, peppercorns, and seasoning blends, of a quality and freshness that will make you swear off grocery store spices forever.

Gift-worthy condiments and spice- or flower- derived goods (caramels, oils, salts, mustards...) complete the selection, and if you've always wanted to cook with saffron but always recoiled at the price, you will be overjoyed to see that theirs, Iran-grown and intensely flavored, costs a mere 4.95€ per gram -- enough to make twenty dishes glow.

3 rue Charles François Dupuis, 3rd. cross street: Rue Béranger. République. phone: 01 44 78 96 74. web: Tue–Fri 2pm–7pm; Sat 11am–7pm.

If you've enjoyed these excerpts, I hope you'll consider getting your very own copy of the book, which covers the whole city and lists over 160 restaurants and 130 shops, plus practical advice and recipes.