December 23 2012
To celebrate the launch of Time Out Paris' new guide, "Les 50 Plats Qui Font Paris" last weekend, I spent a crazy four hours cycling round Paris trying out five of their suggested 50 places.
It all started off with a taco (the "Carneros") and a glass of mango juice from the taqueria at Candelaria. (Push open the non-descript door at the back of the taqueria and fall into one of the most-talked about cocktail bars at the minute.) For me, it was rather strange being there at 11 in the morning as I'm far more likely to be found there at 11pm (if not later...) but regardless of the time of the day, I'm never going to turn down a taco.
Fifteen minutes later, we were back on our bikes and off to the next stop: Le Repaire de Cartouche for Rodolphe Paquin's reputed pate en croute. It was simply delicious and this restaurant warrants a special mention for their extensive natural wine list. I had a very animated conversation with Rodolphe, talking about the current perils facing French winemakers.
Next up was a taster of regional cuisine - saucisse-aligot from the Ambassade d'Auvergne. It may come as a surprise when I tell you that I actually don't like aligot. It's one of the very few things that I don't like to eat because for me, mashed potato is unquestionably better! But nonetheless, I was nothing but impressed by the elasticity of this potato-cheese-garlic-on-a-plate carbohydrate overdose.
Washed down with (yet another) glass of wine, it was time to get back on our bikes again and put our best pedal forward to: Le Petit Vendôme. After the taqueria, the bistro, the restaurant, we were about to experience informal Parisian dining and indeed there is nothing more Parigot than the jambon-beurre sandwich from Le Petit Vendôme.
The fifth and final stop was La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, in the 6th, where we were treated to a final glass of wine and a stonking Jacques Genin tarte au citron.
All in all, it was a fun, delicious, boozy and exhausting afternoon. Trying the very best of what Paris has to offer all in the space of a few hours is a delight that doesn't come knocking every day. The bike I was using (from Paris Bike Rental) rather put the Vélib to shame - it was such a struggle to get back on the heavy shared city bikes after being spoilt for a day trying out a younger, lighter model. Thank you to all those who played a part in organising the afternoon. I'll leave you with the photos.