Results tagged restaurants from David Lebovitz

Pottoka

Pottoka in Paris

Sometimes I feel like a nitwit, especially when people start talking about all the new restaurants in Paris. I am a creature of habit (and I don’t like disappointment), so I generally go to the same places. I also tend to stay on the Right Bank, where I live, as the restaurants tend to be more exciting and less-fussy, with a more casual ambiance.

But I’d heard good things about Pottoka, over in the 7th arrondissement, helmed by chef Sébastien Gravé, who likes to improvise on his native Basque cuisine, known for lots of colors and contrasts, as well as a hint of spice. The restaurant is named for a breed of smallish horses from that region, which is located in the southwest part of France, and spans into Spain as well. So the foods often feature red peppers, lively seasonings, and seafood. It’s also famous for the Ibaïonan (Basque) charcuterie, which is some of the best in the world.

Pottoka in Paris

Since I was on my own, I didn’t start with any of the nice charcuterie on offer. But the list had some notable things on there, including cécina (dried beef, which if you haven’t tried, is great stuff) and cochonailles (cured hams and sausages) from the notable Eric Ospital. Scanning the dining room at midday, from the looks of things, this was a working lunch crowd that probably had to go back to their desks afterward, so not many people were drinking wine. I had a ton of work piled up back at home, too, but couldn’t resist a glass of cool Jurançon from Domaine Cauhapé that was pleasantly dry (some are sweet). It was a very generous pour and I cursed the unpleasantness that was waiting for me at my own desk.

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Clasico Argentino: Argentinian Helado in Paris

ice cream

I’ve come to realize that I’m not very good at ‘watching’. When I worked in the restaurant business, one of my cohorts said to me one day – “There are two types of chefs: doers and watchers.” Meaning that some chefs got right into the cooking with the line cooks, while others like to stand there and watch. I, myself, could be classified as a doer because I’m like I’m a shark: If I don’t keep moving, I’ll wither away.

I’ve kind of had my fill of watching and waiting, so instead of continuing to wither away, I decided to take matters into my own hands and deal with what I could control. This week the weather took a turn for the better in Paris; it’s always one day when the bleak weather suddenly changes and we revel in the hope that the cold snap of winter is behind us.

Everyone on the sidewalks of Paris is a little stunned to see the sunlight, almost walking around in a daze (including the number of people who refused to get out of my way when I was struggling to carry an iron pipe down the sidewalk and as a consequence, almost walked right into the butt of a massive metal pipe) but within a few hours, all the café terraces are packed – and not just with the usual fumeurs – but everyone craning their necks, trying to catch a little wedge of sunshine.

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Kyochon

kyochon chicken1

Of course, I never heard of Kyochon. But when I was walking by it with my pal Matt, he said, “Oh…Kyochon!”

To me, it looked like another fast-food restaurant. And normally, I’m not a fan of fast-food, but Asian fast-food? Sign me up! So much of their food lends itself to quick service: noodles, fried chicken, sushi, and croquettes.

kyochon menu mattarmendarizatkyochon

Fast-food, or course, has taken on a somewhat different meaning. But ‘fast’ doesn’t have to mean ‘bad’, it just means that it’s food that can be prepared and served quickly. And many ethnic meals, from French crêpes, Mexican tacos, Hawaiian plate lunch, to Japanese bento, are good examples of fast, and healthy, fare.

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10 Romantic (and Sexy) Things to Do In Paris

For those of you who have The Perfect Scoop, you may already be familiar with my friend Heather Stimmler-Hall, who writes the popular website, Secrets of Paris. She’s the one who attempted to seduce her Parisian neighbor with a batch of my ice cream. Not that she needs my assistance (I didn’t ask her how it turned out since I’m such a gentleman, and she’s the model of discretion). But for the rest of us, I tend to take help whenever—and wherever, I can get it.

Heather is the author of Naughty Paris, a guide to the sexiest and most romantic things to do in Paris. Because so many people come to Paris looking for a little romance, on our recent dessert date, I asked Heather for a list of her favorite, most sensual things to do in the city…just in time for Valentine’s Day. So here is Heather’s list of Ten Romantic (and Sexy) Things to Do in Paris. Merci ma chèrie! -David

heart-shaped tart

A lot of people ask me advice on romantic things to do in Paris, and if they’re visitors, I usually reply, “It’s Paris, what’s not romantic about it?” After all, you’ve got a gorgeous setting of historic monuments and scenic bridges over the Seine, a fashionably-dressed cast of Parisians sans baseball hats and “Who dat?” emblazoned sweatshirts, and some of the most mouth-watering cuisine on the planet.

Well, that is if you know where to go.

I can already hear the locals and Paris habitués groaning that they’ve already done all of the Valentine’s Day clichés: a show at the Moulin Rouge, a cruise on the Seine, dinner on the Eiffel Tower, macarons at Ladurée…and I think everyone should try all of those things at least once in a lifetime (okay, once a week for the macarons). But then what?

Then you ask me, the woman who wrote Naughty Paris, for a few ideas—of course! Some of these are obvious, others less so, but all are perfect for a romantic rendez-vous when you’re hungering for more than just a kiss. ; )

1. Oysters and Wine at Le Baron Rouge

Candlelight, soft music and a quiet table in the corner? Please. There’s nothing more intimate than being crammed against each other in a cozy wine bar, jostling with the friendly locals and market stall-holders from the neighboring Marché d’Aligre for a glass of Burgundy and a platter of cheese and charcuterie.

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Churrasqueira Galo: Roast Chicken in Paris

I’ve hesitated about sharing this place with you, but have finally succumbed. After all, everyone has a right to find a great roast chicken place. Especially one that’s incredibly affordable. And pretty delicious.

chicken

Churrasqueira Galo is a dive, a place where there’s a always a lively cross section of residents of this transitioning quartier, including families out with the kids, drag queens, Portuguese soccer players, and assorted dubious characters (like me) looking for a good, inexpensive meal.

And beware of going during the full-blast heat of the summer: last year we had to leave mid-meal because it was so stifling hot. When I asked the sweating owner, who was manning the fiery rôtisserie, why they didn’t get a fan, he told me: “They’re so expensive! A fan cost the same as a day’s earnings in Portugal.”

I didn’t want to point out that A) We’re not in Portugal, we’re in Paris, and B) A cheap fan costs about €20. No one asked me, but I think twenty euros is a pretty good investment if your customers are leaving.

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Les Cocottes de Christian Constant

caesar salad

Les Cocottes often gets described as a local version of an American-style diner. I don’t know if that’s true. For one thing, everyone speaks French. And for another, there were no snappy apron-clad waitresses pouring bottomless cups of coffee, no trucks parked outside, and no plumber-cracks hanging over the backside of the stools. After all, this is Paris, ya’ know.

In fact, Les Cocottes sits on a pretty prestigious piece of land, in the seventh arrondissement, not known for good-value restaurants, or truckers. But Les Cocottes is a good value, and what makes it even better, the food is worth every centime.

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#1: La Briciola Pizza

During the next week, I’m going to do a series: Five Great Places in Paris That You Might Not Know About. In a city that hasn’t been overrun by chain stores and restaurants, it’s nice to be able to profile some of the smaller places around town that I frequent.

pizza

When I’ve had friends come to visit and suggested we go out for pizza, they balk.

Pizza? I didn’t come to Paris for…for…pizza!”

To which I always want to reply, “Honey, well I didn’t come to Paris to listen to you diss my dining suggestions.”

But when you live somewhere, no matter how good the local cuisine might be, one cannot live on duck confit and galettes de sarrasin slathered in butter forever, you know.

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Two Delicious Dining Guides to Paris


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Clotilde Dusoulier is the ultimate Parisian insider, one who shares her tasty tales of life in Paris on her blog, Chocolate and Zucchini. In this very handy guide, a native Parisian happily leads us around Paris, taking us from little-known specialty food shops and classic bistros to authentic Japanese noodle bars and venues for wine tastings.

One of my favorite parts of Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris are tips on how restaurants and food shops work here. For example, knowing that you’re not a “customer” but a “guest” explains a lot of things to foreigners, who are used to the Customer is King attitude.

Other cultural tips, like keeping your hands on the table while you’re eating and not resting your bread on the edge of your plate, are explained so you can avoid making a faux pas, as I did shortly after I arrived in Paris and was scolded for my bread infraction by the host at a dinner party. And I always thought it was rude to scold guests! Who knew?

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