NYE in Amsterdam

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.53.15 PMWhen we checked into our hotel, the bell boy showed the girls their room, announcing that they had the most requested room in the entire establishment. Not being a particularly generous person, I was having none of that and much to their dismay, insisted on a swap. It was a lovely room, but the real appeal was the 180° view of the rooftops of Amsterdam and the Rijksmusem. We unpacked, happy with our good fortune and headed out to explore the city.

Then, we did it. For the first time in our lives together, Mr French and I went out for NYE. We didn’t go out with high hopes expecting an extraordinary meal that would promise a better evening than usual. We have a lot of fun when we go out, anyway and we know the NYE’s drill; exorbitantly priced, very average meals, incredibly lousy service.

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.53.52 PMWith that in mind, we were in an unfamiliar city, in a foreign country. We’d had several warnings that the Dutch go a bit wild with fireworks on the 31st.  And I mean several, as in every Dutch person we met, from our taxi driver to sales staff, to online advisors and waiters, told us to stay inside. So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. In a panic, I made reservations at the restaurant in our hotel. A Japanese fusion place that gets good reviews.

That morning, the fireworks began. Dutch taking advantage of the nation-wide 24 hour moratorium on randomly blowing things started lighting firecrackers randomly throughout the day, explosions like gun fire accompanying our adventures as Em and I jumped like giddy foals at each large “boom”.

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.56.08 PMBefore dinner, the girls headed back to Paris to celebrate with their friends (gotta love high speed train travel) and we went to the Double Tree Inn on the port. Being the international traveler that he is, Mr French was certain they’d have a roof top bar with a decent view of the pyrotechnics going on at 17h. He was right (kind of gives you an idea of why I love the guy).

The fireworks were amateur but beautiful, and fun, and for the first time in decades I didn’t get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about all the money the government was burning up in smoke for 15 minutes of glory, instead of using it to feed someone. As we strolled back to our hotel for dinner, there were people shooting off fireworks at every square, bridge and (no longer) quiet canal. I jumped at every blast, sending Mr French into hysterical giggles.

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.53.37 PMWe dressed for dinner (I wore Le Smoking) and headed down to a surprisingly delightful dinner at Izakaya. While I am sure that the service was slower than usual, the rest was perfectly prepared and absolutely delicious. The bar was crowded with hip men of every age with high hopes of getting “lucky”  with their dates (also of every age), all of the ladies wearing tight black skirts with a serious dose of sequins. At midnight the dj (yup, Izakaya has a dj, and its not just for NYE) led the count down and there was lots of kissing.

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 3.52.43 PMSuddenly an idea popped into my head, undoubtedly inspired about the fireworks popping outside. I grabbed Mr French by the hand and pushed him to elevator as he tried to figure out what bee had stung me. Rushing out the doors and into our room, we were greeted by a marvelous display of fireworks going off in every direction. Like the proverbial kids in the candy shop, we opend the windows and stood there, ignorant of the cold air and complete mesmerized by the red, blues, greens and golds exploding in every direction. We ran from window to window until we were too exhausted for anymore. Curling up under the think down comforter, we feel asleep dreaming of our 2014, which had gotten off to spectacular start.

Amsterdam for dinner

Screen shot 2014-01-08 at 12.32.03 PMAs much as we enjoyed our lunches in Amsterdam, dinners were the real treat. On our first night we had no plans. The girls nearly fell over from the shock of it. Being somewhat obsessed with food, I tend to make reservations when we travel. But, I had no idea where our wanderings were going to take us that first night, so I had left it up to kismet. The word kismet comes from the Turkish language and the first fantastic looking place we passed that night was from the Bosphorus. I had forgotten that Amsterdam is full of some excellent Turkish places, and started getting excited when Mr French reminded me we’d just had some pannekoeken, those traditional Dutch pancakes (if you want to try some, the best come from the Pannekoekenpavijoen de Carrosel).

Screen shot 2014-01-08 at 12.33.09 PM5 minutes later we were in front of Balti House Indian restaurant. E and Em wanted to go in. I wanted to go in. Mr French decided we’d had enough time to digest and a split second later, we were going in. The place was full of friendly chatter from neighbors enjoying piping hot dishes. Em nearly swooned from all the tempting aromas passing by our table as we waited for our meal. When it arrived, each dish was light and flavorful and the best Indian we’d had in ages.

The second night was my big night, my reason d’être for this trip. Decades ago friends from Montréal had given us this address and it was one of my all time favorite meals, ever. Now, I hadn’t been back in nearly a decade, and had a serious craving for the spicy, flavorful dishes at Indonesian Tempo Doeloe. I was so excited I emailed my friend from Montréal. “Watch out,” she replied back, “Anthony Bourdain featured it on his show.” Having been warned, I wasn’t entirely shocked to see that they had added a few extra tables since my last visit and the place was overcrowded. Almost, but not quite, uncomfortably so.

The place was quite literally packed, and it was a marvel to watch the staff negotiate their way through the narrow maze as they served guests, patiently explaining how the rice plate system works. Rice plates are the Indonesian equivalent of an Indian Thali platter, and very much like asian tapas. At Tempo Doeloe, a large bowl of white rice and a second bowl of yellow, coconut flavored yellow rice are served with collection of 6 ramekins on a hot plate. We chose the most elaborate rice plate, which came with 3 hot plates for the 3 of us who were sharing a meal. Each hot plate has different dishes, a mix of meats (including goat) and vegetables and the dishes get spicier and spicier as the hot plates arrive, until the final dish is too spicy even for me (I sprinkle thai bird chili peppers on my salads). I don’t remember that last ramekin being too hot to eat on our last visit. I don’t know if this is a new habit, trying to impress the likes of Anthony Bourdain.

A very happy me...

A very happy me…

Because the food is exotic, and spicy, the staff gives excellent advice as guests place their orders. Em was given her own rice plate, with less dishes and a lot less heat. When Mr French selected a Gewurztraminer to accompany our meal, our waitress warned him that it was an extremely sweet vintage and suggested a drier one that was on the menu. A French man taking wine suggestions from a woman. An Indonesian woman who lived in Holland, no less. It was a wonder to behold, and a good thing, because the wine was absolutely perfect with our meal.

Having traveled 4.5 hours just to get there, you’ll understand that despite the filling meal, I insisted on having dessert. I had memories of eating my first jack fruit at Tempo Doeloe. Just a simple fruit, sliced and served. And that is when I discovered the second change they’ve made in the last decade; the dessert. Normally, you mess with my dessert, and I get grumpy, but here, the changes were for the better. Fresh, tropical fruit sorbets were added to the plain fruit, for refreshing, cool end to a hot meal.

ps you’ll have to forgive for the lack of photos… I was too busy eating…

Amsterdam for lunch

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 11.20.52 AMThe Dutch traveled the 7 seas, taking over the world, and yet, nobody ever talks about their cuisine. Except the French, who consider Holland the second greatest cheese producing nation on earth. I probably researched Dutch cuisine on my first trip, decades ago. I know that pea soup is one of their national dishes, pickled herring is a big deals and that pancake houses are common, even in the remote countryside. But beyond that, I remember very little and local cooking doesn’t seem to be a favorite, even among the Dutch, who spent the colonial era amassing colossal fortunes, importing spices from across the globe, making Amsterdam a feast for those craving a bit of international cuisine.

At the end of our extended weekend, Em looked at us and declared this to have been our very best trip ever, at least as far as eating out was concerned. She loved every meal. But really loved them! Ironically, we had planned very little and seemed to have stumbled upon one excellent place after another.

The Dutch often dine by candle light

The Dutch often dine by candle light

For lunches, we were always lucky enough to find acosy Dutch place filled with locals enjoying their pea soup, thai or italian inspired salads and the ubiquitous bread with ham, melted cheese and eggs. In France, the last dish would be called a Croque Madame, and the Dutch version was similar, but as effusive as the Dutch are tall, with tons of cheese and eggs spilling over up to three slices, of fresh, delicious bakery bread. We had lunch at three different cafés, all within a block of each other (between our hotel and the museum district). We were all as enthusiastic as Em about our meals, if slightly less surprised to have found great food where ever we went, even if the meals would never earn international acclaim. Probably because it was something we value more;  undeniable authenticity!

Our lunch joints//

Café Binnen Buiten – This place feels like a pub, decorated in dark woods and traditional wainscoting. Locals were playing a game of backgammon to our left, behind us neighbors had come in just to share a drink amongst a relaxed lunch crowd eating by candlelight. One man was so relaxed he used his fingers to wipe his bowl of potato chip dip clean!

Café Loetje -Sunlight floods in from the large glass enclosed terrasse, highlighted the artist decorated table tops of this old fashioned café. The bathroom signs are in their original stained glass, the light fixtures from another era. And while there were plenty of locals, there also seemed to be a lot of Dutch tourists having made their way, guidebook in hand.


Near the museum, The Corner Bakery inspired my little still life

Near the museum, The Corner Bakery inspired my little still life

The Corner Bakery As small as a bread basket, this modern little bakery features freshly baked breads, a few cakes and French confiture. There are a few tables upstairs and a large common table in the basement where they feed hungry folk with light sandwiches and salads.

Date Night // Au Coin Pasteur

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.35.28 AM“Let’s eat here.” Mr French stopped in mid step, pointing toward a rather non-descript Parisian café.

“But we’re just a block from Ty Breizh. They’ve got galettes with wild mushrooms this time of year. And here? This place looks so touristy.”

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.35.52 AM“There are no tourists around here.” replied the Frenchman.

After 5 years together, I have learned to understand Mr French speak. “That will be complicated” means “no“. “Aren’t you happy I’m helping you do the dishes?” means, “Wow. How do I get away with doing so little around the house?” and saying “There are no tourists around here” when we were just 50 metres from the Gare Montparnasse meant he wasn’t in the mood for crèpes and really, really wanted to try this place. His next comment only confirmed my interpretation.

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.35.06 AM“Look, they have house made pot au feu.”

I sighed my way through the front door as Mr French asked for a table in the sunlight, which flooded much of the front dining area. Once seated I started looking over the menu, already convinced I was going to hate the place. But, wait, what were the asterisks by most of the dishes listed? Scanning down I read, “these dishes were prepared in-house, using only fresh ingredients”. My mood changed in an instant. Here was a place that respected quality. We were in for a decent meal after all.

Looking around with new respect, I was suddenly charmed by the old-fashioned scale filled with Carabar candies, the cheerful decor and the friendly wait staff. We were there for the pot au feu, so it seemed churlish to order anything else. It arrived at our table in a large copper pot, with a plate of crisp pickles and genuine sea salt. As Mr French had suspected it was memorably delicious, the vegetables cooked so that they remained firm and flavourful, the meat melt-in-your-mouth succulent.

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 11.34.42 AMThe food was so good, I decided it was worth the calories to try their house made chocolate mousse. I was not disappointed. This is Parisian dining as we like it; no super star chef, no month-long waiting list and a predominantly local crowd going out for food that is as delightful as the people at your table without being over worked or fussy. Miam.


Lunch at the taverne

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 6.18.45 PMLast week I called Mr French at the office and asked if he’d be working on Friday.

“Why wouldn’t I work on Friday?” he asked in an incredulous tone that implied I had perhaps fallen on my head.

“Because its a holiday?” I ventured forth, no longer very sure of myself and completely incapable of suggesting exactly which holiday it may be.

“What holiday is that? Armistice Day is next week. And its a Monday and… oh, mon dieu! You’re right! It’s All Saints Day.”

All Saint’s Day. And there you have it. A random Catholic holiday in this laïque country I’ve adopted as my own. The irony is that the majority of the French are not religious, yet so Catholic they just assume all these fêtes are celebrated by everyone. They’re always surprised when I point out that fact, that actually, no, religious Muslims do not put up a Christmas in their home every December and that religious Jews do not break out the chocolate every Easter.

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 6.19.32 PMHonestly, I don’t really care, as long as I have the day with Mr French to myself, but sometimes I do feel like sending off a letter to the powers that be and suggesting maybe, just perhaps we should get rid of All Saints Day and replace it with something the entire country would appreciate. Something like a Johnny Halliday holiday, a Monet Monday or the Curie Cure long weekend!

We spent our morning in jail, and coming out we were rather hungry. Weirdly, neither of us said a word, we just turned a corner and headed to the Taverne Henri IV, a place we both loved but had never enjoyed together.

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 6.19.45 PMTaverne is what this restaurant really easy, with an emphasis on fast, hearty meals accompanied with plenty of wine. The owners are what one would call jovial, which really means very loud with a large smile on their faces as they yell out orders and keep everything flowing. There are only 3 mains on the menu each day, plus a selection of tartines and charcuterie plates, and maybe a salad or some other dish pretending to be healthy.

The diners are usually lawyers, policemen and clerks from the neighboring courthouse. Serious people who are there for a serious meal. The food is always simple and good, the portions huge. We both had stuffed cabbage that day. And since it was a holiday, I splurge on a fantastic café gourmand.

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 6.19.56 PM

We were the last table to leave for the day. While standing at the bar to pay, the proprietor offered me a “petite prune”, a little shot of plum eau de vie. When I think of eau de vie, I think of liquid fire that burns going down, but this was mellow and rich and tasted of plums and the bluster autumn day outside. It was absolute perfection.


Date Night // Gordon Ramsay, Trianon Palace

Gordon RamsayI was recently inspired to sit down and write a personal Top Ten list of my favorite restaurants in the world. I think I made it to number 6. It’s not that I haven’t had a lot of amazing places, but while creating the list, I realized that often, it was the company and the magic of the moment that made the place so memorable. So it was not always the restaurant, or the chef, but the meal that was so amazing. Sometimes these meals weren’t even in a restaurant; like the cold winter’s night in Montréal when a friend’s father got off a plane from Europe, made us a traditional Hungarian vegetable soup, cut into a perfectly ripe Reblochon cheese and opened up some amazing bottles of Burgundy AND Bordeaux that had been sitting in his cave in Belgium. That was over 20 years ago and I still remember the sweetness of those vegetables in the soup and the perfect harmony of the wine and cheese. It was the first time I’d had a concert on my palette. But not the last.

It happened again, just last week at the Gordon Ramsey restaurant at the Trianon Palace at Versailles. A much fancier, more formal address than a close friend’s dining room, the restaurant is palatial, yet has managed to strike a warm, welcoming note.

We started our evening with a drink in the bar. While enjoying our cocktails we were handed menus and invited to make our choice before even heading to our table. This is a French tradition I’ve only ever experienced once before, so it still surprises me. I was soon surprised again, by the arrival of our very fun, very elegant amuses buches… soft boiled eggs with foies gras and other delicacies blended in. One for the boy, a different one for the girl. It was a play on flavours and textures with a visual game of colors and shapes. The overture had begun and it was hitting the perfect notes!

We were escorted to our table and the real performance began. Chef Ramsay is all about ingredients. I don’t think I saw one bit of foam the entire evening. I saw perfect little girolle mushrooms, tear drop shaped fig halves and cucumber slices. All foods I could distinctly identify with my eyes and my taste buds. It was refreshingly real and delightful. We enjoyed a lobster raviolo and yellow tuna with cèpes. Mushrooms where in just about every dish as the chef took advantage of the season’s bounty. It was earthy and local and divine. And everything was served on simple, yet incredible gorgeous porcelain, which should not make a difference, but it did.

The sommelier had introduced himself in the bar, having already memorised our orders and prepared with a list of suggestions, that was flexible to both our palettes and our budget. His choice married perfectly, ringing true with every course.

For dessert we went a little over board, selecting their gourmand plate with 4 or 5 different desserts to share. I don’t regret the excess. It as worth every calorie. So good, that I even order a pot of verveine, knowing it would come with a small tray of extra goodies. I was not disappointed with the playful finale of housemade fraise tagadas (a candy that the French adore), nutella (ish) fillled chocolates and fruit jellies.

And now I have number 7 for theTop Ten best restaurants in my little world.






Date Night // Jamin

A few months ago I had a date with my friend Jane from Ohio. I was reviewing the restaurant Jamin, in the posh 16th, for The Girls Guide Paris. It was one of the first scorchers of the summer so I had been thrilled to enter the dimly lit, mildly air conditioned room. Knowing I was very early for our reservation, the staff immediately served me a flûte and I took a moment to look around the room; chocolate colored walls, plush seats and I was surrounded by couples. Romance was in the air.

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 12.02.51 PMWhich was perfect because Jane had a story to tell me and I was eager to listen. As her 50’s loomed, Jane started making some major life changes. She lost 85 lbs. She retired. And she came to Paris, traveling alone for the first time in her life. I met Jane on a cycling trip, when all of this had already happened. At dinner, just as her delicious white asparagus arrived and I bit into a succulent shrimp ravioli, Jane started sharing the rest of her tale.

After that first solo trip Jane started to fall in love. With Paris. Like all torrid affairs, there was a terrifying aspect. Being alone was not always easy, the thought of empty nights and listless afternoons was daunting, but the allure of the City of Lights was too hard to resist. Jane returned. Again, and again, each time staying a bit longer.

And each time making more and more friends until she had a community here with more invitations than she could possibly accept. It was wonderful, but Jane confided in me that she wanted more. As much as she loved it all, she was sure she’d love it more if she had someone to share it with, but how to find him?

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 12.02.15 PMOur main courses arrived, the waiter being so discreet it was the succulent smell of her faux filet and the tantalizing aroma of a coconut carrot sauce with my seabass that brought us back to the present. When Jane had last left Paris we were at the “how to find him?” chapter of her story. Over our entrées she had been telling me about a hike her friends had taken in the Kentucky mountains.

They had been enjoying an early spring day away from the office when they met a man. Personally, I meet a solo man in the woods and I freeze, playing dead until he has moved on, but Jane’s friends are braver than I. They started chatting him up. He was a charming man, with sparkling blues eyes and a warm smile. As they parted company that evening, on of Jane’s friends thought of her and said to this single man, “If you’d ever like to start dating someone, I’ve got someone I’d like to introduce you to.”

A few days later Jane’s phone rang. It was the man and he was asking her out on a date. Three months late we were at Jamin and she was falling in love. With the man. This trip had been planned months before their meeting and as we sat there dining in Paris, the man was in Kentucky getting his very first passport to join Jane in a few short days. A story as romantic as Jamin, with an ending as perfectly sweet and refreshing as the raspberries that ended   of our meal.

ps// This post was written FIVE months after our meal and I still remembered both my entrée and Jane’s main dish. The meal was that good!!!

Date Night // Arzak

ArzakEvery summer we head to Hossegor, a quaint town on the Atlantic coast, just a few minutes north of the Basque region. And every year, in what feels like a moment of insane decadence, we cross the border into Spain. For a meal. To a Californian the idea of going to another country for a meal, well, its mind boggling. But its only a 45 minute drive to San Sebastien, the Michelin star capital of the world.

This year, as a surprise for Mr French, I booked a table for two at Arzak, one of the best known restaurants in the city. I had a hunch we’d appreciate a romantic escape from a family holiday.

We spent the morning body boarding, then I threw on something casual for an afternoon savouring Spain. We visited the beach, did some shopping, and had a bracing jolt of caffeine before heading back to the car which I used as a dressing room. Trying to keep my knees from hitting the gear shift, my elbows flying in every direction, I guided Mr French with the iPhone gps while getting myself gussied up. Miraculously we got there without an incident.

“There” being a unassuming building that looked like it had been a road side inn for local truckers (later research reveals that is exactly what it had been). Walking through the doors we entered another world, both warm and modern. “Hello,” I chirped to the lovely lady at the bar, “we have reservations.” I gave our name. She couldn’t find us on the list. I gave our reservation number. She couldn’t find that, either. I handed her the confirmation email I’d printed out. “Oh, you’ve got the wrong day” she observed.

I was about to be sick, right there on the designer carpet. We’d been looking forward to this evening for weeks and the logistics with a group of ten in Hossegor had been nothing short of Herculean. Fortunately, at that very moment a manager appeared and pointed out that I had the right date, their agenda was simply on the wrong page. Disaster averted. Our name was there and all was right with the world.

Automatic sliding glass doors led us to a contemporary dining room, full of diners and a bustling staff. The sommelier was hugging a client at the table next to us, the maître d’ warmly greeting a group of regulars from Madrid.

A glass of the local white for Mr French, the (most excellent) house cocktail for me. The amuse bouches soonstarted to arrive… unexpected blends of fruit and fish and an exciting play on textures served on unique dishes, like a crushed beer can. The party had begun!

The maitre d’ guided us patiently through the menu, informing us that all the main dishes were available in half portions so guests could try alot of different flavours without over doing it. I loved the idea.

Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 10.03.32 AMMoments later a waitress swooped by our table serving me a plate of ocean waves. I am not being poetic. My plate was a computer tablet with a video of ocean waves, the sound of them crashing against the shore flavouring my lobster dish.

This could sound incredibly tacky and over wrought, but it wasn’t. The chef, Elena Arzak Espina, is a true Basque; she works hard but loves to play. This is evident throughout the meal, and it took what was some very serious tasting and made it fun. Every now and again Elena would come out of the kitchen to greet guests and ensure a good time was had by all. She was kind to everyone, giving the same attention to her Spanish regulars as she gave to the neon-clad, name-dropping tourists who clearly knew nothing about food. She even spent several moments with the awkward French couple in the corner who never have any idea what to say to the chef (that would be us).

ArzakOf course, you don’t go to a restaurant like this for the scene. You go for the food and it was excellent. My taste buds are craving the crab starter as I write this and I almost asked for more of the pigeon and the lamb. The desserts were so delicious I regretted we’d agree to share only two of them.

A three star restaurant in Paris is theater. There is an entire performance that surrounds what is served and when and how. At Arzak its not theater, its a party, with the guests an important part of the mix. It was fun, and refreshing, and of course, delicious. As we left, Elena was there to say good bye, recommending other restaurants in the area and offering us a bottle of the house wine as a souvenir to enjoy in Paris. Let the party go on!

Date Night – Pâtisserie des Rêves

If there is anything that Mr French loves nearly as much as me and his family, it would have to be ice cream. Every night after dinner he asks what flavours ice cream are in the house. And almost every night I have to inform him that there is an ice cream shortage chez nous, I’ve prepared strawberries. Or watermelon, or any other fruit that happens to be in season.

Not that I’m a mean control freak, or anything. Ok, well, I kind of am. But the reason I never buy ice cream is that once its in the house, I eat it. All of it. I simply can’t resist. It has become my out of the house treat. By necessity. Which make Mr French something of an avid collector.

This Saturday, he noticed that La Pâtisserie des Rêves on the rue du Bac now serves ice cream. I am not sure how he figured it out. There is just a small sign in a corner window. But he saw it and was in Philippe Conticini’s swanky little pastry shop before I could tempt him away with promises of my own sweet nothings.

Usually I avoid this pastry shop. The chef is a genius but waiting in line with a crowd of Japanese tourists puts me off and the desserts are individually displayed under glass bells, as if they were jewels instead of cakes, which kills the childhood delight of it for me. But even I have to admit, everything he makes it stupendous.

The ice creams are soft serve and available in three flavours. Tarte au citron, Paris-Brest or St Honoré. What makes them so special and maybe even worth a special trip are the extra touches. I ordered the Tarte au Citron and was surprised to see the sales lady scoop a bit of graham cracker-y crumble into the bottom of the cup, we were both drawn in as she swirled the tart, lemony ice cream on top and by the time she added the lemon sauce we were bouncing on our heels in anticipation.

It was perfect; a gingery crunch with a hint of salt, an ice cream so light it felt like a sorbet and a marvelously zesty lemon flavour through it all. And on that sweet note, I leave you for a summer break with the family. Wishing you all plenty of sunshine and lots of ice cream!!!

Friday Date Night

Life never happens how you plan it. This week I’d planned a romantic dinner at Les Etangs de Corot, a quaint little hotel in the countryside physically not far from Versailles, but mentally worlds away. I have never been before, but Mr French goes regularly for business dinners and I recommend it anytime a friend is looking for an afternoon get away. Especially for their Sunday Jazz brunches.

Then on Tuesday I learned that a very famous expat blogger reviewed the place just last week. It had been on my radar for years and he pulls it out of his hat only now? That same evening we went to a family birthday dinner that was so fun we didn’t leave until after midnight. The next night Mr French walked through the door at 1am, following a business dinner. I’d lost the scoop, my man was exhausted and Em was coming home the next day. It was time to cancel a reservation.

But I hadn’t exactly filled the house with ingredients, so I needed a quick, easy solution. Hello Anna & Jo!!!! A Brooklyn style pizzeria on the rue Pontoise in the 5th.

I didn’t come to Paris because I want to share American cuisine with the world. The food writers who come here and then start promoting food trucks, cupcakes and hot dog stands annoy me. I love good, honest French food. But you know what? Every now and again a girl needs a break from this city and since I wasn’t escaping to the countryside for the evening, I loved feeling like we’d gone to NY. Mr French loved it even more, thrilled with the cold, white subway tiles that line the walls and the East India Pale Ale directly from Brooklyn.

The owner is French, but loved the pizza he’d enjoyed while traveling in the US so much that he went to San Francisco for 6 months to learn the secrets of the trade and import them home. He also imported some real, American style pepperoni. The crusts are thin and crispy. The cheese is the real deal and incredibly tasty and, well, PEPPERONI. In Paris.

It has only been open a few weeks, and already the neighbors, like the owner of Le Petit Pontoise next door, can’t seem to get enough, so while the food tastes like the USA, the buzz sounds purely local. And the place was buzzing, absolutely packed with a line outside. Who said the French hate Americans?

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