The best meal in Paris…

Well, it’s about time I tell you a little about our trip to Paris in April. I’ve always loved Paris…once I even had an 8 hour layover at Charles de Gaulle airport and took a bus into the city to get a quick fix before boarding a plane back home. How cool that you can just run into the city for a few hours on your way from one city to another?

This is a city where you could spend hours walking around just looking at the architecture and smelling the fresh baked breads and pastries wafting throughout the streets. While I had been to Paris before, I had never been with Mark. How amazing would it be to experience the city of love with someone I love?

We always get our food research in before our trips. We look on the web, check out where Anthony Bourdain went, NY Times reviews, etc. Funny enough, the best meal we had there wasn’t planned at all.

Les Papilles was a restaurant that Mark had seen on online when we got there. It had great reviews and after our lunch of Croque Monsieurs and salad, we decided to walk by and take a look. The owner was very welcoming and was was able to squeeze us in for an 8pm seating for dinner that night.

We had no idea what kind of treat we had in store! They do prix fixe 4 course menus that change daily. I don’t think we could have picked a better day to go.

Inside, the tables are close together but it was such a convivial atmosphere that it didn’t matter. Plus, you become so enthralled in what you are eating that you barely hear what’s going on at the next table. You kind of feel swept away in the experience. We would see people come in constantly asking if there was a table available only to be turned away because all seatings were reserved that night. Must be a good sign right?

They started off with a tureen of cauliflower soup with a ladle. Each of our bowls had shredded raw cauliflower, creme fraiche, bacon, chives, fried parsley, and croutons. The various textures and flavors were so comforting and delicious and warmed us to the bone. It was incredible. They gave us a generous amount of soup but we had to stop ourselves from finishing it so that we had room for the rest.

The main course was what rocked my world and what I dream about since then. Seared and roasted duck breast with potatoes, carrots, snap peas, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and a decadent sauce. I’m sure butter played a big part in it but they managed to somehow keep it from being too heavy. This dish transcended anything that I can ever remember having. There was a familiarity to it but it was elevated by such a depth of flavor. The duck was cooked perfectly. I mean, look at the picture. Doesn’t it LOOK amazing? If anyone can tell me how to make this dish please do! I haven’t tried to recreate it because I’m not sure that I can.

After the duck, we had a cheese course of bleu cheese and jam followed by an apple panna cotta with caramel foam for dessert. That dessert was heavenly.

Ahhh, Europe always ruins restaurants for me back home. Barcelona was where it all started. The food, the people, the experience…nothing like it. And I’m sorry Paris, but Barcelona still ranks as my top spot. But Paris comes in at a very close second.

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