Thursday, 10 October 2013

Paris - bon appétit! [part I]

It's already a month ago that I went to Paris. The 7 to 8 hour bus ride (thanks to a mid-city stop at Brussels during rush hour) from Utrecht to Paris gave me a last fling of an evening, two full days and a morning to spend in the capital city of France. For that short amount of time, I'd say I spent most of my time and money on food (same goes for my friend). I could split my travel in Paris in two parts, the eating food part and the buying food part. Sharing with you our fist day of Paris in food.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, they say. Same thing goes for French. This saying went out of the window as we went Asian, for the first meal in Paris up until lunch the next day (with an exeption for the pain au chocolat as a breakfast). 

We stopped at Toma Sushi, a short walk from the Ibis Budget hotel we stayed at. It didn't look so convincing and warm welcoming, but we went in anyway the menu looked promising.
We were in for a surprise. Ignore the neon lights and big menu's on the outside windows and inside you'll find a nice, asian decorated seating place. We had a little trouble making a choice from the diverse menu. In the end I settled with a sushi plate and my friend went with some kind of lunch or diner box and a small salad and miso soup as an entrance. The salad was the star, fresh and crisp. The main dishes were great too. We also got introduced to Japanese late night business meetings, as a group of business walked in and started out their banquet at, what, ten in the evening. Talking loud and with visible food in their mouth. Make sure you face the other side of the restaurant, which I did, thankfully.

The next day after the awesome Opèra visit, we walked down Rue St. Anne. We were told that this is kind of like asian town of Paris. To be honest we were a little dissapointed. There were plenty of restaurants, but we expected a little more atmosphere maybe. Like our Amsterdam China town. But, we did find a great supermarket, K-mart Kafeteria. I think it's a great place to stock up on Korean and Japanese ingredients and snack at this big place. At the back they sell very fresh cut sashimi for 4 to 5 euro. That was a nice snack along the way. Also we took a stroll through the Passage de Choiseul. A nice and lively passage filled with all sorts of small restaurants, cafes and boutiques. We took a seat at Steam &Soup. A Dim Sum concept presented all in french. So we pointed at the menu and  I guess we ordered a mix of Dim Sums. Vegetable, fish and meat. Taking three small Steaming bowls up the steep small stairs to enjoy our treats.

Toma Sushi 20 avenue de la République, 93170 Bagnolet.
Metro Gallieni (line 3).
I couldn't find their opening hours, but they were open relatively late.

K-mart Kafeteria 8 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris.
Metro Pyramides (line 7, 14) or Quatre-Septembre or Bourse (line 3)
Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00

Steam&Soup 58 Passage de Choiseul, 75002 Paris.
Metro: Quatre-Septembre (line 3) or Opéra (line 3, 7,8) 

After the dim sum we banned the Asian theme and went French, as much a possible. Starting at one of my favorite neightbourhoods in Paris (even with the tourists), Montmartre. We stumbled up on a Kusmi Tea Shop just outside the Metro station Abbesses. Thanks to the shop attendant, we had a great time smelling and tasting teas. There were literally walls of flavours to chose from. Little overwelming, in a most beautiful way. Loved the 1kg tins, I'll have to bring a car next time, really. But don't worry they sell smaller sized tins and boxes too.


This lovely tin of 125gr black tea with apple scent went home with me. It smells and tastes great (telling you that, as I'm taking a sip of my cuppa!). In case you cannot make a choise, they sell combination packs with smaller tins in different flavours.

Kusmi Tea has different shops all over Paris (and is sold world wide), but thanks to the great service I give you the address we enjoyed so much. Kusmi Tea 15 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris (metro: Abbesses, line 12)

When I was travelling through Europe by train (Amsterdam to Rome), I fell in love with this tiny place, Chéri Bibi. I have never forgotten the Salmon plate I had here. It's pretty local, not in the most warm and buzzing street in Paris at all, but still pretty much next to the butte Montmartre. We watched couples out on diner or a (first) date and a group of friends gathering and people chill and chat at the bar and at the sofa area. It's tiny and all squeezed in though. Almost sitting at-your neightbours-table-tight. They work with three course choice menu for a set price (eighter 25 or 28 euro, excluding drinks). Although, we skipped on dessert (you do still pay for the three course menu, though). The salmon was as good as I remembered, just plated slightly differently this time. And the starter salmon salad was a good one too, quite filling. The best end of our fist day in Paris we could have wished for.

Chéri Bibi 15 Rue André del Sarte, 75018 Paris.
Metro: Anvers or Barbès Rochechouart (line 2), Château Rouge (line 4).
Open: Mon-Sat 18:00-02:00

See you tomorrow for part two!

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