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I had a food post with pictures planned for today, but I guess my laptop got hungry and ate them because all the pictures I took are nowhere to be found! I’ll just have to go back, eat, and take more pictures later; it will be a good excuse to return to a delightfully fresh place.

In the meantime, today’s post will be pictures of some places I found this week. The sun has been peeking out from the clouds and rain, so I actually ventured outside and walked around a bit:)

Hidden public gardens are sometimes tucked away past a doorway and down steps like this.

Looking back up, you can see how easily you could walk by and never know there was a garden down below street level.

This looks a bit stark in the winter, but the little shoots of green promise lovely flowers coming soon. I’ll come back in the spring and take a picture to show what it looks like covered in blossoms.

Little gems like this are tucked away all over Paris, but you must take your time in order to see the doors that may lead to hidden treasures:)

I have friends who live all over the world, from Australia and Brussels to New York and Philadelphia. Now that I finally have all my furniture, clothes, and cookware here, I am beginning to feel at home here, but I miss my friends from Los Angeles even more than I miss the weather there! Every Parisian has reacted the same way when they hear where I moved from; they say, “Really?!” then they look up at the sky imaging blue, warmth, and smile at me like I’m crazy to have traded. I’ve only been able to endure the rainy gray skies and cold weather because I love living here in spite of the winter weather, so maybe I am crazy, but I’m happy 🙂

The spots of blue and sun this winter have cheered me with hope of spring and summer, and I had visitors from L.A. who came bringing me even more hope of friends who will come. After they spent the day sightseeing without me, we met for dinner at La Table des Anges. It was a perfect place to bring Angelenos. With a friendly casual vibe and fresh market ingredients, it was as if L.A. came to Paris and my friends liked it so much they wanted to bring it back to L.A.!

The Pigalle area used to be the red light district until new chefs found the rents affordable and made this area the new food mecca. The charming welcome was enhanced by the fluent English speaking servers because neither of my visitors spoke French (we were the only people speaking English in the restaurant, so this was definitely not a tourist destination). With lunch menus for 2 courses at 16€ ($20) and three course dinners for 32€ ($40), this is a bargain for food by a chef who has worked in places where the menus run 3-4 times more. We ordered a bottle of Sancerre for 39€ ($55) which was a lovely compliment to our fish dishes.

A savory amuse of consommé with fresh coriander was a warm and savory way to welcome us and awaken our palates.

We looked at the menu with three courses, but none us us could imagine eating that much. When we saw what neighboring diners were ordering, we asked the waiter what the dishes were and decided to order the specials. The whole bar (bass) for 25€ ($30) looked so good I had to order it and loved the fresh fish atop luscious cepes mushrooms, roasted eggplant, carrots, and root vegetables. It was a hearty portion and I enjoyed every bite.

My friends ordered the skrei 23€ ($28), a kind of cod fish with the same vegetables as accompaniments, but a different sauce and they both ate every bite.

If I had any room after my main course I would have ordered a dessert. Both my friends wanted dessert and ordered the pistachio crème brûlée. They insisted that I taste it and I was glad I did because it was much lighter than most and was not too sweet.

When we asked for our bill, we were treated with apple shots. They weren’t too strong or sweet like a grappa or sambuca, more like a light clear apple juice with alcohol, an adult dessert:)

The best meals are shared with people who bring sunshine and warmth with their presence:)

I trust the recommendations of locals more than tourist guides. Some places are only frequented by locals and since places change ownership, chefs, and menus, unless someone is a regular, you would never know that the charming bistro is now a hip coffee bar, or the hip coffee bar is now a bistro. My last post about Lockwood illustrates that point since it wasn’t even a place that served food or drink in its previous incarnation.

Although I’ve never met Karen who writes the Bonjour Paris newletter, we’ve tweeted about food and wine, so when she said that Café du Commerce was a great neighborhood find in the 15th, I went. I know many of the arrondissements very well, but not the 15th, although I did go to the Salon du Chocolat at the exposition center:) When I came upstairs from the Metro at Commerce, it was literally a breath of fresh air. This is a perfect “in-between” neighborhood, not packed with tourists and shops, and not deadly quiet from the silence of being on the outskirts of town. Because the Eiffel Tower is in the bordering 7th, this arrondissement is “Eiffel Tower adjacent”, while also home to many companies, and International school, and bordering the Gare Montparnasse.

Café du Commerce is the quintessential neighborhood bistro, packed with locals for the lunch specila of Plat, Dessert & Café for 15,50 € ($18). If you only want the plat, it’s less than 13€ ($15) for lunch! Most people eating next to me ordered the steak and fries  for their main course and the dessert & coffee special, but after hearing the table of businessmen next to me complain that their steak and fries were cold even after sending back their order, I opted for one of the daily specials, the lamb stuffed with chèvre (goat cheese), roquette (arugula), served with lentils and garlic cream for 19,50 € ($23).

It came in a beautiful little cocotte, and was delightfully rich and hearty. The garlic cream wasn’t even necessary, but it was great to sop up with the bread.

For less than 4 €, I also had a nice glass of Bordeaux. The meal was good enough that I decided to come back a bit later than the lunch rush so that the kitchen and staff would be less harried and try the steak and fries.

I walked off my meal in the adjacent park 🙂

My first Yelp Elite event* in Paris was in the neighborhood I know best, Paris’ 2nd arrondissement, but I would never have found Lockwood if not for the Yelp Community manager/organisers Elodie and Zeva, who put this event together. Meeting other people who love to eat and socialize here was fun, and even better when it’s in a place that is cozy, casual, and friendly with a great atmosphere!

The ground floor has small tables and a long communal one where people were sharing bites and drinks, but our private party was held downstairs in the cave, literally a cave that was carved out of stone walls. We had three marvelous bartenders mixing and pouring drinks which will be on their menu shortly.

This was the Ruby Caroll, a light slightly sweet drink, that would be great on a warm night.

I had the Mary Used to Smoke, and it was like a thin gazpacho with a smoky and spicy lingering taste that I enjoyed. It was an aromatic accompaniment to savory bites.

Behind the bar downstairs was a cozy lounge which was perfect for conversations with smaller groups.

We were treated to samples of their bites; Croque Monsieurs, a seared charcuterie on toast, and a tuna spread. I enjoyed all the savory bites, but the sweeter one that arrived later (that everyone demolished before I could take a picture of) was a hit with everyone except me.  I’m not really a sweet lover aside from excellent chocolate, so I’d say if you like sweet creamy foods, you would love their sweet bites.

The small lounge area behind the bar downstairs was next to their store of liquor….yes, kept behind bars and padlocked!

Definitely an address to go for drinks (they serve breakfast, lunch, and coffees too) and/or bites, when you want some place that’s unique and fun with nice service (they were swamped and still smiled)!

*Since this was a Yelp Elite event all my food and drinks were comped. Regular prices for food was between 5-8€ ($7-10), wine averaged 5€ ($7), cocktails 7-13€ ($10-16)and coffees were between 2,50-4 € ($4-7).




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