We went to Paris with the mind and appetite of a true gourmand. Full appreciation for flavor and culture and atmosphere. Revisiting old flavors and discovering new ones. There wasn't much that we tasted that we didn't like, but here's a list of our favorites and where to find them in Paris.
1. baguette - any corner bakery in town. Some boulangeries also offer (or only offer) an artisinal baguette. These have a thicker crust and taste a little more hearty. Both versions are equally good.
2. fromage - Cheese. We loved the cantal from Fromagerie Quatre Hommes on rue de Sevres, where they carry fresh truffles in season. We also loved the beaufort from the local Shopi grocery store.
3. wine - any wine you drink in France is normally good. This time around, we were exploring the low-budget variety and were very pleased with the Nicolas brand of wines that run between 2 and 3 euro a bottle. You can find a number Nicolas wine stores around the city. In restaurants, we liked ordering wine "en picher" in a pitcher. Just for fun.
4. hot chocolate - you'll find the best you've ever had at Angelina on rue de Rivoli. At 6 euro a pop, it's pricey but worth it. They also offer Mont Blanc, a meringue topped with whipped cream and lovely chestnut cream. You might as well order both while you're there, but the Mont Blanc (named after a mountain in the alps) is very sweet.
5. creme brulee - any old cafe will do for this. But we especially liked the version at Cafe George V. It had mangoes in it and they caramelized the top right in front of you by pouring liquor on top and lighting it on fire. It was pricey, but large enough to share.
6. galette des rois - the only time you'll find this delicious almond pastey-tasty treat is during the holidays until January 6 (Epiphany). They sell it at the grocery stores, but you should really spring for a fresh-made one at a pastry shop. The galette des rois is a traditional food, in which a bean or porcelain figurine is baked right in. The person who gets the bean wears the crown. They'll give you a crown at the pastry shop.
7. croques - toast with cheese baked on top. The most common is croque monsieur with ham or croques madame with ham and egg. They have a delicious Croque Monsieur at Cafe Beaubourg. We liked the croques at Le Cafe, a tiny little cafe where they let you choose your own toppings. Try salmon with chevre (goat cheese) and honey drizzled on top. Yum!
8. cafe - you have a few options: cafe creme (same as cafe au lait), expres (espresso), allonge (american style), cappucino... we liked the plain espresso (that's what you get when you order "un cafe") with a little bit of sugar.
9. crepe - with nutella and banana or my favorite: lemon, butter, and sugar. You can find crepe stands all over the city. There are a few on Boulevard Montparnasse.
10. les huitres - oysters. We reallly liked the restaurant Le Petit Lutetia on rue de Sevres. A wonderful selection of oysters (you can get a tasting platter of four different kinds). They also have a delcious menu to follow. Try the Beaumes de Venise wine!
11. chevre chaud salade - one of my absolute favorites, it's a green salad tossed with dijon dressing with toast and baked goat cheese on top. Our favorite version was at Le Petit Lutetia on rue de Sevres.