Before we arrived in Paris, I decided to write down everything I ate, from our arrival to our departure. One of my biggest regrets after our Italian honeymoon was that I didn't log where and what we ate and I've since forgotten it all. The log serves as a wonderful memory-marker for reminiscing's sake, and also serves a practical purpose for any future planning. P.S. Asterisks indicate all-time favorites.
Le Royal Monceau Hotel (macarons, Champagne)
It may have been the most expected first food choice in Paris, but we kicked the trip off with champagne and macarons in our hotel room. Pierre Hermé, the hotel's pastry chef, was recently named the "World's Best Pastry Chef" and his macarons were unlike anything I'd ever had.
Café Constant* (cantaloupe and prosciutto, sausage with mashed potatoes)
For our first official meal in Paris, we ducked into a tiny bistro that was a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. I was starving after the long day of travel and ordered a starter that sounded light, but flavorful. After the first bite, I'd already declared the prosciutto and cantaloupe the "best I'd ever had," which became sort of a running joke throughout our trip since I made the statement so often. I sort of panic-ordered my main course and got sausage and mashed potatoes, which isn't something I'd normally get, but it was incredible. The mashed potatoes were so buttery and rich that I got full before dessert—such a shame because every table ordered the profiteroles drowned in a chocolate sauce and they looked insane.
Hotel (pain au chocolat, fruit)
We woke up on the later side, but managed to make it down in time to take advantage of our hotel's breakfast buffet. There was a massive selection, from an egg station and French cheeses to assorted pastries, yogurts, fresh fruits, and breads. The huge variety was overwhelming, so I got a pain au chocolat and a bowl of kiwi, pineapple, and citrus, which became my go-to each morning.
Berthillon* (vanilla and strawberry ice cream)
We'd heard tons of rave reviews about the ice cream at Berthillon, some people even deeming it the "best in the country," so naturally we had to try it on our first full day. We'd been on a long walk to Notre Dame in the heat that left us so exhausted that we stumbled inside the little shop before we could even think about lunch. We both ordered scoops of vanilla and strawberry and, though I was disappointed when what I'd thought to be strawberry ice cream was actually sorbet, the combination was actually perfect. Had the location been closer to our hotel, we would have returned daily since it was truly fantastic.
L'as du Fallafel* (chicken shawarma pita)
This was another one of those spots that came highly recommended and made for an ideal mid-afternoon snack after walking around the Marais for the afternoon. I'm not the biggest falafel fan, so G and I shared the chicken shawarma pita, which came fully-loaded with cabbage and a great spicy sauce. I wish there'd been a place to sit down and eat outside, but instead we hovered over it and inhaled it in a few minutes in an alley.
Hotel Costes (Hendricks martini)
This hotel was located in what turned out to be one of my favorite areas of the city, a short walk from the Jardin des Tuileries. We'd hoped to get an outdoor table, but if you go just for drinks, you have to sit at their indoor bar, which ended up being really fun. We both ordered our go-to drinks: a Hendricks martini for me and a Negroni for G and it was crisp and perfectly mixed. I love that on the table there was also a bowl of rustic potato chips that they put out—it was such a nice complement to our drinks and helped hold me off until dinner.
Dinner: Ellsworth* (rosé, panzanella salad, green and purple string beans, buttermilk-fried chicken, citrus-cured trout)
After drinks we walked over to Ellsworth, a restaurant that felt more like it could have been located in Santa Monica than Paris. All of the small dishes were meant to be shared, which is almost always my preferred way to eat. We drank cold rosé (a necessity since almost none of the restaurants had air conditioning, despite the oppressive heat inside) and shared a few lighter dishes and ended with the buttermilk-fried chicken.
Breakfast: Hotel (yogurt, pain au chocolat)
I was really boring with breakfast and ate the same (indulgent) thing almost every morning.
Snack: Kiosk outside of Musée d'Orsay (chocolate muffin)
Apparently you can find bad pastries in Paris if you get really desperate, which I did after spending a few hours in the museum. It tasted old and the chocolate chips had turned slightly white, but it held me off while we walked to lunch.
Lunch: Le Comptoir du Relais* (rosé, pâtê, prosciutto, and burrata salad)
This was our biggest walking day and also coincided with the hottest temperatures of the entire trip. We walked from Musée d'Orsay to Le Comptoir du Relais and, dissimilarly to every other place we'd been, when we asked if they spoke English we were simply told, "no." Neither of us speak a lick of French and I was nervous I'd order something like pig eyes, but we used our phones to translate the menu, so I figured we were safe. I decided to get some pâtê and a simple salad, but when the pâtê arrived, I thought I'd made a horrible mistake. It was listed as €10, which seemed reasonable, but the portion that was set down (the size of a brick with a knife plunked in the middle) could have fed the entire restaurant. I decided to simply eat what I could, finished with my salad and waited until the bill arrived to see the damage. Apparently that's just how they serve pâtê—in a slightly family-style method for the entire restaurant—but luckily for me I'm not a germaphobe and found the entire experience to be funny and endearing.
Dinner: Au Passage (white wine, radishes with spicy butter, trout with leeks and yogurt, potatoes with goat cheese and crisps, smoked lamb chop)
The meal at Au Passage was great and unlike at lunch, the waitress took the time to explain everything on the menu, which was appreciated. Apparently the temperature in the restaurant always hovers around 100° F, even in the winter, and this night was no exception. It put a slight damper on things since I was sweating through my clothes, but the food was great: simple, high quality ingredients that added a modern twist to French classics. My favorite was the potatoes with goat cheese since it was mild, but flavorful.
Breakfast: Hotel (pain au chocolat, soft scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit)
This was the first morning we ordered in room service, so we requested a slightly larger spread than usual with soft-scrambled eggs and sausage. We knew we were going to have a big dinner and so the morning's breakfast (eaten at around 11:30am) kept us going until that evening.
Dinner: l'Arpège (sparkling rosé, hot-cold egg, cucumber gazpacho, beets with flowers in a sweet and sour dressing, vegetable soup raviolis, caramelized onions with Parmesan and currants, lobster, steak)
I'm not much of a fancy dinner person, but one of the things G really wanted to do while we were in Paris was eat at l'Arpège, a 3-star Michelin restaurant, voted the 19th best restaurant in the world. It was a twelve-course meal, which I found to be quite intimidating, but the dishes were manageable in size and truly special. Their signature "hot-cold egg" was revolutionary and I loved getting to meet the chef, Alain Passard, who walked around the dining room and treated us like we were guests in his home.
Breakfast: Hotel (bread with salted butter, macaron)
Lunch: La Bourse et Le Vie (cheese popovers, shishito peppers, leek salad)
After such a huge meal the night before, I wasn't quite hungry yet, so I opted for two light salads for lunch. The shishito peppers reminded me of a dish I get at my favorite sushi restaurants in L.A. though the addition of butter made them even better. The leek salad was simple, but the pickled shallot dressing took it to the next level and is something I look forward to trying to create now that I'm back home.
Dessert: Breizh Café* (caramel crêpe with whipped cream and cider)
I realized I'd never had a good crêpe until we tried the ones at Breizh Café. I ordered their homemade caramel crêpe with whipped cream, which was certainly an indulgent mid-day snack, but not as heavy as I'd thought. It paired beautifully with the artisanal cider we ordered, a great recommendation from Paris By Mouth, and helped fuel our walk over to E. Dehillerin, a 200-year-old professional kitchenware shop where Julia Child used to go (and where we found G a beautiful copper pot).
Dinner: La Belle Poule (antipasti veggies, charcuterie, bruschetta, rosé, and cigarette smoke)
This was hands down the worst meal we had in Paris and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Even though we were looking for some lighter food, I left feeling heavy and full after a wholly dissatisfying dinner.
Breakfast: Hotel (coffee)
By the time we woke up, we only had thirty minutes before our lunch reservation at Frenchie, so we opted just for a cup of coffee.
Lunch: Frenchie* (potato, mozzarella and ricotta gnudi, smoked chicken, cheese plate, white wine)
This was the meal I was most excited about and it didn't disappoint. They offered an unfussy, three-course tasting menu for lunch that was my favorite of the trip. It was also the heaviest—lots of cream, butter, and cheese—but I figured why not go big right before we leave?
Dinner: Hotel (Aviation cocktail downstairs, club sandwich with fries upstairs)
G and I were anxious about packing on the last night since our flight was so early the next morning, so we decided to eat in the hotel for the last night. We had Aviation cocktails in the bar (with olives and roasted almonds) downstairs then I got a club sandwich through room service that blew me away. Everything about it was superb, from the lightly toasted white bread to the lettuce that was finely chopped and coated in mayonnaise, to the soft-boiled egg.
Needless to say, I ate verrrry well while in Paris and even if my pants will be a little tight for a while, it couldn't have been more worth it.