French Food, part 1

France is known for alot of things, though one of the most enjoyable is the food! The french know how to make excellent food. I have been to France on several occasions (okay 4 times) and each time the food experiences were different. I have done the budget backpack food; the expensive gourmet gastronmic food; and, on this trip, the moderately priced bistros, cafes and restaurants. Now nothing really compares to France’s gourmet foods – it really is the best food I have ever had. However, it is not the way most of eat when we travel. I was fortunate that on 2 work trips I was travelling first class Those days have past and now it is back to flying economy class and looking for affordable yet good food

You would be hard pressed to find awful food in Paris. The actual biggest challenge is choosing from the abundance of restaurants that dot most every neighbourhood Of course there are a few areas where cafes and bistros are few and far between, though, overall you will find something somewhere close. My travelling companions and I were fortunate that our hotel was located 1.5 blocks from a grocery store: The Monop’. It was here that we purchased our breakfast: fruit, yogurt, bread or croissants and the occassional package of cheese. For approximately 10 Euros (it cost $1.63 to buy 1 Euro) the four of us had a filling, tasty, healthy breakfast that we brought back to our hotel. We did save money this way because the continental breakfast at our hotel was 8 Euros per person per day. And by shopping for our breakfast we had more choice as well. Oh and another inexpensive option is McDonalds.Yes I know, you don’t want to eat familiar fast food while away in a foreign country. Though, don’t knock it. The coffee was the least expensive there (and good according to my friends, as I don’t drink coffee) and an Egg McMuffin was the same there as here.

Lunch varied depending on what we were doing. A few times we stopped at one of numerous places that sold sandwiches to go. Other times we enjoyed a relaxing meal at a sandwich shop that had seating or a bistro with lunch specials. The sandwiches that we ordered to go were fairly standard. Always on a baguette, though, thinner and shorter than the ones I see in our grocery stores. Most commonly they were filled with meat and cheese, though you could get just meat (salami, ham, chicken) or just cheese (goat, mozza, roquefort, etc). They even had sandwiches filled with a very long hotdog with melted cheese. The sandwich shop by our hotel offered a combo where for 5.50 Euros bought us a sandwich, water or pop and cookies. The sandwiches were a good size and we often purchased two combos to split between the four of us. If we wanted, we could even buy inexpensive bottles of wine for 3 – 6 Euros to go with our lunch. The sandwiches were a great way to have lunch, especially when we stopped at Jardin de Tuilleries to have a seat, eat and feed the birds. The pic below shows a sparrow sitting on my hand.

Lunch was also a great time to try a few things that are quintisentially french: During our lunches I have savoured the following: ham and cheese quiche; three cheese sandwich; crepe with apricot jam; ham and cheese crepe; and a very yummy mixed salad. One of my favourite not-so-french dishes was at a popular falafel joint in the Marais district, which is the Jewish quarter. L’as du Fallafel, located at 34 rue des Rosiers has GREAT inexpensive falalfels. The falafels were stuffed into a pita filled with coleslaw with a tasty sauce. We ate indoors as opposed to ordering from the take out window (which has a long lineup daily). I am sure being seated helped us save our shirts from the yummy gooey sauce. Another favourite place of mine was Bar a thes Delyan , not to far from the Notre Dame Cathedral (just over the bridge). This cafe was actually a tea bar that served sandwiches, salad and of course tea. I enjoyed the decor too. If you’d like to see more, here is the link to their myspace page: Delyan Tea Bar, Paris .
That’s it for breakfast and lunch…part 2 will focus on dinner & wine!

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