Paris Eats. Part one. Croque Monsieur. Where we stayed.
Before Viona, my wife and I took a little trip to Paris and Italy (even though there were other destinations at the top of my travel list, like Japan) But I suppose a trip to Europe didn’t seem terrible. My wife is the food lover in the relationship, and by lover, I mean she treats every meal like an event. Kind of like “this meal could be my last so I don’t want to die with Taco Bell in my stomach”. So when we travel anywhere, she plans all of our trips around where we will be eating each meal. No joke. She takes it very seriously. She spends months in advance researching restaurants in and around anywhere we might be. Our itineraries are always centered around what we will be eating next. Its great because it allows me to be lazy and its a change from eating at her favorite restaurant “I Dunno”. I just follow her around and know that I am always in for a good meal, most of the time. Even after all of her research, there are sometimes disappointments along the way.
First meal upon arrival, the Croque Monsieur. After eating several delicious renditions of croque monsieur’s in the states, it was a no brainer on the list of “must try’s” while we were in its place of origin. Known for its gooey, cheesy, ham goodness, the Croque is probably one of my favorite sandwiches.
My wife found Le Comptoir du Relais, said to boast one of the best Croque Monsieurs in all of Paris. Well, it was pretty good. Honestly it was a bit of a disappointment. While there was nothing wrong or bad about the sandwich, it just didn’t have that gooey richness I wanted and half way expected. They didn’t top the sandwich with another layer of cheese like I have had at other places, so it really just ended up being an average grilled cheese with ham.
If you want to try a really good Croque Monsieur, and you happen to be on the Central Coast of California, I suggest you make a lunch stop at Bistro Laurent in Paso Robles. You are sure to enjoy it!
Next up dinner…
First we check into our vacation rental. If you are planning to travel to Paris, do yourself a favor and check out homeaway.com. Sometimes a vacation rental is a better bang for your buck versus hotels abroad. My wife found us this one bedroom for $98/night in the heart of the 6th Arrondissement (St. Germain). It is one block from the Seine and Notre-Dame, in a really neat and safe neighborhood with lots of culture and a nice central location. Here is a picture from our room window on the first floor and the crazy staircase leading up to our room. Note to travelers, there will be lots of narrow staircases in Europe and often no elevator. Just a heads up for packing, you will be lugging your things and half of her shit up every flight.
Now dinner at Fish (la Boissonnerie), in St. Germain, just a five-minute walk from our vacation rental. I appreciated the casual atmosphere of this place. Wasn’t sure what I was in for while dining out in Paris. Maybe I expected the cliche stuffy-ness I’ve seen in movies, or the over the top fancy plating. But I didn’t experience that in any of the restaurants we went to. Our waitress was young, casual, and polite. The food was on par with the reviews. The fish was very well prepared and great quality. My wife is crazy picky when it comes to the freshness of fish (among other things) but it’s not her fault, we did grow up thirty miles from the pacific on the Central Coast of California.
We started with Salmon tartare. We are suckers for tartare, so if it is on the menu, we always order it. It was great! Paired with fresh local produce, a little acidity and capers. Fresh and light.
(sorry about the quality of these two pics, they were taken with an older iPhone)
Main course, Halibut.
Now as good as this halibut was, the thing I remember most about this dinner was the fact that my wife couldn’t stay awake through our entrée. This was my first time traveling this great of a distance and I don’t think jet lag affects me. But here was Valerie, falling asleep in the middle of the restaurant. It was ridiculous. At this point, if I recall correctly, I had been awake for close to thirty hours. I can’t sleep on planes cause flying is too exciting. She slept for several hours on the flight along with everyone else on the plane. She couldn’t have been that tired. But she literally nodded off seven or eight times during that halibut. I felt fine, maybe a bit tuckered out. It is a little embarrassing having your wife fall asleep in the middle of a busy restaurant. I love her, but that was some nonsense.