Sunday, 24 May 2009

Long weekend gorging!

As I mentioned in the previous post, we had a long weekend which kicked off on Wednesday evening. As there were only 6 of us in lab, we all decided to go for dinner together to Lao Lane Xang, a lovely Laotian restaurant in the 13th which is one of my favourite haunts whenever I need a chilli fix. No pics sadly, but some new discoveries on the menu: lap neua - a minced raw beef salad spiked with chillis, shallots, lime and herbs. I had seen other people order this before but didn't think I could eat a whole plate of raw beef. Luckily, one of my classmates ordered this so had a taste, yummy! Not raw at all as some of the beef has been cooked and bursting with flavour! The other discovery was kay isarn - chicken skewers flavoured with lemongrass. Word of warning: if anyone does go to Lao Lane Xang and requests the tray of chilli condiments that can be found floating around the restaurant, USE WITH CAUTION!!! One of my other classmates decided to spike her pad thai GENEROUSLY with sliced birds eye chillis and some dried chilli and paid the price when she needed to order an extra portion of sticky rice which she ate mouthfuls of after each gulp of pad thai to cool her mouth down!! 

I was really looking forward to this weekend as JD was popping over to visit me, which meant another excuse to hit the restaurants of Paris! We kicked things off on Thursday with lunch at Happy Nouilles as JD had a craving for zhajiang mian, still as good as ever! :)

Then we wandered up to Montmartre to a well-known sweet shop ran by a sweet lady called Denise Acabo. The shop itself is from another era but well stocked and perfectly formed. I plumped for a bag of different flavoured Leroux caramels and a tablette of chocolate filled with salt caramel, not cheap but all very tasty. Had a brief chinwag with Madame Acabo, who also recommended the Jacques Genin caramels. I told her I had already been to his new shop and she started to wax lyrical about Monsieur Genin. She has been selling his goodies for a long time and is mega-knowledgable about all the products in her shop, a genuine food hero.

Dinner on Thursday night was at Pudlo's 2009 Bistro of the Year, Chez L'Ami Jean. An extensive menu with lots of yummy things to choose from, we both went for the menu; my choices were gazpacho, roasted sea bass and raspberry vacherin whilst JD went for tomato and clam salad, roast pork cheeks and rice pudding. All our food was lovely and I would definitely recommend others to make the trek here to sample the food - if I come back another time, will have to see if they can give us a table nearer the open kitchen as it was a buzz of activity which was very interesting and exciting to watch! The highlights of the evening were watching JD finish eating what looked like his body weight in rice pudding (warning: the bowl is seriously large!) and also an American girl strolling in and saying to the waiters, "Hi, I just wanna order a pizza to go?"......priceless!

Friday eating consisted of some fresh chicken banh mi from Saigon Sandwich for lunch before our trip out of town to Giverny, and then rushing back for dinner at Arbre de Sel (Korean in the 15th). Apologies for lack of pics but this was due to a combo of previous blog postings mentioning these places already and us being too hungry to wait for pics to be taken!

Onto Saturday, which kicked off with a late lunch at Babylone, a little kebab place in the 11th near Bastille for a plate of tasty turkey shavarma and little balls of falafel. I have never been a fan of falafel as any that I had previously tried would always repeat on me after eating (sorry for the details but its true!) but I'm now truly converted after trying these golden nuggets of goodness at Babylone! We were also treated to some warm fresh pittas to go with our food and a generous ramekin of spicy harissa which spiked up our food nicely. Surprisingly, our French neighbours weren't offered any harissa so make sure to have your spice radars on! :)

Popped into Pudlo 2009 Patisserie of the Year, Carl Marletti for a slice of cake, well, a chocolate eclair and fruit tart which we devoured in a park nearby :)

The afternoon was spent holed up in Kitty O'Sheas watching the Heineken Cup final. JD was a nervous wreck for the last 10 minutes and luckily for him, his team came through and won their first ever H-Cup beating Leicester 19-16. I think there were a few tears shed in Murrayfield at the final whistle which showed just how much this meant to the team so many congrats, Leinster!!

We celebrated Leinster's win with a lateish dinner at Robert and Louise, a small restaurant in the heart of the Marais which is renowned for serving very good steak. As was expected, the place was packed but we managed to bag a place in the basement by the bar area which was just fine. Worried that the mains might be too big, we shared a started of black pudding (yum!) before tucking into a cote de boeuf for 2 as a main and ended with desserts of chocolate cake and caramelised apple tart. The latter was an ingenious creation as it was a combo of apple tart and creme brulee, why have 1 dessert when you can have 2 for the price of 1??! My only complaint might be that the cote de boeuf for 2 was a little on the small side and if you are hearty eaters like us, you might want to order cote de boeuf for 3 people but just to share between 2 or perhaps order a starter each ;)

We finished our gorging with what seems like a regular Sunday brunch treat with JD to Lao Lane Xang. We got there just in time to bag a table outside (just as well as it was a sweltering 27 degrees today!) for a lovely lunch. The food is always tasty which explains the neverending queues outside.

Unsurprisingly, have developed a mini-paunch as a result of all this eating so next week will be a week of abstinence and fasting, methinks! 

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