Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Coffee and Carrot Cake at Café Coutume

Monday, December 17th, 2012

There are many hip and cool hangouts for the BoBos of Paris and I like to follow along behind like a lost puppy trying to be as ‘down with it’ as them. Not going to happen. But one of the biggest BoBo hang outs is Café Coutume, a coffee, brunch and ‘Check-out-what-I’m-wearing’ joint located in the ooh-la-di-da seventh arrondissement, down the road from Le Bon Marché. As I walked to find the place, I went past Hermés and various other designer stores that I would be refused entry into, and dodged lots of little old ladies in fur coats buying their grandchildren matching Louis Vuitton slippers for Christmas. I felt somewhat out of place, but pretended to blend anyway.

I had been wanting to try Café Coutume for ages but it’s location on the other side of Paris meant it wasn’t really somewhere I could go and grab a quick coffee. I had heard and read many good things about it so took the opportunity to meet my friend, Jen there as she lives on that side of the river.

The café is reasonably large compared to other places in Paris, although it isn’t particularly well laid out and the tables are quite clunky and take up too much space. I ordered a long black and Jen had a noisette (a short black with a dob of milk foam on top) and we each had a piece of carrot cake. The coffee was good – it was rich and strong which is always a pleasant surprise in Paris. The cake wasn’t bad although I have had much better (I think we all know this to be true.)

Café Coutume

Coffee and carrot cake

While the coffee was good, I don’t plan on going back because:

  1. It was expensive
  2. It was snobby. Seriously snobby. I can handle BoBo arrogance and coolness, but there was a different level of snob at Coutume.

I think because I am used to the less-rich-scene of the tenth arrondissement, the seventh just oozed money. The staff weren’t particularly friendly and there was a strong rich-Parisian attitude that alienates you if you are an outsider or your Daddy isn’t the CEO of a bank. It is a great thing to watch though – I find these people highly entertaining with their Longchamp bags and depressive attitudes.

Speaking of Longchamp bags, a few weeks ago I was bored on the metro and decided to count the number of Longchamp bags I could see just in my section of the carriage. Over a ten minute journey I saw twelve. Wow. Let’s all spend excessive amounts of money on a particularly unattractive handbag that every other woman owns. Congratulations, Longchamp.

Café Coutume
47 Rue de Babylon
Paris, 7eme

Tuck In

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

A few months ago I was sad to see the closure of Sweat Shop – a café/sewing shop where you could rent sewing machines or take a knitting course while eating a piece of cake. Then the other day, a fellow Australian said “Let’s go to Tuck Shop.” to which I auto-replied with, “Ok.” I had no idea what she was talking about. But now I do. Apparently Sweat Shop had been turned into Tuck Shop – a new café for me to spend far too much time and money and calories at!

Tuck Shop is another “Australian style” café offering GOOD coffee (hooray) and great home made cakes. Run by some lovely expat ladies, it is vintage galore in this cozy little joint. I had a long-black equivalent which was delicious and served in a great looking cup.

Tuck Shop coffee

What a cup!

Plus a scone with jam and cream which was a little disappointingly rock-like but still tasted good. My friend had the cheesecake which was as creamy and cheesy as a good cheesecake should be.

Tuck Shop

Happy times.

The café wasn’t particularly busy, but it was a Wednesday morning in the middle of winter and close to Christmas so not the busiest time of the year. To be honest, it was nice to be in a quiet space for once as Paris is becoming a little bit manic with all of the christmas shopping requirements that are sending Parisians mad.

My friend and I stayed chatting and soon it was lunch time so we decided to do the lunch time formule backwards – we’d already had the dessert so we ordered the home made zucchini soup and grilled vegetable and houmus sandwiches. Luckily the staff aren’t French otherwise doing this would have caused massive brain explosions. So so tasty and healthy – it was the perfect lunch for just 10 Euros. Brilliant.

Tuck Shop
13, rue Lucien Sampaix
10eme

Crafty Cakes

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Usually my reviews of cafés and restaurants are a post-experience reflection. This time I write to you direct from the source – mid-mange, mid-bois – at Café Craft in the 10eme. I was having a moment of ‘oh-woe-is-me, what am I doing with my life?’ so I decided to take it outside and head to another new café in a street nearby. Café Craft opened two or so months ago and is designed as a space for artists, craftspeople and general freelancers to come and work while drinking coffee and eating cake. That sounds like me!

The space has a clean design and set up almost like an office with a long table running down the centre of the room. The black and white interior makes it an non-distracting space to work in but the coloured pencils and pens sitting in the middle of the table are catching my eye.

But enough about the tables, let’s talk about the coffee! Or more importantly, the extremely rich, chocolatey, chunky brownie that I am currently devouring with extreme pleasure. It is hitting every sugar craving spot in my body and making me realise that when brownies like this exist, life can’t be so bad. Huge thumbs up to whoever concocted this beauty – not everyone in Paris can do a brownie but whoever baked this is a genius.

Cafe Craft

Chocolate, coffee and coloured pencils

I will definitely be returning here for another work-related coffee and chocolate hit. I’d like to do something a bit more ‘creative’ – I wonder how they’d feel about me bringing paints and my lino-prints and making a mess of their nice table tops. Maybe not. I have discovered one issue – two men have arrived and are having a loud-ish discussion in this previously quiet room and my preference for writing in complete silence isn’t possible. But it does mean I can eavesdrop on people – my next favourite activity after eating chocolate brownies.

Café Craft
24, rue des Vinaigriers
75010

Welcome to the 10eme, Ten Belles

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I’m not exaggerating when I say that every week there is a new café opening in the 10eme. In the past month, I have spotted four new places within a 300 metre radius. So exciting.

On Saturday I went with my friend Giulia for a catch-up coffee to one of the new hipster hangouts – Ten Belles. Once again the Australian coffee shop influence is hitting Paris with GOOD coffee and a delicious assortment of home-made cakes. The café is small but has a balcony area with additional seating. Giulia and I nabbed the table outside and had roadside (and cigarette side) dining on some cute plywood stools. Extremely uncomfortable, likely to fall apart quickly, but they looked great.

Ten Belles Stool

Nice seating.

Unfortunately while their coffee is amazing, their tea is less impressive with a small selection and it is served in a small milk jug with a cumbersome coffee cup. The cake, however, made up for it. I had a piece of chocolate and raspberry tart – dark chocolate with the tartness of the raspberry on a decent crust. Very tasty.

Ten Belles Chocolate tart

A mighty fine tart.

The service was cheerful, friendly and good-looking and it is definitely going to be a new regular hang out for me. In fact, I tried to return there on Sunday afternoon and it was packed. BoBos galore.

Ten Belles
10 rue de la Grange aux Belles 75010 Paris
Open: Tuesday to Sunday

The Not So Rude Shipyard

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

After our large vegetable-filled lunch at the Blue Moon, Ben and I went and explored another area of Sheffield before heading to a café called The Rude Shipyard. A great name for a café although it certainly didn’t reflect the café itself as everyone was overly friendly and it was a wonderfully comfortable environment to be in. The café offers home made food, cakes and coffee and you can sit on couches, read books and I believe they sometimes put on concerts.

The Rude Shipyard

There's always something special about cafes on the corner of a street.

Ben and I shared two pieces of cake – a chocolate and Guinness cake and a pear, almond and pudding cake. The chocolate cake was rich and chocolaty and you could really taste the caramel flavours of the Guinness. The pear and almond cake was dense, rich and would make you explode if you ate a lot of it. I have never had a cake that was pudding consistency before and I liked it.

Cake from the Rude Shipyard

Oh yes.

The Rude Shipyard uses vintage cups and mugs to serve its drinks in and I had the absolute pleasure of using a large blue mug to drink almond tea from. It was one of the most enjoyable mug-using experiences of my life and I am now trying to find out where I could possibly source one of these mugs.

Rude Shipyard cup

The big blue cup. Find it for me!

I am desperate – it was such a beautiful thing to drink out of and was perfectly designed for tea drinking. If you know where I can find this mug, please tell me. I’ll love you forever.

Another Day, Another Cake

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Not many days go by that I don’t eat cake. Yesterday was no exception when Tom and I went for a walk (I was continuing my search for a restaurant for Monday night and once again was not surprised to see it was a construction site) and decided to try L’Estaminet, a cafe at the Marche des Enfants Rouges. I had seen it on my walks and had decided it looked like a ‘good cake place.’ What can I say? It’s a skill – I can spot them well.

Nectarine Tart

A piece of homemade tarte au nectarine.

The tart was homemade with a delicious crunchy crust and a soft almond paste centre. The nectarines were tart and combined well with the sweet almond filling. So good. The coffee was good too, and they served it in a nice red cup which always makes me smile. I’m going back for more.

GREATEST DISCOVERY EVER!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

I’m very excited. On Monday afternoon I wanted to go and sit in a cafe with a book and a good coffee. Most parts of this equation are easy to fulfil – I had myself, a book and there are lots of cafes in Paris to choose from. The biggest hurdle was the GOOD coffee. Generally speaking, coffee in France is bad. Luckily for me, I am a black coffee drinker so I don’t have the difficulties of trying to order a coffee with milk or froth or chocolate dust. Despite this, the coffee is usually too bitter or basically just instant coffee. No grinding of beans here!

I wanted to explore new territory – I am currently reading about Napoleon Bonaparte in my book and if anyone inspires exploration, it is him. I checked a few Paris blogs to see if anyone could suggest a good cafe and found Hip Paris’s article about the best coffee in Paris. Yes please.

One of the suggested cafes isn’t far from my place and Tom and I had walked past a few months ago, laughed at the name  and saunted off with a ‘we’re too cool for that because we’re Australian and know that’s not how you spell Kookaburra’ kind of a swagger. Turns out “Kooka Boora” was too cool for us.

Kooka Boora Cafe

Kooka Boora Cafe

When I arrived at the cafe, I almost fainted as I read the menu and saw two words – ‘Long’ and ‘Black’. I have dreamed of these words since I left Perth and seeing them brought tears to my eyes and I almost saluted. I then almost died when I drank it as it wasn’t a long black that had been “France-ified” and made bad – it was REAL. And it was GOOD.

Long black coffee

Perfect size, perfect colour, perfect consistency = delicious coffee

To celebrate the fact that I had discovered a trendy cafe with comfy couches, big windows with views of Sacre Coeur, and oh-so-delicious coffee, I ordered a brownie. In no other country in the world would a brownie turn into molten chocolate when ‘zapped’ – it was awesome. Ridiculously sweet and I had a chocolate headache by the end of it, but my Monday afternoon was pure heaven.

Brownie

Look at it oozing...

It was so good I couldn’t concentrate on my book. I was too busy eavesdropping on the mostly english speaking, yet very culturally mixed crowd who came through the cafe to grab a takeaway or to sit with their laptops and do work. I wanted to introduce myself to everyone and ask if they needed writers. I also nearly applied for a job at the cafe – it’s that cool.

View from Kooka Boora Cafe

You can't get a more 'French' view than that – an old lady and lovers on benches.

Le Bon Chocolat

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Good news everyone! I have discovered a new hot chocolate to add to my “World’s Best Hot Chocolate” list! This doesn’t happen very often so this is a momentous occasion. Recently I have been going to a café in the Marais district called Le Caféotheque that sells a wide variety of pure, organic coffees. It is a lovely casual environment with couches, a bar and a few tables where people sit and chat for hours.

Today I went there after visiting a free exhibition at the Hotel de Ville about Impressionism in Paris (very enjoyable and once again enlightening with my new found knowledge of Paris’s history.) I had previously sampled their ice coffee which was particularly delicious and this time ordered a hot chocolate because I spotted a very pretty word on the menu – Valrhona. For those innocent people who are unaware of what this word means, it basically translates into “one of the best chocolates in the world. Ever.” And when transformed into a warming drink, it maintains this deliciousness in its molten form.

hot chocolate

Hot chocolate love

It was delicious – rich, creamy and addictive. Perhaps a little sweet but I also put that down to my lack of hot chocolate consumption recently. It was served with a piece of chocolate which I stupidly left until the end and it was actually quite awful – someone had inserted some sort of dried fruit in it. Yuck. But still. Free chocolate. I’m very excited to have discovered a new café to hang out at. I spent an hour or so reading my book and drinking a hot chocolate. What luxury.

Book and hot chocolate

Jealous?