Posts Tagged ‘pad thai’

A Week of Food Miracles

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

I don’t know what it is – maybe it is the arrival of Spring and the warmer temperatures. Maybe there is something in the water. Maybe there are some higher, more powerful beings at work. Whatever it is, I am, and will be, eternally grateful because this miracle worker has brought me two cuisines that in the past year of living in Paris I have missed greatly.

I’m certain that I have previously complained about the lack of decent Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean restaurants in Paris. Generally speaking they lack flavour, spice and/or have strange ingredients that only the French would use.

Dear France, Japanese food does NOT have cheese as a main ingredient. From Jess.

However, some sort of divine spirits (namely my friends Becky and Vivien) have led me to a Thai restaurant a mere 5 minute walk from my house that ticks every box in my “Thai food must include” rules. It is wonderful. A group of us ate there last night, sharing a tasting plate for entrée and then five main dishes. Each dish was flavoursome, hearty and exciting to the palate. One dish was beef with spicy sauce and wow, it actually was spicy! I even experienced a burning back-of-throat moment as a chilli flake got stuck on the way down. It was glorious. Another highlight was finally discovering pad thai that actually tasted like pad thai. A year’s worth of searching and finally!

The restaurant is owned by a lovely old Frenchman and his thai wife and has a very homely feel about it. It is hidden away in a side street so not many people have discovered it yet and it was therefore easy to get a table on a Saturday night. Hopefully enough people come and try it so that it didn’t close down within a few months, but at the same time I hope it stays a local hangout for Thai food lovers.

Miracle #2 happened last Thursday when Tom and I invited our friends Sonia and Guibril to try a new burger restaurant I had spotted near the canal, Le Mal Barré. I walk past it every day as I return home with my lunch time baguette and the menu has sparked my interest. Burgers with ingredients OTHER than plastic cheese and non-bacon bacon. What was this? We had to try.

Sonia and I were both undecided over the same two burgers so we decided to try both and share. A fabulous idea. The first was chicken with fig and spinach – very tasty and the fig was certainly a great addition. The second burger was chicken with avocado, sundried tomatoes and cantal cheese and was my favourite of the two. Both had juicy pieces of chicken and were really well cooked. The boys both went for the double steak burger – two beef patties with salad, tomato and onion and they both had huge grins as they munched away. Clearly impressed.

Chicken burger

Mmm... chicken burger.

The only downside of the burgers was the bread – why, oh why, do the French insist on using sweet, American-style burger buns when they make such amazing bread? When I suggested baguettes would be better to Sonia and Guibril, their French faces told me I had just uttered the worst possible sin – baguettes are baguettes, not burger buns. Sorry. But they did agree with me that the bread was too sweet.

The burgers were served with a side salad and homemade chips – big pieces of potato with the skin still attached. Now that’s a chip worth eating. The American theme of the restaurant continues in its dessert menu with your options being either cheese cake or cupcakes. I went for the ‘originale’ cheese cake and it was good! Apparently it is baked by an American so there aren’t too many French additives, other than a speculoos biscuit base. Very tasty.

Cheesecake

The presentation could do with some work but still tasty

So my week of food has been particularly wonderful, and the miracles continued today when I baked a banana cake that when I first put it in the oven it appeared to not want to rise but simply burn from the top down. But that Food God stepped in once again and my cake suddenly decided to rise and the end result is a rather delicious afternoon tea. Ahh food. How I love thee.