Friday, 18 September 2009

Marché du Président Wilson

I first discovered this market last December with my parents (who were visiting from Australia) as we walked from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs Élysées. This was a case of being in the right place at the right time, since the market is only there on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Frenchman and I went there on Wednesday to sample the delights of fresh food (something we sadly had missed living - and being surrounded by supermarkets selling less-than-fresh produce - in London) and to get ourselves something yummy for lunch.

A little known fact about France is that they make a damn good roast chicken (or Poulet Rôti). Every market has at least one Chicken Man, as I like to call them, and there are often debates going on as to which Chicken Man or market has the best roast chickens. They usually come with roasted potatoes which have been sitting at the bottom of the rôtisserie soaking up all the chicken juices. We took a couple of chicken pieces (since a whole one would have been too much and we have less than stellar cooking facilities at the moment), a scoopful of potatoes and a couple of pork sausages that looked really good. We also grabbed a demi-baguette (half a baguette) on the way home, which is compulsory when you're having any meal in France. And why wouldn't you? The bread here is super super good.

The market is quite long, although not the longest in Paris by far (we found out today that the longest in Paris is over a kilometer long!) but it has everything you need to make yourself something good. Smile at the man behind the vegetable stand and he might even throw in a free bunch of parsley - score!

Marché Président Wilson
Avenue du Président Wilson
75007 Paris
Wednesdays and Saturdays only
Metro: Iéna or Alma-Marceau

Thursday, 17 September 2009

We have arrived in Paris

 Yes, we did it again...we have moved... again!

This time we have settled in Paris for the foreseeable future. The Frenchman has been transfered here with work and my mission is to learn frogspeak (aka: French). I am known to throw myself in the deep end (on several occasions) and this is no different. I've applied for a course in "Cuisine Traditionelle" (totally taught in French, might I add) and hope to get a place since I've already missed out on the Pâtisserie class because they were already full by the time I applied. That seems to be my M.O. - lets discover things at the last minute and apply for them! Yay! This time I wasn't so lucky with the Patisserie class but fingers crossed for the other one.

So... we arrived on Monday night, tired, exhausted, and it was raining. We had made a pact that we would eat breakfast properly on our first official day living in Paris and so we set off for Gérard Mulot who had been given a pretty good review on The Puff List. What we didn't realise until after we arrived was that they only served their €9.50 breakfast special on the weekends, and since it was Tuesday, no super breakfast feast for us :-(

We could have taken a pastry and a coffee separately to have at a little table in the corner, but it seemed a bit like a consolation prize that I wasn't so happy to have. 

Instead, we came across a cute little bistrot/café on the way back to the Métro station that had a good looking breakfast to offer. Café Le Moderne on the rue Saint Antoine had a breakfast menu for €6.70 that included a hot drink (we had hot chocolate, of course), a tartine (basically, baguette halves with spread - in this case, strawberry jam and butter), a croissant, and freshly pressed orange juice. The hot chocolate came strong and concentrated and you could add as much or as little milk as you pleased. Unfortunately ours were lukewarm, but the taste was there and was a much more pleasant hot chocolate experience than what some other cafés have served. The croissant was flaky and the baguette tartine came pre-buttered (pity for those who don't like butter with their jam) with a little dish of strawberry jam on the side. 

The highlight, I must say, was the freshly squeezed orange juice served in little wine glasses. It made the whole deal much more classy! It wasn't altogether the greatest breakfast I've ever had, but it certainly hit the spot after our unsuccessful trip to Gérard Mulot. We'll try again on a weekend sometime.

Café Le Moderne
10 rue Saint-Antoine
75004 Paris
Métro: Bastille

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Mother Mash

The Frenchman and I are spending our last few days exploring the touristy side of London before we move to back to Paris. One his last day of work, the Frenchman and a colleague from work went to lunch at Mother Mash which is just off Regent Street. The next day, after visiting the Queen* we went to have lunch at Mother Mash since the Frenchman said it was quite good and we were in the neighbourhood anyway.

*Queen was not actually present at the time, but we got to see Buckingham Palace anyway

At first, it was a little hard to find since we were working off the Frenchman's memory and not an actual map or address, so we ended up walking around the Carnaby Street area and eventually found it just off one of the side streets. It is a small but deep restaurant and is not much to look at from the outside. I probably wouldn't have noticed it if we hadn't been deliberately going there for lunch. Once inside, we sat at a booth that was a bit higher than usual and I had trouble staying on the bench without sliding off it. My feet didn't touch the ground and it wasn't until I had slid off the seat a few times that I noticed a foot rest under the table which made things a lot easier.

The premise of Mother Mash is that you order from their 3 Step menu: Choose your Mash, Choose your Sausage or Pie, and then Choose your Gravy. There is plenty of choice and almost everyone would be able to find something they would enjoy (unless they hate mash and sausages - but then why would they come to a Mash-house anyway?). 

The waitress mumbled her way through the Specials-of-the-Day, so I don't really know what other choices we had but I was happy with what I could choose from the menu. I took the Colcannon Mash / Aberdeen Angus Steak Pie / Farmer's Gravy. The Frenchman had the: Cheesy Mustard Mash / Cumberland Sausages / Onion Gravy. For me, the Onion Gravy was quite sweet and not bold enough for my tastes. The Cumberland's weren't the best I've ever tasted, but they were good none-the-less. My pie had tender chunks of beef and the pastry was nice and crisp. I was very happy to taste a strong gravy, which was bold and very red wine-y. Being German, I have to have plenty of sauce with my potato and there was.

Our order came pretty quickly and after whipping out my camera and taking photos, I wondered how they formed the mash into such a cool and appetizing shape. I wanted to charm my way into the kitchen to ask but hunger stopped me.

All-in-All, I would be happy to go back if I came back to London and was in the area. Service-wise, it was ok and the waitress was pleasant enough but hard to understand because she mumbled quietly with a heavy accent.

There are heaps of restaurants around this area but they range from super-classy-expensive or dingy-back-alley type places. This one is in the middle and is well worth the price. I would give it an 8/10.

Mother Mash
26 Ganton Street
Ph: 020 7494 9644