You’re now looking at the newest recipe developer for the MoiChef magazine. Yup, I’m officially published IN PRINT! How old-school, you must be thinking.
I’m basically now in charge of a monthly column called ‘Everyday Recipes’, where I use the chef’s signature ingredients from that month’s box but in a simpler, more realistic way. Because not everybody has the time to cook a 2-Michelin starred chef’s recipe on a weeknight with two kids running about. So my aim is to give you an easier way to use up the rest of those luxury ingredients that you got in your box and haven’t quite figured out how to finish.
For the March box, the ingredients I had to work with were:
dashi (a Japanese bouillon)
yuzu kosho (a spicy, citrusy paste)
mirin (Japanese rice vinegar)
candied yuzu peel
So here are the 3 recipes I developed:
Appetizer: pea and mint veloute, topped with poached quail’s eggs and shiitake mushrooms
Main Dish: teriyaki chicken skewers and salad with a yuzu kosho vinaigrette
Dessert: madeleines dipped in chocolate ganache and candied yuzu
I’ll share the recipes (in French) once the magazine is out. But for now, here are some foodporn pictures of the final results.
Oh, and just for shits and giggles, here’s what the exact same recipe looks like when you make it at home with a 4 year old who does the dipping, and absolutely no food styling.
Stay tuned for the full recipes! And let me know if you’re in France and want to sign up for the box. 😉
Given the name, I assumed that Melt would be a place that serves grilled cheese.
But boy was I wrong.
Because now I get it. This place has got to be named after the melt-in-your-mouth brisket that they’re making, that’s so soft you don’t even need your knife to cut into it. That thin layer of glorious fat on top tasted like meat flavored butter, and was just as soft.
While there are striking similarities to The Beast (the self-service style counter, the trays that you’re served on, even the look and feel of the place), thankfully the differences stop there. Melt may not yet be at American-sized BBQ portions, but happily the helpings are more generous than those at The Beast. Rest assured, you won’t leave Melt feeling hungry.
The meats on offer are American Black Angus brisket and beef rib, with a smoked chicken option as well as a pulled pork burger. I tried both the brisket and the spare ribs, and while at first bite I totally fell in love with the buttery, perfectly smoked brisket (like eyes rolling to the back of your head kind of love), the spare rib seemed to grow on me as I ate it, leaving me with a great final impression. I’d have to definitely order both again next time, since the combination was pure meat heaven.
The sides, while a bit pricey, (4€ for French fries, no matter how crispy, is still a bit steep for me, though totally in line with Paris prices) are extremely yummy. The roasted corn on the cob with chili butter had a welcome char on it, and was a good sized helping too. Condiment wise they’ve got homemade coleslaw, pickled red-onions (that get bonus points from me as I now can never go without a jar of these in my fridge), and my personal favorite, pickled peppers (now say that 3x fast!) that packed a bit of heat.
All in all, I’m sure that Melt has discovered the recipe to success. They’re big enough for it to be likely for you to find a table in the near future, the prices are reasonable (15€ for meat + a side), the team is super friendly, and you can tell there’s a lot of love going into the food.
Salt is yet another new gastro-bistro with a great value lunch menu (27 euros for 3 courses) that recently popped up in the 11th. The difference between Salt and similar places (like Le Servan, just up the street), is the vibe, the decoration and the super creative ingredients.
I totally fell in love with their beautiful ceramic dishes, and was so enamored with them I sometimes found myself forgetting exactly what it was I was eating! What was particularly memorable though was the use of fresh herbs I had never eaten before, like clover and all sorts of funky sea-grasses. Don’t ask me what they were called, but who knew such crazy things grew in the sea (aside from the chefs at Noma, that is!).
Seafood oriented with herbal accents
The dishes almost looked like they had come straight out of a pasture, despite Salt’s clear seafood-oriented theme. The staff were extra friendly (still always a shocker in Paris!), and the wine list was great, if not slightly expensive when ordering by the glass.
At the end of an immensely satisfying meal brimming with flavors that were totally new to me, I realized that I had pretty much eaten a carb-free, gluten-free, dairy-free meal that was actually pretty darn healthy! There are no fatty dishes on the menu, only extremely light, fresh yet supremely flavorful creations that change daily or weekly depending on the catch of the day and what’s in season. At night they have a tasting menu for 65 euros that seems to be pretty good, though I’ve yet to try it.
In any case, ‘ll definitely be going back to see what else they’re serving up!
Note: the lovely waitstaff are mostly native English speakers, making Salt a great place to go if you’re visiting Paris and your French is rusty! 😉
That means waking up bright and early to watch beautiful pastries being baked and assembled, before the tiny corner shop, situated in the covered part of the Aligre market, opens at 9am sharp.
The marché d’Aligre
If you’ve never been to the Aligre market in the 12th before, then you should definitely make it a priority. The outdoor market is open every day of the week and offers quite the cornucopia of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Marché couvert Beauvau
But once you reach the end of the open market, you’ll see the covered market tucked away to the right. And inside this dome-like structure are hiding some of the most well-stocked, highly specialized artisans I’ve seen clustered in such a small space! Specialty cheese, suckling pig, lobsters, artisanal beers and of course, pastries, are all to be found and devoured.
Johanna started her pastry shop in 2014, and I’ve been lucky enough to taste almost every single thing she offers (and she has A LOT of things to eat!). Cookies, madeleines, financiers, chouquettes, gorgeously assembled seasonal pastries, macarons, and my ultimate favorite: the brioche feuilletée.
This innocent looking, humble brioche is anything but. Filled with minute layer upon layer of ultra-buttery pastry, then topped with what seems like a craquelin that you’d typically find on an eclair or cream puff, this brioche is my raison d’être. In other words, it’s the only thing that would get me out of bed at 6.30 am.
Other must-tries are her seasonal strawberry cake, or fraisier, the mini blueberry cheesecake, the Mont Blanc, and the dulce de leche tarts with hazelnut and rosemary.
Having spent the better part of the morning watching these pastries come to life, I can confidently say that there’s a lot of love and care that’s put into each and every one. Every component is painstakingly handmade and assembled, and she uses only the best ingredients and perfectly ripe fruits that are at their peak season.
Go on. Wake up super early, get yourself a piping hot brioche and enjoy with a cup of coffee. You can call me and thank me later.
Jojo & Co, La pâtisserie du marché
Inside the Marché couvert Beauvau, Place d’Aligre, 75012 Paris
Happily nestled one block down from the Marche d’Aligre, the beautiful art-nouveau facade looks like every other Parisian corner bakery. But Boulangerie Bo is not your conventional pastry shop.
You’ll realize this very quickly after scanning their racks of fresh bread. The first one that jumps out is the black ‘tradition’, flavored with squid ink and cumin. There are loads of other flavored breads of all shapes and sizes: raisin, dried fruits, nuts and olives are just a few of the options available.
But what really stands out here are the pastries.
While remaining relatively classic, Boulangerie Bo has managed to take French favorites like lemon or chocolate tartlets to another dimension. Including a discreet Japanese touch, I was happy to see a beautiful mont-blanc style pastry that was flavored with cherry blossom.
I decided to opt for a simpler choice, a classic vanilla ‘chou’, or cream puff, but little did I know there was a surprise in store. Once you take a bite of this airy puff, you realize that nestled in the luscious vanilla cream is a gooey, salted-butter caramel center.
So if you’re looking for a slightly different bakery in Paris where you can get some creative bread and inspired pastries, Boulangerie Bo is definitely worth a visit.
There’s only one place in Paris where I could, and do, eat at least once a week. That’s because Distrito Francés is my ultimate happy place.
Not only because of the phenomenal, authentic Mexican food, or because the staff are so friendly, or even because it’s seriously affordable. It’s because when you put all these things together, Distrito Francés feels like home.
Let’s start with the location
For starters, it’s in central Paris (Metro Strasbourg St Denis, in the 10th). The place itself is beautiful and gorgeously decorated (check out that staircase!), down to every last little detail.
Is it expensive, you wonder? No, it’s really not. A lunch menu with a quesadilla, some delicious guacamole and chipotle-marinated, slow-cooked beef is served with multicolored corn chips, spicy homemade salsa and a drink (either hibiscus or Horchata), and will set you back 9.50€. That’s right, you heard me. 9.50€. For lunch. In Paris. The ‘fancier’ menu, with three insanely good, brightly colored tacos and the same fixings costs 12.50€. In Paris, that’s unheard of.
Now let’s talk about the food at Distrito Francés
You’ve basically got three main options: tacos, burritos or quesadillas. Then you’ve also got a couple of sides, with the Chicken Popopop being my absolute favorite. It’s marinated chicken with chili, fresh mint, coriander seeds and crunchy corn flakes. The highlight of the quesadilla is the slices of Mexican chorizo they top it with (seriously drool-worthy), and the melt-in-your-mouth meat on the side.
Let’s talk tacos. For the first time outside of the States, I saw blue corn tortillas. And orange ones too! The Drunken Love taco is beef cooked in Tequila and topped with fresh peanuts. The Bang Bang is pork belly cooked in a banana leaf, and the Barbacoa Jam is slow-cooked beef topped with chicharron and a bit of chili pepper. All of the tacos are seasoned with home-pickled radishes or red cabbage, topped with smoky cremas or fresh coriander and lime. We’re talking PURE HEAVEN.
What else do I love about them? The owners and servers are the absolute sweetest, warmest people I’ve ever met in a restaurant in Paris. Ok sure, I go there every week and jump up and down every time they serve me my tacos, (yes, they’re THAT good), but they could also just ignore me, serve me my food and be done with me.
But no, these guys are the best.
They always bring me my special bottle of super hot Habanero sauce to the table before I even ask. They pour me a beer or a coffee or serve me a slice of chipotle-dusted chocolate cake when I’ve had a rough day. They will take amazing care of you, and make you truly feel welcome. And for that, I LOVE Distrito Francés, and so will you.
10 rue du faubourg Saint Martin – 75010 Paris
Closed Mondays, open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch, dinner and cocktails! (Did I mention the amazing, cheap pitchers of Margaritas??!!)
Push open the door of the tiny restaurant called 6036 on a Friday afternoon and prepare yourself to get blown away with Japanese ‘tapas’.
There’s only one chef, a Japanese woman who preps and cooks everything by herself. Thankfully, it’s one of the few places in Paris where you can actually get a table at lunch without reserving. It was quite refreshing to eat such a stellar meal and not be squashed or have to wait in line outside for 2 hours to in the rain. So embrace the lack of a lunch crowd (for the time being), and take a seat.
So what exactly is 6036? The number of miles from Paris to Tokyo, this tiny eatery boasts ‘Japanese Tapas’. A misnomer if you ask me, because basically what they’re serving is a tasting menu that you need to share with someone else. So be sure to choose your dining partner wisely (preferably someone you know won’t steal the best bites or eat faster than you!).
The server recommended ordering 5-6 shared plates for 2 people, for lunch. So we happily obeyed, and started with 2 little bowls each of a Jerusalem artichoke purée, topped with what I thought was fresh, raw cream, but in fact turned out to be an insanely creamy yet dairy-free cashew mousse. As an avid soup hater, this little velouté changed my mind in a single spoonful.
The second course, a poached egg surrounded by fresh asparagus and topped with toasted buckwheat grains for crunch had a szechuan-pepper taste to it, without the spice. Now I’m thinking, how on Earth did she get that flavor on the plate without the kick of the pepper? Hmmmm….
The third ‘tapas’ was a simple mache and shaved fennel salad with a wasabi dressing, which surprisingly wasn’t spicy at all. Yet again, I’m wondering how and why (why??) is she taking the spice out of usually spicy ingredients. Guess I’ll have to go back and ask her.
If you’re noticing a pattern here in the dishes, then you’re right: something creamy+something fresh+toasted grains for crunch. It’s a formula that works well and produces exquisite results.
And as each course arrived, the server would give us instructions on how to eat it. The concept is quite interactive, and diners are encouraged to participate in finishing off the preparation of their dish before digging in. Sounds vaguely Noma-esque, no? ‘Poke the egg yolk then mix it with the asparagus,’ or ‘make sure to stir the wasabi dressing first’ and ‘please make sure to eat the fish skin!’ are all instructions you’re likely to hear.
After that we had a delicious piece of fish with a Brussel sprout sauce (sounds gross, was delish!), followed by a stunning, still warm onigiri filled with salmon and trout eggs (and that came with its own comic-book illustration on how to eat it!) and then a meat course with finely shaved, raw mushrooms.
To quench our thirst we downed a couple of glasses of a Silex Chardonnay from Touraine, which at a mere 3,80 per glass, was a delicious contrast to the pricier fare on the menu. If you go for the 6 courses, lunch will set you back about 70 euros for 2 people.
And the special touch? They have what are probably the cleanest bathrooms in any bistro in Paris, with adorable hand-drawn Japanese comics explaining how to flush the toilet and where to throw your hand towel when you’re done. Don’t laugh, clean toilets are not to be shunned in Paris!
The verdict? This place is basically Dersou before it got discovered by Le Fooding, minus the cocktails and trendy unfinished cement wall. The chef and server are adorable, the food is amazing and the concept is great (if you don’t mind sharing your food, that is). The only downside is that the menu is the same at lunch and dinner, and doesn’t seem to change daily or weekly. So it’s not one to put on your weekly lunch roster, but is definitely worth venturing to once every couple months.