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July 23, 2010 / joyful plate

Precious Paris (12/2009)

As featured on Area, 12.14.2009

Stroll down historic Rue Montorguiel and you’ll discover a market street of food treasures….the best of all, the restaurant L’Escargot.

A classic Parisian place, from the moment you sit down in this plush red dining room you will feel very very French. There are plently of lovely wines by the glass like 1er cru Chablis to prime your palette for the signature dish- the “escargot sampler”. Start with the classic persillade (butter/garlic/parsely), progress to the sublime saffron and finish with the blue cheese for a taste that’s sinful and seductive. Eating escargot is a playful meal of hide and seek- use your tongs to grip the snail and savor the creature inside. And, don’t forget to empty the shell of its flavorful juices onto your your baguette!

At the end of Rue Montorguiel, turn right soon you’ll find E-Dehillerin “le specialiste du material de cuisine”. Founded in 1820, E-Dehillerin is a family business dedicated to French cooking culture. Whatever you need…a food mill, a chinoise or a mandoline, they have it.  The black and white picture of Julia Child near the cash register made me wonder if this store was one of her secret weapons. Sure enough, a quick web search suggests that this may indeed be the place where she bought her most important cooking utensils and her very first copper pots. No doubt some very serious food has been created by its crème de la crème customers.

For a Temple of tastes, explore “Gourmanyat” in the Quartier du Temple. Experiment in the smelling station with every scent you can imagine, from mélange d’epices of al-andalusi (with coriander) to mélange du pharoan (hazelnut) to even a mélange “pink paradise” of rose petals. The store clerk said it has been open for 10 years but the family has a 200-year tradition specializing in aromatic plants and saafron specialties. This is a destination store for chefs, “noses” and anyone appreciative of a natural sensorial experience (you will find everything from aroma and reflex therapies, wines, champagnes and all kinds of “confiture”).  A very spiritual store–no wonder it is on the “rue Charles Francois Dupuis” an astronomie et philosopher who lived from 1742-1809.

A wonderfully feminine range of floral fabrics can be found at  Les Touristes. From tea towels, table cloths, curtains and accessories, this boutique can help you provide that printemps experience all year long by bringing a botanical garden of textiles into your home. A charming little find for those precious gifts on your list.

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