Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dining in Paris II

We ate pizza and pasta several times in Paris... it was beginning to feel like Italy! We had a quiche or cold sandwiches on baguettes for breakfast. Prosciutto seemed to make an appearance on every menu. Bread with oil was available at every single restaurant. I tried duck foie gras for the first (and probably last time) when feeling particularly daring. Pastries usually had some delicious buttery dough, often similar to croissant dough, and filled or topped with berries, cheese, or chocolate. Our apartment was located in a Jewish area, and we ate authentic shawarma sandwiches a couple of times. Shawarma consists of a round pita sliced in half and stuffed with shaved lamb, salad, and Israeli sauce and spices (similar to a Greek gyro). Chez Omar was a delicious (and packed!) Moroccan restaurant where we had roast chicken, beef kabobs, vegetable stew, and cous cous. We stopped at small markets to get fresh muscat grapes and strawberries that taste like they were picked from my mom’s backyard. We snacked on salami and deli meat with bread, cheese, and tomatoes at our apartment.

Our first coffee order was a surprise. We ordered “espresso”, the only thing we could read on the drink menu, and we were brought teeny tiny cups with a single bitter espresso shot. Nothing like the big, sweet lattes we’re used to in America. We later learned that if you want coffee with milk, order “café creama”. And nobody has fancy flavored syrups, unless you go to Starbucks, but we stayed clear.

In Paris, you have to ask for the bill when you’re ready to go. If the waiter brings the bill before you ask for it, it’s considered very rude. Any American has to get used to the close proximity of the tables. Often times, you’re sharing elbow room with strangers on either side. Not as many Parisians spoke English as we had anticipated, so French menus were a challenge. At times we ordered and weren’t sure exactly what was coming our way from the kitchen. But if we wanted to eat food we’re used to, we wouldn’t be traveling.

- Julia