Readers have undoubtedly noticed what friends and family will tell you: we’re dedicated food lovers! And, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we can’t eat the same in France as at home. While we’ve had some excellent pork, lamb, and especially fish since we’ve been in Paris, ground beef is more dried out than we are used to because of its lower fat content. So, meatballs of any kind and meatloaf are pretty much out as potential main dishes. As for tacos, there’s the meat issue and, though queso fresco may be available somewhere in Paris, cheese poses another problem. I don’t know about you, but gruyère with Mexican food just does not appeal to me. After a few months of living abroad, you really start to miss some old favorites at meal time.
Imagine our delight when we read a blog post by fellow American David Lebovitz that good Mexican food is available in Paris! About a week ago we headed up to the 3rd arrondissement to see what Candalaria had to offer. At first it seemed like the restaurant was just a small room with a kitchen, but luckily a bigger space is in the back with tables and a bar. The waitress headed over to our table all ready to explain the various menu items on the ardoise ("chalk board") to us and stopped when she realized we were Americans. Although the menu is quite limited, the basics were there: guacamole, salsa, and tacos as well as huevos rancheros, interestingly enough. The chunky guacamole was citrusy and came with very good corn chips. Our carnitas tacos were open-faced on soft tortillas and were served with small pieces of lime. We devoured every morsel! Another diner gave us a double-take when he noticed the empty salsa bowl on our table.
On Friday of this week we decided to try to fill another ethnic meal need: Vietnamese food. I had bookmarked a post which discussed the best bánh mì sandwiches in Paris. This tiny place behind a black door on rue Volta, also in the 3rd, would be very easy to overlook. When we first arrived about 11:30, the shop wasn’t yet open, but the smiling proprietor told us she was just waiting for bread and that she would be ready for business at noon. We had an errand to run and headed back there right at 12:00. The wonderful aromas inside made us immediately happy we had decided to wait for the shop to open up. The “menu” consisted of five sandwich offerings. For those who don’t know, a bánh mì usually contains some kind of meat, possibly some pickled vegetables, a spicy sauce or jalapeños, and fresh cilantro. Everything here, except the baguette, was homemade, including the chile sauce. We opted for one pork and one special bánh mì. Since there are no tables or chairs inside the shop, we had to endure the agony of having to wait to take the subway home before eating them. That part was torture but the sandwiches were heaven!
Today is Easter Sunday and instead of some traditional meal, such as a ham or a lamb roast, we’re going to attempt a version of Paul Prudhomme’s pork roast. Hopefully it’ll be as good as the other meals we’ve had reminding us of home lately.