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Wednesday, 5 September 2007

France: they hate vegetarians Part 1

Ahhhh Paris. The veritable no-man's land for the vegetarian that doesn't eat fish.
I Eurostar-ed there with some sort of naive optimism (ohhhh the cheese, the pastries, the wine) only to return to England; fat. bloated. bitter.
Oh well, no one said it would be easy, but it wasn't all bad...

We choose Aux Lyonnais because it looked great. A beautiful restaurant with lots of etched glass and chandelier action.
After deciphering the menu with our phrase books, we figured out that the entire menu consisted of meat, except for the desserts and a plate of boiled vegetables.
I refused to eat the boiled vegetables on principle as they were clearly there as a joke. So I went straight to dessert and ordered a Saint-Marcellin cheese, and asked if the kitchen could fix a salad.

The salad turned out to be a massive bowl of bitter dandelion leaves. It was palatable to begin with, but a quarter of the way in my tongue started to feel like I'd been chewing on a battery. The cheese however was amazing. As soon as I liberated it from its cute little terracotta pot and cut in, it all oozed out in a deliciously gooey way, waiting to be scooped up with some rye bread that arrived on the table in a miniature sack.

Dessert was a more straight forward affair - with no dandelion leaves in sight. A souffle with cherry liqueur flavoured cream spooned into the middle. Yum yum.
I would also like to mention that the wines we had in this restaurant were amazing, thanks to Ellen, our on-table wine expert.

Strolling around the streets of Paris, it is impossible to go hungry. There are yummy cakes and pastries at every turn. On this particular occasion The LCs enjoyed a very nice lemon tart.

We stumbled across this Jewish cafe which had some excellent boreks, jam packed with heaps of vegetarian-friendly ingredients.

Then it was on to the world-famous falafel place, to see what the fuss was about.

...and the fuss was certainly justified. Soft pita bread with freshly-cooked light, crunchy falafel balls on a bed of grilled eggplant and salad with a healthy dollop of hommus on top. We all got amongst it whilst on the go. Douglas got particularly excited with it and after the falafel was long gone, he continued to march through the streets of Paris with hommus all over his face (we tried to tell him, but we were laughing too hard).

For more info on St Marcellin cheese

L'As du Fallafel Located in the Jewish Quarter (Marais) at 34 Rue de Rosiers
Aux Lyonnais 2nd Arrondissement (La Bourse) at 32 rue St-Marc be continued in France: they hate vegetarians Part 2

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