One of my favorite things about Paris is how good the food is EVERYWHERE (or almost everywhere). You don’t have to visit one of the “fancy” restaurants, or go to the newest hole-in-the-wall tiny place opened by the latest avant-garde chef (though that is always a fun outing too!).
You can do what we did on a recent trip, and just go down to the corner café. Le Baromètre is our local hangout, owned and run by several young men who are incredibly nice, welcoming, and who also happen to serve really good food.
Upon arrival, I always first check the specials of the day, and this particular night, the special was fish soup “avec rouille.” (Okay, what in the heck did that mean?) Well, it turns out that a “rouille” is a sauce, made with olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers. It is commonly served as a garnish for fish soup (I have to admit that I had never been served it before). If you look at the picture above, it’s the low bowl at the left, next to the swiss cheese and behind the homemade croutons. So…. the process is this– you crumble some of the cheese and the croutons into the soup, you then take a spoonful of soup, and before you bring it to your mouth, you dip the end of your spoon in the rouille and THEN take a blissful mouthful. Pause, enjoy the various flavors combining in your mouth– fish, cream, cheese, crouton, and finally the rouille which adds a little garlic and “je ne sais quoi” that makes it PERFECT. Absolutely delicious! Of course, to drink with my fish soup, I took their suggestion of a medium dry, white wine from their home region (I meant to take picture of the bottle, but unfortunately didn’t so I can’t tell you where it was from.) But I can tell you it was one I had not tried before, and it was the exact right accompaniment. What a wonderful benefit to going to a familiar place. I knew that I would not be steered wrong on my choices. Of course, I had to finish the meal with his mother’s homemade clafoutis, which is a dessert made up of black cherries, covered by a buttery flan-like batter.
When is the last time you had a meal like that at your local restaurant??