When I first came to Paris, I imagined myself dining out in bistros and cafes, eating classic French dishes like beefbourguignon, or ratatouille or creme brulee, all while wearing a black béret, striped shirt, and a gorgeous French man on my arm.
Okay, a girl can dream.
What I didn’t imagine, is how madly in love I’d fall with the variety of ethnic foods there are in Paris. Ethiopian , Lebanese , Asian …you name it. You can taste all the flavors of the world without ever leaving the city.
Like today, for example. After a meeting at another PR firm in Paris, my friend Jane and I went to Passage Brady in the Indian quartier. It’s a tiny little street with several Indian restaurants, all of which are delicious and very inexpensive.
We walked down the street, browsing the offerings while being solicited to dine in several of the restaurants by the very eager hosts, and eventually chose Pooja.
The decor was dramatic, and lavish and I, of course, loved every detail. It was like we had traveled out of Paris for a little while -
In true French fashion, however, meal’s were offered in menus or formule with several courses. For a set price you pick an entree and a plat, or sometimes an appetizer, main dish and dessert. Or sometimes just a main dish and a dessert. You get the picture.
I went with the 12 euro formule – an appetizer and a main dish that comes with cheese naan and saffron rice. Jane went with the palak paneer, a spinach dish with fresh cheese. Mmmm.
But first, we shared a mango lassi,
and played around with the water glasses like the mature adults we are.
First up, raiti, a yogurt dish with cucumber and spices that is usually eaten with spicy foods to cool the palette and balance out the burn.
They brought out three spices before the meal came – two of which were very spicy, and the third which was sweet. My favorite was the green one – and yes, these are the technical terms I wish I knew what they were all called, but alas, I do not.
Anyway. Along with the raita, they brought out the basmati rice with saffron,
and cheese naan which words can’t describe.
Although not authentically Indian, cheese naan is one adaptation to French culture I appreciate 100%. I promise you, it’s worth the trip to Paris for this alone And well worth the gluten coma I’m currently experiencing.
Our main dishes were palak paneer,
and a chicken curry dish that was so tender and flavorful.
We shared everything on the table family style, and sat at the table for over an hour – another aspect of French life I’m really appreciative of.
We left Pooja with very full bellies,
and lingered through the area for a bit stopping in the specialty store,
and got beautified with a little eyebrow threading before heading back to our side of town.
It’s amazing how quickly neighborhoods change in Paris. One minute it looks like this –
and the next it’s that stereotypical Paris street scene…
I made my way back home, taking pictures as I walked through the quartier latin. I have a strange love for the doors here. I have tons and tons of pictures of doors. Just doors. Blue ones, black ones, red ones, strange ones, open ones, closed ones, broken ones. You get the idea.
Strange, I know. But there is just something about them that catches my eye.
I’m currently home, sweet, home, snuggled in some comfy clothes and catching up on a bit of school work. All in a day’s work.
What’s your favorite kind of food? Asian, Indian, American? What is some of the strangest ethnic food you have tried?
I loved today’s Indian food experience, but Ethiopian food is climbing the charts for me too. I also love all the flavors in Mediterranean food. Next up on the list – an African restaurant. It’s amazing how much you can learn about other cultures from food. Yes, some of the decorations in these restaurants are exaggerated to create an experience or feeling, and often times the food is adapted to the local culture (Life, for instance, food is usually less spicy in France than it would typically be in original recipes because that’s what the local culture prefers), but I still think you can really get a taste of certain parts of the world by trying different flavors – and I’m not just talking about the food!