"The evolving Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Happy Fall and Winter

We have decided to stay in Palm Springs for the winter. I want to wish everyone well. And, as General MacArthur once said, "I shall Return".  Safe Holidays to all.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Les Ombres Restaurant -- Restaurant Review

27 Quai Branly, 75007
Line 80 Bus (Bosquet/Rapp)
Check website for operating hours and reservations
Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3 - Stars....................................................€€€........................................................ 1 - Bell

I've always wanted to go to this restaurant because of the reputed fabulous views of not only the Eiffel tower, but of Paris. The restaurant is actually located where the Branly museum is located. A museum that focuses on ethnic art.

What a beautiful way to walk to the restaurant entrance. "Les Ombres" means "The Shadows". As you enter you pass a little mini-forest of shrubs and trees. Then a large door greets you with a not so friendly concierge, but that's OK. The restaurant is located on the 5th floor.

We really lucked out because it was the first day in a long, long time we actually had good weather. Not too hot and not cold at all.

So, tonight the restaurant was only open on the outside terrace, which was great for us. I have to say it truly is spectacular and even romantic on the terrace. I do recommend that if you don't like the sun, then wear a hat or use lots of sunscreen. The sun will move. So, if you were in the shade one minute, conceivably as the sun moves, you will be directly in the sun. So, to avoid the sun altogether, make a later reservations when the sun goes down. The Eiffel tower was so close, it felt you could touch it.

So, A+ on the views and ambience.

Now onto the food.

They have 2-prix-fixe menus. One for 71€ which included 3-courses from a recommended menu, and one for 98€ which included a glass of champagne and wine pairing. Three of us opted a-la-carte, and one opted for the 71€ prix-fixe menu

Note: I'm only reviewing the dishes I had. The menu is in both French & English


Lobster salad and melting eggplant, dressing with Banyuls and olive oil. This was a cold entrée. I have to say what a delicious first course. The lobster meat was perfectly cooked and sweet. They did not skimp on the lobster. Eggplant was a nice accompaniment and the touch of olive oil gave it some freshness. And, the sweet dollops of passion fruit gave a nice sweet/sour component. Overall, an excellent entrée.


Preserved pork belly with honey and soya vegetables in a wok.  Now this was a total disappointment. I like to think of myself as a pork belly connoisseur.  I love pork belly, I've had it pretty much around the world where it is served. But this must've been the fattest pork I've ever had. The ratio of fat to actual meat was about 4-to-1. And, as you can see from the photo (top portion fat), it was a pretty thick cut of pork, albeit mostly fat. But in fairness I have to say that the meat portion was very tasty. It was the fat ratio that was off-putting. I did not like the vegetables at all. They were way overcooked. And, the strangest part of this dish is they used popcorn, YES, popcorn to garnish the dish. I tasted it and some weren't even popped.  This dish was definitely a miss. My advice to them is trim the fat, get rid of the popcorn. And, flash fry the veggies.


Saint-Marcelin from Mme Cantin, and condiments. As usual, I had the cheese. It was a nice creamy cow's milk cheese. Nothing to complain about this cheese or any cheese in France for that matter. You just can't go wrong with cheese in France.


BOURGONE ALIGOTE. In my pure enjoyment of the view, I forgot to take a photo of the bottle. But these are the tasting notes of the wine

"Bourgogne aligoté is a delicious white wine that is young, stylish and is a little different. It is pale gold in color and offers a well-balanced taste, and ranges from a fruity bouquet with notes of apple and lemon to a more floral palette. In the mouth, this vibrant wine tickles the taste buds." ~ Bourgogne wines.

It was a great pairing with our dinner.


I loved, loved, loved, the location, the killer views, the ambiance, and the service. Now onto the food. It started well, the entrée of lobster salad was delicious, but the plat that I had, I just can not forgive them for their amateurish mistake. Trim some of the fat before or after confit'ing it. Don't overcook the vegetables. And, what's up with the popcorn. I'm not watching a movie.

Normally I ask myself the question, would I go back? Unfortunately, it's not a clear answer, and I'd go back for different reasons. If it were e.g., a cold cloudy day for example, with no view and basically you're going for the food, I say, NO. If it's a beautiful warm day with clear skies, the food becomes secondary and the view becomes upfront and center, then I would say, YES. Our friends thought the food was just OK/good. Jack had his entrée of foie gras with rhubarb and it was a hit with him. His plat of mackerel was a miss. Methinks they have a problem with their plat dishes. 

For 1 bottle of water, 2-coupe de champagne, 1-kir, 1-pastis, 2-bottles of white wine, 1 glass of red wine, 1-prix-fixe; three a-la-carte with 3-entrées, 3-plats, 2-desserts our bill came to 426€ for 4-people or 106.50€ per person.

Note: you have to provide credit card for an approval that they will charge your account 320€ if you cancel under 24-hour notice.

Monday, May 20, 2019

O'Bergine -- Restaurant Review

32 Rue Tiquetonne 75002 Paris
Tel: +33 9 71 51 12 72
Metro: Line 4 (Etienne Marcel)
Reservations can be made on La Fourchette (The Fork)
Website: https://obergine-restaurant.business.site/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.25  - Stars....................................................€€........................................................ 3 - Bell

I love this neighborhood around Rue Montorgueil. The street is called Rue Tiquetonne and it's about as French quaint as it gets.  We went with some friends and decided we wanted to do something other than traditional french, and this fit the bill.

The name is a play on Irish names, which I thought was very cute.

It's a small quaint modest restaurant, it sits maybe 26-people. The maitre'd, Omer as well as the co-owner was very warm and welcoming.

I spoke to Chef Claude and he's from Lebanon so the cuisine is a fusion of middle-eastern and french. We perused the menu, and it had a limited choice of different dishes.  All are prepared onsite.


Deconstructed hummus. What a great dish. I've never had a deconstructed hummus. It was interesting. We had a traditional hummus made chickpeas, as well as one made with carrots and sweet potatoes. Keep in mind that hummus is made with sesame paste, tahini, so the added sesame gave the dish a nice textural component.

Personally, I would've loved it served with traditional pita bread,  or a Lebanese flatbread, but it was served with french baguette, other than that it was a good start.


Filet of sea bream. This was my favorite dish of the evening. The skin was nice and crispy and the fish very, very tender. The accompanying green asparagus, crunchy mushrooms along with the broccoli and carrots as well as zucchini gave the fish a nice healthy balance. Although you would think that the sesame cream tahini sauce would be too much for this dish, it actually gave it some smoothness. A big hit for me.

O'Bergine Farcie.  This is their signature dish known as "Batenjen Mehchiand" rightfully so.  A delicious farcie (stuffed eggplant) with Lebanese spices and citrus.  What came through on this dish was the scented cinnamon, which is typically used in this region of the middle east. It was a beautiful mix of flavors all subtly blended. A hit.


Crispy angel hair with cream and ice cream. Using noodles or noodle-like pastry is not uncommon in the middle-east or the Maghreb countries, but I've always had it with loads of honey, which I don't particularly care for, because it's too sweet. This dessert although complicated looking was actually quite a simple dessert and was not smothered in honey. It's mascarpone and mozzarella cream nested (literally) between two crispy angel hair noodles topped with vanilla ice cream. Jack liked this dessert not only for the flavors, but also for the different textural component, so it was big hit.

Crème brûlée- A standard version.

Cheesecake au Labneh- A delicious, more like a cake, cheesecake but made with labneh instead of the traditional cream cheese or cottage cheese.

I only reviewed the dishes that I tasted.


What a great find. Don't be deceived by its size and unpretentious setting, the chef makes some pretty damn good middle-eastern/mediterranean food. I thought all the dishes were excellent. As I mentioned the only thing I thought odd was they did not serve the meal with typical middle-eastern bread such as pita or lebanese mountain bread (khobez).  Would we go back ABSOLUTELY.

For 4-entrées, 4-plats, 3-desserts, 4-glasses of wine, 1-coffee our bill came to 142.50€ or 36€ a person. A very, very reasonable price.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Le Mazenay -- Restaurant Review

46 rue de Montmorency
Metro Line  Rambuteau (M11)
Check website for operating hours & reservations 

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4 - Stars....................................................€€........................................................ 3 - Bell

As soon as I had just written about "Pamela Popo" saying it's really hard to find a good french restaurant in Le Marais, we came upon this restaurant. In fact, very close to our old stomping grounds in the 3eme.

Very modern sleek interior, when we arrived it was pretty crowded with locals for lunch. We were the only non-french there. It did get a bit loud, because they had a lot of hard surfaces where noise could bounce, but we had no problems conversing. They had a large floor to ceiling window which let in a lot of natural light. And, a big plus, they have air-conditioning when the heat starts rolling in, in the summer.


Terrine of chicken livers and apple served with beets.  Two of us ordered this dish. This is a very, very typical French starter. I often times eat it as a meal with some bread or crackers. It was very good, a well balanced (ratio) of chicken liver, fat and apple. The accompanied beets gave the heavy dish a nice freshness. Good entrée.

Duck foie Gras.  This was a very smooth creamy foie gras, albeit extremely rich. Foie gras needs something to cut down on the richness and it was accompanied by some citrus and sweet/sour apricot jam which did the job. Overall a nice simple entrée

Escargot. This was my favorite entrée of the day. At first  I thought they must've made a mistake, but then realized it wasn't your typical escargot. It was pieces of escargot sitting atop smooth homemade cottage cheese. The black currant dressing added a nice sour component and the greens brought it all together. An excellent, simple, beautiful composed entré


Pork Belly. Two of us had this dish, and I have to say, being a pork lover, this dish was delicious. The pork was "confit'd" perfectly and the accompanying sauce was nicely reduced naturally, versus adding any type of starch to thicken, which I hate. It is a heavy dish, but I loved it. 

Skate. This was not on the regular menu, so I have to assume it was a special for that day. This was not an attractive dish and I had not expected the skate to be de-boned.  Normally, for me skate does not have a particular taste. So the accompanying cream sauce added a nice balance to the otherwise light fish, without overpowering it. There were blanched spinach and a sprinkling of pine nuts. Nice dish. 


Almonds and Hazelnuts Napoleon. Of the 3-desserts we ordered, this was the favorite of the group. The nice crispiness of the almond wafer with the praline cream was a nice balance of sweetness, textures and even citrus, with the accompanying lemon. So, this was a hit. 

Bourbon Vanilla Millefeuille (thousand leafs). This also looks like a "napoleon", with a thick filling of cream and a dollop of caramel. Our friend said that although he liked the dessert, it could've been a tad sweeter.

Strawberry/rhubarb Charlotte (trifle).  Jack loved this dish, it was a slice of savoy cake topped with vanilla cream and strawberries/rhubarb. Jack loved this dish because it had a lot of rhubarb in it. He liked the tartness that was added to this normally sweet dessert. So as far as he was concerned, this was a great dessert. 

WINE:Graves. We had a bottle from Chateau Massereau.  The Graves area tends to produce a lighter Bordeaux.  Aroma of floral, notes of resin, spices, chocolate, vanilla, and roasted aromas. Taste is supple, firm, and rich with blackberry notes.


We were just in "Le Marais" the other night and I stated that it's hard to find a good french restaurant in the Marais, well I just ate my words today (sorry for the pun). We discovered Le Mazenay in Le Marais, in fact in our old stomping grounds. It's a modern structure surrounded by classic older buildings. 

Now onto the food. All the entrées were very good, with the escargot being our favorite. As for the plats, all of us loved what we ordered, with the pork being the favorite for two of us, and the skate being a favorite of the other two, so it was a draw. 

As for the desserts, all the desserts were excellent, except for a minor complaint that the Bourbon Vanilla Millefeuille could have been sweeter. 

The service was excellent. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY. YAHOO, en fin (finally) we found a worthwhile restaurant in "Le Marais"

We were four people, for 4-entrées, 4-plats, 3-desserts, 1-bottle of wine, 2-glasses of chardonnay, 1-tea, and 1-coffee our bill came to 221€ or 55.25€ per person. 

NOTE.  Normally the prices would've been much more reasonable, but we decided to splurge on the wine which was 62€ a bottle.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pamela Popo -- Restaurant Review

15 rue François Miron, ,75004
Metro line 1 - St. Paul
Check website for reservations & operating schedule

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

2.5 - Stars....................................................€€........................................................ 3 - Bell
NOTE: Once the music is turned on it becomes a 4 - bell rating 

As a general rule for me, the heart of the 3eme or 4eme (Le Marais) is not a dining destination and not an arrondissement I would recommend tourist to go to for food, except for cafés, pizza, falafel or sandwich places (my personal opinion). So, I was looking forward to going to this restaurant recommended by friends who've recently been.

The dining area is upstairs, below is the bar. It is quite cozy, very, very charming, but as it filled up in the adjacent room to where we were at, it became quite tight, since it's not a large restaurant. And, the noise level with the hip-hop music in the background at times became very difficult to hear.

We perused the menu which is on a chalkboard. Is it me or is french handwriting difficult to read. So we decided to use our phones and pull the menu from their website. They had a nice selection of dishes.

Now onto the Food.

We started with an amuse bouche of radishes and salt. 


Crabe décortiqué Mousse d’asperges, carpaccio de Saint-Jacques (Shelled crab, Asparagus mousse, carpaccio of scallops). Most of us had this dish.

What a great entrée. At the bottom of the dish was the crab which sat atop, I believe, a thicker mousse. The crab was definitely not canned, cause I got a couple of pieces of cartilage, which I didn't mind. The carpaccio of scallops was topped with an asparagus mouse. Surprisingly the dish sounds very complicated and heavy, but it was extremely light and refreshing and had nice balance and also had citrus which rounded it off. So, this was a hit for all of us.


Canon d’Agneau Beurre persillé, Haricots Verts et caviar d’Aubergines (Lamb Parsley Butter, Green Beans and Eggplant Caviar). Since the entrée was so fabulous, we assumed that the following dishes would be just as good. WRONG. I don't think I've ever disliked a dish more than this. One friend asked for the lamb to be cooked very rare, I asked for it to be cooked medium. The meat was cut so unevenly, we had bites that ran the whole gamut of meat doneness from rare, medium, medium well, and pretty damn well cooked, bordering on leather. So, each bite was a surprise and not in a good way. The accompanying eggplant caviar was disgusting. I took one bite, and said that's it. Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables of all time. When you mash eggplants, you need try to retain its flavor by maybe enhancing it with some lemon or spices. It truly was mushy and tasteless. And, and the accompanying gravy tasted very starchy? Not a hit at all.


Tarte tiède au chocolat caramel à la fleur de sel et noisettes (Warm chocolate tart Caramel with fleur de sel (salt) and hazelnuts).

We all shared the desserts. This was the favorite of the two we ordered. It was a simple tart and the chocolate flavors came through perfectly. But it was also nothing out of the ordinary.

Paris Brest.  (Dessert, made of choux pastry and a praline flavoured cream)

This was the least favorite for the group. They found the dough way too doughy and heavy for a paris brest, so this was a miss.

I forgot to take a photo of our wine, but we had a Millebuis Chardonnay Bourgogne Chardonnay. It's one of my favorite wines. It's dry, but not too dry and also has a mild light hint of fruity sweetness.


I had high expectations for this restaurant. I wanted to find a nice French restaurant in "Le Marais" where we hang out the most. The location and interior of this restaurant can't be beat, but once they turn on the hip-hop music and it becomes a full house, it becomes really hard to carry a conversation.

Now onto the food. The food was a hit or miss, and when it was a miss it was pretty startling. There were six of us so I only reviewed in depth what I had, but did taste the cod. The crab entrée was fab, the lamb was pretty bad, technically bad. The accompanying sauce was a bit starchy. As for the desserts, the chocolate was good, but we all thought the choix for the paris brest was too heavy and doughy. I did actually taste the cod, and have to say although I didn't write it up nor take a photo, it  tasted like mashed potatoes, "where's the cod?" not a good dish at all. Would I go back? the price point is reasonable and the service was EXCELLENT, but probably not. Well I guess it's back to the drawing board for me to search out a French restaurant in Le Marais that I actually like.

For 6-entrées, 6-plats, 2-desserts, 3-bottles of wine, 4-glasses of wine, 1-cognac our bill came to 425€ or roughly 71€ per person. What brought our bill up as because of all the lushes 😉at the table, otherwise it would have been a reasonable price.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Sourire -- Restaurant Review

27 rue Galande 75005 Paris
Metro: line 10 (Maubert – Mutualité)
Check website for operating schedule and menu

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3.25 - Stars....................................................€€........................................................ 2 - Bell

This is a neighborhood close to Boulevard Saint-Germain which I normally don't dine in, primarily because I find it too touristy and the food is generally not good. So, at a recommendation of my friend we went and made reservations for a late lunch 13:30h at this French tapas restaurant. They have 2-restaurants in Paris, and one in Bayonne. It's in a great location close to the Ile de la Cité, but then again lots of tourists.

The interior was long and narrow and they actually had a few tables on the terrace. Nothing out of the ordinary, but quaint. We sat in front of the front window at a more casual setting with a coach and a long coffee table.

This is a french tapas restaurant, it seems like we ordered a lot for 3-people, but it was actually the perfect amount because they were just tasting portions (see link for menu).

1.  Burrata. The burrata was nice and smooth and overall good tasting. The pesto cream with the twill was a nice accompaniment.

2. Cheese plate. A great selection of cheeses: comté, basque brebis and an aged brie. It was accompanied with a sweet confiture.

3. Beetroot salad. Salad was very refreshing, and what's not to like about fresh beetroots served along with tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce).

4. Fries. We had a mix of sweet potato and regular fries. Nicely salted and crispy. I especially liked the sweet potato fries.

5. Asparagus. Asparagus is in season and these were good. Perfectly cooked and accompanied with a citrus and morel sauce.

6. Salmon. "mi-cuit" (half-cooked). I didn't like this dish at all. First of all it was supposed to be half cooked, but it was completely cooked, dry and salty. So, I'll need to remember to skip this next time.

7. Iberian pork. We were all expecting some kind of charcuterie, almost like a prosciutto, so the menu is a little deceiving. Although, not what we expected, it was none-the-less very tasty with its sweet maple syrup glaze. It was accompanied by a tarragon sauce.

NOTE: We skipped dessert.


As I mentioned, I don't normally like dining in this area and always leave it to the tourists. However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the food. And, although there was only one server, he kept the plates moving. The food was above average, with the exception of the salmon, atmosphere nice, service great. Would I go back, yes, if I'm in the neighborhood and I just want to nosh, ABSOLUTELY.

For 7-tapas dishes, 1-bottle of wine, our bill came to 92€ or rounded up about 31€ per person, "pas mal" NOT BAD.