Friday, 14 March 2014

Café du Marché des Enfants Rouges

I've got another fabulous French foodie feast to show you all today. It's the last installment in the 'when Mum and Dad came to stay' series *cry* but it's all ok because we had the best time, and my Mum is actually on the Eurostar as I speak, winging her way back to Paris for a girly shopping sesh! I'm so excited!

Anyways, as I was saying, my parents and I had an amazing time together visiting galleries and sitting in brasseries in the sunshine watching Parisians go by. We have always got on but I think we have gotten on even better since I moved away to uni - my theory for this is that now when I see them there's no time to bicker, only quality catch up time!

After a brief stop off at their hotel to freshen up (and for my Dad to preview the new Lea Michele album. Don't ask, he's the world's biggest Glee fan) we were on our way to snuffle out a place to eat. That's the best technique for finding a place to eat out in Paris in my opinion - decide on a direction and start walking. Within about 30 seconds flat you'll have dozens of restaurants to pick from. Generally if I like the look of one, I shimmy up and check out the menu. If it looks good and the prices aren't crazily expensive, we go for it. If not, it doesn't matter because about 10 metres away there will be another option. 

This is exactly how we found the Cafe du Marche des Enfants Rouges in the North of the Marais; the big floor to ceiling windows of the restaurant had been opened up, exposing the insides of the brasserie to the mild evening air. We agreed that the menu looked incredible, possibly the best of the whole trip, and a moment later a waiter caught us showed us to a table just inside of the restaurant; I wanted to take advantage of the warmth of the night and sit outside, but with the open window situation it felt al fresco anyway. The restaurant was very busy but very busy waiting staff hurried back and forth with food and drinks and little bowls of crisps to keep you going.

Mum and Dad were quickly presented with their wine, which was presented in this really cool ice bag, and I got my long island iced tea.

In honour of it being the last night of the trip, we decided to go all out and get starters aswell as mains. I practically flapped the menu in excitement as soon as I saw snails on the menu and tried to recruit my Dad to share a plate with me. I've tried frogs legs, but I've always wanted to try snails too, and where else to do so but Paris?! I was expecting chewy and tasteless, but let me tell you they blew my mind! 

They come swimming in garlic, and you're given crusty French bread to mop it up. Absolutely divine. I know they're not everybody's idea of a tasty starter, but give them a try just once. If you don't want an entire plate to share, they're fun to do with a snail wingman. Dad and I had a great time taking them out of their shells with our special snail extracting equipment.

Mum's starter of goats cheese and chargrilled tomatoes also looked pretty darn good. I don't know about you but I for one love the lines that are created by chargrilling, it always looks and tastes better to me.

Set on by my tasty little starter, I was more than just a little bit excited for the main. Mum and Dad both chose a seafood salad, and after checking with the waiter that it came with chips (not even embarrassed) I went for a the cheeseburger. Yep, a burger again for me, but seriously this one was a beast. When it arrived I had to look it up and down for a minute or so to figure out how exactly I was going to eat it. Neither I nor this picture can quite communicate how thick this burger was.

It came with this amazing special sauce which put ketchup to shame, a little salad and a load of twice cooked chips. 

The biggest seafood salads I have ever seen. I might be nearly 22, but my mum still wanted to make sure I was getting my veggies by spooning loads of green beans and cherry toms on to my plate. Either that or she was trying to lessen the mountain of food in front of her a bit!

And after trying for 3 days, Dad finally got his cheeseboard! And what a cheeseboard too, I had to slap my Dad's hand away from the Stilton to take this photo. A lovely dressed salad, posh butter, hot toast, and you can't see it, but there is a fifth cheese hidden under the toast. We all tucked in and almost finished the lot, which was fine by me because I got to take the remaining cheese home. The Brie was amazing, but my favourite was the (hidden) soft goats cheese. Perfect for spreading on the warm toasted bread.

After the cheese we sat for over an hour chatting and enjoying another round of drinks, before saying au revoir in the street and heading in opposite Metro directions. I've loved having my parents to stay with me in the city and I have been spoilt rotten. 

Thankfully it won't be long before I see them both again here, my Dad is over on business on Tuesday night, and I'm off to pick my Mum up again from the Gare du Nord right now! 

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