The fab French invented haute cuisine - fine dining - and boy do we love to wander through Paris in search of haute - and hot - new food trends. Want to tag along?
Let's start in le Marais. You can't go to Paris and miss this lively, medieval, labyrinth of old, narrow alleys and tiny streets of cobblestones, galleries, boutiques, and parks.
Our favorite park is Place des Vosges, a regal square from 1605 full of charming, delicious cafes. For years we've loved Place du Royal, serving up beautiful plates as well as a gorgeous view of the park - and playground - where kids can run and play.
Salade chevré chaud, always one of my top Paris plates - topping a green salad with hot, gooey melted cheese toasts.
Salade nicoise - Mike's favorite - combines a green salad, tuna, tomato, olives, peppers, egg and anchovies.
People often ask me - what do your kids do in Paris?
Well one, they eat. Like kings. Parker's order - steak frites - he's not so adventurous and likes to stick to meat. He's gluten free like Mike, which adds to the challenge. Lilly's order varies place to place, but how amazing does her penne with basil, parmesan and jambon (ham) look?
A white hot Paris plate is found inside Big Mama, also in Marais. This is - wait for it - Italian - with gluten free pizzas my family cannot get enough of.
Truffle pizza? All the yes.
And this truffle pasta goes down as one of the all time most incredible bites in the world. Who knows where we can order up this delicious long ruffled pasta to recreate at home?
I always, always order gambas, shrimp. Here, inside Chez Janou, also in Marais, their shrimp is served up with pesto and garlic in an iron skillet with a side of jasmine rice. I really should mix it up and order something else one time...but...I never do.
Tomatoes just taste better in France. Especially when served with burrata - always a crowd favorite.
Don't even think of leaving Paris without tasting poulet paillard - a pounded chicken with lemon and arugula salad. Oh so good - and another sure fire hit with the kids. This plate is Le Hibou - the owl - in St. Germain and one of my favorite cafes on one of the city's prettiest little corners, Odeon.
This is going on my party menu immediately: cold pea soup with crabcake, bacon, black sesame seeds and teeny tiny croutons.
A bit more work for a party - but wow - what a plate. An almost deconstructed shrimp tempura with rice, avocado, shrimp, pomegranate. Still dreaming about this...
Another must visit: Le Comptoir du Relais, also in St Germain. Here we worshipped their thon tartare, tuna tartar, with raspberries, mustard seeds, almonds. I even took Chicago friends back again just to share this dish once more.
Comptoir's smoked turkey salad is my go to dish - with hearts of romaine, brie, pickled shallot, sunflower seeds, fried onions.
Shown just behind my plate - Dad's go to - salade haricot vert (green beans) with foie gras, artichokes.
Perhaps the most fun meal in all of Paris: Frenchie Wine. This wine bar is no reservations - so make sure to be in line at 630pm sharp when they open the doors. Ask to sit "a la cuisine" - at the kitchen - for a front row view of all the action.
Parmesan churros, where have you been all my life? Literally, a life changing bite.
Next up, romesco with corgettes (zuchhini), squash, black basil and fried feta.
Skillet cornbread with chorizo, basil, corn salad. The perfect fall dish - must recreate at home.
Polenta, girolle mushrooms (the only kind I eat and love) grilled corn, bacon.
Ravioli, mint, peas, parmesan. I could have ordered another. Almost as good as the churros.
Oh yes we did. We even saved room for dessert. Mouth watering pot de chocolate with the most jaw dropping salted caramel sauce and fig tart with homemade bourbon ice cream.
Paris - your pretty plates - ooh la la.
Which is your favorite shown above? What do you love to eat as you travel?
A bientot, see you soon.