Paris’s Best Buffet and Worst Waiters

I am going to keep this short and simple. You can say a lot about French cuisine in general, but I will just stick to four primary observations: butter, butter, cream, pastry.

On Sunday morning, thanks to a tip, Akane and I had a reservation at La Bellevilloise, a trendy restaurant in Paris with a brunch buffet and live jazz. It wasn’t cheap at 29 euro, but it was definitely a fun start to the day (that basically put me out of service for the rest of the day). I partook in undoubtedly the most excessive eating I’ve done on this trip, and in some ways I am still recovering from it. There were savory dishes like sausages, cold cuts, cheese, salads, etc., but as many of you know that’s not really my style for brunch. Instead, I went with French toast, brioche, crepes, donuts, chocolate croissants, hot chocolate, plus some scrambled eggs for protein. Yes, all of that. And I went back three times.

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On a separate note, Parisians were much nicer than I remembered. A special shout out to the four Gendarmerie Nationale officers (French military police) who all pulled out their iPhones to try to call Akane (with no success) when I was having a panic attack at the train station this morning when we were coming to London. Akane went through customs with my ticket and didn’t realize she couldn’t come back to get me. I had no phone and no idea what happened to her. Never mind that the officers probably approached me because I was panicking and my behavior looked erratic and initially they thought I was a security threat. Also the Eurostar employee who somehow, through an unbeknownst chain of custody, got my ticket and then managed to find me, deserves a special thanks. I am not sure how I missed the THREE announcements made over the loud speaker at Akane’s request directing me, LACEY LAKEN, where to go to get my ticket, but when you’ve been in non-English speaking countries for two and a half months, you tend not to pay attention to such things.

On the other hand, while people were generally nice, French waiters are terrible and mean. In particular, avoid these two:

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Also, tarts are pretty good. So are Kir Royals (an apertivo of champagne and creme de cassis), especially when sipped with a view of the the Louvre sparkling in the night. Even bad waiters can’t ruin that.

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Sorry, that wasn’t so short after all. I will post before then, but just to foreshadow, I’m going to have a major eating experience at one of London’s great restaurants — Dinner by Heston — on Friday. Expect to drool as you vicariously share a meal that is a throwback to English cuisine from centuries past. If you want to do some advance reading, you can get more information here.

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2 thoughts on “Paris’s Best Buffet and Worst Waiters

  1. those tarts look amazing! the brunch not so much… However, I have to admit that i have never had a pain au chocolat in Paris and now I am wondering why the heck not. Somehow it always seems so naughty, and unnecessary in the face of such great plain croissant, but I can definitely see that if they were cut up into pieces on a buffet they wouldn’t seem so wrong and now I am longing for one. And I definitely agree about french waiters – attitude by the mile. You are the 3rd person I have heard from who is going to Dinner in the next couple of weeks; alas he does not do vegetarian options so I don’t get to experience it myself but will be looking forward to your post!

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