Eating in August

Eating in August
August is either a blessed or cursed time in Paris, depending on your needs. For my wife Colette, it’s when we can park anywhere, in the most crowded part of town—an event to be celebrated. For me, it means trying to find places that are open to eat at, which can be dicey. The first summer we “lived” here, Patricia Wells wrote up the Bistro du Dome in the IHT; it had just opened and she noted that it was open every day but Christmas (or was it Christmas Eve?); now it’s closed Sundays and Mondays in—you got it—August. Then a few years later, Flora Mikula moved to the Right Bank to open her eponymous resto just before August and kept it open that month—lesson duly noted. On the other hand, in 2009, despite the Great Recession, almost all the places that opened just before August were shuttered with no messages on their answering machines about their reopening dates. So how is a poor slob supposed to find out? Well, each time we eat out in July and like it, Colette nudges me as we’re leaving and says, “Find out their vacation dates.” And sometimes I am lucky and do get a telephone message I can understand about when a place returns to duty. Of course, there are places that are always open—McDo’s, Hippopotamus, and the brasseries, for example—but that’s not why I’m eating in France. And each year, different publications and websites list August openings, for example: Budget travel, Indigar and ParisTripTips. July 1st, 2009, Le Figaroscope published a 4-page piece listing those open, a first in my recollection. I ate at several of the new ones during August 2009. Of the places listed as restos in the “greenery”, Le 51 is a “snack resto” in the Cinematheque (ex-American Center/Library designed by Frank Gerhy) that serves light food such as roast chicken which I’d only recommend for those needing a bite to eat around the showing of the films. Rosa Bonheur has grown its “café-bar-grignotage” in the Butte Chaumont to a full-fledged resto. The only one listed as a good bistrot I hadn’t been to was Zinc Caius, sister of Caius across the street which had somewhat more substantial dishes: boudin, beef and crème caramel, for example, with good wines. Passing over the ethnic places, one comes to the newly opened places: Cru, which, as its name implies, serves largely raw food such as carpaccios, ceviches and tartares but has a few dishes made a la plancha and the Cantine Merci, a terribly healthy, bio, natural, protein and booze-avoidant cantine located in a “concept store” where elegant ladies from the rich suburbs come to spend oodles of money on supposedly fashionable over-priced items, under the impression that part of it is going to save starving children, which is why I suppose they eat rabbit food—that is amazingly good despite my snide attitude. In any case, August 2009 was good, one didn’t starve and excepting minor inconveniences and unanswered phone messages, the customer-restaurateur relationship was good. This year, Wednesday, July 1st (2010) in Le Figaroscope, Emmanuel Rubin listed 12 restos for this summer: Le Crabe Marteau, 16, rue Acacias in the 17th,, open 7/7, costing 30-50 E La Terrasse du Café Odeon L’Agapé Bistro La Terrasse at the Galeries Lafayette La Regalade St Honore Greenpiz Le Renard, 12, rue du Renard,, 7/7, 30-50 E without beverages La Tete Dans Les Olives Gioia Le Batofar Ralph’s Rino And Francois Simon, in his “Hache Menu,” tested the Pavillon du Lac and says one must go (for the pintade and moelleux at 93 E for two) . And in an unrelated article, Colette Monsat among others gave 50 reasons to summer in Paris, including in: July La Terrasse Mirabeau, Le Grand Pan + Le Stella In August Starting August 15th La Regalade St Honore, Les Delices d’Aphrodite + La Fontaine de Mars. Finally, a participant in Chowhound’s France Board, kirikara, using lafourchette Le Metropolitain Caius Pomze Le Chiberta Le Gayridon La Villa Corse Rive Gauche L’Orangerie Au Jardin Aux Trois Nagas Au Gourmand Citrus Etoile MBC August 2010, therefore, I’d recommend: Le Regalade St Honore starting August 15th 123, Rue St Honore in the 1st (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli) T: Closed weekends Menu at 33 E.   Chez Grenouille closed only the first week of August 52, rue Blanche in the 9th (Metro: Trinite) T: Closed Saturday lunch and Sundays Lunch menus at 15 and 25 and a 40 E carte but they’re cool about mix & matching   Cru 7, rue Charlemagne/Village St Paul in the 4th (Metro: St Paul) T: Closed Sunday dinner and Mondays Lunch menu 19, a la carte 35-40 €   La Cantine de Merci 111, bd Beaumarchais in the 3rd (St Sebastien Froissart) T: 01-42-77-01-90 Closed Sundays A la carte 20-40 €. Blog: John Talbott’s Paris ©by John Talbott 2010Take trips, not chances. For peace of mind each and every time you travel, enroll for MedjetAssist evacuation services.

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