Paris Inspired

Indulge me for a bit as I share a few images of Paris, oui? Meandering the narrow streets of Monmartre after ascending the many famous steps to Sacré Coeur,

stopping to catch my breath and chuckle at the irony of a satirical poster of DeGaulle as Mickey Mouse,

recalling the early  morning street protest that stopped traffic along the boulevard during morning rush hour,

a normal day in Paris; organized dissension, self expression awaiting the street sweeper…

it’s so easy to fall back into our mad routine and let the magical times spent away recede into the fog of long-term memory.

I come away from these trips to Paris, pleasure trips for me – business as usual for Don, who, several times a year, resides at the Radisson Blue Hotel Ambassador on Boulevard Haussmann in the city centre near L’Opera Garnier and within walking distance of his office – invigorated, grateful, and with an altered perspective on life in the modern world, the history preceding us, being American, etc. Heavy stuff. But, no philosophical discourse here, let’s move on to the food.

Ambassador Hotel Paris via

Fortunately, we have the intrepid Muriel, a native Parisian who calls St. Germain home who speaks six languages and orchestrates all the business coming through the Paris office, to also orchestrate where we dine and assist us when our lame attempts at the French language fail completely. With business dinners every night, this is especially important now because of Don’s dietary restrictions and she made sure that the chefs were aware of his sodium allergy. She had told us that Europeans rely less on salt as a flavor enhancer than Americans and I think this is true. J’adore, Muriel! It’s wonderful to know that we have two excellent restaurants nearby that can prepare a delicious classic French dish with no sodium!

Only three blocks away, Au Petite Riche at 25 rue Pelletier, specializes in Loire Valley cuisine along with traditional French fare and an impressive selection of Loire Valley wines. Although I didn’t refer to any reviews before dining there, the Frommer’s review below is accurate and made me smile. Generally, we prefer traditional fare over haute cuisine and loved the old Paris ambiance, service was pleasant and efficient, and the restaurant was bustling with every table in each of the three dining areas occupied by 9:00 p.m. on both evenings (we returned on our last evening so I could try the Dover Sole which I’ve recreated here).

No, that’s not Flaubert or Balzac walking through the door, but should they miraculously return, the decor of old Paris, with the original gas lamps and time-mellowed paneling, will make them feel at home. This place opened in 1865 as the restaurant associated with the very large and then-solvent Café Riche next door. After Café Riche burned down, the restaurant continued to attract lawyers, set designers, and machinists from the nearby Opéra Garnier, eventually becoming a well-known restaurant. Charles Aznavour is an occasional patron, along with politicians and anyone interested in the nostalgia of La Vieille France. Expect an impressive roster of Loire Valley wines and food that combines Loire Valley classics with traditional French fare. The house is famous for its Gillardeau oysters. Other examples include roasted rack of veal prepared à l’ancienne, a long-standing house special of tartare of beef, roasted whitefish in meat drippings, and seasonal game dishes such as civet of rabbit.”

Dover Sole in Butter Sauce

Roasted filet of duck, risotto with cepes

Beef’s cheek in red wine sauce

Serving a cheese course

We each started with an appetizer: David went with the homemade duck foie gras; I, the specialty Gillardeau oysters; Muriel, the rustic lentil salad with lardons, and a fresh green salad with steamed haricot vert for Don. Entrees are pictured above, except for David’s – he wasn’t waiting for the food paparazzi :-)

But let’s get to the recipe – I usually don’t ramble on this long… Don raved about the Dover sole, so I recreated it at home with Petrale Sole from Santa Monica Seafood  and a little less butter! They also made him steamed potatoes and carrots, and I did the same – minus the aged cast iron server with the nifty hook on the side where you could put the lid when serving.


26 Responses to “Paris Inspired”

  1. foodwanderings November 15 at 8:22 pm #

    Priscilla, This post transcends you beyond the Atlantic and takes us right to Paris. Sounds indeed invigorating!!

  2. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen November 16 at 12:30 am #

    Sigh, you’re making me want to go back! (Laughing at that poster of DeGaulle as Mickey Mouse by the way.)

  3. Barbara | Creative Culinary November 16 at 10:01 am #

    The closest I’ve been to Paris…thanks for taking me along.

    • Priscilla November 17 at 4:52 pm #

      You’re welcome Barb! You have to put Paris on your bucket list :)

  4. Patty November 16 at 12:49 pm #

    I think you’ve captured a slice of Parisian life here and of course the wonderful satisfying food that we love when visiting. I’m glad you chose the Sole dish to recreate at home, looks better with the colorful veggies than the original;-)

    • Priscilla November 17 at 4:53 pm #

      Thank you, Patty! Can’t wait to see pics and hear about your adventures in Europe :)

  5. wok with ray November 16 at 6:13 pm #

    I love the look of that beef cheek but the sole is where my mouth starts to water. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

    ~ ray ~

    • Priscilla November 17 at 4:57 pm #

      You’re welcome – glad you enjoyed it! The beef cheeks were sooo tender, ultimate comfort food – next trip :)

  6. Lora @cakeduchess November 16 at 6:22 pm #

    Your sole looks delicious. Thank you for sharing Paris. It makes me miss it even more.:)

  7. Nancy@acommunaltable November 17 at 9:11 am #

    Loved your photos of Paris – didn’t get to Monmartre on our last trip so I am now intrigued of course to go back (tough job I know!!)
    I think your Dover Sole looks better than the restaurants and I am sure it was delicious – one of my favorite ways to eat fish!!

    • Priscilla November 17 at 5:19 pm #

      Thanks, Nancy! You can’t see all of Paris in one trip that’s for sure – last time I visited the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Les Halles and St. Germaine – this time, Monmartre, Marais, and the Opera. Next time…

  8. Angie's Recipes November 17 at 9:18 am #

    I find your recreation of sole looks so much better than the original. ;-))

    • Priscilla November 17 at 5:20 pm #

      Thanks, Angie!

  9. Kim November 17 at 9:32 am #

    I love that poster! I remember your Paris posts from last year, too. Has it already been another year?! And if you’re going next year, take me with you?! We would have so much fun wandering Paris together!!

    The sole looks wonderful. I’ll save it for next month when we’re FULL of meyer lemons. :-)


    • Priscilla November 17 at 4:51 pm #

      Seriously, it would be a blast – I have dates for this coming June and I think my sister is going to meet up with us, you should, too :) I received a box of Meyer lemons from our favorite produce company – love them!

  10. Cristina November 17 at 10:52 am #

    {sigh} day I hope I get to visit Paris too. Great capture on those street lined with papers from demonstrations. Also, interesting that the French don’t use salt as a flavor enhancer as I’m also huge on that (for dietary reasons).

    Light, flavorful and beautiful sole dish, Priscilla. I could enjoy that dish any meal, any day! :)

    • Priscilla November 17 at 5:14 pm #

      Thank you, Cristina! We eat a lot of fish – usually grilled or broiled, flavored with spices, herbs, citrus, and different olive oils.

  11. Magic of Spice November 18 at 10:21 pm #

    What a beautiful post…and but of course the glorious food, wondrous! So wonderful to have someone to help insure the dietary needs and help guide you through all of the luxuries. Your rendition of this sole dish is just perfection!

  12. Val November 20 at 6:41 am #

    Classy and delicious, plus less butter and still full of Paris memories. Love it!

  13. Sandra's Easy Cooking November 20 at 10:00 am #

    What a fun post..and food, what can I say..DELICIOUS!!!

  14. Kiri W. November 20 at 10:55 am #

    That sounds wonderful! I miss some of the beautiful dishes you get in much less fancy places in Europe :) Great job recreating the recipe!

  15. Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} November 20 at 8:10 pm #

    I like Paris but can’t say I love it. Reading your post made me see it with other eyes. Maybe I was looking at it the wrong way. I think I should talk hubby into planning a Parisian escapade 😉
    Love the Charles de Gaulle Mickey Mouse poster :)

  16. Cindy November 21 at 2:35 am #

    Thanks for sharing,
    I’ll try this recipe sometime!

  17. Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) November 21 at 7:15 am #

    Hi Priscilla,
    You have just increased the hunger pangs for Paris with these pictures. One of my best memories is seeing the mosaic tile at Sacre Coeur–I didn’t want to leave the church. How wonderful also that you have a guide/friend to help you optimize your dining experience. The food all looks wonderful! So lucky that you get to visit each year. :)

    I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  18. RavieNomNoms November 21 at 7:57 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Everything looks SO amazing!

  19. Monet November 21 at 8:00 pm #

    This is making me so excited for my trip to Paris in May. My first one! Ryan and I need recommendations for a good restaurant to go to for our anniversary. Do you have one in mind? Thank you for sharing another inspired recipe with me. I hope you are having a great start to your week. Many blessings this Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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