A vegan in Paris, part two! (the make-you-super-jealous edition) »
23 rue des Vinaigriers
Open weekdays from noon to 2 p.m., weekend brunch from noon to 6 p.m.
Every once in a while, you step into an establishment and you just put your hand on your heart and swoon and feel good about the world. Voy Alimento is one such place, nestled in the 10ème arrondissement of Paris. It’s a shop that sells supplements and specialty food products native to the South American continent. They also serve COMPLETELY VEGAN (not one of those half-assed vegetarian-with-vegan-options kinda joints) lunch from a modest kitchen. I think what was amazing about this place is it’s really unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced, and it’s done well—superbly, even.
Pictured above is who I believe to be the owner in the kitchen. Not only was he really knowledgeable about what he was serving me, he was super-excited to engage in conversation with me about the food. He went on to describe everything on my plate (a bunch of which I forgot, because there were like a thousand ingredients and he was talking in French):
In the center, curried rice with a spirulina-based sauce. Two side salads of alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, and red sprouts of some sort. At the top, a melange of sauteed veggies, including red peppers, zucchini, onions, and aguaymanto. He was nice enough to bring out three extra sauces for me to try to shovel atop the already delicious and flavorful food. So yummy.
I couldn’t resist getting something on the menu labeled milkshake (it’s a rarity in Paris). I opted for bananas in mine for an extra euro (a small price to pay for deliciousness); you can choose to have your shake with maca or klamath. I chose maca because it promotes mental and physical vitality and regulates hormones. Surrounding the fucking delicious shake (that has an oat milk base, if you were curious) are more of those yummy aguaymanto berries and yacón (which kind of tasted a bit like dried mangoes).
So when I was done with my meal, the kind man asked if I wanted to try dessert. Still enthralled by this completely foreign cuisine, I was like FUCK YEAH. And he was nice enough to offer to let me try a taste of the two types of desserts offered so I could make an informed decision. I chose correctly, a cacao-based pudding. The cacao nibs were ground up and provided a coffee-grounds kind of texture, but so much richer and lovelier. Adorned with beurre de cacao around the edges. Topped with an aguaymanto berry and some more of those yummy dried yacón.
Despite being full as fuck (and having finished EVERY LAST MORSEL I JUST SHOWED YOU FUCKERS), the owner/nice man offered me a free tasting of Xocolatl, what chocolate (supposedly) tasted like 5,000 years during the Aztec civilization (a 3,5€ value, on the house). It was a hot drink and looked a lot like hibiscus tea, but tasted like… spiced chocolate. Comprising cacao nibs, urucum seeds, bird’s eye chili, cinnamon stick, and white and black peppercorns, and then sweetened with agave, it’s the original Mexican hot chocolate. They sold a “kit” for this drink for 5€ which I had to get.
This restaurant is a Parisian gem. I still can’t believe how fucking amazing this place is, and I recommend you all visit (and everyone on Happycow agrees with me). I spent probably two hours enjoying the food and examining their wares and talking with the owner/kind man (in Franglish, though his English was way superior to my French). I guess what really struck me about this place is how full of love all of the food is, definitely my favorite food of my entire trip thus far. And I doubt I will ever get the chance to try food from a similar establishment. And neither will you, unless you visit.
[all photos by Brianna!]
A vegan in Paris, part one! »
I am excited to announce that my broke college ass ended up in Paris for a whopping two weeks before my semester in the even less-vegan-friendly Prague [Ed.: For more advice on visiting vegan Prague, check out Melisser’s chronicles.] And to every asshole in my life that told me I would have to give up veganism to enjoy Paris: t’es un putain de merde. It’s helpful that I have a two-burner stove kitchenette with the appropriate accoutrements, but I’ve found it easy as hell to eat in lovely vegan(-friendly) restaurants. Oh, and the baguettes are vegan, and probably the most important food group ever. Here are a few suggestions:
41 rue des Bourdonnais
Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m.
Saveurs Végét’Halles (get it?) is an adorable little mostly-vegan restaurant in the heart of Paris. The cuisine is described on HappyCow as having an “Oriental feel”, and I agree with that sentiment. For about 18,90€ you can get the dîner formule: an entrée (starter), a plat principal, and a dessert. There’s a cheaper with one fewer dish, but you’re in Paris! Go big or go home. I opted for the salade mixte aux coeurs de palmiers (salad with hearts of palm), assiette légumes vapeur minute (steamed veggies with a tofu chive sauce and some mashed peas), and crumble aux pommes (apple crumble YUM). Here’s the photos (the lighting inside was mood lighting, not so great for food lighting).
The salad was a salad; there isn’t wasn’t any special dressing beyond vinegar and oil, but it was well balanced and full of fresh and yummy veggies. The main course was exactly what I was in the mood for: really filling and satisfying food that feels healthy. Unfortunately, some of the veggies weren’t steamed properly, especially the carrots. The tofu-chive sauce was delicious, and tasted great with everything on the plate.
The crumble aux pommes was the star of the meal. I’m definitely one of those bitches who will melt for any apples prepared with cinnamon (gimme that shit over chocolate for V-day any day), and I have to say, as an apple-crisp lover, I’ve never had it accompanied with a raspberry coulis! INGENIOUS. They took two amazing fruits and put them on the same plate. LOVED IT GIMME MORE.
Le Potager du Marais
22 rue Rambuteau
Open daily noon to midnight; last seating/reservation at 10:30 p.m.
Le Potager du Marais, which specializes in French cuisine, is definitely one of those fancy-shmancy places you do not go for a casual lunch (like I did). It’s super-tiny with limited seating, so they recommend making reservations (as I went lunchtime, I didn’t bother). My lunch, a plat and dessert, cost 24€. For lunch. For just me. It’s pricey as fuck, but again, GO BIG OR GO HOME. Here’s the rundown on this place: beautiful atmosphere, nice music choices and volume, and a really friendly, eager-to-please waitstaff. You get what you pay for I guess.
I ordered a cassoulet de la mer gratinée aux noisettes (16€), which on the menu was described as a type of casserole with smoked tofu, mashed peas, bits of seaweed, and topped with crushed hazelnuts (to balance out the mushy texture). Flavor-wise, I felt the casserole was a little on the bland side. However, it was so rich and the texture was spot-on, I finished every last morsel. It was also served with an impressive side-salad, with a wide assortment of lettuces and sprouts and perfectly julienned carrots.
For dessert, I got a Tarte Tatin et Chantilly à la crème d’amandes (8€). Arguably the most beautiful looking dessert offered, it fell far short of being yummy. I was expecting a really sweet and rich end to my meal, and instead got a slightly bitter fruit topping with a difficult-to-cut-with-a-fork pastry bottom. I so wish I had gone with the chocolate mousse.
Le Quartier Juif in Marais
Rue des Rosiers between rue Vielle du Temple and rue Payenne
If you are craving some authentic Middle Eastern food and don’t want to pay more than 5€, this stretch of Jewish highway is your place. I got by ordering my falafel in Frebrew, this new pidgin language I started (but not really). I ordered just a plan old pita and falafel, and was assured in two different languages that there was indeed no dairy or eggs in any of the products I was eating. It was soooo yummy, street food at its finest (and a great alternative to Maoz).
So that’s all for now folks!! More Parisian food porn to come, I promise!
[all photos by Brianna!]