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Saveurs Végét’Halles and A Picnic

May 16, 2010

After Graham and I had been picked up at the airport and had settled into our little studio, we went out for dinner at a mostly vegan restaurant about four blocks from our apartment, called Saveurs Végét’Halles.

My French is next to non-existent, but I’m guessing that the name is some sort of word-play having to do with the nearby Les Halles metro and mall. Our meal was very nice, despite how embarrassingly bad our French was (and is). Our waiter spoke to us in French until I apologized half-intelligibly for how unintelligible I was, and then he graciously helped us with a bit of English. For dinner, I had the Escalope de Seitan (seitan steak) with mushroom sauce, 

Escalope Seitan

and Graham had the Aubergine Basilic (basil eggplant) in coconut milk with soy chicken.

Aubergine Basilic

Graham commented that the soy chicken reminded him of the “chicken” one gets at Red Bamboo in Manhattan–this, coming from Graham, is extremely high praise. Each of our of dinners came with a side of nicely seasoned broccoli and cauliflower, chickpeas with onions, and barley, along with a basket of the (predictably) wonderful bread.

For dessert, we split an order of Green Tea Creme Brulee.

Green Tea Creme Brulee

This, I have to say, was fantastic–crispy and sweet on top, and perfectly creamy in the center. No, I have no idea how they did it. But I imagine it involving lots of sugar, macha powder, and a tiny blow torch.

We finished off our night by walking around the premises of the Louvre, which is just a few blocks from our apartment. We learned that French teenagers enjoy getting drunk on the bridges over the Seine,

The Seine

and that the Louvre is a beautiful and lively place to wander around at night.

Napoleon's Pyramid

The next morning, only Graham was feeling jet-lagged, which meant that, immediately after breakfast (a bit of baguette with jam), I dragged him over to the famed Marché Raspail, which is entirely organic on Sunday mornings. This market, almost certainly in part because it is organic, is very pricey as far as produce is concerned. However, it had reasonably priced pre-made vegan food. So we picked up just a little bit of produce and then, in preparation for a picnic, got a couple of salads and something that I will call a croquette (I’m not sure whether it’s technically a croquette or not). The two people working at the little vegetarian snack stand were extremely kind and patient with me as I attempted to pronounce, “Sans oeufs? Sans lait?” They looked a little puzzled whenever I said “oeufs,” but they eventually understood me. I did learn, however, that fish is not typically considered meat, and so the “vegetarian” stand actually had quite a bit of tuna in it. Fortunately, a nearby English- and French-speaker realized that we were vegans, and was able to help us a bit. We ended up with some tabouli,

Tabouli from Marche Raspail

some lentils cooked with lots of tumeric,

Lentils from Marche Raspail

And, as I mentioned before, a tofu croquette.

Tofu Croquette

Tofu Croquette

We took all of these things, along with some strawberries, leftover baguette, and some dark chocolate to the Luxembourg gardens,

Luxembourg Gardens

where we had a picnic.


The Picnic

We spent the rest of the day wondering around the gardens, along the Seine, and into the Marais. When we got home, we spent some time tidying up our apartment, since it seems that the former tenant was not a “cleaner.” But, I can’t complain–I’m happy to scrub a sink to get to live where we’re living for the price we’re paying.

That summarizes our first couple of days. So far, we’ve encountered a great deal of wonderful foods, and have built up a list of things we have yet to try.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Bosch permalink
    May 16, 2010 10:05 pm

    Thank you, Amelia!! Almost as good as being there!


  2. Kiki permalink
    May 16, 2010 10:20 pm

    I’m so excited you started the blog! 🙂 All that food looks amazing and it sounds like you’re having a great time already! I have to say that I’m a little bit jealous… 🙂

  3. Nekeisha permalink
    May 17, 2010 7:05 am

    YUM!!! It looks like you two are off to a very good start there in Paris! I concur that any comparison to the amazing dishes served at Red Bamboo is a stellar one indeed. It is one of my fave places to eat when I am visiting back home 🙂

    Anyway I am glad you got the blog up and running…I anxiously await your updates!

  4. Caroline Brooks permalink
    May 17, 2010 2:52 pm

    Wonderful, Amelia – sounds like you’re already having a great time! So glad you’ll be blogging – I look forward to future posts!

  5. May 17, 2010 2:57 pm

    I, too, am incredibly jealous. Also, `without fish’ = « sans poisson » / sã pwa-zã, where ã is the a-with-just-a-little-nasal-thing-at-the-very-end.

  6. Stephanie permalink
    May 18, 2010 10:38 pm

    “lots of sugar, macha powder, and a tiny blow torch.”

    That sounds like a recipe for delicious, to me.

    Have fun! Glad to follow you along!

  7. Haley permalink
    May 19, 2010 10:33 pm

    Ooo, this sounds like an incredible first day and a half! I can’t wait to hear more, and I’m so happy you and Graham have had such a great start to an amazing year!

  8. Dorie Weigel permalink
    May 19, 2010 11:52 pm

    Sounds absolutely devine! What a wonderful experience!


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