Instead of writing one lengthy post about what I did in Dijon, Paris, and Rennes last week, I'm breaking everything down into categories. First, the food.
(Disclaimer: I currently have no way of cropping or editing photos, so I apologize if pictures are a bit dark or blurry.)
I didn't take pictures of every meal, but this will give you a general idea of French food anyway.
As soon as we got to Dijon (myself and another assistant in my area and her husband, heretofore known as K and E), we dropped our bags off at our hotel and ate a very late lunch at a restaurant called A Tout Va Bien. We decided to opt for the 12.50 euro menu and each chose une entrée (appetizer), un plat principal (entree), and un dessert (I think you can figure that one out on your own).
Our choices were displayed via magnetic letters (someone played a joke and wrote pote de porc instead of rôti de porc). I ordered a slice of quiche, fish, and the greatest chocolate-banana pie ever.
I still don't quite know what the food next to the rice was.
All of the restaurant's decor was brightly colored all the way down to the pink bottles of water, and I loved their creative can/whisk clock.
That night we took a bit longer to find a place to eat but ended up going to a busy-looking place with decent prices and food. I ordered a margheurita pizza and a Hoegaarden. The pizza was greasy, but good.
The next morning we went to a very cute place called La Chouette (the owl) for a small breakfast of spice bread, orange juice, and the largest coffee I've been served in France yet.
We had the place to ourselves and the man working there was nice.
Later we went to another restaurant called Casa di Lola. The duck was delicious as well as the slice of potato goodness.
The ice cream wasn't bad either.
We also stopped by a mustard store, but I was too chicken to take a picture inside without buying something, so I snapped one of the window display on our way out. Fyi, the ice cubes were fake.
That night we went to another restaurant in the area for escargots and boeuf bourgignon, but they didn't seem too keen on having tourists in their restaurant so I tried to be inconspicuous and not take pictures. The food tasted good, but the presentation wasn't really picture-worthy anyway.
One thing that never ceases to make me chuckle is the French attempt at using English words in names of restaurants and businesses. The Grill & Cow is just one of the many such restaurants. Each time we passed by, I felt a stronger urge to take a picture and when I spotted the cowhide outside, I knew the moment was right.
In Paris we usually just bought sandwiches and kebabs, so food pictures just didn't happen. However, we did stop for a glass of champagne outside of the Moulin Rouge.
Our one restaurant experience in Paris was a complete disaster. We should have known better than to eat somewhere near tourist attractions. Allow me to bullet point the problems:
- Confusing English menu since we've grown accustomed to the terms and organization of French menus
- Terrible seating with an unnecessary heat lamp that nearly gave us all sunburns
- E's frog's legs appetizer -- a nasty, fried mess that tasted like nothing
- The browning lettuce in my salad
- The hour wait between the appetizer and main dish
- The lack of a bowl for K to put her mussel shells in
- My plate of cold coq au vin
- The "typo" on the English menu that didn't mention that frog's legs were an extra 2.50 euro
- The lack of apology and dismissal of their accountability for the frog's legs menu mistake
Moral of the story: Never ever go to a restaurant where they appear to "cater" to tourists, because you'll just end up with lousy food and lousy service.
At least my crème brûlée was decent.
In Rennes, we ate crêpes for lunch, tried another restaurant for dinner (I had a mountain of moules-frites) and then returned to the crêperie for dessert. The food was so delicious that I forgot to take out my camera. Oops!
More on Dijon, Paris, and Rennes coming soon.