As my father would say, “How could that be?”
To be fair. I also ate (in this order) a croissant, a brioche, a giant hunk of brie cheese, some sort of duck dish, a baguette or two, an eclair (a $6 one at that), and finally, a three-course meal courtesy of Eurostar, which was perhaps the most surprisingly delicious: Morteau sausage, potato salad, sardine and salmon filet with risotto, and Mont Blanc: sweetened chestnut puree, pear and vanilla.
How is it that French women don’t get fat?
But back to the falafel.
Since this was a quickie 24-hour trip, and it usually takes me at least that to get my bearings in a neighborhood let alone an entire city, my grumbling tummy often took a hit. As much as I like to eat, I also wanted to see and do — specifically the Notre Dame, St. Germaine des Pres, the Marias, and the view of the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower — so I often ended up waiting too long to refuel, left with the age-old debacle of how to choose The Place in which to do so. The No Plan Planner in me wanted to just go with it and discover my own cute spot to then recommend to someone else. But the FOMO Freak in me wanted to make sure whatever I ate in those 24 hours was The Absolute Best, which would mean my finding one of the many recommended spots given high praise by friends or Trip Advisor. The pressure!
By the time I got to the Marais around 2p.m., I was famished. Amelie and I had a quickie Parisian breakfast of coffee and baguette with butter and jam before ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Monet, Manet and Pisarro at the Musee D’Orsay (for free — holla first Sunday of the month!) She was now off to Charles de Gaulle and I was on my own. Once I exited the Metro, though, I was inundated with loveliness: The cobblestone streets that twist and turn! The old synagogues covered in ivy! The shops. Oh, the shops! I just wanted to wander and take photos and stop in to Victor Hugo’s house. But wait. My stomach! And so I ended up walking in circles a bit, hemming and hawing. Whatever that means. (Really, what does that mean?) Problem was, I had no internet on my phone so was relegated to relying on an actual paper map. It was, in fact, totally fine and awesomely old school, except I did not have the addresses for said recommended places.
And there, just as I turned the corner, was a line. A very large line, which often means one thing: This is a Place. Funnily enough, I recognized the name — L’As du Fallafel — so it was also a Place I had been told about just the night before, and from an actual Parisian. (Score Big on two accounts: FOMO Freak meets No Plan Planner.)
So I thought of my mom and how proud she’d be that I made my way to the Jewish quarter (unknowingly or not) and waited on line for 15 minutes to try “the best falafel in the world” as praised by both Mark Bittman and Lenny Kravitz. (There was a sign saying as much.)
But it was, indeed, c’est magnifque.
As much as I wanted so badly to find a brasserie where I could sit and eat steak frites in a red leather banquette with the menu written on a mirror, I was completely satisfied with having ate fried balls of chickpea and fava for my final Parisian meal. Plus, as luck would have it, later on I ended up finding all three of the spots the girls at work suggested I go to. So in the end, I spent my final hour in the City of Lights sitting outside under a heated lamp, drinking un verre de vin rouge and watching the world go by. J’adore.
PS. I promise I took beautiful shots that did not involve food. Here’s a taste. (D’oh!)