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Archive for February, 2009

En Vacances

I’ll be spending the next week discovering Vegan Morocco: will report back when I return.

E.H.

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I have seen frustrated vegetarians online who wish that they could come to Paris and enjoy real Parisian food and not ethnic food. I think there is one ethnic food in particular which may not be French but which is very Parisian, and that is Lebanese.

For over twenty years, after the fall of the Ottomans, Lebanon was a French mandate and since then Paris has been home to generations of Lebanese families. It’s practically as ubiquitous as Indian food in London, and just as delicious. It’s also super Vegan-friendly and your best chance of getting good animal-free food if you find yourself suddenly hungry in Paris. Particularly if you find yourself in a more touristique part of Paris, like over by the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe, Lebanese can be a life saver. And it’s really easy to stop someone in the street and ask where the nearest “restaurant Libanais” is.

Lebanese food is one of my favorite somethings about living in Paris. I crave it often and would be happy to eat it much more often. It always tastes so fresh with such variety of vegetables, textures, dips and salads. A combo plate usually consists of mouttabal, hommous, feuilles de vigne, taboulleh, falafel, fatayer, green beans in sauce and excellent pita. They’ll often also include some cheese, so just ask them for no cheese and they’ll usually cheerfully substitute something. As a rule of thumb, a vegetarian plate will run around 15 euros.

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I’m starting a list of some that I have visited and will add to it as I sample more of this wonderful cuisine.

Noura
Institut du Monde Arabe, 9th floor, 1 rue des Fossés St Bernard, 75005
Métro : Cardinal Lemoine or Jussieu
01 55 42 55 42
Multiple locations in Paris including two spots at L’Institut du Monde Arabe: their nice and casual ground floor café and pricier top floor restaurant which many Parisians say has the best view of the city of any dining spot. Its prices reflect this, but still affordable as a treat. Classy joint, impeccable service, fab fattoush.

Noura

L’Escale du Liban
1, rue Ferdinand Duval, 75004
Métro: St. Paul
01 42 74 55 70
This is the closest Lebanese to my house and probably the best in the Marais. Casual, great for takeout, excellent taboulleh. I would skip the Mannakish breads, though. If it’s Sunday and you want a Mannakish, get yourself down the fairly nearby Bastille market.

Liza
14, rue de la Banque
Paris, France 75002
Métro: Bourse
01 55 35 00 66

I stumbled upon this place during a flea market fest on rue de la Banque. I had THE most delicious, huge spinach filled pastry loaded with pine-nuts at their bakery. I don’t know why I haven’t been back. Look forward to trying the restaurant. Looks splendid.

Al Boustan
21, rue Montorgueil 75001
Métro: Étienne Marcel
01 40 41 02 40
A Casual little place with take-out counter. Good take-out deals, nice to sit outside on a great street for people watching and soaking up city atmosphere.

Naî
229, Rue Du Faubourg-Saint-Honore 75008
Métro: Ternes
01 40 68 90 70
Not far from Arc de Triomphe or to escape from the Champs d’Elysee. Nice place, with great veg plate and great service.

Traiteur Al Sage
If you are on the run, or on the run from the prices of this swanky neighborhood,  the take-out place on the corner of Ave Hoche and Faubourg St. Honore offers great cheap eats fast.

Tavern du Nil
16-18 rue le Régrattier, 75004
Métro: Pont Marie
01 40 46 09 02
I hear this place is quite good, but haven’t visited yet. It’s on the Île St. Louis so if you’re headed there for Berthillon sorbets, you can do the double.

Al Dar
93, av Raymond Poincaré, 75016
Métro: Victor Hugo
01 45 00 96 64
One of the most highly regarded Lebanese spots in town. The actual restaurant is underground, beneath the pastry shop and café. If you are very hungry and want to splurge, the set menu is expensive but will fill even the most ravenous herbivore. They also have a location in the fifth.

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ChocoLatitudes

There are some French food experiences that a vegan is never going to have, but there are some that we can really enjoy and one of them is drinking a delicious chocolat chaud. This week I went to a place that does a vegan hot chocolate that’s also organic and really, really good: the shop is called ChocoLatitudes.

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I spend a lot of time thinking about chocolate, but nowhere near as much as Laurence Alemanno the proprietor of this stylish yet totally friendly boutique. She has travelled the world’s chocolate-producing nations, much like Willy Wonka, and even did her PhD thesis on the cacao tree.

ChocoLatitudes is the mecca of chocolate: bars, candies, powders, fondue sets, decorative cacao pods, stylishly modern bamboo dishes, children’s chocolate books and even ‘choco vino’. I picked up carmelized cacao beans for myself, which are something very special, and a couple of Valentine’s heart chocolates on a stick for my two little cherubs. The shop also has a few tables and a counter to enjoy a hot chocolate and cookie [let her know you need a vegan cookie.] The hot chocolate is intense, dark, nutty and like nothing I’ve had elsewhere. It could almost have come from a chocolate waterfall. 5€ for the big cup, 2€ to get a small one at the counter. 

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They also carry Poppy raw chocolates: the owner recommended that the Maca one I bought would be a good one to share as a Valentine with my husband due to the alleged powers of raw chocolate and maca… oh those sexy Frenchies!

ChocoLatitudes is located on Rue Daguerre in the 14ème which is a very happenin’ street and well worth checking out even if you are from another part of town. They also hold chocolate workshops, and I should definitely mention that the bulk of the chocolate is fair trade and artisanal.

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Ok, now I need to go and eat some chocolate…

ChocoLatitudes

57, rue Daguerre 75014

Métro: Denfert-Rochereau or Gaî

01 42 18 49 02

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Until this week I hadn’t found any raw food products that were “Fabriqué en France”, but at the Vivez Nature expo I came across Biscru.
Biscru
Biscru are truly raw, organic, living crackers. Buckwheat and flaxseed based, these salty or sweet crackers are dehydrated at low temperatures (40ºC).  Biscru has an environmentally friendly approach: for example, their dehydrators are powered by solar panels. Too cool! They also source their products from local suppliers in the Rhone Alps region.

The crackers come in 6 flavors, which I have tested (extensively) and can testify are delicious: Beetroot & Carrot are so vibrant and yummy and Fig & Lemon are as delicious as they sound. They can be purchased from their online boutique for 3€70 a package and they offer special introductory prices.

It is really encouraging to see signs of raw food culture appearing here in France. If France can one day apply the same artistry and ingenuity to raw food that they have to their animal cuisine, we will be in for a treat!

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It’s organic expo time again! Starting tomorrow Feb. 6 – 9 at the Grande Halle de la Villette,  Parc de la Villette is the Vivez Nature Paris. Entry fee is 5€ or free with an invitation that you can print off their website.

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The list of exhibitors is long and I’m sure there will be some discoveries to be had. Looking through the list, some vegan and raw things caught my eye:

  • Biscru: Dehydrated vegan biscuits “powered by the sun” –  savory and sweet. I’ll be heading directly there.
  • Age Vert, Chlorella based drinks, chocos and more.
  • Chaussure Bionat = Vegan Shoes!  
  • Germ’ine,
  • Goji Himalaya,
  • Meli J0= sprouts, and also serving food.  
  • Mondial Ulberti’s kombucha.
  • Les Produits de la vie, an all organic and vegan stand of cookies, spreads and more. Particularly wonderful.

Check here for the full exhibitor list

There are also free conferences running throughout the four days. Some interesting topics:

  • Sprouting Grains
  • Raw or Cooked?
  • Goji Berry Health Solution
  • Wheatgrass Juice
  • Vegetarian with Virginie Péan (whose blog has lots of recipes and who is a contributor to Végétariens Magazine.

Check here for the full conference schedule.

See you all there!

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After a year and a half in Paris, today I finally visited Pousse-Pousse and my bitter regret at not having gone there long ago is exceeded only by the intense joy I experienced while eating at this Raw oasis in the city.

Pousse-Pousse is a small and elegant raw organic vegetarian restaurant. We arrived and immediately noticed the shelves containing supplies for a raw food lifestyle: masticating juicers (vs. the inferior and ubiquitous centrifugal type), dehydrator, sprouting supplies, including a wide range of seeds and legumes, already sprouted sprouts for take away, green powder superfoods, etc.) But we also noticed the beautiful chandelier and vibrant green tables.

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Pousse-Pousse seems to have a philosophy of providing an inviting eating experience to all, and they offer a combination of raw and some cooked vegetarian food. We asked to get our food all-raw: and it was so good, that it would satisfy anyone even if they have never tried, or never enjoyed, raw food before.

We opened up with wheatgrass shots and without irony raised our glasses and said “Santé”.

I wanted lots of greens so we followed the shots with a juice of cucumber, fennel, arugula, ginger, and fruit. Wow! It was alive with delicious complex flavors that just screamed energy.

Next, we shared the plate of the day. It was a salad of mixed greens and sprouts, spring rolls with a glorious pesto dipping sauce, two sprouted legume ‘caviars’, cumin and curry, served with flax and sunflower seed crackers, endive boats filled with perfectly diced and marinated carrot and daikon and also sliced avocado topped with a rich spirulina cream. Yes, it was so good that I had to list every ingredient!

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We ate in a lovely friendly atmosphere as the owner, Lawrence, and her team conversed warmly with the happy diners. On the way out, I picked up a raw maca chocolate to take with me.

I have had the fortune to eat in many raw restaurants in the US, and I have to say that Pousse-Pousse is in the highest rank in providing amazing food in a lovely atmosphere. And it does this while being a pioneer in a country that is so associated with its animal-based cuisine.

Raw food usually tends to be costly due to the high quality of the organic and super-food ingredients, and craftsmanship involved. I found the prices at Pousse-Pousse to be very reasonable: for example a fresh juice and a main dish is 17€.

I took a long time to get there, but it won’t be long before I go back!

Pousse-Pousse
7, rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, 75009
Métro: Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
01 53 16 10 81

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parade

It’s been a fun week filled with parties, potlucks and parades celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year. I loaded up on Chinese groceries and made this salad using traditional New Year’s noodles. 

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Eating these very long noodles guarantees long life. Happy New Year!

Recipe:

  • 2 (1.8 ounce) packages mung bean threads
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 1/2 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into thin, long strips
  • 1 European (seedless) cucumber cut into strips
  • 2 scallions, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 4 tsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp oriental sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

Place mung bean treads in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak 5 – 15 minutes, just until they are a pleasant texture. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Wisk all dressing ingredients together until well combined.

Spread the bean threads out on a serving platter. Top with all the veggies. Pour the dressing over the top and then sprinkle with peanuts.

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Bob’s Juice Bar

There are a number of juice bars in town, but unfortunately a lot of them try to get away with pouring you some pasteurized juice from a bottle. If I am going to hit the juice bar, I want them to really get the juice out of some real fruit for me, which is one of the many reasons why I like Bob’s Juice Bar.

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Bob’s is a very American kind of juice bar, so if you are feeling good about the USA as of late then you will particularly enjoy being there. They have one communal table and take a very down-to-earth approach to their menu. For the juices, they’ll whip up whatever combo of their delicious fruit and veg that you request. Friday afternoon, I was delighted to enjoy a green juice: spinach, apple and pear and I was even asked if I wanted spirulina (I did!) I got a great feeling of being in a place that really gets what makes food and drink good. This is the only place I’ve visited here in Paris that even gets what ‘Raw’ is: they have raw recipe books, a dehydrator and vitamix and even raw chocolate ‘kisses.’ (Yes, I got some.)

Bob’s is also a wonderful vegetarian spot for lunch (and if you continue north-east from Bob’s you’ll find yourself at the Canal St. Martin a great spot to picnic on a warm day.) Each day Bob’s offers a vegan soup, vegan salad and sometimes vegan sandwich.

To give you an idea the other day the soup was Corn, sweet potato, cumin. Yum! And the salad was Avocado, quinoa, beans, and beets. I saw it and the veggies looked super fresh with greens and grated beets. As they get very little demand for vegan, the muffins are not vegan but the people there are interested in experimenting with vegan recipes and adding some raw creations to their repertoire.

Bob’s is run by Marc Grossman: he is also the author of two cookbooks  – I paged through his smoothie book and it looked like there were plenty of vegan concoctions. If like me you read somewhere that they have a raw buffet on Sun. it is no longer taking place. Currently wheatgrass is not available but they’ve got what they need to grow their own. So look for that in the future. A lot of the produce they use is organic, but not all. However, if you want to have an organic-only juice, they can whip one up for you.

From their website you can link to their Facebook page which if full of info, photos and a fun video. You can become a fan. I did! 

Bob’s Juice Bar

15, rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010

Métro: Jacques Bonsergent

09  50 06 36 18

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