Postcard from Paris

In the beautiful city of lights, J and I found many of our meals at takeaway windows--sandwiches on baguettes, fresh hot panini--and ate them sprawled out in one park ("jardin") or another. When the weather is fair, I recommend following each meal with a 15-40 minute nap on the grass. I'll give you a few names of good spots for the times you aren't at the takeout window.

Arnaud Delmontel, 39 rue des Martys: Some say that this boulangerie and patisserie has the best macarons in the whole city. I agree. With 12 available flavors, these little thin crispy cookie domes filled with a light, ganache-like mixture will torment your waistline. Luckily, one or two can satisfy even the most extreme chocolate craving.

Higuma, 32 rue St. Anne: Recommended by several guidebooks as a cheap eats haven, this Asian hotspot is teeming with locals. Although it's known for the dumplings, we had a set meal that included a crunchy salad with tasty ginger dressing, miso soup, and rice bowls with chicken or beef.

Kastoori, 4 place Gustave: An uphill stroll from most everywhere, Montmartre is like a tiny charming town within a city. In a cute little triangle of mostly outdoor eateries is Kastoori, an Indian restaurant with a bustling patio. We shared the thali du jour and thali vegetarian. The former included a raita, kebab, tandoori chicken, pallak paneer, biryani, and cheese naan. The thali vegetarian had raita, samosa, pallak paneer, vegetarian curry, rice, and more delicious naan. The three typical sauces (you know, green, red, and other) were awesome. The typically sweet dark reddish sauce was VERY sweet, but in a good way, and the green mint sauce was a great foil for the spicy chunky pepper "other" sauce. The cheese naan, or "naan fromage" was divine--if only all naan was filled with fine French cheese.

Cafe de l'Homme, : For J's birthday we splurged on a place that is known for its view, not the cuisine. We liked our meal, and stuffed ourselves accordingly, but reviewers are harsh on this restaurant. Honestly, they could have served us dirt on a plate, and somehow watching the sun set around one of the most magnificent structures in the world would make that dirt a delicacy. We enjoyed the seared foie gras with apple froth, lamb with pureed potato and goat cheese, swordfish with grilled eggplant,creme brulee and a tarte tatin

My advice: Drink a lot of French wine and eat fresh baguettes. To fit in, a baguette should be sticking out of your backpack or purse at all times.

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