Day 2: Crepes for dinner at the Breizh Cafe

After leaving the Place des Vosges, we retraced our steps to the hotel, and in re-passing Gerard Mulot, were unable to resist going inside and buying some macarons – one rose-flavored, and one I can’t remember, but probably involving chocolate.  Once again, I was hungry and impatient and they disappeared from this world before I remembered that such a thing as a camera existed; you’ll have to just believe me that they were pretty, and tasty, and definitely worth another check of my list of to-eat items in Paris.

Back at the hotel, we decided we weren’t up for our original restaurant plan which would have involved a metro ride and a longish meal; instead, we wanted something casual, relaxed, and nearby.  Paris by Mouth to the rescue!  We found the Breizh Cafe on both the list of top 5 places to eat crepes, and top 5 restaurants open on Sunday – and it was just blocks from our hotel.  Perfect.

Seating is first-come, first-served, so we stood awkwardly amongst diners seated at their tables and the waiter coming and going; after couples who’d arrived earlier were seated, we were able to move toward the half-wall separating the dining room from the kitchen, and look at the day’s specials.

I wasn’t brave enough to take a photo of the chef, just feet away, making the crepes, but I wish I had captured his method of preparing a sunny-side-up egg.  He’d crack it on top of a crepe full of ingredients, then grab the yolk with his left fingertips and move it in a small circle while cutting around underneath it with a knife in his other hand.  It looked like a quick and efficient method of getting all the white to separate from the top of the yolk, so it would cook appropriately without leaving slimy bits of uncooked white.  I imagine it would take some practice to master this technique, but it might be worth the effort….

The wait was short, and we were soon sitting cozily at a tiny table and suffering over the decision of which of the many, many varieties to order.  John went with a special, the Norwegian, with a sunny-side-up egg, cheese, spinach, and smoked salmon; I ordered one with a scrambled egg, cheese, mushroom (yum!), and bacon.  We each had a salad, and shared a bottle of cider, which is the thing to drink with crepes, I guess.

Here’s John’s crepe.  (Actually, technically, the savory square dinner ones are called “galettes” and the sweet triangular dessert ones are called “crepes,” but I can’t stop calling all of them crepes.  That’s just what comes out of my brain.)   The photo I took of mine turned out too dark to salvage, but John’s looks appetizing:

What look like bowls of soup above are actually bowls of cider.  We aren’t quite sure why they served it in bowls.

The salads were small, but delicious – greens with a light dressing of cider vinaigrette:

And then of course we had to order desert.  Another giant list stared us in the face, this time involving fruits, ice creams, salted caramels and other sauces, and nuts.  It took a while, longer this time than for dinner since we had to make a joint decision, but in the end settled on another option from the specials menu, and are very glad we did.  Ours had chestnut “cream” – some sort of smooth chestnut sauce – and chestnut ice cream, and regular whipped cream.

This was one of the best things I ate in Paris and my only regret is that we had to share.  I definitely think I could have consumed the whole thing myself, and with great enthusiasm.  However, after croissants in the morning, cheesy sandwiches at lunch, macarons as an afternoon snack, and a whole giant crepe galette to myself at dinner, half of a crepe for dessert was probably more than plenty.  (My mouth disagrees.)

John looks just how I felt during dessert.  Happy and satisfied and awfully glad we were in Paris, with a dusting of tired and ready-for-bed around the edges.  We didn’t linger once we were done – we headed straight for the hotel, and collapsed.


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