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mercredi 31 août 2011

Marché du Mois: Marché La Chapelle

The Northernly neighborhood that houses the covered Marché La Chapelle is not foreign to me as I've often made trips out there to visit the various Asian food supermarkets and bodegas. These are my favorite local spots to pick up fried tofu, ngredients for Kimchi, and other Asian delights that one can't easily find at the traditional marché.

Each time I've gone to the neighborhood, I checked in on the progress renovating the covered market on Rue de l'Olive. While work was being done on the marketplace, vendors set up a makeshift market à côté, with tents protecting butchers and veggie vendors from the elements all year-round. Now these determined dealers finally have a place to call home.

The completion of the covered market, decked out with classy new stalls and plenty of space to spread out, is a welcome addition not only for the vendors, but for the entire community.

The marketplace is located in the heart of a classic Parisian quartier convivial surrounded by pedestrian streets complemented by café terrasses that spill out onto the cobbled rues. I've always liked the vibe of this neighborhood, accesorized by laid back afternoon coffee drinkers and clear cultural mélange that make the 'hood an enjoyable spot to stock up on Bok Choy at Paris Store and pop in for peaches and cream at the marché.

As the community begins to really take advantage of this new resource, I forsee the Marché LA Chapelle growing into something unique and valuable for the neighborhood. As it stands, Marché La Chapelle is a little sleepy and the stands are fairly standard. There aren't any independent producers, but the butcher seems to have ties to a local pig farm. They seem really into pigs, actually- so that's nice to see.

Another promising stand was the wine shop where you could buy bulk wine. For a refundable 2 euro you can "rent" a wine bottle and fill it up from a variety of kegs. When I was at the market, at around 17h, the vendor was arranging tasting tables and putting some bottles au frais setting the scene for a degustation.

All in all, Marché La Chapelle has profited from its renovation and provides a lovely facility for vendors, I hope that independent vendors and producers will flock to the site because that's what the marché is really missing at present, and maybe a little heart- but I'm sure the locals are ready to provide that.

Marché La Chapelle
10 rue de l'Olive
m° Marx Dormoy (line 12)


Tuesday-Saturday: 8h30-13h & 16h-19h30
Sunday: 8h30-13h

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vendredi 26 août 2011

Paris Paysanne Swag!!

Congratulations Urban Gardener! If you're balcony or window box is still in bloom that means your sprouts have survived both some pretty crumby Summer weather and your absences as you sought sunshine ailleurs.

You and your green thumb deserve a reward- and what better than some Paris Paysanne swag?

Plant your Paris Paysanne flag proudly and bring attention to your grapevines, greens, or whatever you've got growing.

Here's the deal:

Send a photo of your Parisian garden to Emily(at)parispaysanne.com.

Please include your address or a meet-up suggestion if you want to have you're very own Paris Paysanne flag.

It would also be great if you let me know what you're growing, in which arrondisement, and any stories you want to share about your experiences in urban gardening.

I'll post your photo on the site and send a flag your way!

Act fast- flags are only available for the first 10 readers to respond! But I'll post all the pictures I receive.

I hope to hear back from many of you- Paris Paysanne is coming up on its 1 year anniversary ans I would love to showcase the creativity of my fellow Parisian planters!

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lundi 8 août 2011

Biodynamic Bulk Wine at La Cave Café

I hesitate to write about this biodynamic bonne adresse, because it has managed to remain a well-hidden wine bar that benefits from getting less attention than it deserves.

However, after trekking around the nearby 9th arrondisement with friends Kim and Stacey, struggling to find a spot to sit and sip, I decided that I needed to share this spot for all those weary Parisians daunted by their overcrowded city.

Located in this awesome, off-the-beaten-track area of Montmartre, La Cave Café, is always full enough to feel lively but never so packed that you can't pull up a bar stool or a chair (on a recent evening I witnessed patrons squeezing and sliding, making room for two American tourists at their table- always room for one more!). The café is as welcoming as it is weathered and worn-in, keeping its old-school French bistrot style and mixing in Multicultural mélanges.

I suspect the jolly anglophone who I often see enjoying a glass of wine at the bar to be the owner (which might explain why the bar has a surprisingly great whiskey selection for a bistrot) and I applaud his dedication to keeping the authenticity of the bistrot and the spirit of French Café culture alive, capturing the joie de vivre of the French external living room.

When you take into account the friendly staff, incredibly reasonable prices (4 euro pints at the bar, 4.50 at a table, wines from 3-4 euro a glass), and the high probability of seeing impromptu live music, reggae sessions, or just spontaneous dancing, and you'll find its hard to not become a habitué of this local hangout.

The Cave's large chalkboard wine list proposes a wide variety of natural and biodynamic wines. Most of the wines are low-sulfur, making them just about as organic as wine can get- with the added benefit of reducing your nasty wine hangover risk.

La Cave sells wine by the glass or in carafes and this is because all the wines are on tap and sold in bulk- no bottles here, so you'll have to either be sage and order a 25 or 50cl carafe or just go for it and order a liter of vin naturel (nasty wine hangover risk is greatly increased once you've started down this path-there's only so much a low sulfur count can do).

I'm a big fan of pairing your evening liter of wine with a meal and if you share this lifestyle choice, La Cave Café has got you covered. Their food menu is made up of standard bistrot fare and tastes exactly how you would expect it too- like pretty good bistrot food. To it's credit, they have a vegetarian option, a few pescatarian options, and for partners of vege/pescetarians there are some healthy portions of meat.

My guy loved his entrecôte and I was pretty pumped about the generous portions of my entrée- the salade fraîcheur composed of cucumbers (have I mentioned how much I love cucumbers this Summer?), beets, and red onions.

We were also pleasantly surprised when we took our two forks to the dessert- the cheesecake was delicious, with everything done right, from the crumbly crust, the velvet cream cheese to the raspberry coulis tying it all together.

Finishing off our meal, with the end of our liter (or "shitloads of wine" as Clem kept referring to it- where does he learn these Americanisms? Stacey??) in sight we realized that we had spent 2 hours à table without even noticing it.

All told, including the shitloads of wine and the two glasses of kir we started out with, our 2 1/2 course meal came to about 68 euro.

Not at all eager to leave our second living room we siddled up to the bar, where the volume of a Blondie album got steadily higher and we succumbed to the temptation of a Scotch on the rocks.

La Cave Café
134 rue Marcadet
m° Lamarck-Caulaincourt
Mon-Fri: 8h-2h
Sat & Sun: 10h-2h
Sunday brunch from 12h-16h
Live Music Apèro Sundays from 18h30

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