I received so many offers for guest lunchers for Lunch with Lynn, that if I accepted all of them, I would be 20 lbs. heavier and broke. Thanks to everyone for the out pour of invitations, but since I am such a star blogger, who wouldn't want to go to lunch with me.(There I go again, thinking I'm George Clooney).
My wonderful and fun tour clients from last year, Doris and Alfred, were in Paris for the week earlier in July and they were so sweet to ask if they can take me for an under 20 lunch. Doris and Alfred are die-hard Florida foodies and they were the perfect candidates.
I chose Willi's Wine Bar, which is right behind the Palais Royal. I have been there many times for a glass of wine but had never eaten there and the food always looked so good. We had a 12PM reservation and the restaurant was empty when we arrived, as Parisians tend to eat at 1PM. I always say the secret to get into a popular restaurant for lunch is to go at 12PM. The restaurant decor is simple but elegant and the walls are lined with the most clever collectible posters by artists that Willi’s commissions every year to create for their ongoing Bottle Art Collection.
I decided to break the under 20 price barrier and go for the 3-course, 26.50 menu and I was impressed the menu had a choice of 4 dishes in each category, much more than the usual one or two that most restaurants have with their formules. I had the warm and cold shrimp with apples, celery, and avocado. The warm succulent grilled shrimp against the slightly chilled salad with crispy apples and celery and smooth avocados was a superb celebration for my taste buds. Doris and Alfred were so fooded out from having 3-course extravagant meals for the last few days in Paris and a week before in Rome, they chose a light starter salad of asparagus and artichoke salad with salsa verde for their main course. It turned out to be hearty enough to satisfy them and they enjoyed the simple ingredients that were as fresh as they come. The stunning presentation of the wild, grilled daurade with eggplant and cherry tomato confit looked like it stepped off the cover of a glossy food magazine. The taste was as perfect as the presentation, with the fish being nice and crispy on the outside and the vegetables aromatic and bursting with flavor. The mostly fruit desserts were so appealing for the hot summer days we have been having. Alfred and I had the cherries confit with almond pound cake and Doris the half spheres of roasted apricots with basil. Serving fresh fruit and calling it dessert I say is a copout, but since the fresh cherries had a piece of cake with it, it made for a very acceptable and respectable dessert I would have anytime. Doris's peaches and apricots were in the realm between dessert and fruit with the basil giving it a distinct twist.
You are probably wondering when I was going to get to the wine we chose. Shockingly, especially to the waiter, we didn't have any. I know it would be like going to Laduree and not having a macaron, but we decided between the heat and the possibility of becoming sleepy, having wine would wreck out afternoon plans.
It was a great meal and wonderful company, as Doris, Alfred, and I caught up on the year that passed. But there's a small but. After we sat down and presented the menus, we waited for over 10 minutes to order and not one waiter approached us. The restaurant was completely empty and the 3 waiters were engrossed in conversation at the bar, never looking up once to see if we needed anything. I finally had to get up and walk to the bar to get their attention to tell them we wanted to order. After that the service was fine and attentive.
I look forward to exploring another under 20 haunt to dine at next year with Doris and Alfred.
Willi's also offers a plat du jour served at the bar for 15.50 and a two-course formule at 20.50.
Willi's Wine Bar 13 rue des Petits Champs, 1st arr.
Reservations 01 42 61 05 09
Open Monday-Saturday 12PM-2:30PM, 7PM-11PM
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New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte’s professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
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