My introduction to the Passage des Panoramas in 2006 came about when a friend told me about the legendary engraver M. Stern, one of the last in Paris, who made the most extraordinary stationery and calling cards for five generations. Vincent visited the boutique to have his cards made and shared with me the unique ritual. First, you had to schedule an appointment by phone (no, email). Once you arrived you would sit at a handsome wood desk with Madame Stern. She would talk to you first for a few minutes to get to know you and would ask you to print your name. Once you printed your name, through instinct and experience, Madame Stern would recommend the correct typeface for you. She frowned upon putting any additional information on the card besides your name, as the proper etiquette for a calling card was to only have your name and later write in your other details at your own discretion. A few weeks later received his cards, the most elegant I had ever seen. I later visited M. Stern to write an article for the now defunct monthly newsletter, Paris Notes. Unfortunately M. Stern closed its doors in Passage des Panoramas in 2008, as the Sterns retired and sold the business.
I recently learned that M. Stern had been converted into a fashionable Italian restaurant, Caffe Stern.
I met a friend for lunch at Caffe Stern and was trepidatious about how much the space would be changed. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the original moldings, woodwork, signs and architectural details were still intact and later learned the interiors and furniture were listed as an official Historic Monument of France. The atmosphere was still dark and club like but modernized in a tasteful and befitting way.
My friend from Chicago, Debi Lilly, raved about the food when she dined there last summer, especially about a particular dish, the potato cappuccino with ragu Bolognese. Many months later the memory of the cappuccino was still lodged in the food side of my brain and I was breathless to finally try this intriguing dish. It arrived in a big cappuccino cup with a tomato red saucer. It was a cold blustery day and the combination of the hearty meat ragu and the soft whipped potatoes were a godsend of comfort food reimagined in the most delicious way. Even though any other dish after the cappuccino would have been a letdown, the lamb Milanese was almost as sensational. Expecting a thinly pounded cutlet, we were surprised when three thick slices of rare cooked meat, delicately breaded on the sides looking more like a pork tenderloin, was served. It was accompanied by an artichoke heart and stem that was crispy brown around the edges, giving it a crunchy effect.
There was no question dessert was a must, so my friend let me pick a dessert to share. The presentation of oven-baked cannoli with buffalo ricotta cream was an exercise in minimalism. The two small cannoli were crisscrossed on an oversized white plate and on the bottom was a well with a pool of chocolate dipping sauce.
I wonder if Madame and Monsieur Stern know what a worthy and fantastic enterprise their beloved family business has been turned into.
Unfortunately Caffe Stern doesn’t even come close to an Under 20 Lunch, where the least expensive option is a two- course lunch with coffee is 38€ but includes the potato cappuccino.
47 Passage des Panoramas, 75002
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30AM to midnight
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
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: 195 euros per person (about $210)
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,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.