Paris via New York, Eric Kayser takes Manhattan

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From frequent contributor Betty Guernsey:

Eric Kayser takes Manhattan!

The Parisian maître boulanger, who comes from a family of French bakers going back four generations, has recently expanded his empire in New York City – there are now six locations that in addition to selling his wonderful breads, croissants, and pâtisseries, also offer sit-down breakfasts, lunches and dinners – all exquisite and tout-à-fait délicieux.

Two of the new locations also boast spectacular views from their outdoor terraces – the Maison Kayser at 1800 Broadway/58th Street, which overlooks Columbus Circle, and the Flatiron, 921 Broadway at 21st Street, from which you can see the Empire State Building.

To my mind, however, the West Village location (326 Bleeker at Christopher) is the most decidedly French in ambiance – aproned waiters in striped T-shirts slice chunks of freshly-baked baguette right in front of you, there’s a map of the Paris Métro in the toilette, and yes — you do see Parisians eating there.

Malheureusement, none of the Maisons Kayser in New York are licensed, even for wine, dommage when you have such beautifully prepared dishes as gratinée à l’oignon, coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, and duck cassoulet on the plat du jour.

However, to make the meal a true French experience, patrons are welcome to bring their own wine, with a gracious no-corkage fee.

 

Have you eaten chez Eric Kayser in Paris or NYC? We’d love to hear about your experience.

Artisan Boulanger Eric Kayser

Maison Kayser is my go-to artisan bakery chain for great pastries, gourmet lunches and veggie friendly take-out. I tend to frequent the shops near Gare Montparnasse, around the corner from the Louvre, and on rue Monge — but there are plenty of locations in Paris. *

All products are high quality, but the bread is what made the French baker a household name. In 1994, Eric Kayser invented the Fermentolevain, a machine that keeps dough starter, made from water, flower and honey, at a constant temperature. The result was a sourdough with improved flavor and extended shelf-life.

On a recent Paris apartment stay, I ate multi-course lunches at restaurants, and stopped by the bakery at the end of the day to pick up dinner. I couldn’t get enough of the creamy quiche made with leeks and sweet potatoes. I dined on fresh vegetable soups, and salads made with quinoa and barley.

My favorite lunch anytime of year, but especially for a train ride out of town, is the smoked salmon sandwich, with butter, chèvre frais, and delicate smoked salmon on a chewy roll.

Pastries are a happy treat n’importe quand. My latest coup de coeur is their pistachio financier.

Are you an Eric Kayser fan? What are your favorites?

* There are regulations in Paris about what you must do to call yourself a boulangerie, including making dough on site. Every Maison Kayser makes their dough and bakes the bread on premises.

Paris with Children—Loving the Louvre

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The Louvre is overwhelming to adults, never mind kids! Here are a few suggestions for navigating this wonderful and immense museum.

• Depending on the age and aptitude of your kids, you may or may not want to enter the Louvre. If you do, I suggest choosing a few works to see, and pretending the rest of the museum is across town.

• Outside, admire the Pyramid, sit by the fountains, or take a closer look at the sculpture that adorns the museum.

• Packing a picnic for the Tuileries? Buy food at famed bakery Eric Kayser. Chose from fruit salad, baguette sandwiches, yogurt, and more. Get there early for their amazing white chocolate brioche. 4, rue de l’Echelle, open M-Sat 7am – 8:30 pm.

• At Place André Malraux is one of the city’s newer Métro entrances. This brightly colored assemblage of metal and glass is a good example of the city’s efforts to modernize and revitalize the Métro system. The square here is a fun place to watch street performers and skateboarders.

• Behind La Comédie Française is a wonderful courtyard that contains a controversial sculpture parc designed by Daniel Buren, with gray striped columns of varying height. This area attracts some of the city’s youngest inhabitants. Children race from one end to the other, climb onto the columns, and ply their latest skateboard tricks between the grates. Open daily, dawn til dusk.

• Walk north under the arcades to Le Jardin du Palais-Royal, the most intimate garden in Paris. Surrounded by a palace that once belonged to Cardinal Richelieu—and was for a brief time home to Louis XIV—it draws a mix of people, from toddlers and nannies, to business men on lunch break, to older Parisians who come to feed the birds and enjoy the quiet. There is a sandbox here, at the north end of the park.

• Also at the north end, under the arcades, is Bôites à Musiques – Anna Joliet, a tiny shop that specializes in music boxes. Open M-Sat 10am – 7pm.

Amusez-vous bien! Have fun!

Do your kids have a favorite place in Paris? Tell us about it! Or show us by leaving a selfie on our Facebook page!

Paris Gastronomy – Le Buisson Ardent

One of the pleasures of my job is revisiting a restaurant, only to learn it has grown even better with time. This was recently the case with Le Buisson Ardent, tucked into a nondescript curve of rue Jussieu, in the 5th.

On a cool, gray Friday afternoon in mid-October, we were warmly greeted, quickly divested of our coats, and presented with the specials of the day. My friend Sami started with terrine à lapin, which was not only delicious, but also a work of art.

The “millefeuille” referred to in my first course of “millefeuille d’aubergine et confite de tomates” turned out not to be pastry as I expected, but several layers of velvety eggplant and preserved tomates, drizzled with pesto and topped with 2 chorizo “chips”. I soaked up the last of it with a generous slice of baguette from artisan baker Eric Kayser.

We both ordered the same main: filet de canette, a moist duck breast perfectly cooked, and paired with a sauce of red wine and dates. A luscious sweet potato puree accompanied the duck, and the synergy of flavors was exhilarating. The wine recommended by our waiter was round and full of sunlight—the perfect complement to the day and the food.

Diners near us ordered vanilla ice cream maison paired with a dark chocolate fondant. I was greatly tempted, given my weakness for chocolate and the price (two courses for 21€ three, for 27€). But we were satiated, and lingered over espresso.

I can’t think of a way to improve on the ambiance, service, value, or food at Le Buisson Ardent. Reservations recommended.