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Mi vida parisina – La Gourmandista

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Etiqueta: Mi vida parisina

On One of my Favorite Restaurants in Paris : Welwitsch

Welwitsch is a restaurant I have the honor of having known since before it existed, because, even when I am exaggerating a little, it’s got it’s bit of truth. I met Patricia, the chef and owner of the place, from a distance when we were both in culinary school 5 years ago. We never shared a classroom, so I had no idea how she cooked, however, every time we ran into each other, she greeted me and we talked amicably. With time, we became friends.

We followed each other on social media, and from time to time we kept meeting each other at an event at school. A few months later I moved back to Mexico while she was working on opening her restaurant. When I returned to Paris to carry on studying, Welwitsch had just opened its doors. Without wasting any time, I went for brunch with another friend of mine from school as well.

I loved the place. Everything was done with high-quality organic ingredients. It wasn’t pretentious at all, however, when leaving the place, one was quite satisfied and did not feel having paid a whole month’s salary. I returned to Mexico really happy of having visited her new restaurant, but I never sat down to write about it. I don’t even know why. Maybe it was just because I stopped writing regularly.

When we were planning last Fall’s visit to Paris, we had to also choose where to go with each group of friends. Evidently, this is not done randomly, we thought about the place that would suit each group of people best. Thus, we chose to go to Welwitsch with those who would love homemade, organic food and who would appreciate Patricia’s creations, for I think they are creative jewels she shows in each seasonal menu. I logged on to her website, which by the way is available in more than 10 different languages. That, I was not expecting. However, knowing Patricia, who pays attention to the smallest of details, and that she is a polyglot herself, this isn’t difficult to understand. Anyway, once our table was confirmed, I was sure she would be expecting us: I wasn’t wrong.

Ensalada de temporada con betabel y butternut

We ate deliciously until we couldn’t have one more bite. Laëticia, who is now in charge of the front of the house did not stop the pampering. Of course, Patricia  came out to say hello as soon as she had a moment and could escape from the kitchen. Honestly, the culinary experience was even better than what I remembered, since, apart from the excuse of stopping by to say hello, for me this place has become one of those one shouldn’t miss when in the City of Lights. It has got, I think, everything one wants: good food, good quality ingredients, good service, and on top of all… good prices. To sum it up; it’s a treat.

Address: 91, rue du Chemin Vert, 75011 Paris

Metro: Saint Ambroise     Richard Lenoir           Rue Saint Maur

Ph: +33 (0) 1 4807 3787

Note: This restaurant has permanently closed.

What is the best Mexican restaurant in Paris?

As a Mexican, I feel proud of my land and its people. However, there is something that in my personal opinion is the crown jewel of my country, and that is its gastronomy. And no, I don’t mean the so-called Mexican food that you can now find all over the place. I’m not talking about Old El Paso burritos or the ‘delicacies’ sold at Taco Bell, so please, let us leave the Tex-Mex behind for a while, or at least for today. 

I close my eyes for a moment and go back to my childhood and teenage memories. Now, I am certain that I can associate every city I have ever visited in my country with a specific dish which has captivated me, or which is characteristic of their cuisine. From north to south, from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico; some of them are very elaborate, others not as much, but among my favorites are the delicious meat cuts from Monterrey, or their dry meat with scrambled eggs and red salsa, the flour tortillas from “Doña Concha” in the northern region of Torreón, as well as the various cheese types from the state of Chihuahua in the north, or the state of Oaxaca in the southeast, impossible to find anywhere in France. And what about the “pescado zarandeado” that reminds me of the stony beach of Yelapa in Jalisco, or the “chiles en nogada” which not only transport me back to Puebla, but to marvelous adventures in my own kitchen on more than one Independence Day as well. And of course, I can’t leave behind the Yucatecan dish of black beans with pork that my granny used to call “poor people’s food” because when she was young, this was easy and cheap to make. To me, this is one of the most exquisite delicacies I have ever tasted. Of course, I could continue on and let the list become infinite, given that the more I get to know my country, the more I fall in love with its cuisines.

Anyway, let’s carry on…

Personally, I think that when one is far away from their homeland, what one misses the most are the ingredients one is used to cook with, what is typical for one’s household… what one is used to eating, and we generally take it for granted before moving to a new and different place. Fortunately for me, I don’t miss chili and spicy food in my every day diet, but tortillas… I have to say that I do miss them. So, as we have come and gone between  our dear beloved Mexico and France, we have carried canned, dehydrated, and sous-vide products. From Spain we brought dehydrated ‘nixtamalized’ corn flour to make masa and we learnt how to work with our hands to be able to create delicious sopes, gorditas, and even freshly made tortillas to accompany the Mexican-style rice with mole that made us feel like we were in a Michelin-Star restaurant – especially when our meals were accompanied by a French wine. This resulted in the creation of new meals that I am proud of being able to produce, thanks to the help of my friends from La Costeña, Mi Viejito, Herdez, and other staple Mexican food brands.

However, part of the adventure is also looking for something and not stopping until you find it, and fellow nationals who we’ve met in this beautiful city we now call home, together with locals, have recommended that we go to various restaurants where they claim real Mexican food is served. And maybe a bit out of curiosity, but also we may had been craving cochinita pibil (a typical dish from the Yucatan Peninsula), or a simple cactus salad, but we headed to number 57 in Boulevard Montparnasse in district 6 towards the well-known Hacienda del Sol. We arrived, and a short, bronze-skinned Mexican server received us. He greeted us in French, but immediately switched to Spanish when we gave him the name the reservation was under. We had a marvelous meal… scrumptious, good typical homey Mexican food that I, to date, am not capable of reproducing in my kitchen due to a lack of know-how, in the case of the barbecue, and due to a lack of ingredients for the cochinita pibil – I have no annatto (achiote). Maybe this is why it tasted even better.

I’m not sure I would be willing to pay 8 Euros for a glass of hibiscus water again, but, it was worth it, since I was able to see so many French people having a good time, experiencing a little piece of the land that I come from, sharing dishes so that everyone could taste what they had all ordered. It was also worth it for having been able to hear a bit of Spanish that sounded similar to mine.

Address: 57, Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006 Paris, France

Subway Station: Port-Royal (RER)

Telephone: +33 (0) 1 4326.2653

Note: This restaurant has permanently closed.