Friday, December 31, 2010
Day 10 : Part C. C is for COUSCOUS.
Today, we took a break from french food and tried something middle eastern for a change.
It's easy enough to find a lot of good to great middle eastern restaurants in Paris, considering the large immigrant population. Falafel, hummus and shawarma stands can be found side by side with traditional bistros and brasseries.
A lot of these restaurants are small and family owned so the food is almost always good and has a home cooked feel.
And since they're mom and pop enterprises, everyone helps out, thus costs are kept down and passed on to the customer in terms of very good and very inexpensive food.
As we found ourselves in the Bastille area at lunchtime, we looked around the many cafes and restaurants until we saw one that looked interesting.
We decided on Cafe Kabylie, which had better than the usual interiors (some of these places look like you're sitting and being fed in mama's kitchen).
Another promising sign, it was full of patrons, most of them seemed to be regulars and not tourists.
We squeezed into a table right by the kitchen and ordered the couscous "berber" platter which included spicy sausage, beef shank, chicken, meatballs and a lamb skewer.
The couscous came piled into a huge bowl, a mound of golden grains that looked like it could feed an entire army of the french foreign legion.
Along with it came side dishes of chick peas, golden sultanas and the vegetable stew that you ate with the couscous.
The meat platter was very good -- the beef and lamb were tasty and tender and the sausages, although termed "spicy" were quite mild. The chicken was falling-off-the-bone tender.
We finished the meat and tried our best to to do justice to the couscous but after having less than a third of the huge bowl, we had to give up.
It was a delicious, inexpensive and filling meal -- a great way to fortify ourselves for another whole afternoon of walking through Paris.