One of the best parts of my trip to Paris over Thanksgiving weekend was the lack of plans. I am normally so regimented and hyper type A that I have every minute accounted for, but this trip my travel buddy convinced me that we should just relax, wander and see what we discovered.
In that spirit, after a very rainy walk to the Eiffel Tower, we headed back toward the river in search of dinner. There were several tourist traps right by the tower so we kept walking and stumbled upon a place called Cafe De L'Alma.
Trying to fit in with the locals, when the waiter asked in French if we'd like to see a menu we said "Oui" and "Merci," to which he replied, "Oh, you speak English?" Apparently our accents were that terrible.
We transitioned to English and he asked if we'd like to sit inside or outside. Though it was raining, the outdoor patio has tented sides (clear plastic so you can still people watch) and space heaters, so we decided to brave it.
The tables and booths outside were all very cozy. The larger tables have one side where the benches are more like couches. It looked very comfy.
From the patio you could see inside the restaurant as well, its green walls refusing to be ignored.
Our menus were monogrammed with the letter "A" for L'Alma.
We started the evening with two glasses of rose and lifted our drinks for "Sante!" the French word for "Cheers!"
As with every other meal we had in France, we were each delivered a roll, crunchy on the outside, doughy on the inside. France really does know its bread.
After much deliberation over the excellent menu, we both chose to start with the pumpkin soup. After being soaked from the rain, hot food sounded divine.
The waiter brought each of us a bowl with a neat pile of garnish in the center and a light drizzle of foam, but I couldn't understand where the soup was. A few seconds later the waiter reappeared and poured the soup slowly and daintily over the garnish until the bowl was full to the brim with bright, warm, pumpkin goodness.
This soup was creamy, but not too heavy and the rich pumpkin taste was decadent, almost as sweet as a dessert.
For dinner my friend ordered the salmon blini (I warned you in the first post about this trip that she orders a lot of salmon!).
She said, "I love this dish. The blini was like a pancake. The salmon was thick like sushi and went perfectly with the herb/dill dressing. The lettuce hearts were a great crisp along with the soft salmon."
I ordered the asparagus with a poached egg. It came in a very beautiful presentation that highlighted all the ingredients.
The egg was my favorite part of the dish. The runny yoke made ever bite of asparagus feel luxurious. The parmesan cheese was a nice touch, though I could have done without the artichokes they used for garnish.
Between us we shared an ordered of frites. I am completely obsessed with frites dunked in ketchup and mayo. I am bringing this tradition to America.
Look how adorably they serve the condiments:
Since we ordered soup and appetizers (instead of entrees) we were excited to have room for dessert.
Unable to choose just one, we ordered two confections, starting with the creme brulee.
The creme brulee had an awesomely torched top. When you put your spoon into the dish the sugar cracked with a sound letting you know you were about to taste that incredible mix of creamy custard with crystalized, burnt sugar.
We also went for the chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream. I'm normally not into pistachio, but this ice cream was shockingly good.
The cake retained its shape from the mold until we cut into it. Then it oozed chocolate lava.
The center of the cake tasted like uncooked brownie batter.
After we'd devoured our treats, the check arrived in another monogrammed envelope, this type a hot pink one.
Cafe De L'Alma was such a fun, impromptu discovery. If you are looking for a place to enjoy a leisurely, delicious meal while in the neighborhood of the Eiffel Tower, this is your spot. I imagine in great weather the outdoor patio is even more fun and energetic.
Dine at Cafe De L'Alma at 5 Avenue Rapp, Paris France, 75007.