The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Chez Janou and Poujauran piggery

Chez Janou
Chez Janou

When you walk on rue Roger Verlomme to get to Chez Janou, you pass...not much. Instead of the quintessential Paris street overloaded with the energy of cafe patrons spilling out onto the sidewalk, this dark, narrow rue sits quietly. On a Tuesday night, at least.

"Well, if it doesn't look awesome, we can always try something else., this place looks cute," I said as we walked by a restaurant window that revealed a warm interior full of humans who looked like they were enjoying themselves (we passed on the other restaurant full of fun-loving robots). After Morten, Giso and I turned around the corner I found out that the overstuffed restaurant was Chez Janou. Ahhh...I am slow.

As we approached the restaurant and saw the endless stream of people going into it (not so much coming out), we realized it may be a bit of a wait, if the bit is very long. Someone told us 30 minutes. We waited. Other people waited. We waited some more. Other people got seated. We waited some more. Other people from deep within the restaurant's red-hued bowels emerged and got seated. We waited some more. Stood by the curb. Stood by the entrance. Stood by the tables. Stood by the other people who were standing by. Witnessed diners have their tables cleared and then maybe 10 minutes later receive a dessert menu, adding perhaps another 30 minutes to their meal. Oh lordy.

Luckily we were not dying or hunger or else we wouldn't have felt like hanging outside for about an hour (after getting there around 8:45 PM) as the whizzing by of waitresses balancing plates of colorful, delicious looking food on their arms tortured our stomachs. The point that we decided to leave would surely be when a new table would open—I think that's one of Murphy's Laws. Also, we had no idea where else to go.

I'm happy to say that our patience paid off.

cheesy toasts!

The wait may be long, but the food comes out fast. Sharing two appetizers between the three of us seemed like a good idea to get the most out of our fooding experience without exploding. Toastades de [insert a name of cheese that I can't make out on the menu] presented us with a glorious pair of thick, buttery, crusty, chewy (perhaps a bit too much in some places) toasts smothered by enough melting, browned cheese to resemble a dangerous lava floe. This ultimate open-faced "grilled cheese sandwich" sat on a bed of lettuce, which I've found to taste surprisingly awesome in Paris. Surprising to me, that is, someone who didn't grow up with the French culinary notion that salads must be awesome. Somehow even my lifelong dreaded raw tomato tastes tolerable—hell, even tasty—in Paris (which makes me wonder what a tomato lover would think of them). Most of the salads I've had so far have consisted of some magically soft, fresh tasting hand-torn lettuce leaves lightly tossed in a balanced vinaigrette. It's so ridiculously simple, yet something I've rarely had before. Now I know that my distaste towards salad isn't because I hate leafy greens and want to violently beat them with blunt objects so that they will never think about gracing my presence again, but because most of the salads I've eaten weren't worth liking.

carpaccio de thon

Tuna carpaccio (raw thinly sliced tuna fish) couldn't win in a contest of tastiness against cheese-loaded bread, but maybe it was a good contrast to have the light tuna with the toastades. You know, something to chew on in between mouthfuls of lactose-based bolus. I don't know how to describe the carpaccio besides that I liked it (flavors escape me). ...But as I said before, it ain't no cheesy bread.

Brandade de morue
Brandade de morue

My first forkful of brandade de morue, a puréed salt cod-based dish, was surprisingly unfishy. Of course there was some fishiness (since it in it), but there was also garlic, cream, and olive least according to the translation I read in Eating & Drinking in Paris. Imagine something like mashed potatoes, but with a lighter texture and with fish. Or read Maki's description:

It is salty, just slightly fishy (but in a good way, like the freshest anchovies, but less so), garlicky, and full of fruity olive oil flavor, with the slight acidic edge provided by the creme fraiche, that elevates it to the highest level of taste.

Surely that sounds appealing to you. If not, EAT IT ANYWAY. I'm not sure if I was supposed to eat it with the tiny side pot of aioli (at least I think that's what it was), but I did anyway. Somehow the top crust was strong and delicate at the same time; it required a bit of jabbing to break though, but tasted surprisingly light, airy and crispy. Morten told me that the crust was merely breadcrumbs. Magical tiny breadcrumbs pulverized by the delicate hands of elves? Yes.

Foie de veau aux pommes
Foie de veau aux pommes

Morten's foie de veau aux pommes (veal liver and apples) had a pleasantly smooth texture that was disturbed by the taste of...liver. If you've never had liver before, you should try it (once, maybe) just so you know what this taste is. A bit heavy. Non-meaty. Non-animal origin. I don't think it's horrible, but it wouldn't make my list of "Things to Eat More Than One Bite Of". (However, I'm still open to foie gras.) I found the potato accompaniment to the liver much more exciting and worthy of eating in quantities of bucket-sized proportions. The cylindrical potato mound consisted of layered thinly sliced potatoes and what tasted like generous amounts of butter and cream, aka "the stuff that can make just about everything else taste good". I'd happily eat it as a main course.

Magret de canard au romarin
Magret de canard au romarin

Giso's magret de canard au romarin (rosemany seasoned duck breast), which she ordered well done, was thankfully cooked to something more like medium-rare. The chef must've known that Giso would enjoy her dish more if only she could experience the tastiness of tender pink, moist innards brought about by not cooking meat to within an inch of sterilization. My hang-ups about duck (I've never been a fan, sorry) were erased when I effortlessly chewed on the soft slice of juicy meat that looked more like it came from steak than from poultry. I have a feeling that duck doesn't always taste that good.

Sadly, we decided to skip dessert since it was hovering around 11 PM and our stomach sacs were overfilled. We said "bonsoir" to the couple sharing our table (said to us by the previous couple who shared our table) as we left the still-crowded restaurant. It's crowded for a reason. Delicious food, friendly waitresses, a relaxing environment and quick, but not rushed, service. On top of all that, my meal was only 21€. If you can somehow fit every course into your stomach, you'd only spend around 30€.

I'm already planning to go back. Still need dessert, you know. :)

Thank you so much, Abby, for your excellent restaurant recommendation. Feel free to continue throwing (moderately priced) Paris recs at me. Maybe I'll go! If it's awesome, I'll blog it. If it sucks, I'll still blog it. So make sure it doesn't suck.

croissant innards
Steingarten approved

I went to Pourjauran to get my hands on a warm, Steingarten-approved croissant. 0.85€ (and perhaps a ticket to Paris) is all you need to taste the web of soft, buttery dough chambers rolled up in at least eight crispy layers of more buttery dough. Ohhh, the things the French can do with butter and dough lead to so many happy stomachs. And perhaps increasing waistlines. ...But focus on those smiling stomachs.

pain au chocolat MMMM

I went back the next day for a pain au chocolat (like a croissant with a surprise chocolate core) and was again filled with warm, buttery dough that was simultaneously crispy and soft, airy and substantial. The top outer layer easily broke off in one paper-thin rectangular piece like a plate of armour. This heavenly treat that few mortals can make well set me back 0.95€. Inexpensive baked goods make me feel foolish for eating eating normal food that costs 15 times more.

ohh, you need addresses or something

Chez Janou
2 rue Roger Verlomme
75003 Paris

20 rue Jean-Nicot
75007 Paris

something else!

Kathy interviewed me for her blogger Q&A blog, They Blog. And just so I can use the word "blog" more excessively: blog blog blog blog bloggity blog blog blog. Check it out if you want to hear more of my rambling!


Emily / September 15, 2006 8:35 PM

We went to Gerard Depardieu's place near the Opera in the 2nd - and although pricey (lunch is do-able) it was fantastic - we also were lucky enough to see the man himself and he even let us take his photo! It was really exciting. Here is the menu:

La Fontaine Gaillon

Déjeuner du Lundi au Vendredi - Dîner du Lundi au Vendredi
Capacité : 95 - Terrasse : 30
Menus : déjeuner 38 € (3 plats)
A la carte : 55 €

Merlan de ligne de saint-gilles 28 €
Daurade royale grillée au basilic 32 €
Agneau de lait aux herbes de provence 28 €
Blanc de saint-pierre à l'huile d'olive parfumée 30 €
Côte de veau poêlée aux carottes caramélisées 32 €
Clafoutis aux framboises, glace pistache 11 €
Crème brûlée à la cassonade 8 €
Mille-feuille aux fraises 10 €
Fondant au chocolat amer 10 €
Glaces et sorbets 8 €

Place Gaillon
75002 Paris
Tél : 01 47 42 63 22
Fax : 01 47 42 82 84

abby / September 15, 2006 10:22 PM

Yay Robyn! I'm so glad you made it to Chez Janou! When I ordered the Brandade there, I didn't even know what was in it. And I'm usually not like this, but I saw someone else at another table eating it, and I pointed to it and told the waiter, "I'll have that." You definitely have to go back for the chocolate mousse, though. My husband had a goat cheese salad for an app and I don't usually like goat cheese, but it was really great.

Also, I'll have to dig it up, but I have the name of another restaurant we went to that was quite good. Also a rare on in Paris in that it's open even on Sunday nights. There I had a delicious dessert called Ile Flottante, which is a giant merangue-like thing (but softer than a merangue) that's floated on vanilla custard. I'll have to see what I did with that card...

jennifer / September 15, 2006 10:44 PM


ive been meaning to give you my recommendations for food in paris, just havent had the time, but now i see how in love you are with this last mean in le marais, i was inspired to finally get my paris food notebook and pass on a few goodies (cheap-moderately priced except where noted):

1) aux charpentiers 10 rue mabillion 75006 (pork & lentils)
2) polidor 41 rue monsieur-prince 75006 (hemingway ate here all the time, good & cheap)
3) vin des pyrenees 25 rue beautrellis 75004 (my all time all around favorite, 4 stars)
4) 404 69 rue des gravillers 75003 (tagines! and ambience)
5) abstraction, centre pompidou. (splurge once? do it here. and bring your designer friend back their menu & carte de visit)
6) le dindon en laisse 18 rue beautrellis 75004 (local joint near my apartment, laid back and good)
7) mariage freres 30 rue du bourg-tibourg 75004 (go for tea and pastries, very civilized)
8)restaurant moissonnier 28 rue des fosses st bernard 75005 (if you want to try authentic lyonaisse food w/o going to lyon)
9) a. lerch 4 rue du cardinal-lemoine 75005 (the BEST madelines)
10) l'excuse, 14 rue charles V (my notes say "oozing chocolate dessert, so i think you may like it here)
11) poilane 8 rue du cherche-midi 75006 (bread lovers dream. ask if you can visit the "kitchen" in the basement. also amazing little shortbread biscuits)
12) les deux abeilles 189 rue de l'universite 75007 (another civilized place, great lunch spot when visiting the tour d'eiffel)
13) i'enoteca 25 rue charles V 75004 (fantastic itallian food, i had lemon scented pasta a remember it to this day!)
14) l'apparemment 18 rue des coutures saingervais 75003 (near picasso museum, totally chill cafe if you dont want to feel like an idiot american for at least one meal)

enjoy paris robyn... and fwiw, i vote for 14 credits, more time taking in paris.

(in austin)

Kathy / September 16, 2006 1:34 AM

Robyn! I'm totally honored to be a part of "one of your most memorable meals" on the They Blog Q&A - that was also one of my best fooding nights ever. Mmmm seriously, I can still taste the butternut squash sorbet and curry dusted chocolate almonds. Oh dear that was heaven!
PS - you're pictures are getting more delicious with every post, you're making me crave Paris the way I do a good brioche :)
(hoooo, eat and photograph a good brioche for me, please!)

Alexa / September 16, 2006 8:27 AM

Oooh, pain au chocolat - so good if you get them warm and melty fresh from the oven! When I lived in Orléans my brother and I always got one on the walk hom from school :)

G / September 16, 2006 9:39 AM

Sounds like you are enjoying the fine city of Paris like you should... with good food :) Don't feel bad about your classes or being shy - it's not very important compared to the experience that it all gives you.

PS I wish I could've eaten all that glorious food in your place grr ;)


roboppy / September 16, 2006 10:47 AM

Emily: Thanks for your rec and the menu!, la carte. :)

Abby: I don't think I would've gotten the brandade if I didn't have some idea of what it was, but if I saw someone else eating it then I'd want it too. :)

OMG floaty meringue thing and custard? I WANT.

Kathy: You helped make the meal memorable! :D I guess it's a good thing we don't actually live near each other or we'd never stop eating.

I want more celery sorbet!

Ohh I haven't had brioche yet. I'll eat it for you!

Alexa: Mine was warm, although not necessarily melty. Ahh, good enough. I'm tempted to get one every day.

G: Yeaah POOP ON OTHER PEOPLE! Food is my only friend. :D [huddles in a corner with a king sized chocolate bar]

I'm actually eating something right now (vietnamese rice flour and red bean cake thing). Oooops. Gotta sto doing that.

annie / September 16, 2006 2:44 PM

Robyn, keep blogging. Keep eating. And keep taking pictures. The carpaccio au thon hs become my new desktop item, replacing salmon at Blue

I know you feel shy, but are the other people in your program nice or are they dull?

Ilana / September 16, 2006 4:42 PM

Uuuuuuuuuuuh I want a crossaint. Now. And even in New York, I have yet to find a crossaint that comes close to the spectacular-ness (yeah yeah) of the crossaints in Paris. Am I jealous? HELL YES.

Although, Zaro's Breadbasket Crossaints aren't terrible.

I hope you're having an awesome time!

Oh and PS: Do you read Steingarten's articles in Vogue?

roboppy / September 17, 2006 4:28 PM

Annie: Ahh, you're ordering me to blog and take photos and eat stuff? HOW EVIL! Bwahaha..ahah..ah.

Other people are nice. I just don't mesh well with most people. Not right away, at least. I dunno. :| I'm an odd person and am rather surprised when people DO like me.

Ilana: France really has the "croissant making" skill down. We need more of that in NY! I had a tiny pain au chocolat from Ceci Cela once, but I don't remember how good it was. I'l have to try it again.

I've read Steingarten's articles just from his books, not from the actual magazine (although I suppose the books are collections of his articles?).

Daisy / September 18, 2006 8:41 AM

I hate liver. Scratch that. I dislike liver intensely. I don't like the texture when it floats around in my mouth. LOL.

That first picture of the restaurant is really... wow. :)

Lea / September 18, 2006 9:36 AM

Loving reading your posts about your time in Paris =)

That first shot of the exterior of Chez Janou is fantastic!

Hilary / September 18, 2006 1:28 PM

I am a huge fan of french macaroons- I am a fan of Jewish macaroons too although they are very different. Laudree is an amazing place for the French variety. One of the oldest pastry shops in Paris. If it has not been on your list, I recommend it. There are a few stores. I went to the one in Saint Germain de Pres- my dad lived around the corner for a few years. Looking at the photos I think I would want to try lots of new pastries below

All the best,

Yetta / September 18, 2006 3:14 PM

Hey Robyn,

It looks like you are really enjoying Paris!!! I'm so jealous!!! Look at all this glorious food. You take amazing pictures.

I missed your b-day, so happy belated birthday!!! I can't wait for you to come back so we can hang out!!

speak to you soon and enjoy your holiday!!!!!


Adalmin / September 18, 2006 4:24 PM

Why did I just spend 15 minutes staring into that croissant? Is it because I've never had a good croissant before, and this paragon of good croissantry is hypnotising my croissant senses?

roboppy / September 18, 2006 5:40 PM

Cathy: You should eat more croissants if you can find good ones!

Daisy: Dislike intensely? Aww...well, I haven't eaten enough of it to make a decision. STILL HAVEN'T HAD FOIE GRAS.

Lea: Thanks! I'm happy about the shot too. Somehow my hand didn't shake too much.

Hilary: Ahh yes, I just went to Laudree yesterday, except I still haven't tried it. Soon, I swear!!..yes. :)

Yetta: Yettaaa! Nice to hear from you! My holiday is kind of non-holiday-ish because of the SCHOOL, but it's still fun. Except for school.

Adalmin: Yes.

ganda / September 25, 2006 9:52 AM

How deeply, utterly romantic to be a 21 year old student documenting your youth in Paris! More than envy, I feel excited for you.

I've done a fair amount of traveling, but I have yet to see Paris. It's fun to see it through your eyes (and palate), Robyn. Keep it coming!

Matthew Clarke / July 9, 2007 7:57 PM

What serendipity...I returned from Paris yesterday. My dinner at Chez Janou was followed by breakfast at Poujauran, before even reading your article. My dining experience was so wonderful that I googled the restaurant. I will be back...

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