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What would you eat if you’re in Paris?

Israeli food, of course. That’s what we did. We would do it again.

We were staying in an apartment hotel just on the edge of the city, in Buttes Chaumont. Sabo found it online. It was a good deal. It had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, separate toilet and shower. The rate was much less than any hotel in central Paris, and a quick email enquiry about security was promptly responded. 24/7 security was emphasized. Turned out it meant the front desk was manned 24/7.

Being a tourist, I couldn’t tell whether we were in a safe neighborhood or not. Some young Americans and Brits we met assured us the place was entirely safe. And nothing unsafe happened. As a matter of fact, it was in Metro Paris that we experienced some unpleasantness, but that’s another story. (It was actually a pretty incredible and funny one. Remind me to tell that story another time.)

Back to this one. On our last night in Paris, after the obligatory touristy itinerary was completed, we decided to walk around and explore the arrondissment we were in. Buttes Chaumont was not without charms. The highly recommended Parc des Buttes-Chaumont we missed, was in the area. Small neighborhood bistros and pâtisseries, selling perfectly good food, were abound.

It was during this walk when we came across Tsipora. We saw that the restaurant was crowded. Families with children were dining in there, so we knew it had to be good.

We went in and met Simone, the proprietor. Simone used to live in the US, and still had a sister who lived in New York. His genuine bonhomie was contagious and soon we were bantering like old chums. He explained what kind of food he served and it sounded amazing. Who wouldn’t be enticed by 20 different kinds of appetizers (Simone called them “salade”) to start off your meal? Surely, we were in for a treat!

He wasn’t kidding. Look at all the food! The dishes kept coming. At one point, TB thought we were being pranked.

israeli feast

Simone called the appetizer array Kémia Royale. I have since discovered that the impressive spread is not unique to just Israeli cuisine, but is also served in many parts of the middle east. They call it mezze. Kémia Royale or mezze, it matters not what it’s called. It matters more that it’s delicious.

At the end of the meal, Simone presented the kids with toys. I felt then, and still do, that it was we who owed him a present.

There were a couple of appetizers from that meal that were remarkable, albeit simple. One being the carrot salad. When Simone saw how much I enjoyed it, he brought me another plate, and generously tipped me off on how to make it.

I was able to recreate it, with store-bought carrots. Unfortunate that my carrots have to be reseeded; germination was spotty and what germinated withered in the dry weather. It will be some time before my kitchen sees garden-fresh carrots, so store-bought will have to do for now.

carrot salad

Tsipora Carrot Salad

Ingredients:

1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
Parley, minced (optional, Tsipora didn’t add any. They added garlic in theirs instead. I prefer parsley.)
Salt & Pepper 

Method:

1. Mix lemon juice, orange juice, oil, sugar, and salt and pepper.
2. Add carrots and toss.
3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle minced parsley prior to serving, if you like.
4. That’s it, it’s that simple!

Serves 4-6

Note: Some juice will exude out of the carrots. Although the juice is perfectly fine and quite delicious, you may remove it before serving. Purely for aesthetic reason.

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