Wednesday 6 October 2010

A lovely little Italian cafe/deli in Hackney and the best chocolate mousse in Paris

I have to admit that, what my friend, Magda, innocently pointed out, is true - I have been more than a little hedonistic of late.  However, it's not because I have decided to go off the rails, or because I have finally cracked. I believe that it's simply a reaction to the fact that I don't have a kitchen at the moment,  and therefore I don't have the option to stay home and cook for myself, or have friends round. I feel like I am camping in my own flat at the moment, which may have seemed fun for a night or two, but now is getting very tiring. So I have been choosing to go out most nights.  And then, usually on Saturday afternoons, I come here to stock up for the week: Parioli's

It's is a great, little Italian cafe/deli that I have found in my area (Lower Clapton Road). It's amazingly atmospheric with great coffee; creamy, Sicilian pastries; wines; cheeses; cured meats and other delicious treats. I only ever usually drink coffee when I am on holiday somewhere like France or Italy, where it's part of the culture, however, I do order it here, simply because "when in Rome...". You could of course point out that I am, in fact, on "murder mile" in Hackney, and not Rome, but this cafe makes me feel as if I am in Italy, and that is the point I'm making

This is the loot from last time...

If you like strong cheeses, then I have to recommend the "provolon" - it tastes much stronger than it looks! The cafe is run by a couple, the husband being from Napoli, and the wife from Sicily, therefore the food you find in here is a mixture of the two regions. It's only open during the day, and you have to come in the morning if you are to get hold of some fresh bread

As part of my hedonism, I decided to go to Paris for the day on Tuesday (well, if you're going to be hedonistic, you may as well do it properly!). My friend, Cat, who lives in New York and I haven't seen for about two years, was there for fashion week, and emailed me just before she got on the plane, on the off chance that I might feel like popping over. And since I had enough Airmiles - I did just that. That up there, is where we had dinner last night, and I have to recommend it. It's called "Chez Janou" and it's on Rue Roger...

Apart from the best chocolate mousse I have ever tasted in my life, we also ate rabbit with mashed potato and juniper berries; aromatic grilled seabass; and simple goat's cheese and spinach salad. We had a wonderful evening catching up on the last couple of years, and putting the world to rights. Cat is beautiful and happy, and Paris is as charming as ever, so I left feeling uplifted and energized. I also have to strongly recommend being completely impulsive now and again. It's reminded me that I'm alive and that the world is an amazing place, full of opportunities to be grabbed, delicious dinners to be eaten, and lovely, interesting people to share it with

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