The husband and I checked into Cler Hotel (on Rue Cler). It is a really new, very cute and very wonderful hotel in a really cool street near the Eiffel Tower. They have the tiniest elevator in I have ever ridden in (it’s either a person plus luggage or two people and no large bags) and I can definitely recommend staying there. It was clean and pretty, just up my alley. Then, we set out to find lunch for the husband, who was hungry as he had not eaten all day. We ended up running into Amorino (we’d eaten there once in Florence prior to my diagnosis and loved it), an Italian chain selling ice-cream. I thought I may not be able to eat anything there, but after I asked the vendor which flavors are gluten-free (in French), she pointed to a sign in the back. She knew about the contamination issue, because she immediately set out to wash the spoons. Yay, success! We then wandered around the Eiffel Tower and at in the early evening, we met up with Helene (we met many years ago on 365project.org and had already seen each other in person in 2011, when I went to Paris with my friend Kathi) at the pyramid by the Louvre and walked to NoGlu, a completely gluten-free restaurant at Passages des Panoramas, where we had dinner. Now, I’d been to Paris before and probably would have never ended up at Passages des Panoramas or any of the other antique shopping malls if I didn’t eat gluten-free. Let me tell you: a visit there is really worth your time. The malls were constructed in the late 1800s and are full of charm from the pre-globalization era. The passages contain tiny stores, one next to the other, each store different from the other, each selling curiosities and pretty things. There’s little restaurants, hidden stairwells and sky lights and Hotel Chopin. I completely fell in love with the beautiful architecture and interior design and for a moment thought that giving up my life in Cologne and opening a business there would be a really romantic idea. The one thing I definitely did not like was the quirky display in the restaurant a bit up north from NoGlu. It featured stuffed wolves, decorated with large eagle wings and diamond and pearl necklaces. Simply grotesque. At NoGlu, we ended up sitting outside, and were greeted with salty chouquettes, the dough made with poppy seeds and the week’s menu on a portable black-board.I really had to contain myself to not eat them all. They were very good. I ordered the sorrel soup as a starter, which was brought to our table with gluten-free bread slices in a small metal cup. The gluten-free bread was a bit too gluten-free tasting for me, and I think I would have liked it better toasted with a side of herbs in butter. The soup was cold, and I learnt from Helene that cold soup is the latest hit in Paris. “It’s cheap”, she remarked. I immediately understood why the soup I ate the day before during dinner on the Seine had been cold, too. The soup was very thick and more like mashed vegetables. I’ve had (and made) better soups, but really enjoyed the croutons on the soup, which were buttery and crunchy. For the main dish, I decided on the vegetable plate, which arrived with lots of salad and boiled and grilled vegetables as well as a side of warm lentil salad. It was really wonderful to eat out and to obtain such massive amounts of vegetables and salad and to be given a protein source in addition. The husband’s pizza was also really wonderful, except that I’m not such a fan of goat cheese. Sitting outside in the passages may have seemed like a good idea initially, but it got very cold very quick. A few words of Helene sufficed, and we were brought thick wool blankets, which the waitress placed on our shoulders – so nice! After dinner, I took the opportunity to run around the inside of NoGlu and the closed NoGlu bakery just across from NoGlu in the same mall, in order to take some pictures. NoGlu is a small, very quaint restaurant. There are two tables outside, and a bar facing the open kitchen inside. I returned just in time for dessert and brought the cookbook, published by Frederique, who owns NoGlu to leaf through it. I would have loved to buy it, but we have a bit of a cookbook embargo at our house. We had ordered tiny tartelettes for dessert: a tiny blue-berry cheesecake, a tiny pistachio-strawberry tartelette and mousse au chocolate (with a tiny chocolate cookie). While the main dish was already pretty good, I was kind of sad to be full and to not be able to eat another tartelette. They were simply wonderful and definitely the best part of our meal. We had originally intended to drink a bottle of wine by the Seine, but once we exited Passage des Panoramas it was raining and pretty cold, so we decided to go back to the hotel and go to sleep a bit earlier than intended. Our verdict on NoGlu is a bit split. My husband thought it was way too expensive for what it offered and that he would have expected more at their prices. I thought the food was too heavy on the meat and the eggs, but that is really just my personal taste. The food itself – except for the cold soup – was really nice, the staff at NoGlu was very friendly. Next time I am in Paris, I would definitely go back, but it wouldn’t be the highest place on my list of priorities given there are also other restaurants with a gluten-free menu in the city and I would want to explore those first. Helene said that she really enjoyed her dinner and that she would be back with her husband soon. Anyway, I can recommend a visit to NoGlu if you love French food and if you want to eat out safely. Like I said, the environment surrounding NoGlu is absolutely worth a peek and you cannot put a price on going to a restaurant and being able to eat every single thing on the menu. It’s amazing!
- Paris goes Vegetarian – and Gluten-free! Pt. 1
- Café Pinson, Helmut Newcake and VegetHalles – Stuffed and Happy in Paris!