When I moved to rue Notre Dame de Nazareth, in July 2008, I knew it had the potential to gentrify, not knowing how long this would take. A few art galeries had already replaced the men’s wholesale shops which were there since the 50’s. It rapidly turned from Nord Marais to Haut Marais (North turned High).
Then came in 2013 the extremely ambitious project called « La Jeune Rue ». A previously unknown businessman announced that he had bought some 30 storefronts on rue du Vertbois and rue Volta, parallel and perpendicular to our street. His intention was to turn my very own neighborhood into a epicurean hub, featuring food stores carrying only the best farm to table produce, meats, fish, cheese, bread, all sustainable and fresher than fresh. Food paradise was going to spring out of the parisian troisième arrondissement asphalt. Well, it did not happen, the man turned out to be a storyteller (mythomane en français), certainly not the millionaire he had claimed to be. So for fresh produce, fish and meat, I still walk 15 minutes to my beloved providers, Terroirs d’Avenir where so many of you have shopped with me since 2011 on rue du Nil, aka Frenchie chef Gregory Marchand ‘s little empire.
My street still does not feature a fresh market but passionate and dedicated personalities have opened one of a kind food related businesses.
How exciting to witness the making of a restaurant, four doors from me, and a few weeks later, to enjoy the food of a talented and friendly young (hardly 32) chef. Simon Horwitz, back from culinary travels in South America and Asia, recently opened Elmer, a large (55 plus seats) welcoming, comfortable yet chic place, with the now ubiquitous open kitchen. A Ferrandi graduate, parisian born Simon acquired experience as sous-chef in acclaimed Michelin star restaurants (l’Oustau de Beaumanière Pierre Gagnaire and Septime, among others). Relying on current techniques (rôtissoire, barbecue, steam oven, hay, smoked) Elmer delivers a spontaneous, tasty and lighthearted cuisine, inspired by carefully sourced seasonal ingredients delivered that morning.The menu encourages us to share, offering starters and desserts « à partager» (meant for sharing).
Bread is home made and the wine list including natural wines is accessible . All tableware comes from Lima, Peru, where Simon discovered chamota ceramics. At an average of 45 euros for a three course dinner (plus wine) and an 18 euros lunch « plat du jour » it definitely belongs in the Bistronomy category.
Marie-Dominique Bradford has been my « wine guru » for the last 15 years, operating a wine exporting business, a wine club for parisians and, as a certified educator, wine tasting classes at number 12 of my street. In 2013 she opened Trois fois Vin, a storefront « cave à vin », practically a daily stop for me.
Marie-Do’s mission : to discover and offer exceptional French wines at a reasonable price. She constantly searches and discovers the new breed of French wine makers, going on the field every month, searching the “terroirs” for that perfect plot which delivers a truly excellent wine instead of just simply a good one. The menu of my next class or dinner party inspires her to choose pairings often out of the beaten track, but always balanced (équilibrés), a key word characterizing french taste in all arts.
When Kilikio, a greek food store, opened two doors from me in 2014, I was surprised. It is no secret that Greek food in Paris until recently had a terrible réputation (with one notable exception). Kilikio co-founder Kritonas, having worked at Michelin restaurants and spent 10 years with pâtisserie star Pierre Hermé as executive pastry chef, knows quality and is determined to restore greek gastronomy’s image. With a partner on site in Greece and Crete scouting every single food product deserving attention, sustainable when not organic, no matter how small the production, he runs a very well stocked « épicerie » in a fun décor.
Aside from amazing olive oils, honeys, capers, dried fruits, aged feta cheese, bottarga, there are all kinds of sweet and savory artisanal goodies to discover, and even fresh vegetables and fruits imported by a committed and charming team.
……..The coffee centered Boutique Caron opened a year ago between Kilikio and Elmer. Founded in 1972 by Sylvain Caron who boasts the title of best coffee roaster in France,
The boutique’s baristas organize spectacular tastings. You can also learn all about « le café from bean to cup » and be given all kinds of good advice. The project « la Jeune Rue » brought Mr Caron’s attention to this neck of the woods. And they were not discouraged when it became clear that it would not happen.
All four, as well as the art galleries and other recently opened shops (clothing designers, beauticians etc…) are very optimistic about the future of our pretty street. More exciting and unique creative profiles are bound to settle down here.
By popular demand, here is a spectacular pork roast recipe, including the best greek heather honey (miel de bruyère), and Domaine de Grézan white Languedoc chardonnay from Trois Fois Vin.
cast iron “cocotte Doufeu” from Le Creuset
The day before:
Peel the garlic, slice in slivers, slit the meat here and there and insert garlic. In a bowl, combine thyme leaves with 2 tablespoons coarse salt. Rub the roast all over with this mixture, wrap tightly in plastic film and allow to rest overnight in the fridge.
Cooking the roast: