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  • The Chopping Blog

Passport to Paris

Kate A
Posted by Kate A on Jul 13, 2016

When I realized that Bastille Day was coming up this Thursday, July 14, I figured that was a good excuse to indulge in some French food (as if I even needed an excuse)! Bastille Day, for those that may not remember that day of history class (admittedly, I didn’t), is also known as French National Day and commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, as well as the unity of the French people in 1790. We all know nothing unites people like food, so my quest for quality French food began.

I’ll always remember my 8 hours in Paris when I was 13 years old. I insisted we take the train from London while my mom chaperoned a school trip, and we had a day to ourselves. Although it was far too short, I did get to see the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre, and the Champs-Elysees. The only problem with this quick day trip, was that it ruined all other croissants for me, and I’ve been trying to get back to Paris for a longer visit ever since. 

Since a trip to France isn’t on the books for me just yet, while I was home in New Jersey a few weeks back, I headed out to Fricasse in Montclair, my favorite French restaurant. It’s a small bistro with simple food, and it’s obvious that someone (in this case, Chef Mark Papera), puts a lot of love into each dish. I’m a sucker for Soup a L’Oignon, and his is one of the best I’ve had. It’s so rich, I could probably make a meal of that alone, but there are too many other amazing things on the menu to stop there.

french onion soup

For entrees we shared the Moules Mariniere, and Steak Au Poivre – classic French dishes that were both done really well. The broth was so good that it was really difficult to stop myself from consuming multiple loaves of bread to sop up every bit of deliciousness. If you’re in the New York City area, I highly recommend venturing to New Jersey and trying this spot out. It’s far cheaper than the trip to France!


Luckily, if traveling isn’t on your radar, Chicago has several great spots for French food too. Chez Moi, Chez Joel, Bistro Campagne, and Creperie de Paris (check out the Nutella, strawberry, and banana crepe I had for breakfast!) are among my favorites, but why go out when you could learn to make French food yourself, right here at The Chopping Block? Come celebrate Bastille Day, and join us on Thursday, July 14th at the Merchandise Mart for our French cooking class, La Creperie, a great opportunity to learn how to make both savory and sweet crepes.


Come back on Friday, July 15th, and learn a classic French preparation of fish, Salmon en Papilotte, with a demonstration led by Karen Wollins from Hooked on Fish. This FREE demo is perfect if you’ve been looking for new ways to prepare fish, or searching for an easy way to get fresh, sustainable, fish (available for pick up at both of our locations) on a regular basis!  

By now, you may have gone looking for your passport in an effort to book that trip to Paris, but the best news is that you won’t need one on August 12th when we welcome you to the Merchandise Mart for Passport to Paris. For one night only, we’ll open all of our kitchens in our Mart location for a fun, special event, open to the public. We’ll have 8 stations with 8 different French foods paired with 8 different French wines. You’ll get to travel throughout the space to taste items such as Gougeres (light and airy cheese puffs), Parisian Gnocchi, and Seared Sea Scallops with Beurre Blanc, and learn all about France from our chefs without ever leaving Chicago, and for only $80! It’s perfect for a night out to meet new people, or with a group of friends, and you don’t have to pack a thing. A votre sante (cheers)!

Topics: Local Spots, French, Travel

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