La REcyclerie

Iiiiii am so happy that this unique place exists! I have some of my classes as well as my stage (=internship) at Porte de Clignancourt, a mention of which usually doesn’t elicit sighs of jealousy from my friends. Ok, so it’s not Saint Germain. However, real people live and work in this area, and there are some hidden treasures next to the Macdo, KFC and un-classy stores selling imitation shoes and suitcases – beautiful music performed by conservatory/Sorbonne students for affordable prices at one of the campuses of Paris-Sorbonne University (this is where I study and work, shameless marketing plug alert), an antique market every weekend, stores like this with cheap vintage clothes just waiting to be dug up, and now, La REcyclerie!

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Upon entry of La REcyclerie

Where to begin? There are so many great things happening in this place. It is located right inside the old, abandoned train station that was part of la petite ceinture (basically the pre-Métro – great photos here). It is a restaurant, bar, cafe, event space, all with a no-waste, green ethos. And yes, I see the irony in my writing a blog post on my Macbook Air about an association whose philosophy is centered around low-tech things, but hey…the new generation gets their information online, so I’m providing it. They have frequent workshops – DIY eco-beauty products, and events where you can use their tools for free to give new life to broken furniture and things. I love the spirit behind that.

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Lamb brochettes

The inside is spacious and light-filled with plenty of seating options. The canteen-style food is based on regional themes that change weekly. The week I ate there was Moroccan week, and it was good! It’s definitely the best option for lunch in the quartier – I must say that I’ve had my fill of CROUS food.

I’ve also popped in just to study and write – the espresso is good and I love that they have sirop à l’eau for just 1€. And because the space is so big, there are no glares from the servers, and did I mention there is free wifi?

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La terrasse

Ok so I saved the best for last: you can also go outside to a long, narrow terrasse right next to the old tracks, which faces a community garden and is right under the chicken coop! It’s so nice to be in a space like this instead of directly on the street like most cafes.

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Looking back at the cafe from the terrasse

A friend had her birthday here a few weeks ago.  Though there were many people there that night, it didn’t feel packed like every other bar here.  There is so much space for everyone to spread out!  No sweating and shouting to be heard on a Friday night?!

La REcyclerie
2 rue Belliard
75018 Paris

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Raviolis Chinois Nord-est

OMG let me tell you about my new favorite restaurant – 5€ for 10 raviolis! But French people are weird and what they call raviolis are what I call potstickers, so don’t go here expecting any cheese or tomato sauce.

Raviolis!

Raviolis!

My friend Kate brought me here a few weeks ago and I went again last weekend after suggesting it to a friend for her birthday dinner. It’s a little hole-in-the-wall place right in Belleville. The menu is simple – tons of raviolis in different incarnations either grillé (fried) or à la vapeur (steamed), plus some soups and salads. I really enjoy the porc/poivron ravioli, and I became obsessed with their peanut salad! It’s just carrots, cucumbers, and peanuts in a really spicy dressing (hot chili oil and raw garlic are the only ingredients I could figure out but I’m sure there are others) – but there’s something about it that’s just so good! I’ve attempted a version of it at home because I was getting major cravings for it after eating there the first time and I can’t make it up to Belleville every day. Dice up some carrots, cucumbers with the skin on, radishes (my addition), and mix them with salted peanuts, some hot chili paste or oil, half a minced clove of garlic and a bit of vinegar for a zingy and crunchy salad!

Fun to eat with chopsticks

Fun to eat with chopsticks

This place is a must for anyone on a budget, or if you simply want to change it up from the old jambon-beurre on baguette. There is one non-meat version with tofu that my friend seemed to enjoy, so vegetarians won’t be completely left out. The service was friendly and quick both times I went. Oh, and if you realllly love these, you can purchase 100 frozen ones for 20€ – I’m so tempted but I think I’d eat them all in one go.

Raviolis Chinois Nord-est
11 rue Civiale
Paris 10e

Happy Nouilles

Zati at Happy Nouilles

In December, I decided to check out this noodle place I’d read about on Girl’s Guide to Paris. I met up with Phoebe to try it for the first time; she was running late, so I stood outside and noticed that one of the chefs was making the noodles I was about to eat by hand!  I quickly became engrossed as she took a large chunk of dough in her hands and stretched her arms wide, pulling the dough with her as she went. She did this repeatedly until she had an armful of noodles. Who knew it was so simple?!  Every so often she would look up at me and smile, and I’d try to slyly look away and pretend I wasn’t drooling.

Phoebe and I sat at one of the tiny tables and we both ordered the noodle soup called “Zati” that is made with spicy ground pork. It’s hard to know which aspect of this amazing soup to devour first – the spicy and flavorful broth, the chewy and salty noodles, the meat and beans hidden throughout, or the sprinkling of onions and cilantro that freshen it up.

Zati 2 at Happy Nouilles

This is embarrassing but the following fact will illustrate how good this place is: I went to Happy Nouilles three times in three weeks and returned a fourth time last weekend. It snowed for a few days last week and I was chilled to the bone.  I knew this soup would be the perfect thing for a snowy Saturday.  Now I’m hoping it snows again so I can return, although if it doesn’t I’ll probably go anyways.  🙂

Happy Nouilles
95 Rue Beaubourg
75003 Paris
metro Arts et Métiers
*be aware that it’s usually packed and there is not much space between each table – not the most comfortable dining experience but delicious all the same