I've been living in Paris for over two months now, and with only four weeks left to go in France, I figured I should update. Some of my many adventurous endeavors in France have involved food. Up until a few years ago, I used to be quite picky when it came to my meals. But now I'm open to trying more things. In Finland this past April, I gave reindeer heart a chance.
And two weeks ago, I caved and ordered...frog legs.
It all happened when my lovely friend and colleague from Columbia J-School, Yvonne, passed through Paris on her European vacation. As she had never been to Paris (let alone France) before, I wanted to take her to some of my favorite spots and show her some of the best of French cuisine. This ranged from savory and sweet crêpes near Saint-Germain-des-Prés to Moroccan food in the Latin Quarter to fine hot chocolate at Angelina on Rue du Rivoli, which once attracted the likes of Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn.
Yvonne mentioned that she had never tried fondue before. Obviously, this is a Swiss national dish rather than French. But considering how close Paris is in proximity to Switzerland and how many Swiss nationals there are in France, delicious fondue is easy to come by around these parts.
At a small Swiss restaurant in the 6th arrondissement, we found well-priced prix fixe menu that included an appetizer, main dish and dessert. While my eyes (and my stomach) were immediately drawn to the onion soup first (it was a bit of a rainy day), I noticed something else: les cuisses de grenouille. Translation: Frog legs. I don't actually see this on menus as often as one might expect. Escargots (snails) are far more common on a typical French fare menu.
I've tried many new things in France, some dishes that I've liked and some not so much. Rabbit is actually quite tender, and I've really grown to love mussels with fries. (This coming from someone who hates seafood.) Paté reminds me of what the inside of a hot dog tastes like, and while I can't stand how it is made, foie gras isn't terrible. (But, seriously? How does someone come up with an idea of making a "delicacy" like that?)
Thinking I might not have many more opportunities to give this one a chance (and that I needed a witness to prove I did this), I proudly told the waiter that I would try the frog legs. When they arrived, the legs were much smaller than I imagined, and there was hardly any meat on the bone. The meat itself tasted a bit like chicken. Unfortunately, it was smothered in a less-than-appetizing cream sauce, which was actually the worst part of the taste. I would have preferred it dry. While the experience wasn't horrible and didn't send me running to the bathroom, the frog legs might have been the worst thing I've ever eaten - or at least second to the time that my brother tricked me into eating eel at a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco.
Above two photo credits belong to Yvonne (pictured below with me at Place Vendôme). Merci beaucoup!