Le Puits de Légumes & Ladurée

Hello!

After a bit of a dry spell on this blog as far as photos and locations/adventures in Paris, you will be pleased to read that I had a very long and busy weekend, and have photos to show for it.

Saturday, 17 October, my friend Tess and I went on another Saturday luncheon adventure. Tess, wanting to celebrate an early release from a prison of a temp job that had her waking up at 2:30 each morning to be at work by 4 am, and me, to celebrate a month, cig-free, met up at Métro Jussieu in the 5th arrondissement to once again eat lunch at Le Puits de Légumes.

Le Puits de Légumes

The Well of Vegetables Vegetarian and Organic Restaurant

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Métro Jussieu platform.


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The outside of the restaurant has had a facelift since last July through fresh coats of paint and a new, attention-getting sign.

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Location:

18, rue Cardinal Lemoine
75005 Paris

Tél: 01 43 25 50 95

Open from noon (12 h) to 10 pm (22 h) Monday to Saturday, Le Puits de Légumes serves vegetarian, organic and macrobiotic lunches and dinners.

The thing I appreciate most is that the proprietress of the establishment (whose name I eventually hope to learn) is very well-aware of serving gluten-free meals. There are many offerings that are gluten-free and while cross-contamination with gluten cannot be 100% guaranteed (she does all the meal preparations herself at the kitchen in the back of the restaurant), I have had no troubles with the food. Also, if you need to stay casein-free/dairy free, this is another restaurant where it is very possible to do so.

Fish is served on the menu, but everything else is entirely vegetarian, and, recalling from memory what is on the menu, there are vegan (dairy, cheese, and egg-free) options as well.


2009 17-18 October Le Puits de Légumes

The cheerful interior of the restaurant filled with diners as Tess and I lunched.

I ordered an entrée of potage de potimarron, pumpkin soup, for 7 € and a plat (main course) of pavé de saumon, for 14€.  Tess ordered the entrée of tartine aux figues et feta, which was served with a small salad for 7€, and a plat of ravioli végéterien.

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My potage.
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Me, with potage.

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Tess’ tartine aux figues et feta.

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The ever-lovely Tess.

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Pavé de saumon (salmon steak, served with brown rice, green lentils, and vegetable medley including carrot, leek, cabbage, and fresh herbs)

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Tess’ ravioli végétarien, also served with brown rice, green lentils, and vegetable medley.


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The beautiful basket of freshly made bread, which I could not eat. 😦 Tess said it was delicious. 🙂

Our meals were both very good. The servings were so generous, I could not finish all of my rice, lentils, and veggies. Our experience there, as it was the previous time, was exceedingly pleasant! There is a home-like atmosphere to Le Puits de Légumes and I have been treated with kindness each time I have eaten there. It is has a very comfortable and clean ambiance and it seemed that much of the clientèle that shared the afternoon with us there were regulars.

If you are staying in Paris and want a very healthy, filling, and reasonably-priced lunch or supper, and especially if you need to stay gluten and/or dairy-free, please visit this establishment. You will not be disappointed!

We did not stay for dessert this time (we had other plans for that), but I was told by our lovely waitress, whom I believe is the teen daughter of the proprietress and who spoke very good English as well,  that they have a chocolate cake which is gluten-free. It is based on châtaigne (chestnut), rice, and, I think she said “millet” flour. I looked up names of flours in French on Wikipedia, and farine de millet is, of course, millet flour (she had pronounced it in French: meel-ay). Anyway, I was assured that this was a gluten-free chocolate cake. I’m not sure if it has eggs and cream or other dairy in it, but the proprietress does speak a little English and she would be able to tell anyone wanting to order!

No dessert, but I did want a cup of herbal, tummy-settling tea (I was full) and so Tess and I had a pot of Japanese Mu Tea. The tea ingredients are listed on this site here, Mu Tea, but is by the manufacturer Wakama.

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I love the tea cups at Le Puits de Légumes.

Tess and I walked back on rue Jussieu, just in front of the Université de Denis Diderot and back to Métro Jussieu. It started to pour rain as we walked! Thank goodness Tess carries a teeny umbrella with her. I should to do the same, but I need to get a teenier one to do so.

Here are a couple of photos of things I saw on the way.

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A brasserie. In English, from the French Wikipedia page, “A brewery is etymologically and historically the name of the place where the beer is brewed. By metonymy, the term also means a brewery licensed beverage, particularly beer, where you can eat food prepared quickly.” Thank you, Google Translate. 🙂 These are the café/bars one can find all over Paris. The British would call this a “pub.” See also (in French) this: Brasserie (restaurant). The translation, in Franglais (lol):

“In hotels and restaurants, a brasserie is a type of restaurant kitchen more informal than a traditional restaurant. The Brewery has possibly a microbrewery. The brewery offers generally a fixed menu. It can provide: steak fries, flammeküche, and sauerkraut. The drink may be beer, the brand’s particular restaurant, but not necessarily.”

Hee hee hee!  I love how Google Translate makes it sound like there’s an actual English as a secondary language speaker using English.

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The brasserie interior.

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Rue Jussieu, in the rain.

We took Line 7 to the M° Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre and then transferred to Line 1, towards La Défense, getting off at Franklin D Roosevelt.

From there, we walked west towards the l’Arc de Triomphe up the Champs-Elysées, with a quick stop at the Virgin Megastore to see if they had David Lebovitz’s book The Sweet Life in Paris (they didn’t), then on to…

LADUREE

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You know how you sometimes read in women’s magazines about ladies who have never orgasmed, not really, although they might think they have had, until they really DO and then they realize they had not?

Hmmm. Okay, well, maybe you and I read different magazines then, and noooooo this is not a cryptic allusion to anything whatsoever in my sex life, but I am trying to draw a comparison here to show you now that I GET IT.

I’ve had my Ladurée cherry popped, and yes, Virginia, it really IS everything that they say it is.

A little background, which can be found here at Wikipedia as well as on the English language Ladurée site, is this: once upon a time in 1862, a miller named Louis-Ernest Ladurée started up a bakery on rue Royale near the Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement.  The original bakery was burnt down during something called the Paris Commune in 1871 (it was a brief government overthrow/uprising. Paris Historians, please do not get your panties in a wad about my summarization/paraphrase of the Wiki article. Focused on pastries here, not on describing the uprising), and then another guy built a fancy-schmancy pastry version at the same location. It was a hit, and as Wikipedia states,

“Ladurée’s rise to fame came in 1930 when his grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, had the original idea of the double-decker, sticking two macaron shells together with a creamy ganache as filling. Queen Catherine de’ Medici had brought the macaron to France from Italy in the 16th century, and the recipe for the biscuit had hardly varied over the years, but the amounts of the ingredients used and the appearance of the end product were up to the individual bakers.

Desfontaines also opened a tearoom at the pastry shop. In those days ladies were not admitted to cafés, which were the exclusive domain of men. This was a big success with ladies, who enjoyed meeting in the freedom of the tearoom rather than their homes.”

Ladurée’s rise to fame came in 1930 when his grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, had the original idea of the double-decker, sticking two macaron shells together with a creamy ganache as filling. Queen Catherine de’ Medici had brought the macaron to France from Italy in the 16th century, and the recipe for the biscuit had hardly varied over the years, but the amounts of the ingredients used and the appearance of the end product were up to the individual bakers.
Desfontaines also opened a tearoom at the pastry shop. In those days ladies were not admitted to cafés, which were the exclusive domain of men. This was a big success with ladies, who enjoyed meeting in the freedom of the tearoom rather than their homes.

What is being written up there are these:

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From left to right: chocolat, praline, pistache, caramel, rose…


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… and the figue one which got popped into my mouth before the photo was taken!

Macarons are NOT coconut macaroons. The latter, which I make regularly (scroll ALL the way down to the end of the link posted there for the recipe) as a part of a gluten-yeast-sugar-free diet, are comprised of egg whites, sweetener (sugar, or stevia as in my linked recipe there), and flaked coconut. Macarons are comprised of powdered sugar, powdered almonds (very fine almond flour), and egg whites, basically. (David Lebovitz’s full recipe for chocolate ones here. More on macarons in another post of his, Making French Macarons, with a bunch of links in the post as well).

Side Note: After reading those posts about making macarons, there is no way on God’s green earth that one will likely EVER get me to the labor-intensive place of making these little lovely cookies, lol! Okay, so it’s probably loads cheaper to make one’s own than to pay the 2€ per cookie I paid for at Ladurée (I wanted the box and the box was extra…), and it might be an interesting culinary adventure, but it also sounds like there is a lot that can go potentially wrong with these, and I think I will continue to buy them for my fix, thankyouverymuch. I have a WHOLE new level of respect for the pâtisseries that do make them on a daily basis, though.

Back to the orgasm/Ladurée analogy.

I have had macarons a few times since arriving in France. They are pure delight, and as one who stays gluten-free and yeast-free, they are one pastry I can eat. Granted, they are full of sugar, but as long as I do not eat sugar every day, I can splurge once in a while. While the macarons I have eaten at various bakeries around the city (none that I noted, I was not as into noting things like that before starting this blog) were tasty and made me think “Oh those are very nice,” the Ladurée macarons, which are described on their site as “meltingly moist” made me go,

“OH MY GOD THAT IS SO FREAKIN’ GOOOOOOOD!”

Truly, truly foodgasmic are those little Ladurée gems.

Then there is the whole experience of waiting in line, getting little peeps of the goodies between people until coming to the counter to see the goods in their full glory, and feeling the pure MAGIC that is the place and its creations.
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Peek! It made me impatient to get only glimpses of the goodies while waiting in line, which wrapped in a narrow ribbon in front of the cases of pastries.


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Ooooh! Another peek between customers!

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Waiting. This little girl started restlessly patting her head.

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Another glimpse of what was to come.

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The counter staff are excellent, obviously well-trained, multi-lingual and very charming.

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Ahhhhh.  A close-up of the boxed beauties.

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Closer.

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Bingo!!

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This was the young gentleman who helped me. I started off in French (said with enthusiasm and a smile, “Je voudrais macarons!” “I would like macarons!”), but then told him in French I could not speak French, which was painfully obvious, lol. In a heartbeat, he switched to English, let me know prices, and charmed the socks off of me with his flirtation. He was a sweetheart. When I told him I could not eat gluten, he straight away let me know that there were two more macaron-based pastries, an apple and caramel concoction, and the l’Ispahan, a rose, raspberry, and lychee pastry. He even called up to the pastry chefs to double-check their gluten-free status, which they were, and of course I ordered one. The l’Ispahan, at 5 €.

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The cakes with the little buns on the top are called “Religieuses.” My camera in this light does not depict the beautiful colors that were present in the cases. Certainly, everything here seems bathed in golden light, which it was, but these colors just POPPED out of the case when seen in person. It was a highly SEXY (in a foodsexy kind of way) experience. Sensual. Magical. Check out the pâtisseries on the website to get a better idea of what the colors are like.

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Me, with my Ladurée green bag.

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The loot.

The grand finale came later that night with two events.

1) The eating of the last macaron chocolat.

2009 17-18 October Ladurée macaron chocolat

I sneaked off to the bedroom to eat the last one, and took these cheesy and blurry self-portraits of me eating it, lol. It was really, really delicious.

2) The eating of the l’Ispahan.

First, a photo.
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When I took this photo, I exclaimed and sighed, “Oh, I think that is the SEXIEST thing I have seen!!” PJ, hearing me, came over and said, “Babe, you and I have different ideas of sexy, but you enjoy your bad self,” or something along those lines. I have dedicated several photos to the l’Ispahan on my Flickr page in this set.

Here is one more BEFORE shot:

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And an AFTER:
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I had cut the l’Ispahan into fourths to share with PJ and his two kiddos. PJ passed (I think he knew how much I wanted to eat the whole thing, but felt selfish about not sharing with the kids. So he bowed out. He is not really that big into sweets as it is, so he didn’t feel he was missing out on anything.)

So I ate half, which after six macarons was more than plenty for me, who tries to stay away from refined sugar as much as possible.

Here is a little on what in the heck a l’Ispahan even is!

The Ispahan, according to Wikipedia,

is “also known as ‘Pompon des Princes’, [and] is a clear pink, half-open kind of Damask rose (an early type, introduced from the Middle east in European breeding during the crusading XIIIth century)….

The name Ispahan is from the name of city of Isfahan in Iran.

The flowers tend to grow in pairs.”

There are a couple of posts on this pastry, one from Chez Pim about the l’Ispahan from Pierre Hermé. And there is one in French from a blogger named Christine, who has a lovely photo from the one at Ladurée on her blog, too. (I just read the one by Pim before hitting the final “publish this post” button. She’s pretty scathing about the Ladurée pastry as compared to the Pierre Hermé one. I learned , however, that Pierre Hermé was the creator of the pastry when he worked for Ladurée. She says his version is better. Well, she actually calls the Ladurée one “ghastly.” LOL. If it’s ghastly, then I am CERTAIN to get my rocks off on an Hermé one, ha! I guess I know another place to visit here in the city, though…)

I actually did a couple more things this weekend, one of which was to see the delightful film (in French) called «Le petit Nicolas» based on the children’s books by René Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé, whose work is more familiar to American audiences as he illustrated several covers of  The New Yorker magazine (check out the collection at The New Yorker website). According to Wikipedia, the first book about Nicolas was published in 1959. “Nicholas is an illustration of an ideal childhood and a nostalgic memory of the 1950s.” The set design, casting, and costuming for this movie was excellent! I understood the bones of the story, and understood several of the verbal jokes, and the physical comedy, of course. It was a very fun film.

The other thing PJ and I did after the kiddos went back to their mom’s place on Sunday was to visit with some of his co-workers at another co-worker’s home in Belleville (in the 19th). I posted some photos of  PJ and some Neufchâtel cheese in my photo set from Flickr. Kudos to PJ’s co-worker, A,  who is quite a chef, and to his wife, Also A.  They are wonderful hosts!

That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed the post as much as I did experiencing and writing about it!

Over & out.

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Categories: Life in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Dining Gluten-Free | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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20 thoughts on “Le Puits de Légumes & Ladurée

  1. oooh… you make me want to see Paris!

  2. shoot, wrong log in. Let’s try that again…

    ((and now you know a little MORE about me 😉 ))

    • pariskarin

      LOL!! Lemme know if you want me to delete that comment, but I was happy to see the other site. 🙂 It looks really cool!

      I’m glad this made you want to visit… And you know where you can crash if you do!! 🙂

  3. Lauri

    I was delightfully happy looking at the pictures from the veggie restaurant. The salmon dish looks divine. I was ready to move on and go about my work day. But, oh no… you had to go and throw in the exquisite pictures of goodies from Ladurée. WOW! I think I’ll be looking at these pics for several more minutes.

    • pariskarin

      LOL!! Yeah, I kinda went for the overwhelm, haha! It was kind of an overwhelming day, though, in a gustatory sense. Heck, *I* am still going back to look at the photos of Ladurée and I spent a good portion of the afternoon here drooling over the Pierre Hermé website, too. Welll, when you come & visit, we’ll go to this or the flagship store on rue Royale, okay? 🙂

  4. Pagan

    FOODPORN at it’s finest. Thanks K!

    • pariskarin

      You are so welcome, Pagan! I’m glad you thought it was porntastic. 🙂

  5. aimee maher

    I’m moving in. You need to build on a room. Stat.

  6. Nice to have a buddy along for adventures. A buddy motivates me not to back out of my adventures and stay home and when I get somewhere, to actually explore. Without a buddy, I tend to quickly take in what there is to be seen, maybe take a couple of pictures and move on. I see a lot more places this way (or end up having shorter adventures), but with a buddy, I will really take in a sight from all angles,look for hidden treasures, how it sits with the suroounding area and ask any locals for more information about it.

    Le Puits de Legumes would like to thank the blogger who has featured them so prominently and attracted enough business to afford a face-life.

    Figs and feta, Hmmm.

    I’ve read over and over in history books about the streets of Paris being strategicly designed with military defence in mind, I wonder how that lends itself to modern needs.

    I dunno about not being able to puruse the goods before the order window. I tend to look for a long time mixing and matching flavors, prices and the like until I decide what my whim for the day is. Neither order takers or other patrons seem patient with this. I’ve run into many a caffe designed with the display and then the cashier, so as to entice the patron as they are waiting to the many other delights they may not have come in for, but are available (much like the magazine/candy dispays at the supermarkets).

    OOOH, torts! with heavy cream?? Probably not, but one can dream. Cake with lips is different.

    Have you ever seen the flick Babbette’s Feast?/ I really recomend it.

    I love the comparisons between Laduree and Herme. It is so like the coffee snobs talking about which cafes brew the best coffee.

    I had clicked on the homepage for Le petit Nicholas quite a while back when it appeared on the “soon to be relieased” page of Movie Guide, but while it was interactive, it only gave a brief description of each child (in french) and nothing about the story. I forgot to return to see if thesite was updated.

    • pariskarin

      Ken –

      You comment reminds me that yes, I have to thank Tess a whole heapin’ helpingful for this post. It was her idea to go to Ladurée and I could not have done without her help with taking my photos. So yes, absolutely the buddy system is at work here! I should dedicate a post to Tess! 🙂

      Seriously, figs and feta WORKS. I had some on a pizza in Antibes in March 2008 back when I could eat stuff like that. It rocked.

      I’m not sure about the design of Parisian streets, but I betcha Wikipedia would have something about that! 🙂 I go there for all my answers, lol.

      Yeah, one of the drawbacks of Ladurée is that there is not too much time for hemming and hawing about a purchase, for sure. One would be wise to pre-plan a little bit and see what is available online. And yes, most of those pastries that look all pretty-like are filled with creamy custard, or so I hear!

      A looooong time ago, when it was out in theaters (so, what, like 1988 or so?) I saw Babette’s Feast. What I remember of it was good, but you’re right, i bet I would enjoy it more now.

      Your last point reminds me I meant to link up to the movie website. I shall do that now!

      Thank you, as always, Ken.

  7. PJensi

    Incredible photos! Again! i’m so jealous!

    i’m not much of a foodie, but your pictures make everything look so good. We’ve gotta get some prints made of these!

    • pariskarin

      Thank you for the props, sweetie, and I have SEEN your photos and you have stunning ones, too, so don’t be jealous. In fact, I have learned a lot from observing the photos you take, you know. I was just thinking to myself about this post & foodie-ness that it is highly ironic that I really only have discovered food in a foodie sense since moving here and how now I can’t eat a lot of the food I could be foodie about, lol. Maybe that’s why I like to take the photos of it: it’s at least experiencing it on some level, even if I can’t eat it. And I now enjoy the things I *can* eat a helluva lot more. Love you.

  8. Hi Karin,

    I am so jealous of your weekend, especially the Laduree trip, I’ve never been, can’t believe I missed visiting in August, I could happily plan another trip just to go there!

    fantastic post, thanks for such a lot of detail. Now I must work our how I follow you so i dont miss any more of your gems like this…

    love, Charlotte x

    • pariskarin

      Hey there, Charlotte! Thank you for coming by! Well, this is a bit of a hefty post, lol, so thank you for perusing it. Really, before I started reading “Foodie Blogs,” I had no idea why there was always a line at the place with the green awning on the Champs, lol. Now I know. And yes, it is worth going, for sure.

      I have been using Google Reader to keep track of blogs. At the beginning, I found it a little hard to get used to, but now that I use it, it is WONDERFUL. Totally indispensable, IMHO. All of the blogs I follow are in a column to the left of a reading pane, and I can easily see what new posts there are for each blog to which I have subscribed. It is pretty easy to set up, too, if you have a Blogger account, or GMail or the like. Here is the link: Google Reader.

      Hope to see you again soon!

  9. OK, between this post and Paris Breakfast’s today I’ve already gained weight and haven’t eaten a bite! I like macarons but have not decided to make them part of my sex life as yet. And I’ve tried Ladurée’s version. Maybe the big O is still out there.

    • pariskarin

      LOL!! I saw Paris Breakfast’s, too, and I know the feeling! “I like macarons but have not decided to make them part of my sex life as yet.”Hahaha! Welll, maybe Chez Pim is right and it is the Pierre Hermé version. You’ll have to let us know! Gives new meaning/ideas to macarOns, though, eh. 😉

  10. Pocketful of Shells

    We are jacket twins– aiieeee!

    Remember this for next time I’m there, I wanna go. I will show you what one does with food-porn-y stuffs. 😛

    • pariskarin

      Jacket twins, lol! I got that one from PJs folks when they were here last Christmas… How cool that it’s twinnish!

      I will SO take you to places which we did not go when you were here last year! Uhhh, in the city, lol. 😉 Ladurée shall be one of them. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Ladurée, Part Two « An Alien Parisienne

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