While it was fun seeing all the major sights and attractions (along with, it seemed, four gajillion other American tourists -- jeez!), my favorite part was, of course, the food.
(Sidebar: An entree on a French menu is, as its name implies, a starter. So how the hell did entree then come to mean "main dish" in English? Anyone? Anyone?)
Even though the weather was craptacular the whole time, we managed to eat nearly every meal outside at a bistro or brasserie (those who know me will realize this was heaven for me, as I am all about dining alfresco whenever possible -- which isn't very often here in Vermont).
It may sound silly, but we had some amazing salads for lunch every day. What I call a meal salad, because there's usually a meat protein in it. Smoked duck breast, fois gras, pate -- oooh la la! I was in charcuterie heaven. Like a good little food blogger, I've already been busy recreating these salads at home (watch for a post later this summer).
Additionally, I loved that, no matter what we ordered, it always seemed to come with a little green salad (well, except when we ordered salad, but I assume you didn't think a salad would come with a side salad), rather than a gigantoid mound of frites.
And, no matter the bistro, these salads all seemed to have a similar dressing: a light, creamy vinaigrette. Simple and bright.
Again, like a good little food blogger, I decided to try to make this dressing at home. I hit the jackpot with a simple Google search for "French bistro salad dressing." I combined several versions to come up with the one you see below.
And, based upon my vast experience of three days eating in Paris, I'd say it is spot on.
French Bistro Vinaigrette
Some recipes suggest substituting sour cream for creme fraiche, but I think you need to stick to the real mccoy here. If you like, you can make your own creme fraiche!
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (whole grain or dijon)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon sugar (start with 1/4 and see what you think; add more if you like)
salt and pepper
Whisk together all the ingredients in small bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve drizzled over salad greens. Store any unused portion in the refrigerator.
Note: You may also add fresh herbs and garlic, for a slightly different take.