Le Pearl, in the 11th Arrondissement.
With such a large number of tempting Paris restaurants, it can be daunting to choose where to dine, much less which dishes to try. Foodspotting is a website and mobile application that welcomes users to upload photos of favorite foods they’ve encountered on their culinary adventures.
Besides the innovative visual component that focuses not so much on reviewing a restaurant but rather on recommending specific plates, Foodspotting also works to gather gourmet enthusiasts in fun off-line events, too. As anyone who enjoys a good meal knows, the social aspect of breaking bread is essential to a positive eating experience.
Back in September, Paris saw its first-ever Foodspotting event at cozy restaurant Le Pearl, in the 11th Arrondissement. Foodspotting events have popped up in other cities including New York and San Francisco, but Paris was new to the game.
Thomas, the chef at Le Pearl.
With the go-ahead from the company’s community manager, Amy Cao, foodie-about-town Lindsey Tramuta organized the Paris Foodspotting event. As the creator of the popular Lost in Cheeseland (winner of the 2011 Bloggies for best European blog) and cofounder of her own baking business, Lola’s Cookies, Lindsey was well placed to host an event combining a passion for food and the excitement of a social mixer.
Lindsey reviews many Paris restaurants, but she selected Le Pearl to support a relative newcomer whose fresh food and personable service she found particularly suitable for the occasion.
Located on the jumping rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Le Pearl is a small, modern restaurant with simple but tasteful decor. The most novel feature of its one room is the large working pulley in the corner, which staff manually operate to go up and down for stock.
The pulley at Le Pearl.
Le Pearl is a labor of love for cute couple Melanie, the host, and Thomas, the chef. The two do everything themselves, and each dish is made to order from scratch—the restaurant’s star selling point, according to Lindsey.
Because of this, however, offering the full menu for the Foodspotting event proved too challenging. Instead, Thomas devised the solution of a set assiette de partage (sharing plate) for 9.50 euros, comprising small, separate verrines (glasses) of cheese, shrimp and melon, plus chicken club sandwiches and a miniburger. The food was quite tasty, though it didn’t showcase what the kitchen could surely offer on a normal night.
The full dessert menu was available, however, and this along with the tasting plate was probably enough to spur return visits. Several people gushed over the fondant au chocolat. “It’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!” claimed a discerning French guest.
Fondant au chocolat.
The evening’s emphasis was most definitely on socializing, with more than 30 foodies and bloggers crowding the small space and spilling onto the street. It was a convivial group, including Cat Beurnier (Sugar Daze, Cupcake Camp Paris), Alisa Morov (Sweet Pea Baking, Very Swell Project) and Claire Goasdoue (Little Breizh), among many others.
We hope that more Paris restaurants will welcome future Foodspotting events. It’s a fun, friendly way to discover new menus and mingle with fellow food lovers.
Lost in Cheeseland
Cupcake Camp Paris
Sweet Pea Baking
Very Swell Project