Gluten-Free at the Eiffel Tower

    Jorge and Rick really know how to ‘see’ the Eiffel Tower. Skip the hours-long-wait-in-humidity/heat for tickets followed by the hours-long-wait-in- humidity/heat for the elevator up to a viewing platform. Instead: make a lunch reservation at the Jules Verne Restaurant at the very top – even higher up than the observation platform. True, lunch is pricier here than McDonald’s (think four-star restaurant) but this is a certifiable deal. According to Rick you need to make reservations weeks, if not months, in advance.
    You arrive for your designated sitting time and wait in the cool lower level for your trip up in the 12-person-only elevator. This is a gourmet experience featuring the freshest produce prepared by culinary artists. We were at table for three hours savoring our way through the courses. They do not have a gluten free menu but the waiter consulted with the chefs regarding ingredients to edit my selections from the regular menu and the result was more than satisfactory – it was amazing.
    The only meal I have ever had that was more impressive was one that Rick had served on Mother’s Day at the house in Austin.
    Dinner for me that night was four ounces of cherries from the market across the street from our hotel and a handful of cashews. Even in Paris you can only eat so much.

Eiffel Tower Lunch - Jules Verne Restaurant

Eiffel Tower Lunch - Jules Verne Restaurant

 Left to right: Rick, Gretchen (Mom), Don, Jorge

                                             My Lunch Choices

Appetizer – before you order, this arrives compliments of the Chef:
    Minced fresh vegetables, ricotta, tomato, and herbs – layered and served in a shot glass
       This was a spicy little concoction reminiscent of gazpacho. Our waiter assured me it was OK.
Starter – a term I’ve not often encountered in the United States:
    Asparagus, two sauces, hard-boiled egg, orange rind, and caviar garnish
      Two huge spears of tender fresh asparagus, creamy hollandaise sauce plus a spicier sauce, at separate ends of the asparagus, a bit of minced egg, teensy little curls of orange rind, plus a teaspoon of the caviar. The caviar was a leap of faith. I love almost every kind of seafood but stay away from anything fishy and raw including oysters, sushi, and caviar; still not a fan but it was OK.
Mainaka Entree:
     Roast duck with a tasty brown sauce, tiny sweet peas & broad beans, endive with vinaigrette sauce
       The duck was lean and savory and the vegetables were fresh and bursting with flavor. Broad beans are also known as fava beans which I usually think of as large white beans similar to mature lima beans. These were the same size as the sweet peas, pale green contrasting with the intense green of the sweet peas, and I ate every bite.
Dessert – gluten-free, off-menu but if it was on the menu I would have picked it:
     Fresh raspberries, two varieties of strawberries, Sauvignon blanc sorbet with a side of citrus flavor marshmallows. 
       The fruit tasted like there was somehow a garden in back of the kitchen it was so juicy, sweet, and fresh. The tiny variety of strawberries, also known as wild strawberries, are about 1/4 inch in size and each has as much flavor packed into it as a handful of the larger berries. Fresh marshmallows! There were a bowl of them and I shared them. Have you ever tasted a freshly made marshmallow? As a card-carrying lifetime fan of all things marshmallow it was incredibly different and the experience of a lifetime. I promised myself to never attempt to make these otherwise I would soon begin to look like a walking marshmallow.

Every restaurant had salads and each restaurant had a different style in presentation and selection of ingredients. My survival strategy for the entire three week trip was to eat lightly as I usually do and to choose simple meals. That worked for the most part.

Gretchen (Mom)

View of Seine River and Bateux Parisiens

View of Seine River and Bateux Parisiens

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