Métro: Château d'eau (line 4)
Address: 11 rue des petites écuries 75010 Paris
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Cost: 9 euros for a caluc
I kind of feel like a guinea pig when I say that I ate a caluc. Everyone looks at me with big eyes and reply: "What on earth is a caluc?" No worries I had no clue either until I looked it up. A caluc is a sort of tortilla made with spinach, parsley and shallots. It is a traditional dish from Aveyron, a region of France. Sounds appealing; so what do I do when I need a guinea pig friend? I call my sister. We both are a bit adventurous when it comes to food. We want to try everything.
Caluc is a tiny place. Maybe 10 seats, at most. It is mostly a take away shop. We wanted to beat the crowd and decided to show up at 11:45 am which is for us, Americans, a normal time to have lunch. In France it is almost impossible to eat prior to noon. French people starts eating around 12:30 am all the way til 2:30 pm. But Caluc was a little jewel and they opened at 8am so I figured I could have my caluc at 11:30am. Right? Wrong. We showed up, lonely as can be to an empty place. When we ordered our food, the two owners looked at us like we were the aliens. Don't you know? Breakfast from 8:00 am to noon and lunch starting at noon. "Come back at noon", they said "We're not ready for lunch yet"
Ah the French, do you think they would serve us a caluc at 11:50 am instead of noon? Nope. So we came back at 12:20, starved because we had not eaten breakfast, another French faux pas, to find the place overcrowded with locals and two cooks not ready to serve lunch "quite yet". Pure chaos in the kitchen.
But I have to admit that the two owners are passionate about their little production. They take time to explain everything about the food (organic and traceable), the products, their deals. You can tell it's good quality products by the smell of it, the look, the taste. We figured that a caluc would not fill us up so we ordered the full menu (14 euros: appetizer + caluc + dessert + drink).
Then it was time for the much desired caluc. I ordered the Andouille a sausage from Normandy accompanied by sliced red cabbage with herbs, mature cheddar, lettuce, and mustard. My sister had the Duck one made with smoked duck breast, onion compote, blackcurrant, coco beans, Cantal (French cheese), and rocket.
With so much green under your eyes, you would think it was going to be light and easy to digest but it is actually quite filling. I was stuffed after two bites. The taste of the Andouille caluc was very pronounced. It overwhelmed me really fast to the point of not wanting to finish it. But it was my bad because I knew it was the trademark of Andouille. It was good but not my cup of tea, so to speak. The duck one was excellent but I could not taste the blackcurrants which I was looking for, for the balance of it all. By contrast, too blend for me. I think you can easily order just a caluc and make it your lunch. Maybe I'll try the beef one next time!
As for me, I can not get over the Broussette. I could make it my full meal for it is a generous portion and the price makes it even more appealing: 4 euros. The beverages are organic cool as I say. My pear juice was to die for. Dessert: salted butter chocolate fondant which we saved for later being so stuffed. If I'm the area again, I would probably stop by to try the soup with a broussette!