I know, it sounds kind of like a bacteria or something but really, it isn’t.
It’s a restaurant.
A completely gluten-free certified restaurant. In Paris. With a menu that designates things with milk products, too. It’s a haven for the gluten-free traveler in the world of fresh, delicate croissants, tartes, and ham and butter baguette sandwiches (the French make sandwiches that are either cheese and butter or ham and butter; no ham and cheese here. I can say from past experiences that the ham and butter sandwich is simply divine).
Like a lot of havens, it took some work to find Noglu, which is delicately tucked away in the Passages des Panorames, a tiny alleyway with an entrance nestled between to colorful, bustling brasseries. It’s easy to miss, and I did, of course, which meant an extra 20 minutes of walking up and down the busy street. The diners at the brasserie started to give some odd looks, but oh well.
I found it!
The inside looks a bit like a bar; the walls, ceiling, and countertop are all wood paneling. Take a few steps upstairs to the dining room, which is oddly reminiscent of a small mountain cabin, complete with sloped ceiling. The menu is written in chalk on a board which is carried by your waiter to the edge of your table so that each menu item can be examined and explained, if needed. With food allergies, taking in the menu can take a long time before a decision comes.
The decision took about 15.5 seconds at Noglu.
There was a selection of about 5 appetizers and another 5 entrees, most of which were marked as not having milk products (in addition to being gluten-free). Upon seeing that lamb, my favorite protein ever, was on the menu and in the dairy-free category, I pounced.
Fifteen minutes later, there was a plate of lamb chops with roasted beets and onions and a potato puree in front of me. I have been a lifelong beet hater, but these actually weren’t so bad…rather tasty, in fact. The lamb was a perfect medium-rare and the sauce was delicious. It took some serious restraint to not pick up the plate and lick it clean.
After lunch I made an accidental discovery.
Buried deep in the heart of Paris (okay, not really. It’s kind of in the south-east part) is Le Grand Epicerie. In French class the textbook clearly defined an epicerie as a store that sells spices. So it was a bit shocking to see, upon walking into the Grand Epicerie, a fully equipped butcher, a cheese counter, a seafood counter, some of the best-looking produce ever, and every single condiment imaginable.
Talk about food paradise.
Needless to say, it was a pity that I made this discovery on my last day in Paris…guess now there is a reason to return!
Onwards to Bordeaux! Apparently they have some semi-decent wine there…