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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

La Fourchette

Les Petites Assietes - steak tartare
So,with four months here in Paris we can't go too crazy and are trying to keep to our budget. Yes, there are lots of wonderful expensive foodie destinations  but they might not be our best option on a regular Tuesday evening. We're not on holiday, we've moved our lives and our regular budget here so the question is how to make it work?

Well, la Fourchette has been a big help and you might find it useful too. An online restaurant reservation service, La Fourchette offers  discounts of up to fifty percent off your bill. The key is to pick well reviewed restaurants and to read the fine print. If they say it excludes the menu they mean it, normally the deal is a la carte with an entree and main or main and dessert required to qualify.

A decorative dessert at La Reminet.

The offers vary but are often for midweek nights or for particular times, either earlier or later reservations. You'll receive an email and SMS confirmation. At first I worried that making the reservation online with the discount would mean a lesser table or poor service but this has not been the case. You don't need to mention La Fourchette, the discount just comes off the bill where it is itemized. We've used it at all of the following restaurants, generally at 8pm. 

Le Reminet - romantic ambience, decorative food and good service. The food was innovative and well presented, overall a great value after the forty percent discount. This is a good location for a special occasion, close to Notre Dame on the left bank. I recommend requesting a table upstairs.

C'est mon Plasir - an excellent small modern bistro on Isle St. Louis popular with locals. With la Fourchette they offer a three course daily "market" menu for just under twenty euro which is well priced for quality food in this area.

Sancho - High end Japanese restaurant serving interesting dishes right in our neighborhood. Forty percent off makes this place an option. Deal does not include sushi or black cod. We enjoyed our meal.

Les Trois Sceaux - Intimate  bistro in the trendy Oberkampf neighborhood with a thirty percent discount. Excellent wines by the glass, good value, friendly service and rich traditional food.
Brise Miche - Bistro practically in the shadow of the  Pompidou Centre. Friendly owner and staff, traditional fare well done. Good value.
Buisson Ardent - An excellent neighborhood bistro with a modern sensibility not far from the Institute du Monde Arabe. They offer a reduced priced menu between Sunday and Wednesday. The staff were very friendly and we enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.
Les Petites Assiettes -vegetarian napoleon

Les Petities Assiettes - We stopped by on a walk through the 13th. It's an interesting meal of many small dishes, five small plates for 20 euro with La Fourchette. The place is bright and cheerful and we enjoyed our lunch.
Les Petites Assiettes - pear crumble