Saturday, January 12, 2013

Constructive Caffeination

The understated exterior at Tuck Shop. The "understated" theme carries throughout .
Late last week I met up with my dear friend Sophia for breakfast at a new cafe near Canal St. Martin. We rendezvoused for a good reason: To get this girl (moi!) organized. Organization is one of those things that just doesn't come intuitively, but it's kind of a necessary skill to have if you want to reach your creative, professional, and personal goals. 

Thankfully, Sophia is an organizational expert, and when she offered herself up for the challenge, I didn't hesitate to say "oui!!" (Which also might have been "Weee!")

The communal table with books, terrariums, and one really organized human.
Besides being a talented photographer and visual artist, super-smart Sophia is an early adopter on the technological front--and most other fronts, too. She's the kind of techno-geek that must have all the latest iStuff in her hands the very day it's launched, and she's willing to stand in line for hours and hours and HOURS to get it. (But with careful planning; she brings a friend so they can trade-off trips to les toilettes and alternate food breaks, and she scouts retail destinations that will likely have the shortest lines and best amenities.)

The food board. (Bored?) The vegan selections were a tad pedestrian.
Our meetup point was Tuck Shop, a vegetarian breakfast and lunch spot that opened back in November. It's on a street made hip by Bob's Juice Bar and in a neighborhood that's vying for the title of "Top Hipster 'Hood" (currently neck-in-neck with the northern Marais). All I knew about it was that it was vegetarian, with roughly 50 percent of the menu vegan.

Sophia was there when I arrived--late--having encountered some Velib' trouble. (The first two bikes died while I rode them.) The place was nearly empty, so she sat at one of the big communal tables, upon which  artfully arranged vintage books were stacked alongside glass terrariums (for sale) overflowing with greenery.

After examining the two chalkboard menus, and getting to choose between toast with avocado and "pain sportif" with almond butter (the third tartine on offer was served with dairy butter), we each opted for the avo tartine with lemon and fresh pepper. And coffee. 

Espresso-makin'. We'll take four of those, please.
The LSD--a soy latte with dandelion--sounded interesting until I found out there was honey in it.

Lo and behold: That's exactly what we got.

Yup. That's avo on toast, alright. Minimalist, but, admittedly, tasty.
The coffee at Tuck Shop comes from Coutume Cafe in the 7e, where beans are roasted on-site. We each had two and I, at least, appreciated the caffeinated kick of the potent brew.
Service started to pick up as the clock ticked toward lunchtime; a woman and her dog came in and ordered something to go, then a mom and her newborn infant came and took up residence in a comfy corner table. More items were marched out of the kitchen, including a lovely-looking plate of muffins, which I later found out had eggs in them. (the sound of tears rolling gently down my cheeks here)

While not the most scintillating dining spot for vegans, Tuck Shop still has a quiet charm about it, and I feel hopeful that the dairy-free possibilities will expand beyond soy- and oat-milk offerings for the hot drinks. If not, it's still a nice spot for a potent cup of tasty coffee that'll fuel you up for any organizational marathons penciled into your new-year agenda.


  1. Bonjour Aurelia!
    I hope I am not being audacious, but I am inspired to write to you, seeking your recommendations and suggestions. ( It could fall under the organization theme here...wink!) I am an American with a passion for travel and adventure that eventually led me to relocate to Sydney, Australia over 2 1/2 years ago. (The first book I picked up here was Almost French. Great book! Have you read it?) I also have been a subscriber to VegNews for many years, and a vegan for longer. After reading your article in The Cheese Issue, Oct. 12, I decided I couldn't wait any longer to implement my dream of a holiday in Paris. Unfortunately, my friend that I was planning to travel with had to cancel due to the devastating news of her father being diagnosed with lung cancer. I find that I don't really enjoy (travel) adventures on my own, as is a bit banal having a coffee or a glass of Merlot, reminiscing with yourself.
    As a result, I was hoping you would be able to suggest a place to stay, (preferrably as close to the heart of the city?) and if you know of any small tour groups I could join? Perhaps veg-friendly? (I should add I am currently learning French, but am not fluent.) My itinerary isn't solidified, but hoping to travel around June/July and stay for approx. three weeks.
    Please feel free to reach me anytime via my e-mail address: Perhaps we could meet for a drink while I'm there!
    If you ever find yourself dreaming of a holiday in Australia, I would love to return the favor!

    I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    Au Revoir,

    Jessica Barstow

    1. Hi, Jessica! Yay on your summertime trip! And it's great to hear that you're not letting the idea of a solo trip scare you away from following through with your plan. (I love traveling alone, just for the complete freedom of it.) It would be lovely to meet up with you when you're here, if you're game. In the meanwhile, I'll send you some ideas for places to stay, and can point you to a couple of fun tour possibilities, too. Email to follow shortly!


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