Saturday, June 30, 2007


As promised, I will tell you about the first dinner we had in Paris, courtesy of my host Analia and her boyfriend Nicolas, who took us to a great little bistro with very serious food.
The place is called Le Chateaubriand and is on Rue Parmentier. The chef is Basque and doing modern things to traditional dishes. For 40 euros (without wine) you get a fixed menu with four courses. No choices, although if you hate something or are allergic, they will make you something else. Let me say that the menu included foods that I never eat, but I decided to be adventurous and not a pest. Luckily for me.
First was an amuse bouche of cuttlefish in its own ink, with red onion and some mysterious mintlike herb and it was delicious. Then there were long, light, crunchy spring rolls stuffed with grilled sardines and there was a like a drop of sweet syrup on the side with mint flowers and an almond. They were incredible. I hated sardines until now.
Then there was Dorade, beautifully and simply grilled and garnished with a foam of mussels, that tasted exactly like mussels, and some asparagus and green fava beans. And then there was deliciously moist and yummy braised shredded meat with daikon and some Asian seasonings. It was unbelievable, although by then we were seriously stuffed. The only thing that didn't work out was dessert, which was a fruit salad swimming in something sudsy that tasted like mild dishwashing liquid. We had two bottles of the house wine, which was a splendid Cahors, and some of us had coffee. Now, for this amazing meal we paid 54 euros per person. I really think that in NY a meal of this generosity and quality would cost at least $100 each, if you could find it.
Lunch was had at the fantastic Brasserie d' lIle St Louis, where I had pork shank with applesauce and cream. Hearty peasant fare and delish. I promise I will not be telling you everything I eat on this trip so as not to bore you. But today, after hours spent in search of lost time trying to find the tomb of Marcel Proust in Pere Lachaise, which fittingly took like two hours to find, even though it was virtually in front of my nose, I ate a huge portion of steak tartare which comes with the ingredients on the side and a raw egg on top so that you can dress it yourself. Not only delicious, but great fun.
In Pere Lachaise we ran into the final resting place of Simone Signoret and Yves Montand. We paid our respects. George Melies is also there, as is Balzac, and Oscar Wilde and Piaf but we skipped them.
I am happy to report that dear Marcel has his fans, who leave flowers, or, according to Jewish custom, little stones. I left one, said hello darling and wished him well in Heaven.
I am proud to say that today I must have walked half the length of Paris. First in the cemetery, then from there to Belleville and Oberkampf, then from there to Rue St Denis then to the Gare D'el Est. Then a bus to the Arc de Triomphe and from there walking again all the way back to Notre Dame, by the river. My feet are screaming bloody murder. But the cloudy weather is mild and delicious, and you just have to walk this city.

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