Friday, November 6, 2009

Paris, November 2009, Out And About

At last it seems that I've worked the fever and sore throat into a cold, so now I'm starting to feel a bit better. So much so, that we took a stroll out into the 15e today to have a bite to eat for lunch while enjoying the bright sunshiny day being offered.

Backing up a day or two ago, our friends took the TGV from Dijon to Paris on Wednesday afternoon, arriving at our apartment via taxi about 8 p.m. Doug had a bottle of our favorite French champagne (Veuve Clicquot) on ice and I put together the usual "french" apéro snacks of nuts, radishes with butter, olives, a bit of good duck paté and a few bits of bread to smear it on. We chatted for about an hour, then bundled up for the walk down rue de la Convention to our Boucicaut Métro station. We caught the 8 Line to Concorde, walked by the famous Hotel de Crillon ( stunning high-end hotel where all the dignitaries and royals stay), turned down a narrow side street and came to the famous Buddha Bar Paris (they have them all over the world). It was quite an experience. It's very dark inside, but our hostess led us to the bar first where we ordered drinks. Prices are not for the faint of heart, but it was our friend Greg's birthday and we'd asked him to suggest a place, so this was his choice. It's one of those art/techno sound places where the beat is loud and unending and the sound systems pure. Not for those who like intimate quiet dining, for sure! There is a huge Buddha sitting in the main dining room--which we were able to get our table in about an hour later. We were right dab in the middle of the place, so had a good view of the place. We noticed a lot of expensive wines being poured and many big business deals being negotiated. The food was sort of Indonesian, and very good--however, not inexpensive either. We were served our meals at about 11:45 pm, finishing with meals, dessert, and digestif by 12:30 a.m. It was at this point that I detected a significant chill and onset of a sore throat. Must have been too much of the good life!

We were lucky to get to our métro line and catch the last car to Balard (Boucicaut), but our friends weren't so lucky as they were staying near Gare de Lyon and their last car had just pulled out as we arrived. They took a taxi for about 11 euros.

This was a night to remember, for certain.

Thursday I stayed in bed all day, while Doug worked with his mainland U.S. clients. Poor guy, had a SKYPE business meeting that started at 2 p.m. Hawaii time, which meant he had to stay up until 3:30 a.m. by the time his meeting ended. Needless to say, we slept late this morning.

It was nice to have only a slight scratchy throat today and no sign of a fever. When Doug ask if I'd like to get out of the apartment for some fresh air and a bit of lunch, I jumped at the opportunity. Yesterday, between sleeping bouts, taking aspirin and doing laundry, I had enough of being shut-in.

It was sunny today, but brisk and cool. So we bundled up and began our walk. We'd decided to walk into the 15e to Georges Brassens Parc and have lunch at Baranimo. We really like the owner and his wife, they are always genial. Le Monsieur immediately saw us as we approached. He greated us with a hearty "hello" and sat us at what he called his best table. Then he brought us a complimentary glass of wine. He recalled us from the other night. He also suggested that we order the plat de jour, a lovely garlic, butter and wine sauteed serving of fresh sea scallops with some steamed rice. Of course, Doug had long before decided he'd be biting into one of Monsieur's thick juicy perfectly cooked cheese burgers, so he ordered it "au point" and Monsieur smiled and told him he said it "perfectly, as though french." Ha! Doug, who likes to copy Matt Damien in his Bourne movies, was quite pleased!

Our host chatted with us in English, but when I ordered in French, he was pleased and said I did it perfectly. What a charmer, eh? After our delicious meal he also brought us a complimentary apple brandy that was really good and seemed to immediately take away any cold symptoms I had. We each ordered the tarte au poire, which was a light flakey tart with sliced pears and a crumble on top served with crème anglais and vanilla ice cream. So very good. Finally we had an espress so that we could manage a walk about from the restaurant into Georges Brassens, into the 15e and then back home down rue de la Convention. We stopped to see about Saturday night reservations at L'Oie Cendrée, but the patron had already closed for the lunch period so we'll have to telephone him later tonight. We want to experience his delicious cuisine de terroir once more before we're back in Hawaii. With only one week left on our trip, we're already dreading the departure. We both adore Paris.

As we walked through the 15e, we saw a couple more of the Wallace Fountains, stores busily setting up Christmas decorations and stocking shelves with decorations, and brasseries also beginning to decorate for Christmas. Our friends tell us that the french love this season and go all out to decorate and celebrate. We hope to see more decorations before we leave. We noted that rue du Commerce has lights strung across the narrow shopping streets already, so we hope they'll light them before we're gone. It must be beautiful around here during Christmas.

We've been invited to a Christmas party in Dijon for December 27, but it's probably too soon for us to return--not that we wouldn't love to!

Tomorrow should bring both of us better health. So we are hoping. We want to take a night stroll out tomorrow, so we're hoping to be better by then.

This morning I pounded out two small chicken breasts, then put them in a ziplock bag with some pressed garlic, salt, pepper, fresh thyme and olive oil. I'll grill them tonight for dinner and make a nice buerre blanc sauce to put on top. I'll add a little warmed cream and parmesan to some fresh pasta noodles I bought, and we'll have a side of pasta and that lovely Pouilly-Fumé we bought from the Loire Valley. A nice evening inside.

Enjoy some of the photos we took while out and about today. Hopefully we'll have some more to share tomorrow.

Wallace Fountain On Place Henri Follet

Signs Of Christmas Begin To Appear On Sidewalks And In Stores

Nobody Out On rue de la Convention At 1 A.M.

Unusually Quiet At 1 a.m. On A Thursday Morning

Having Fun At The Buddha Bar

Our Franco-American Friends

Cocktails, Then Dinner At The Buddha Bar

Some Veuve Clicquot, Snacks & Friends = Apéro Time

We Await Our Friends From Dijon. An Apéro Before Dining Out

Friends Stop To Chat With The Boulanger On The Corner

Le Boucher (Butcher) In Georges Brassans Parc

A Bust Of Georges Brassens

Fall Colors At George Brassens Parc

A Pause At The Pond, Georges Brassens Parc

A Stroll Through Georges Brassens Parc After A Great Lunch At Baramino

Remnants Of A Once Packed Café

2/3 Of A French Meal Comes In A Glass or Cup

Our Patron (He Comped Us Wine & Apple Brandy!

These Two Eat At Baramino Every Day, So They Get A Taste of 20-Yr Brandy Comped! They Chatted With Us In French And We Answered In English!

A Great Place To Hang Out

You Can Take The Man Out Of America, But You Cant Take American Outta The Man!

Sea Scallops (Plat de Jour). Fabulous!

An Apéritif Avant Le Dejeuner À La Baranimo Café

Next Post: Paris 2009 (November)

1 comment:

  1. You captured it perfectly, if I do say so ('cause I was there!).