Sunday, September 25, 2011

A wonderful week-end in Paris

I have lucked into some great Indian summer weather in Paris this month.  It was about 75-80 today, and supposed to continue the same way all week.  People are everywhere in the streets, along the Seine, and in monstrous long lines all over Ile St. Louis' famous Berthillon ice cream counters.  What else can you do on a week-end like this except eat great food, see great people and go a costume party.
Friday night I met up with my friend and Girls Guide to Paris founder for a meal at one of her favorably reviewed restaurants, Chez Casimir.  It's the offspring of the popular bistro Chez Michel, but more casual with an affordable 32 euro prix fixe meal of a starter, main, dessert and cheese tray, oh the cheese tray.  I miss you already.

I started with a chunky pour your own pumpkin soup that could have used a bit more seasoning, but the extra ingredients already in the bowl, did add to the flavor.  I continued with a wonderfully prepared white fish sitting on a bed of 6 different kinds of mushrooms - one better than the next.

Then the tray with a dozen or so cheeses was placed on the table next to me, and if anyone has ever been near me and cheese, they know this is dangerous living.  It became even more dangerous when I learned that they just leave the tray on your table and you help yourself to whatever you like and however much you want.  Yes, my birthday came early this year.  I tried to show some restraint, but it wasn't easy as the smell and the ooze of the cheese taunted me to try as many as I could because it could be a dream that I would wake up from soon.  And yes, at some point, without a word, the tray was whisked away.  I may have welled up a bit at this point, but it was for the best as my meuille feuille was coming out next.  Perhaps we benefited from slow service as there was about a half hour lag until dessert came out, but the meal was still a winner, and a good value.

"Bio" stand which is like organic
Saturday I met up with family friend Gayle who showed me around the Aligre Market, another wonderful open air, as well as indoor covered market, but this one is open 6 days a week and is more reasonably priced, so many professionals shop here.  I loaded up on beautiful, long, slender green beans, ripe, fresh fruit of apples, pears and bananas, and of course there had to be some cheese included as well.  I also learned of a great spot to buy any kind of nut (consumable ones that is) in larger bags than you find at the grocery store, which tend to be more like single servings.  We stopped for lunch after and I had a sweet and refreshing hot tea with mint leaves, herbs and what looked like half a forest in the long glass.  Was a great pick me up.

Saturday night, my friend Stephanie was game to try the newish Japanese restaurant across the street from my place called Icho.  When we arrived, there were only 2 other tables occupied, and they had little children and left shortly after.  We were presented with a chalk board with just 4 items on it and we went with the 2 that simply said, "sushi," and "maki."  Beautiful plates were presented to us with most of the usual suspects of tuna, salmon, shrimp, but a few different sauces and preparations made it more unique than the fast food type sushi that is actually on nearly every corner here.  We had a clean, dry Riesling that was a good fit for the fish.

We then went to a party down the street.  I was invited to a party through a bit of a circuitous route.  I met someone at a wine tasting who upon learning where I lived in Paris, thought I should meet a gal from NY who also lived on my street.  The NYer and I e-mailed a bit, and then she invited me to a friend of her's party who also used to live on our street, but now lives around the corner.  Yes it was a little interesting walking into a party where you really know no one, but it was a themed costume party, so how bad could it be?  The theme was "faux," so you just had to wear something fake.  There were many wigs, mustaches, fake eyelashes, tattoos, etc...It was a really nice crowd from all over - Paris, US and beyond.  Everyone was very friendly and we ended up staying much longer than our anticipated one hour visit.  How can you leave a punch bowl filled with vodka, sprite and sorbet?  Delicious!

Sunday was a bit of a sleep in day, but then I needed to go for a long run to make a dent in all the week-end merriment.  The road that runs along the River Seine is closed all day Sunday so it's filled with bikers, strollers, runners and roller bladers.  Roller blading is a strange phenomena over here.  Lots of people do it and there's many clubs and closed off areas for them around town.  Uh, the 1980's called and wants their sport back.

Everyone was outdoors today because of the fabulous weather.  After running, I found myself back at the River along with half of Paris, and then Lisette texted wanting to meet for a drink and bask in the sun.  We sat in an outdoor cafe on the island of Ile St. Louis and brought the wonderful week-end to a close with Rose and Chablis.

1 comment:

  1. Is that Bacon in the Pumpkin soup? Mmmm, there is an Austrian Pumpkin Seed oil dressing that rocks...