Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Discovery Dinner Party, Wine, Wine, Wine and Tina

I learned about a former Discovery colleague living in Paris from a co-worker in another department, as well as from a friend outside of the company who also knew her.  I actually worked on the same hall as this woman back in MD over 10 years ago, though we didn't have reason to interact with each other back then.  When you're in Paris though, that type of connection is called a friend and earned me a dinner invitation to her home, which would be my first home cooked meal in Paris.

Her name is Sona and she's married to a man who works at the US Embassy, which means my whole Parisian apartment could fit in one of their 4 bedrooms.  They are very nice people with a very nice home, and I enjoyed a lovely meal of a Thai steak salad.  Jeff, Sona's husband also gave me a taste test after dinner of a liqueur called Myrte, popular in Corsica and Sardinia.  It's a sweet berry that was a perfect companion to a beuatiful trio of desserts. 
Sona then invited me to meet one of the only Discovery employees in Paris, Marie, and her husband Charlie.  I was invited to my second home cooked dinner in Paris, and my first by a French couple.  Marie and Charlie live in the 19th, due east from me.  They have a wonderful place with a living room that has windows all the way across to admire the amazing view of the city.  We started with some Proseco and tapenade while we chatted with their adorable 4 year old Penelope who I tried not to hate because her French is better than mine. 

Marie made a perfect dish for the now cool evenings that have finally hit Paris.  There was duck confit on the bottom layer, which I was sure she had met with the butcher and slaved over all day, but then I came to learn you can buy it this good in a can at the supermarket, which I shall be investigating.  She layered mashed potatoes on top and baked the whole dish.  Superb.  A lightly dressed green salad and bread rounded out the meal, made even better by a nice Margaux from Jeff. 

We finished with a beautiful apple tartine and some homemade tea.  Marie grows verbena leaves in her yard and she dries the leaves and then steeps them making for a wonderful end to a lovely evening with new friends.

This week also brought more wine discoveries.

My wine class at Cordon Bleu was a visit through Alsace, and while I can't say each one was my absolute favorite, I can say I was a big fan of the Pinot Blanc from Domaine Weinbach.  The producer is Colette Faller et Ses Filles, and Colette is supposed to be fabulous.  How can you not like a woman who is making wine with her daughters? I also enjoyed the Pinot Gris - both are inexpensive and easy drinking.  What I didn't know is that it's  recommended that Alsatian wines aerate in a decanter much like some big reds.

My next wine club shipment from Spring was ready for pick up this week as well.  They had another tasting party to try the wines, and have some snacks.  We were treated to the winemaker David Croix pouring his wines for us, along with several other bottles from his collection.  David's vineyard is Domaine des Croix in Burgundy so he has all Pinot grapes and is making silky, smooth wines from a really wonderful Bourgogne Rouge up to a Grand Cru.  Very good wines at a fair price.

I was in fact sober for a few hours this week as long lost friend Tina from LA, who has been living in London the last 7 years, was in Paris for work this week, and I got to visit with her today.  She was ready to do some shopping, and luckily I live in the land of fabulous shopping so she came to the Marais and we hit a lot of shops, got caught up and enjoyed some lunch.  Another great week in a great city!

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