Thursday, February 23, 2012

Some California Sunshine

I got two great gifts from LA this week.  One, blue skies and quasi-warm temperatures came to Paris.  Two, my good friend Cheryl came for a visit.

Cheryl used to live in London and has been to Paris several times, which means we didn’t have to do the Paris 101 tour.  Instead, we got to wander the streets for hours, and of course eat and drink all of Paris’ goods.  There was cheese shopping, wine tasting, a few church visits, and we even caught up with 2 of Cheryl’s friends who up and left LA for Paris.

We met Robin for the world’s largest coffee I’ve ever seen, served at bakery great Poilane’s café in the 6th.  There was a group leaving when we got there at about 10am and they had already each finished off a glass of wine.  Now, that’s hitting the ground running.

Poilane's great bread spread
Coffee, not soup!

Cheryl and I at least tried to wait to drink until lunch, where one day we went for supposedly the best croque madame/monsieur’s in Paris at Le Nemrod.  I haven’t done enough research to say if they’re truly the best, but they were certainly good.

Le Nemrod's Croque

We slipped into the tiny L’Avant Comptoir for a mid-day glass and also hit one of my local favorite’s Baron Rouge where we joined a lively bunch gathered on a random Tuesday night.

An afternoon glass at L'Avant Comptoir
Double fisting at Baron Rouge

The cute couple from the US who used to host the hugely successful underground dinners in their home, have now opened a restaurant and wine bar called Verjus.  We ate in the wine bar one night and had a fabulous meal of spicy fried chicken, rare duck, dumplings and Asian style broccoli.  They also have a great restaurant upstairs with a different menu, which I reviewed here
We had dessert and a final glass at Willi’s Wine Bar down the street.

Willi's Wine Bar
Verjus Wine Bar



Cheryl’s friend Richard showed us a great view of Paris from the top of Belleville and then we wandered graffiti’d streets back to the Canal St. Martin. 

I’m always intrigued as to what’s happening in some of the outer neighborhoods, especially where some of the hot chefs are being lured there because of cheaper rent.  I took Cheryl to one of these restaurants on the fringe, called Le Galopin.  While we may have been able to purchase drugs of our choosing on the way in, we ended up being treated to our own mood enhancing meal.  They give you a sheet of paper with the night’s menu, but there are no choices.  It’s more of a heads-up of what’s to come and let us know if you’re going to break out in hives if you eat any of this.  I loved it all, right down to the raw veal.  Due to our lengthy and late dinner, we ended up being the last table in the place, so we got to see the 2 young chefs take a seat, grab a beer, and start smoking in the restaurant.  I certainly wasn’t going to tell them to stop after the wonderful meal they gave us.





It was a short, but sweet trip and now I’m gearing up for my own trip down to Bordeaux for the week-end.

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