Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sting, All You Can Eat Steak, and Student Chefs

You can feel the mood getting lighter and brighter in Paris with sunshine and warm weather this week.  The terrace cafes filled with Parisians getting their soleil and Rose fix.  I was also treated to sunshine from all corners this week with visitors from all points.

Wil was first up.  Though he currently lives in LA, I think I have to call him my friend from Paris as we've spent more time together here than there.  He has a place in Paris so is here quite a bit, and Tuesday he introduced me to the Parisian music scene with my first concert here.   

We saw Sting and after all these years and even sans Police, that man can still perform.  He’s 62 and is rocking it like he’s 22.  He looks and sounds exactly the same, except for his beautiful French that he spoke fluently in between all the songs he sang in English.  Even Sting is showing me up in the language department.

Interesting notes about my first concert.  We had first come, first serve seats, so a friendly usher took us to our seats, and unfortunately I learned after, that they get tips for this.  In tip-tight Paris, it seemed so odd to tip someone to show you to a seat.  Then again, it also seemed odd when a giant screen dropped from the ceiling to show movie previews.  Yes, movie previews.

They also had a very random band playing on two opposite sides of a corridor in the hallway of the venue.  They were wearing what can only be described at hazmat suits, so I’m hoping they didn’t know something we didn’t.

The Parisian crowd loved Sting, but no one danced.  There was a large standing room only space in front of the stage where people stood upright, took pictures, clapped when songs were over, but didn’t find it necessary to get their groove on even when he covered some classic Police songs.  Still a fun time had by all.

Danika was in town next.  Danika was one of my first friends when moving back to LA, but she left the sunshine for an English boy and now lives in London.   

She was in town for work so we got to catch up over cocktails and all you can eat steak frites at Le Relais Entrecote.  This place is famous for its one item menu.  All they ask you is how you want it cooked, and then it just keeps coming.  They replenish your steak and fries so they’re always warm, and their secret sauce is sinfully delicious.


I went to an opening of a new spot from a woman affectionately called Miss Lunch.  Miss Lunch has hosted meals (can you guess which one?) in her home for years and now she’s expanding by opening a shop that will served breakfast and lunch, and she’s also going to lead cooking classes there.  I look forward to popping in for lunch soon.


Wil and I then had to return to local favorite Baron Rouge for “un pot” or two of wine before dinner.  This place is always friendly as a couple asked to join us at our table and then proceeded to share their salami with us.  I’ll take that as rent any day.  

We then had a dining adventure at a cooking school that serves dinner in an adjacent restaurant.  Wil and I have both been to cooking school so I thought it would be fun.

Sometimes there’s a fine line between fun and funny and we spent more time on the comical side of the line at this meal.  There were no less than a dozen kids in ill-fitting suits running around, slightly stressed out, and very anxious to get us through our meal, and on to their nights.  

My food was better than Wil’s who definitely did not win the ordering lottery.  I had a nice shrimp in a spicy tomato chutney, and two well cooked pieces of meat with the always rich and wonderful potatoes dauphine.  


When it came time to serve the cheese or really anything for that matter, we would find ourselves holding our breath for the culinary kids as they nervously balanced fork and knife and blue cheese, hoping it would make it to our plates, and not the floor.  

Dessert was an enormous display of people and sweets, and we must have tried over a dozen of them, and would likely only ever re-order 1 of them.   


Sometimes a meal is memorable not for the food, but the experience, and this was definitely one of those meals.  My slightly more forgiving Girls' Guide review is here.

Visitor week ended with Wil giving me a tour of the Marche au Puces, which I’ve been forbidden to call the glorified garage sale, and now that I've seen it, I understand why.  We went to the market at Porte de Clignancort, one of the largest and best.  Stepping off the metro, we were immediately accosted by men selling fake rolex watches and YSLyou enter a different world.  You could call it Chandelier World, or perhaps Silver or Baccarat Land.

There were many lovely things, and I decided you would need to buy a special house to put some of these items in, and then not let anyone touch anything.  Actually, I think that place is called Versailles.  It wasn't all over the top, but it was a fun place to stroll to look for a specific piece, or be inspired with a new treasure.

As I wrap up the week, I'm now gearing up to embark on my year of travel.  I want to take advantage of all of the wonderful places in close proximity to Paris.  Loving alliteration, I'm starting with the letter M as in M is for March....and Morocco.  I'm off to Morocco tomorrow for a new adventure in a very new place.  You may have to wait longer than usual for an update, but hopefully it'll be worth it!

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