Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Paris Week 1: The Summary
Ok, so I've been somewhat remiss in regards to this blog-- but it's not entirely my fault, we don't have internet access on our computer right now (hence no photos). So, as much as I've intended to give a day-by-day account if at all possible, here's a summary of the past week in the life of my mouth:
Potato omelette and a beer for lunch when miserable with exhaustion, suitcases in tow. Got to our place, passed out for like 16 hours.
Sandwich rillettes-cornichons from the awesome bakery a block away, a bite of Ryan's brioche a sucre (brioche with pearl sugar-- spurring Ryan to call bakeries The Brioche Store from this point on). Real bad, in fact awful, Chinese takeout from the traiteur Asiatique across the street with a demi-bouteille of Cotes de St-Mont from one of the several wine shops within a stone's throw. I'm pretty convinced Chinese-French is way worse than Chinese-American, if that place was any indication.
Lunch, don't remember, but we went back to The Brioche Store (called in fact Boulangerie Marais or something). Intent on counteracting the terrible Chinese food, we went for dinner at a cute little Portuguese homestyle place a few blocks away called O Por do Sol. I had a kir to start, and with the complimentary peanuts for munching discovered that kir+peanuts tastes identical to a PB&J. Who knew? Neither of us could resist the special of cochon de lait grille (grilled suckling pig), and we shared a nice bottle of Duque de Viseu. We were brought huge no-nonsense portions of pork, sauce, homefries, green beans and carrots, with a simple orange slice garnish. The pork was killer. Large hunks of bone-in meat were as tender as if they had been braised all day, but they were in fact totally crusted on the exposed surfaces with black pepper and lightly smoky.
Marche Batignolles (see other post). Lunch, baguette from the bakery, with rillettes, mustard, pear and candied quince yogurt from the spermarket (I suspect our supermarket is a little nicer because this is a nice area, but they have all kinds of awesome stuff-- chestnut yogurt, a special line of Tropicana not-from-concentrate juices like litchi-apple, blood orange, etc, like a dozen kinds of butter, pates and terrines in packages like you see Oscar Mayer in at home... on and on). Dinner, made from market stuff.
Woke up sick, don't know why. Went on a mission for pho, wound up having pretty good and cheap yakitori meal in the 7th I believe. Dinner, bread and goat cheese from Batignolles.
Lunch, pretty dumpy tuna sandwich from Pomme de Pain, sort of like France's Subway (not very good, but better). Went to La Grande Epicerie at Le Bon Marche, which is basically a francophile gourmet's ultimate paradise. An insane amount of super high-quality everything, packed into a huge emporium. There's a smoked salmon and caviar counter; a prosciutto counter with hams in those fancy ham-holders; another Italian specialty counter with other dried meats and yet more prosciutto and fresh ravioli and cheeses; a massive cheese counter; another crazy charcuterie counter with a million sausages both dried and fresh, cooked and uncooked, stuff in aspic, at least a dozen and a half terrines and pates, pates en croute, turnover things with meat stuff, fresh sauerkraut, breaded pigs' feet, pig's feet in vinaigrette, crab bodies that have been crammed with stuffing and then laid out on their backs with gray eyes staring blankly; some produce that I've never seen, some that's nothing special, some that was very nice, baseball-sized heads of cauliflower, white asparagus the size of drumsticks; super fancy pastries and chocolates and candies at a couple different counters; an olive dude at an olive counter; fish dudes at their counter; red meat dudes at their counter; poultry dudes at the volaille counter.... And those are only some of the counters!! And on top of the counters there's normal aisles with who knows how much stuff! And a wine shop are with wine dudes there to advise you! There's as many kinds of butter as you would find of yogurts at home! And as much yogurt as you would find of, I don't know, skim milk!! Did you know Maille has a bunch of crazy mustards like Kiwi-tropical pepper, mango and more? Well, they do, and you can buy them at La Grande Epicerie. I did note, however, that the "Asian" section was pretty crappy.
Somehow we made it out of there with a (fairly) modest purchase. For dinner we had bread with saucisson aux herbes, comte extra, brie de meaux, mustard (no, not one of the crazy ones), pate de campagne, butter and Chateau du Bergey, Cuvee la Cote 2002. And chocolate.