Overdue for a check-in, there is much I could report on, including...
-the final dining blitz preceding Ryan's (lamented) Oct. 31 departure
-a couple more fancy-pants books from La Librairie Gourmande
-the cold finally sinking its teeth into meaty, cheesy France
-two consecutive weeks of disappointing classes (boo)
-the sense that my French continues to improve (hooray)
-the sense that French is affecting my English in strange ways (hmm)
-and last but not least... my first Actually French Friend!
-actually, the new last but not least: like a dumbass I just accidentally- and permanently- deleted 140 new photos while trying to upload them... therefore dashing my ability fully illustrate the preceding items. There were the usual many photos of dinners I've been having, mainly out but also at home; assorted photos from school; a dash of street art; and a healthy dose of really nice market photos which I'm the most disappointed to have lost.
A really fantastic place in the 5eme whose main concept is taking amazing high-quality regional products (AOC meaning appelation d'origine controlée, ie products of protected origin and labelling standards). These products, mainly meats, are served utterly simply and perfectly-- for the most part having been slowly spun in the big rotisserie immediately inside the entry. I had an incredible terrine of lentilles de puy, oreille de cochon (ok ok, yes, that does indeed mean pig's ear), and a center of foie gras. Ryan had the house terrines, which were all delicious, including wild boar, poultry liver and headcheese varieties, among others (naturally accompanied by an enormous crock of cornichons-- oh, and excellent bread). I then had a pork chop (from an heirloom black pig breed), Ryan, "pattes noires" chicken (like poulet de Bresse). Both from the rotisserie, both perfect, the only other items on the plate being tasty roasted potatoes and a bit of sauce. We drank a quite nice bottle of Costières de Nîmes for cheap, and shared a decent hunk of tarte Tatin for dessert. All this plus coffee for less than 100 E, and with very friendly service in a pleasant and casual atmosphere. Not bad du tout.
Moules frites in a sort of random bar facing Gare du Nord. Pretty good.
Awesome little udon joint on Japanese row in the 9eme. Had the kunitora-udon (shaved pork, salsify [which I suspect was in fact burdock] and udon in miso soup), and we all shared tempura (flawless) and a dish of fried fish cake, hard boiled eggs and cooked vegetables all simmered in a mild soy based broth. My girlfriends had other variations on the udon as well as katsudon, which were all very very good. I will certainly make repeat visits.