There is a darling restaurant not far from Notre Dame that always has wonderful decorations outside and the interior is fabulous. I ate there twice, once was great, once just okay. I know people who rave about the food though. The owner is very friendly, very welcoming to all and calls his wife the Wild Woman. I’m thinking I should go again and give it another try. It’s been in operation since the 1600’s and has a very interesting interior. I saw the exterior the other day announcing spring and had to take a few photos.
A short walk from our apartment is a little bar/cafe called Chez Gudule. It’s a funky place and Maurice and I like to take visitors there for a drink instead of the more elegant Cafe Comfort. I’ve always liked this place and remember one time when I sat out on the sidewalk having a Diet Coke cooling down after being out and about when the sky turned dark, dark gray and a thunderstorm arrived with its heavy rain and wind and I was forced inside. It was nice to sit inside and watch the storm outside waiting for it to clear before I headed home. A friend told me that I probably liked this place so much because it reminded me of Austin, a city in Texas known for funky places and its hippy inhabitants with the slogan often seen which said, “Keep Austin Wierd”.
Isn’t this fun with a table and chairs on the ceiling? On the back wall you might be able to see a portion of a toilet which has a sign on it directing you to the toilets downstairs. They tried to gussy up this place once. We stopped in for drinks and were told we had to have them outside as they were set up for dinner and sure enough there were pink table cloths and candles on the table. It didn’t last long though. I haven’t seen that set up since.
I’ve written before of the self doubt that arrives when I have French people over for dinner. They have all of that history of fine food and they’ve eaten it all of their lives. So I was having two couples over. Both of the men were French (and there’s Maurice too) and one of the women was a gourmet cook. She’s incredible in the kitchen. She could be on one of those cooking shows where they give you five ingredients and say, “Go”. She would win hands down.
So I was a little nervous when I was planning the dinner and I found a really good recipe for chicken that I tried out with Maurice first. It was chicken breasts pounded thin then rolled up with fried bacon, braised shallots, lemon zest and parmasean cheese. It has to all be held together with toothpicks which is tedious, then browned in a skillet and baked in the oven. After they are finished, you remove the toothpicks and slice the rolls into decorative discs and place them in a little arc on the plate and put a fantastic sauce on top made of wine, chicken broth, and cream. It tasted fabulous so I decided to make it for my dinner guests.
I had the chicken ready before they were due to arrive thinking it would hurt to keep the chicken warm in the oven for thirty minutes or so while we had drinks before. Well, being French they were of course late but the main problem was that they came by car and there just isn’t any place to park in our neighborhood, especially with work going on installing the nearby tram. Everyone came in our apartment except the driver who drove around looking for a place and he didn’t find one for almost one hour. We had already poured champagne for everyone thinking he would arrive at any minute and by the time he finally came it, it was flat as we kept waiting for him. My vegetable side dish of zucchini and carrots was soggy by now. But when we finally ate the very dry chicken which was so overdone that I could barely get the by now soft tooth picks out and couldn’t cut it into nice little discs either, but everyone said loved it. I was really upset which I kept to myself I think. We ended dinner with that great dessert that I posted about earlier and that was the high point of the meal. We had a fun time and I think that was the important thing. I just need to discover a dish that can sit for a couple of hours without becoming to dry. At least with barbeque that’s not a problem.
For Christmas two years ago I bought a Nespresso machine for Maurice, one of those that you put a little container of coffee into the machine and get those tiny cups of espresso type coffee. I don’t drink coffee but it’s nice to have on hand for company after dinner and Maurice occasionally makes himself a cup of Nespresso. I didn’t know when I bought the machine that the only place you can get replacements of the little coffee capsules was at the Nespresso stores themselves. (I bought the machine at a department store). So we were just about out of coffee and I headed to Rue Scribe right across from the Garnier Opera House and braved the crowds to replensih our supplies.
The inside of this very elegant store. The sales people were all dressed up standing behind counters selling the coffee. The place was packed with customers waiting in line at one of four counters with three sales persons at each one. I didn’t, however, see George Clooney.
There has been incredible weather in Paris the last few days. It was so warm that I ended up carrying my coat and walking in the shade. I’m thinking this summer is going to be a very warm one. Since it was so pretty, I did so more wandering, this time I stayed in the 9th arrondissement.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to see signs of Spring and to finally have Spring here? It certainly brightens my day. It has started warming up here in Paris and we’ve had a lot of sunshine and blue skies, always a mood lifter. I haven’t seen any wysteria in bloom yet but the early heralders of Spring, bulb flowers, are doing their thing.
The French don’t use the Easter Bunny bringing the Easter candy thing but church bells instead. It doesn’t stop them from using rabbits for decoration and I guess you start seeing more of real rabbits in the Spring anyway.