Roller blading gendarmes
8 euro vegetarian thali at one of the Indian restaurants ‘Madras café’ along the Rue du Faubourg St Denis next to the Gare du Nord.
Thursday I got an unexpected trip to Paris courtesy of the teen (blog post here and here). Arriving in the afternoon starving, we had a cheap quick Indian late lunch near the Gare du Nord. Exhausted, we went to the cinema. When I lived in Paris I spent all my time either eating, cooking or going to the flicks. Unfortunately, the quirky cinéphile taste of ‘cahiers du cinema’-educated Parisians, sometimes leads to a mistake. We saw the execrable The Girl Hunters 1963 starring Mickey Spillane, a rare case of a writer playing his own central character.
Chocolatier Trish Deseine, an Irish woman who has performed the miraculous feat of impressing the French with her recipe books and cooking, invited us to stay the night at her place. She made me the best polenta I’ve ever had; gooey and generous topped with Parmesan and home-made pesto. We sank a couple of bottles of rosé, talked of cookbooks. Around 2 am Trish produced two tightly wrapped packets of tin foil “The dark stuff is Ghanaian” she whispered opening them carefully. Once opened, I saw it was not in fact soft drugs but teensy dolls house bars of chocolate, her own product. We inhaled it, discussing texture and flavour. Trish talks about chocolate like a wine or coffee connoisseur. She should do a workshop.
Trish gets out the hard stuff at the end of the meal: “Now this is 74% Tanzanian”. Trish is launching her own range of chocolate at Selfridges this autumn which will roll out all over the UK.
The next day we went to a fashionable bistro La Regalade near the Louvre (there’s another in the 14th arrondissement) where ‘le tout Paris’ goes. The men had perfectly coiffed hair, tans and manbags, the women were after-dinner-mint thin and there was one exquisite child in a pressed cotton frock on best restaurant behaviour. The fixed menu was 33 euros and I got a bottle of Gewurztraminer at 25 euros.
I ‘papped’ the chef Bruno Doucet. French men are effortlessly sexy aren’t they? All utter bastards though.
A simple and creatively presented wine menu with colour codes.
Helmets lining the cloakroom. Even businessmen are on scooters.
A lovely funky amuse-bouche: cornichons and onion pickles. Not home-made however. Carnivores get a big terrine of paté, we got some bread and butter.
I loved this: lasagne de légumes confits, mozzarella di buffala, jambon cru et basilic. Really light soft lasagne but no ham for me.
Saumon mariné par nos soins, salade de concombres et gingembre confit aux oignons nouveaux.
Home cured salmon with a cucumber, spring onion and ginger salad. (The salad was not adequately dressed but the salmon was like butter).
The colours of the sauce with the rascasse are so pretty, worthy of Monet ‘Les nymphéas’.
Filet de rascasse à la plancha, risotto a l’encre et calamars façon pibailles: filet of scorpion fish, squid ink risotto and squid strips fried like elvers or glass eels.
Pavé de cabillaud de Brétagne demi-sel, cuit dans un bouillon parfumé, haricots de Paimpol au basilic
Half salted cod from Brittany, cooked in a broth, with Paimpol beans in basil.
Next door’s rice pudding. Which I tried. You see I simply can’t behave like a normal diner in conventional restaurants anymore, I always end up talking to the tables next to me and inevitably, get to try their food. Love the presentation of this and the generous flecks of vanilla but not sure about it being cold. Bruno, my love, some like it hot!
This water seems to be all the rage in the best restaurants.
Choco-praliné de la Regalade. Complete with Mikado stick. Mind blowingly good said the teen.
Grand Marnier soufflé. Believe it or not, I waited ten minutes (too busy chatting) before photographing it, so this is a slightly deflated version.
|Graffitted locks on the fence of the Francois Mitterand foot bridge|
Lipsticked Kir Au Pére Tranquille café at Les Halles
That food looks unbelievable. No matter how many times you go to France there is always another place you were supposed go to or have yet to even here of. One of these day I'm going to make a weeks worth of online table reservations and eat myself sick. Maybe just a weekend. Don't think my gout could take a week of French food.
Yup, La Regalade is probably one of the best lunch deals in Paris. And such lovely staff – we sobremesa-ed like Spaniards and the last waitress made us feel like we could have stayed there till the dinner shift clocked on.
That thali looks great, but my favourite when I lived there was Dishny's on rue Cail – hardly a secret, but consistently good for thalis and dhosas.
Graffited locks? -Those are lovers pledges!
Really Douglas? How sweet!
Also just noticed some mistakes in my post!
I've seen it done before in a town in Liguria (http://www.intoxicatingprose.com/2007/08/lovers-lock-their-intentions.html)
All the territory covered looks wonderful. Have a happy new year!