I had prepared for the Paris I remembered. Scowling pedestrians, autumn rainstorms, loud scooters, gruff waiters, and angry drivers.
Instead, the skies were pink each evening, confections were in many a shop window, and green chestnut trees fluttered amidst the greys and creams of Paris. Scooters seemed muted as they zoomed past while we walked on bridges over the Seine. The waiters were jovial and patient with my (very) bad French. And hardly anyone was scowling. Hard to scowl when you are eating ice cream. And it seemed like everyone was eating ice cream. We did too.
We drank silky espresso out of tiny cups, ate buttery croissants, followed a couple hours later by red wine and stinky cheese.
We ate with celebrities, even! Gail Simmons from Top Chef sat right behind us at Le Verre Vole, where we had this lime-fragrant ceviche.
There was a late, dizzying lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, where this generous and luscious hunk of foie just about made me swoon and had to be (reluctantly) shared with Mom and Mr. Pants.
We followed that up with a crunchy-tender sea bass with artichoke hearts and clams.
At Le Baratin, we were glared at by the front-of-house man, then mollified by the unforgettable and simple food the woman in the kitchen created. Like this plate of artichoke hearts, beans and anchovy.
And this crispy, buttery skate.
Mom and I made it to the venerable Brasserie Balzar, where the surprisingly genial waiters brought a massive bowl of chanterelles with garlic and butter, a beet salad and roasted chicken with frites, followed by post-lunch expresso.
Then it was off to Provence, Alsace, Normandy and Brittany, so stay tuned for our next post!
Highlights: All of the above. Being with the remarkably insouciant Mr. Pants on his home turf.
Disappointments: Not having more time there.
Mr. Pants: Happy to be home and seeing his Dad and sister. Elegantly flouncing along with his fancy scarf, tied the french way, of course.