Sunday, February 03, 2008
It's my last day in Paris and I've got to figure out what to do. But more importantly, what to eat.
Overall, I've been a lazy bastard this trip. Not getting out on the streets until 12noon (or later) and doing nothing of significant importance has been great for my mental health but poor for my inner-tourist. Maybe I should have seen The Louvre? Maybe I should go to the Eiffel Tower?
Bah, next time, I tell myself.
Of course, I said the same exact thing about New York's World Trade Center while gazing at it from the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday night, September 9, 2001.
And look what happened there.
I hope I'm not some sort of Herald Of The Apocalypse.
Meanwhile, the city is at my feet and I'm ready to hit the pavement. I'm just not sure of what to do. Head over to Recrutement Cafe and watch France spank Scotland in rugby's Six Nations tournament or go back to SexODrome and spend the sixty euros burning a hole in my pocket with Leticia?
Instead of Metro-ing it over to Leticia in Pigalle, I decide to hike it over to St. Germain and spend even more money at Pierre Herme. It's a long, cold walk but it's pleasant and once my body reaches total numbness, I'm doing fine.
Pierre Herme is reputedly a pastry god. If that's true, then his shop is pastry mecca. It's modern, slick and expensive. Even the average stuff here in Paris comes at a price, for true luxury, your testicles are also mortgaged. One macaroon is 3,70 euros. That's five dollars and fifty-cents for a macaroon. Expensive is the operative word at Pierre Herme.
If this guy is the god of pastry, then I must sample a range of his offerings. From the Sensation Satine to Plasirs Sucres to Pates de Fruits Satine, I grab an assortment of Pierres' temptations because I'm, well, tempted.
As I step back outside into the cold, after spending more than I would have with Leticia (and feeling tenser because of the damage to my credit card), I begin to wonder if sex might actually be cheaper than food. While most of my booty is for later consumption, the macaroon is for now. Something to keep my energy level up while I walk across Paris.
Quite simply, this is the most exquisite macaroon I've ever had in my life. It's brilliant. Just the right amount of sweetness and a complexity of flavors from the green tea, the chestnut and the delightfully baked shell. It's amazing. I'm blown away. It's sensual. My God, could it be that this macaroon was more sensual than a session with Leticia?
Perhaps I ought to visit Leticia to compare notes and offer an accurate contrast and comparison...
But that's not going to happen (not yet at least) and I continue strolling along and happen upon Montparnasse and Cubana Cafe. I had heard about Cubana Cafe and it's cigar room and connections to Paris' Latino community. Immediately upon hearing this, visions of Latina women filled my mind and I decided that i need visit this place sometime this week.
I arrive there around 5pm and it's pretty empty. There's a couple of Latinas, but they're already with others. It's too early to eat and I hate to sit around and smoke a cigar alone in a room so I decide to put the cigar off for another time and to visit Cubana Cafe again on my next visit to Paris.
Strolling along the Boulevard du Montparnasse, I come across a long line in front of Creperie Henri. And you know what they say: the locals know the best places. I stand there for awhile just watching the crepe chef in action. She's a seasoned pro. Just watch how she spreads out the batter on the crepe cooker. No wasted motion. No wasted batter. Amazing. Every motion is precious, every action is deliberate and everything happens at just the right time. Watching a true craftsman in action is always a pleasure.
I decide that I too must know this pleasure and fall in line. I don't know any better so I order a Nutella crepe. So very simple. The crepe, once finished, is folded in half and then the Nutella is spread thinly over the half side. The whole thing is folded into a cone shape, placed in paper and served hot. The crepe is creamy and chewy and while the Nutella looked thin when she was spreading it on, it's just right. A delicate balance between the Nutella and the Crepe.
After the crepe, I keep strolling and return to my flat in Invalides.
72 Rue Bonaparte
01 43 54 47 77
73 Boulevard du Montparnasse
Unlike most of America, most of Paris is closed on Sundays. The French for some reason feel that Sunday is a day of rest and not shopping, eating or making money. As such, it's kinda hard to find a place to eat.
Luckily, the 7th has a few places that are still open. One of them is Le Centenaire at the corner of rue de Saint Dominique and Boulevard Tour de Maubourg. It's an average-looking place and I decide to take a chance.
The server is friendly in a slightly homosexual way. This is not meant to be perjorative, just an observation. He's quite enthusiastic about the plat du jour, the lasagna, that he decides to order that for me. After a brief discussion where I let him know, in no uncertain terms, that I am not interested in lasagna, I order the Croque Poilane Madame - a typical croque madame with egg.
Since this is France, I decide that a multi-course meal is in order and go with the hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise. It's a nice presentation and I make a mental note to remember how to make this at home.
The breakfast itself is pretty decent. Nothing to rave about, but nothing to puke over either. Just standard bistro/diner style fare, with frozen fries.
27 Tour de Maubourg
01 47 05 80 57