Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Let The Gluttony Begin!

It's nice to be remembered.

We took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle to the Hotel Lancaster. This was our fifth time staying at this great hotel. When our taxi pulled up, the doorman came and opened the door to the taxi, looked at us, and said: "ahhh...Monsier, Madame...welcome back!". We walked in toward the front desk, the receptionist greeted us, and the concierge confirmed that we were still dining at Spoon, Food, & Wine at 21:00 so that he could reconfirm our reservation. We were shown up to our room ("...we have upgraded you because you are repeat guests..."), unpacked, and hit the ground running...
...right down to the hotel bar. We didn't have that much time before dinner, so we just decided to have a relaxing cocktail (champagne for Mrs. TBF and Tanqueray Martini for yours truly, along with the "trough of snacks") before walking a few minutes down the Champs-Elysées to the restaurant for dinner. Let the gluttony begin!
I'm not going to go into details of everything we ate, but I'll just say that the spare ribs that I had on Friday night at "Spoon" were unbelievably great. They were the culinary and gastronomic highlight of the weekend for me. We ordered the "Chef's Surprise" menu, and Mrs. TBF told the waiter that they couldn't possibly have picked anything better for my meat course. It was a great dinner because they brought each of us different things, and we were able to try twice as many dishes by sampling each other's food. The service was excellent...and friendly. Don't believe the myths that are perpetuated in America that the French are rude. We have found exactly the opposite to be true. Damn! I MUST find spare ribs in Basel to prepare on the grill this summer.

On Saturday, we went out to a little bistro right down the street from our hotel and had an excellent lunch. Anticipating that I was about to become rather stuffed, I lifted the camera over my head while I still could to take this table shot. I can't really remember the name...."something Beujolais", but it was just the kind of bistro we like for lunch - filled with local characters, the proprietors don't really speak English, and pretty much everything served with pommes frites. It was just the fuel we needed for a day full of shopping. More about the shopping later, but suffice it to say that the belly-fuel was needed...
On Saturday night, we had another great meal at a place called Au Moulin A Vent. It was recommended in our "Top 10 Paris" book, and it was another find! Both the food and the atmosphere were excellent! It was one of those places that has little tables side by side so they end up connecting into one big table. In order for Mrs. TBF to sit on the bench, the table had to be pulled out of the row. We ended up sitting next to two sets of French grandparents with their 8-year old grandson and the former owner of the restaurant. One set of grandparents spoke perfect English, and we ended up talking for a LONG time. They gave us other restaurant recommendations, told us about their trip to Chicago, etc., etc. We just had a great time!
On Sunday, we made the very touristy trek to Pere Lachaise Cemetary to see Jim Morrison's grave. Since it was only about ten minutes away from the cemetary, we ended up going to a little Algerian restaurant called Les 4 Freres that was recommended to us by Dictator Princess. I can't really remember what the stuff was called that I ate, but it was good. Some kind of soup, some couscous, some chicken...good belly fuel. And, it was needed for the chilly walk through the rain to, and through, the cemetary (...more later). While we were in Les 4 Freres, I told Mrs. TBF that I felt like I was eating in a restaurant in some neighborhood in Chicago. People of mixed ethnicities crowded into a small restaurant eating good, inexpensive (22 Euros), wholesome food. Finally, as if our stomachs could be stretched out even more, we went for our Sunday dinner at Senderens.
Alain Senderens had a 3-star Michelin restaurant called Lucas Carton. Then, he decided that he didn't need the pressure and decided to chuck it all away and reopen a new restaurant under the name Senderens. The idea was to serve the same quality food, but at more affordable prices. In other words, 100 Euros per person instead of 400 (YIKES!) Euros per person. It ended up being another great meal and a great conclusion to our weekend of "strapping on the feedbag"! We opted for a courses that were matched up to a specific "wine". I say "wine" because my salmon course was matched with Scotch whiskey. The highlight for me was my veal and langostine tartare. Of course, when I ordered it, the waiter felt obligated to say: "Monsieur...c'est roh." Which resulted in me saying: "Yes...I know it's raw." Why do they feel compelled to mention that it's raw? Is it common for people not to know that tartare (as in steak tartare) implies that it will be raw?
So there you have it - our weekend of pure gluttony. I'm not getting on the scale until Friday, and I'm now going to have a Weight Watcher's yogurt, a slice of toast with a slice Weight Watcher's cheese, 250 ml. of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Light, a few vitamins, and a banana - 6 points. Then, I'm going to the gym where I figure I'll only need to use the elliptical trainer for about twelve hours or so to burn off all the calories I consumed this weekend.

6 comments:

Expat Traveler said...

sounds simply incredible!

Kirk said...

Oooh--I really wanted to try Spoon last time I was in Paris--now I'm suitably motivated next time I'm lucky enough to go there...

heather said...

I loved Pere Lachaise - we went on a warm summer day and it was beautiful...and there were some very trippy people singing by JM's grave. Perfect.

The Big Finn said...

ET- Paris est toujours incroyable.

Kirk - Just do it! It's kind of a toss-up, but I may be leaning toward Spoon being my favorite meal in Paris so far.

Heather - I actually enjoyed the entire experience of Pere Lachaise more than I did J.M.'s grave. His grave was kind of unspectacular. However, it is rather amazing that some 35 years after his death that at any given moment there are at least 10 people standing in front of his grave.

CanadianSwiss said...

Great restaurants! I'm always looking forward to read about your new "discoveries". Paris is definitely fantastic. I'll have to make sure that I go again with OrangeX.

cncz said...

I am so glad you enjoyed Les 4 Freres. That restaurant hits the trifecta of what Nice Husband wants gastronomically: halal, Algerian and cheap. Just like him!