Thursday, September 24, 2015

* Eating 52 Countries In 52 Weeks - Week 19 - FRANCE

There are no gyms in Paris. Everybody walks everywhere. Even the little toddlers in their trendy skinny-jeans and shiny patent leather boots, keep in stride with their parents - who by-the-way look like they just came down from a runway. During the three days we spent in Paris, we walked 33 miles which helped us justify the croissants, crepes, and baguette sandwiches we enjoyed every single day for breakfast and lunch. Dinners on the other hand were another kind of joy. The first part of the feast that is the subject of this post took place at the oldest restaurant in existence in Paris. Le Procope has been serving Parisiennes as well as culinary adventurers like us since 1686! Of course, Rick had our reservations made from weeks ahead and we were seated by one of the windows that looked out to the cobblestone street hoping some time traveling horse carriage to go by any moment.

First we awed through the wine menu. I picked the Côtes De Bourg Château Haut Lamouroux from Bordeaux. Rick landed on a similar shade of red Côte du Rhône Parallèle 45 to match the oldest recipe served since 1686 he was about to order.

It felt like a guilty pleasure to a order a bottle of local sparkling water Badoit making regular water seem so banal.

It was time for me to try one of the most famous French dishes. I did not hesitate a single moment while ordering Escargot as my appetizer and surely I was not disappointed.

Rick's French Onion Soup was 'the best' we ever tasted. You must accept the fact that the french onion soups you had outside of France are nowhere near this soup nirvana.

Of course all of this was accompanied with fresh rolls of French bread ready to be dipped in the soup and the garlicy-butter remains of the escargot.

Simple as it may seem in this picture, my skirt steak with red wine and bone marrow reduction sauce had complex subtleties that took me to a flavor journey from which I did not wish to return. 

Rick's Tête - calf's head casserole - was a historic recipe from 1686 that was served right out of a historic looking pot turning our mouth water fountains on to full blast.

Having landed in Paris just hours before, I was overcome with emotion sitting across from the one wonderful person in my life in the most romantic city in the world eating possibly the best food in the universe. I closed my eyes for a moment and touched the old flaking paint on the windowsill to make sure all of this was not a dream.

We took our first long walk to our hotel after dinner and made a stop at a crêpe shop to have our dessert. At Creperie Saint Germain I had my first Café Crème which became my beverage of choice for the rest of our trip so much so that I gave up diet coke forever.

Oh yes and the crepes with a conglomeration of fruits and nuts and cream and berry paste and sorbet and chocolate sauce were out of this world.

I was glad our hotel was just steps away around the corner from the crepe shop. I knew the first few hours we've just spent in Paris were the sign for how wonderful the rest of our time there would be. 

What I thought to be a cliché all my life has been vanquished during this trip: You must go to Paris with someone you are truly in love with to experience the true magic of this beautiful city.  I did :)

Bon appétit!

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