Saturday, September 26, 2015


September 26, 2015 – Just as we finished working at our computers, the weather changed from gloomy to splendid.  We went out to play.

There was no plan, but since we went west on our last walk, we turned north to begin this walk.  As we approached the Champ de Mars on the avenue de la Motte Picquet, I said, “Let’s go on up to those two adorable little parks on either side of Les Invalides!”
Square Santiago de Chili

We had not yet visited those parks, the Square Santiago de Chili or the Square d’Ajaccio, yet this year.  We found them to be two verdant oases of peace and solitude in an area surrounded by busy avenues.  In between the two parks, we walked along the front of Les Invalides, admiring the canons, topiary, and the posters for the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, which features macquettes (to-scale models).  These macquettes were used for military strategic purposes; the collection comprises models made under the direction of Louis XIV’s minister of war.

I have a friend back in Columbus (the artist, Chris Steele) who builds macquettes for architectural firms.  I wonder if he’s ever seen this museum?  Maybe we’ll check it out next summer.  But for the time being, we just wanted to enjoy the outdoors on a gorgeous Autumn afternoon.
Poster showing the macquette of Rome, from the Musee des Plans-Reliefs

The avenue de la Motte Picquet in the 7th was a bit of a construction site, so we walked home through the mature trees in the southern part of the Esplanade des Invalides and then along the rues Saint Dominique and Grenelle, through the Champ de Mars, and finally down the rue du Commerce, which was thriving with pedestrian activity.  We’re still amazed at how trendy and popular this shopping street has become.

Tom went on to the Eric Kayser bakery as I went up to water the plants on our apartment’s balcony.  It is quite a chore because there are so many plants.  We have a double length of garden hose that we stretch to a fitting by the kitchen sink on the other side of the apartment.  Then I inch along the narrow balcony with the hose and nozzle, shooting water right into the pots. 
Les Invalides, from the Square d'Ajaccio

Fortunately, I did not inherit my father’s fear of heights.  Tom helps with maneuvering the hose through the apartment and controlling the spigot by the sink, but he does not volunteer to go out to water the plants, partly because he’s not sure how much water they need.

In the evening, we walked down the avenue Félix Faure to dine at Axuria.  The chef, Olivier Amestoy, was upstairs in the dining room, with three young men in business suits, shirts and ties.  These were new servers!  I applaud the decision that the servers will not wear blue jeans in such an elegant restaurant whose tables boast linen tablecloths and napkins.

Les Invalides

The dinner was lovely, but a little expensive without a discount.  We’re spoiled, I guess.  Our starter courses were small croustillantes de gambas with a bit of salmon mousse and caviar, and little slightly spicy country sausages in a creamy sauce.  The main courses were yet another supreme de pintade (guinea fowl, my third or fourth for the summer!) and a carre de cochon pate negra (fancy, high-quality, thick-yet-tender boneless pork chop).  Tom had the incomparable soufflé Grand Marnier for dessert.
"La Defense du Foyer" (Defense of Home) by Boisseau (1887),
in the Square d'Ajaccio.  His face looks like someone
who is a realtor on Sanibel Island.  Can Sanibelians guess who?

Thank you to Axuria for such a delicious and elegant dinner.  It will give us the strength we need for packing.

Friday, September 25, 2015

When Autumn leaves start to fall

September 25, 2015 -- Chefs can be shy.  The softspoken “server” on Wednesday evening at L’Epopée gave me cause for concern; he was so reserved that he was barely projecting well enough to communicate with his guests.  I worried about his chance of succeeding as a server.

At the end of the evening, when I was telling him what was so good about the sauces in this dinner, he beamed and said, “I am the chef.  I have come up tonight to see how this part of the house is working.”

Looking down at the charcuterie and dessert bar at Le Café du Commerce

So the young man whom I had seen appearing out of the kitchen at L’Epopée must be the sous chef, and he must be good enough that the chef was comfortable with leaving the kitchen mostly to him on Wednesday evening.  I’m sure that by then, many of the preparations had already been made.

The starter course that we shared was made in one of those earthenware escargot baking dishes with a dozen round concave indentations.  Instead of escargot, a small shrimp was in each indentation, and the entire dish was covered with a rich, creamy, velvety tomato sauce that had just the right amount of seasonings, tasting mildly Spanish.  The shrimp were tender and juicy; not the least bit overcooked (photo below).

We each had roasted duck breast and polenta, served in a small puddle of fruity sauce.  Comfort food doesn’t get any more comforting than this.

We shared a dessert of profiteroles with that rich, dark chocolate sauce.  Then it was time to say goodbye to L’Epopée for this season.  This was where we began our summer dining in Paris this year; we’ll miss it.

Last night, we dined at another longtime favorite, Le Café du Commerce.  We each ordered a starter and main course, and thought we’d skip the dessert.  Tom had six good escargots, and I had the delicious terrine lapereau (young rabbit – aka bunny – terrine) topped with a confiture of prune.
Roasted duck breast and polenta at L'Epopée

Tom’s main course was a huge ravioli filled with duck confit and a little orange sauce.  He said the concoction was like a big shredded duck turnover – juicy, meaty, and really good.  Mine was skate (aile de raie) served with capers and butter.  I asked for puréed potatoes instead of steamed potatoes.  “No problem,” said the server.  This wing of skate was the largest I’ve seen yet.

I just do not understand why skate is so rarely served in south Florida.  It should be on the menu all the time, because it is prevalent in the Gulf waters.  Do Americans not understand how good skate is?

We didn’t skip dessert after all; instead, we shared a classic and good crème brûlée.
Large duck ravioli at Le Café du Commerce

When it was time to go, each server and host that we passed said thanks and good evening.  When we exited, the streets were cool and wet; we just missed a rain shower.

Earlier in the day, we had a good long walk on the Allée des Cygnes and in the neighborhood around us.  The Allée’s trees were looking autumnal; the line at the Eric Kayser bakery was almost long; the neighborhood is hopping with activity on the streets.

We’ve been enjoying the fall weather, but now we’re ready for Florida again.  Time to start packing!  Work is being done on our house, and we’re anxious to see it.  (Thank you for the permit, Sanibel.) We’re so fortunate to have our good friend Matty overseeing the place right now.

Thoughts are turning toward home, and you will soon be able to follow my musings in my Sanibel Journal again.
Aile de raie at Le Café du Commerce.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Recommended Restaurants

Mediocre food beautifully presented at an
unnamed restaurant (above and below).
September 24, 2015 -- For our last evenings in Paris this year, we’re focusing on our favorite places.  Last night was L’Epopée, tonight is Le Café du Commerce, tomorrow is for Axuria, and the final evening is l’Alchimie.

Thanks to and my rigorous use of that site, we have rarely eaten at ordinary brasseries like the Commerce Café (different from Le Café du Commerce, which is really a restaurant).  We’ve dined well, but not spontaneously.

For this year, here is a list of our favorite places.  They’re all in the 15th arrondissement.
  • L’Alchimie, 34 rue Létellier
  • Le Pario, 54 avenue Emile Zola
  • Bacco, 13 rue Mademoiselle
  • Axuria, 54 avenue Félix Faure*
  • Le Tipaza, 155 rue Saint Charles
  • La Table d’Hubert, 148 avenue Félix Faure
  • Le Père Claude, 51 avenue de la Motte Picquet
  • La Gauloise, 59 avenue de la Motte Picquet*
  • L’Epopée, 89 avenue Emile Zola
  • Le Blavet, 75 rue Lourmel
  • Le Bistrot d’en Face, 24 Rue du Docteur Finlay
  • O Fil Rouge, 69 rue Saint Charles
  • L’Accent, 123 rue de la Convention
  • Stéphane Martin, 67 rue des Entrepreneurs
  • Le Cap, 30 Rue Peclet
  • Bermuda Onion, 7 rue Linois
  • Eclectic, 2 rue Linois*
  • L’Ardoise du XV, 70 Rue Sébastien Mercier
  • Beurre Noisette, 68 rue Vasco de Gama

       *Not on,

We recommend making reservations. (or makes this easy.  Remember that by making reservations, you not only make it easier on the restaurant, but you are also helping, in a small way, to avoid food waste.  With, you avoid the inconveniences of using the telephone, and you have a record of your reservation in your email and/or text messages.

The few restaurants marked with an asterisk are not on  Look them up on the internet instead to reserve via the web site or by telephone.

Here’s a list of a few places in the 7th arrondissement where we only dined once this season, but we think they have real potential to make our list of favorites. 
  • Bistrot Belhara, 23 rue Duvivier
  • Le Florimond, 19 avenue de la Motte Picquet*
  • Le Petit Troquet, 28 rue de l’Exposition.

Back in the 15th, we only tried Intuition Gourmande (4 rue Petel) and Guylas (68 rue des Entrepreneurs)* one time ;  both may be good enough to make our list of favorites, but we just need to try them out again a time or two.  Next year . . . .
Tiny round potatoes at Le Pario are delicious!

We did not have the opportunity to return to some of our favorite restaurants in the 6th this year, except for Le Procope and La Vagenende – both of which we recommend.  But based on last year’s experiences, we would add La Boussole, Coté Bergamote, Bouillon des Colonies, Bouillon Racine, and La Bastide d’Opio to that list for the 6th.  All of these are in (

Even when a discount is not offered, is useful as a reservation service, and its web site gives handy maps and menu/price information for the restaurants.  Other important clues are frequently included, such as whether the restaurant is air conditioned or is capable of and amenable to accommodating larger groups. also links to reviews for the restaurants.
My husband could eat this Asian-inspired beef salad at Bacco
five nights a week, he said.

Questions?  Don’t hesitate to contact me via Facebook message.  I’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Don't forget La Gauloise

September 23, 2015 -- On August 16, 2012, I wrote about the restaurant La Gauloise:  “We were also surprised by dinner last night at La Gauloise.  There must have been a change in chef since last year.  The food is actually spicy now!”

And then we didn’t return for three years.  Why?  I think the previous couple of visits there, before August 2012, had been a little disappointing.  And I didn’t like the looks of the change in the menu.  It was shorter, and seemed to be missing the daily specials section that La Gauloise used to have.

I was right in that there was a change of chef in 2012, and I was wrong not to return there for three years.

I now know that the real change in chef occurred in October 2012.  The guy with the spicy cuisine must have been transitional. 

Pierre Sahut began running the kitchen at La Gauloise after we left Paris in the Fall of 2012, and we should have become regulars again in 2013.  At least we finally returned to dine there last night.  The dinner was wonderful.

Chef Pierre has worked for Alain Ducasse, and he went to Lycée Professionnel Hotelier Quercy Perigord for school.  The professionalism shows.

The servers have all changed since we last dined at La Gauloise, but the service is still very professional, as it always has been there.  We were warmly greeted and shown to an elegant table for three, with a banquette long enough for us both to sit there, side-by-side.  Our table was generous and uncrowded, with white linen tablecloth and napkins.

We were immediately given two kir royales and a mis en bouche of tapenade and crisps.  The server tried to give us the menu in English, and was pleased when I asked for the French version.  The bread basket arrived, accompanied by butter -- great French bread, great French butter.
Supreme de pintade

We dined on classics.  Tom ordered the onion soup, which was as good as it possibly can be.  The Gruyere and seasonings were especially good.  My starter was thinly sliced terrine made of beef and pork.  It was refined and delicious.  Even more than usual, we shared the starters.

Tom chose the expensive steak, a “filet chateau au poivre,” at 31 euros.  He said it was excellent, as was the small mountain of great fries that accompanied it.

I selected the fixed price menu at 24.50, including two courses.  My main course was a supreme de pintade (guinea fowl), and it was delicious.  The three-course fixed price menu is 29.50 –  both are great values!

We shared a chocolate mousse, which was really more like a dense, rich, dark chocolate pudding, for dessert.

I love the old fashioned décor of La Gauloise, with its dark wood paneling, mouldings, old lamps, and framed photos of celebrities and politicians who dined there.  We were impressed by a large group of about 14 sophisticated young people who looked like they were graduates of the French equivalent of Hogwarts.  They engaged in lively conversation but kept their voices at a polite, even volume.  What a classy bunch they were!  We guessed that they are college freshmen-age – probably attending one of the grandes ecoles .

Next summer, we will be dining at La Gauloise more often.  It is an experience not to be missed, and definitely to be repeated.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Time flies; we're having fun

September 22, 2015 – Brunching at Eclectic on Mondays is a new routine for us.  We discovered how good the croque monsieur, green salad, and fries are at this chic, ultra modern brasserie, and so that’s where we go during the second hour that Maria the house cleaner takes over our apartment.  During the first hour, we walk.

We walked on the Allée des Cygnes, which has become an unofficial dog park because no rules are enforced there.  Particularly popular among dog owners and their beasts are two grassy slopes on either side of the Allée where it descends from the Pont de Grenelle to the ground level.  These grassy areas are fenced in by a very low, green wire fence, which is adequate for containing only the smallest of dogs.  Big dogs and small dogs play happily together; we’ve never seen a dog fight on the Isle aux Cygnes.

In the evening, we walked again down the full length of the avenue Felix Faure – 30 minutes each way --  to dine at La Table d’Hubert.  If we gave awards, this restaurant would get the “Best Value” award for the summer.  With the discount on top of already very reasonable prices, we dined sumptuously for a total of only 28.30 euros.

But it isn’t just about the price at La Table d’Hubert; it is about the experience.  Dinner there is casual (by Parisian standards), comfortable, generous, and enjoyable.  It is well worth the walk, but it is also very close to the metro line 8’s Balard terminus.

Following a shared starter of Italian bruschetta, Serrano ham, Mozzarella, and greens, we had classic French dishes that were prepared absolutely correctly.  Mine was a confit de canard, which was crispy on the outside, and sticky, tender, and flavorful on the inside.  This duck leg came with perfectly oven-roasted potatoes.

The Assemblée Nationale from the Place Bourbon.  People are lined up
to see it, because it was open for Heritage Days this past weekend.

Tom’s main course was a sausage made in Toulouse, served with mashed potatoes.  Our shared dessert was a delicious homemade peach clafoutis.

Hubert greeted us warmly, by name, and showed us to our regular table in the front window.  He gave us complimentary kirs and little homemade cheese biscuits.  Later he brought a bread basket, which he always has filled with an assortment of good breads.

He asked again where we are from, and if we live in Paris.  We explained, and told him that we’re returning to Florida on Sunday.  So when we left at the end of the evening, we said our goodbyes for the year, and said “see you next summer.”

Time flies when you’re having fun.

Panorama of our view from tea time on the Rosa Bonheur café boat on Saturday.
The view of houseboats, the Grand Palais, and the Pont Alexandre III is captivating.
(Stitched with Microsoft Image Composite Editor.)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Quenelles in a copper pot, swimming in Nantua

Bummer.  David Lebovitz (pastry chef and cookbook writer from NYC who lives in Paris) sent me a Facebook comment saying that the supermarket food waste law passed by the French parliament in May was scrapped due to a technicality in mid-August.  So I had to revise my September 7 blog entry, "Diving for Dinners."  The good news is that some of the major supermarket chains promise to voluntarily sign contracts with charities for the distribution of unsold food.  Since so many U.S. supermarkets do this voluntarily, I have hope that these French supermarkets will follow through on their promise.
The Vagenende, at 142 boulevard Saint Germain.

By the way, when David Lebovitz reviews restaurants, they tend to be those located in the older part of Paris, where many of the tourists like to be.  So if my musings about so many 15th arrondissement restaurants are not geographically helpful to you, you might check out his writings.  His web site is .

But last night, we did dine over there because I really wanted the quenelles de brochet at La Vagenende, a beautiful, big Art Nouveau restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain near the rue de Seine, in the 6th arrondissement.  These quenelles come in a copper pot with a generous amount of sauce Nantua, which is basically a crawfish Béchamel.

Window shopping on the rues Furstemberg and Jacob is delightful.

The quenelles weren't photogenic, but they didn't disappoint; they were every bit as good as I remembered.  Tom surprised me by ordering the veal scallopini Milanese; he usually doesn't like breaded things.  But this veal was especially good, served with a very flavorful tomato sauce.

For dessert, Tom had a Baba au Rhum, but I wasn't able to help him much with that.  We felt as though we were luxuriating in a top-notch Parisian restaurant, because it is so beautiful and the service is so professional.  But the food is unpretentious and just plain good.  Really good.  There was no extra fancy presentation of the food, and no "fusion" of any various types of cuisine.  Vagenende serves honest and good traditional food.

Here I am, photographing the interior of the Vagenende.

Before dinner, we wandered around for a while on the rues Furstemberg and Jacob.  That's one of Tom's favorite Paris activities, and we had not yet strolled along those streets this summer. Yesterday evening was a perfect time to do that.  

Earlier in the day, we walked around in the Village Suisse in the 15th.  All of the art and antique dealers are back from vacation now, and many more of the shops were open.  Even the subterranean level was open, so we saw the dozen or so shops down there.  We were tempted by some elaborate Netsukes, but we didn't buy them because they are so difficult to authenticate.  Still, it is fun to just look at all the wonderful old things in the Village Suisse.  It is a window shopper's paradise.

A butcher shop with lots of charcuterie, on the rue de Seine, near the carrefour de Buci.

We took a stroll through the Champ de Mars after that, and then decided to save our energy for the evening outing.  

Today, Maria the cleaning lady is coming, so I must be off.  Catch you tomorrow!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The world is his oyster

There’s a ship, and it sails the ocean blue, on an “Earth and Ocean” mission.  For the moment, it is between expeditions, resting in Paris for four months – much as we rest in Paris for three months, between busy seasons on Sanibel Island.

This three-mast schooner named La Boudeuse arrived at the port du Gros-Caillou, in the middle of the Berges de la Seine project on the Left Bank, in at the beginning of September.  In mid-January, it will participate in various demonstrations and, most importantly, in the great climate conference, COP21, that will take place at the end of the year.

La Boudeuse, on the Berges de la Seine

Its previous expedition was a world tour of three years from 2004 to 2007.  It was inspired by historical 1766 to 1769 expedition of a frigate also named La Boudeuse.  On that trip, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville took “learned men” with him to sail for science’s sake instead of sailing just for financial gain or exploitation.  One of the botanists, Philibert Commerçon, found a lovely flowering bush on this expedition and named it for Bougainville; the bougainvillea (see my journal entry for September 20, 2012, for the juicy story about Commerçon) is well known and loved by those of us who live in the subtropics or tropics of the Americas.

Today’s schooner named La Boudeuse was built in Holland in 1916.  It has been a field operation of the French project called Grenelle de la Mer since 2009; that project’s goal is to work toward “improving environmental issues associated with the sea.”  What about its name?  A "boudeuse" is a slow growing oyster.

The schooner’s captain is the writer Patrice Franceschi, and its crew includes 26 people.  It is 46 meters long, and has an 8,000-liter fuel tank.  Its water tank is only 2,000 liters, but it has a desalinator that can process 400 liters per hour.

Even more fascinating than the ship, however, is the list of books by Patrice. He’s been around!
[Sources: and]

Emblem near the bow of La Boudeuse.

La Boudeuse was one of the dazzling sights we saw on a three-and-a-half-hour walk yesterday, the first day of the European Heritage Days weekend in Paris.  This year, I examined the Heritage Days program and found nothing that interested me as much as ambling aimlessly does.  We ambled, and in the second half of our walk, we experienced Heritage Days a little bit because we saw long lines of people waiting to see landmarks such as the Assemblée Nationale and a drum corps in old-fashioned uniforms performing in the street in front of the École Militaire.

In the evening, we walked to the center of the Grenelle neighborhood at dinnertime.  The church was just then disgorging its people; that’s a sight we often see as we walk to dinner at about 7:20PM.  The rue du Commerce was still alive with activity; in the afternoon, it had looked like a street in Manhattan – brimming with pedestrians and shoppers.

We turned left in front of the church and walked a short distance up the rue Madamoiselle to Bacco, our favorite new restaurant for this summer.  This was our third visit to Bacco, and already the hostess recognized us and greeted us warmly.  We were seated at the usual front corner table.  They know our name at Bacco.

We began the repast with a cute mis en bouche of a round pastry filled with puréed peas (photo above).  That may sound strange, but it wasn’t.  It was a bite of pure comfort food.

Then we shared the bavette starter course:  a cold beef salad with Asian marinade and herbs (photo below).  This is a stunningly delicious dish; Tom says he could eat it five times a week.

The special of the day was a lamb shank (photo below), which I ordered, and Tom ordered the risotto rouge, which I’d had before.  It is a spicy, rich risotto with three large prawns on top.  

We finished by sharing the delisiozo dessert – a small scoop of ice cream; a rich, dense, Valrhona chocolate and vanilla cake-like confection; and a little crunchy tangle of spun praline cream.

The dinner was not inexpensive; but it was memorable and wonderful.  The décor is nice, and lighting is done well.  Reception and service are gracious and warm. 

Bacco was a fine way to end such a beautiful day in Paris.

Les Invalides on a brilliant day.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

There's something about Paris

September 19, 2015 -- Even when we’re holed up all day, working at our computers, there’s something about being in Paris that is special.  Certainly we feel that something when we break out in the evening to walk and dine.  But we feel it even when we’re at home in the apartment, with the screen in front of us looking pretty much the same as it would look no matter where we could be – provided there’s an internet connection available.
Le Blavet is a river in France.

Maybe it is the light flowing through the balcony doors, even on a cloudy day.  Or maybe it is the sight of the geraniums through the sheer curtains.  Or maybe it is that view over the higgledy-piggledy rooftops – especially when I open those sheer curtains in the dining room.

I look down from the balcony and I see shops with everything we need for daily living and more.  I know I don’t need a car to run the daily errands. 

When the cashier at the grocery shows that he knows us, we feel just as much at home as we do in our small town back in Florida.  We feel that way even though we don’t know anywhere near as many people in Paris as we know in Florida. 

That’s by design.  We like the seclusion we enjoy in the big city.  People leave us alone, yet we know they’re out there.  Parisians care; they’re good people, with generous hearts and spirits.  When we’re out and about, we can rely on Parisians to be polite, except for the occasional odd duck, of course.  But the odd ducks seem to be amusing, somehow.

I love to see Parisians lined up out on the sidewalk, waiting their turns at the butcher’s counter so they can buy one of those heavenly-smelling roasted chickens on Saturday or Sunday.  Roasted chicken, leg of lamb, roasted potatoes – all steaming and waiting for the customers who are not steaming, but waiting patiently.
The blackboard in Le Blavet in July.

I love that “bonjour madame” that I hear as soon as I walk through the door of the wine shop or the fromagerie.  I love that exchange of merci-au revoir-bonne journée as I leave the shops.

I love the professional poise and decorum of the servers in the restaurants.  It is always a jolt when I hear a bubbly, “Hello, I’m Jennifer and I’ll be your server today” when we return to the U.S. and its plethora of casual dining spots.

Many Parisians – but not all of them – still have that casual elegance that seems to come so naturally to them.  Oh the scarves – even the men wear them well.

Parisians have an understated warmth, a hospitality, that is not unique to Paris.  I felt an abundance of that warm hospitality when we were in Rome, for example.

I remember a very rainy evening in Rome when we ducked under an awning over a shop’s entrance, just to wait for the rain to lighten up before we continued.
The shopkeeper came out with a worried look on her face.  I thought she was shooing us away, so, with disappointment on my face, I turned to leave.  She stopped us.  No, she was inviting us to come in to her warm, dry shop, even though we were dripping.  She was kind to strangers.

Last night it was raining as we walked to dinner at Le Blavet.  What would normally be a 20-minute stroll was a 15-minute brisk walk, because in the cold rain, one doesn’t stroll.  So we arrived at the restaurant 5 minutes early.
Decor at Le Blavet is a little stark.

We could see that the staff was still sitting around having after-dinner cigarettes inside, because it wasn’t quite opening time.  We stayed out under the awning, respecting their time and space.
When I thought it was 7:30 (but it was really 7:28), I turned around to open the door.  It was locked!  I was mildly shocked.

After a minute, the host came over to the door and looked at me like I was a bad child because it was a minute or two early.  There was no concern for customers waiting in the cold rain; customers who’d walked through the rain to get there.  He unlocked the door.  I didn’t forget that look on his face because it was not normal; that isn’t how Parisians normally behave.

Nevertheless, we were polite, saying “bonjour,” “merci,” “ça va,” as we entered and placed our dripping umbrellas in the proper receptacle.  We settled into our regular table in the front window.  I just wish the restaurant didn’t have bright klieg lights in that front window!  That light is too harsh for a romantic dinner.
Shrimp ravioli came in a buttery sauce with a parmesan crisp on top.

The chef did a wonderful job, and he’s the reason we love Le Blavet.  One of our starter courses, a foie gras entier with a roasted apple on a slice of spice bread, was scrumptious – almost as good as the last time we dined at Le Blavet.  The other starter, a shrimp ravioli, was very good, but the buttery sauce needed seasoning.  Fortunately there was salt and pepper on the table.  That isn’t always the case; often some restaurants’ staff believe that salt and pepper aren’t needed because their food is perfectly seasoned – as it should be.  In those places, you must ask for the salt and pepper if you want it.
A wonderful foie gras starter course.

Tom and I managed to have “surf and turf” by sharing our main courses – sole meuniere and a beef filet with foie gras on top, a couple of steamed potatoes and some scalloped potatoes.  All of it was excellent, but copious.  We used two ZipLoc bags to carry leftovers home.  Mort au gaspillage!

(We just had a little of the leftover foie gras on small toast slices for today’s lunch, with a few fresh raspberries from the Dia grocery on the side.)

Le Blavet structures its menu so you have three courses each.  Fortunately, the desserts we selected were light – one thin crepe with a few delicious cooked apple slices and a light caramel sauce, with a very small scoop of ice cream.  Very good, and manageable.

Other diners didn’t arrive until we were almost finished with dinner.  We were surprised the restaurant didn’t have more customers, because the food is so very good.  But we suspect the weak business is because of the restaurant’s copious 3-course menus.  The menus are reasonably priced, one at 26 euros for three courses, and one at 34 euros.  However, nobody enjoys wasting food.

We had a pleasant chat with an Asian-American family just before we left.  The daughter has recently started a job in Paris, and her parents are visiting.  We complimented the daughter on her choice of living in the 15th arrondissement.
Sole meuniere.

We walked home alongside the Place du Commerce park, the heart of the Grenelle neighborhood, and enjoyed the smell of fresh rain on the chestnut trees, filtered light and laughter from the Commerce Café across the way.  

There’s something about Paris.

Friday, September 18, 2015

July memories

A couple of times this summer, this houseboat has particularly attracted our attention because of its size and the way it seems to ramble on, from one end to the other, in a hodge podge of rooms.

Sometimes I'm amazed at the orderliness of Parisians.  Time after time, I've seen a scene like this:  the glass receptacle is full, so bottles are neatly set up on the pavement, waiting for the "green men" to collect them.  This particular scene is on the riverbank.

Sailing vessels across from the Louvre and the Passerelle des Arts.

Old Singer sewing machines just filling up a space in a window.

Ah yes, the Sevres museum.

Toasters on outdoor tables at the fois gras restaurant.

Wooden tongs are supplied with the toasters.  When it rains?  The toasters are put away.

The foie gras restaurant is at number 46, Avenue de la Bourdonnais.

A view of the Louvre from the left bank of the Seine.

Once upon a time, years ago, we sat on this bench with our dear cat, General Burnside, and looked at the Louvre -- the same view as in the photo above this one -- in the rain.  The bench was unbroken then, and we were in the shelter of the Pont du Carrousel.  People on the tourist boats waved and smiled at the three of us.  The General passed away in September 2004 at the ripe old age of at least 21.  He was a rescue cat who adopted us; he was with us for fourteen years.  We think of him every time we pass this bench under the bridge.  That's why broken benches should be mended.  The memory is a happy one, not a broken one.