A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Friday, June 02, 2006

Le deuxieme jour

I know that 2 days in Paris is completely inadequate, but it is a challenge I gladly accept. We awoke pre-dawn feeling surprising well rested, but still a little disoriented. I attempted to do a little yoga in our miniscule room. Maybe a few twists and a reviving sirsasana will be a nice start to the day. We left the hotel to discover a perfectly crisp morning, and the city appeared to be still sleeping. We took this opportunity to walk around Saint Germain-des-Pres We felt as if the city belonged to us. The stillness and quiet was delicious. We were happy to find Patisserie Paul open at 7:30 and decided to begin our day with café crèmes and viennoiserie. I had the privilege of having a view of the daily offerings as they came out. I think I frightened the bakers and Dave as I sat mesmerized by the sight of canele, chaussons aux pomme, pains aux raisins… Can one eat their weight in pastry?

Dave and I continued our “walking tour” to the open market on Boulevard Raspail. With my canvas “Whole Foods” bag and cheese knife, I felt properly equipped for a midmorning picnic. The first stop was Maison Kayser bakery for a baguette Odeon. I was tempted to nibble off the crusty, seedy corner as we strolled along. Maybe Dave wouldn’t notice if I tore off a little morsel. My favorite part about open-air markets is that it remains a constant source of inspiration. How sad not to have a kitchen at our disposal. We would have to keep the purchases simple—a wedge of Bleu de Bresse, plump cherry tomatoes on the vine, jambon cru de pays, and a fragrant container of strawberries. The Jardin du Luxembourg makes the perfect backdrop for our snack. It was a great coincidence that we sat down opposite 18 rue Vaugirard. For those of you who don’t know, it is the home of the Belleau family in the sometimes silly yet useful “French in Action” series. The show is not only educational but also frozen in 1981.

Sadly, we slept through most of the afternoon and our 6:30 reservation at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The evening was saved with the delightful restaurant Le Timbre. We were quite lucky to dine without a reservation. The atmosphere was convivial and merits all of its praise. To call this place cozy is an understatement. You will find yourself shoulder-to shoulder, but you will quickly relax into its charm. Our hostess impressed us with her ability to assume the role of server, busser, maitre d’, and dishwasher. She seemed to anticipate our every need even as the restaurant reached full capacity. I began the evening with the asparagus salad. The creamy white stalks were highlighted by thin shavings of Parmesan, tangy grapefruit and lightly bathed with olive oil. The crisp texture of the earthy vegetable, rich nuttiness of the cheese and bright citrus created a fresh harmony on the plate. The mille-feuille dessert was equally striking and lovely. Light as air layers of pate feuilletee layered with crème patissiere. Can I serve something so simple back home? Chef Chris Wright works around his diminutive kitchen with great precision and care. He impresses with his ability to create dishes that are in perfect balance. I admit I didn’t want the evening to end. The restaurant was buzzing with friendly chatter and diners continued to arrive. If I were ever to open a restaurant I would want it to be exactly like this.

Le Timbre
3 rue Saint Beuve Montparasse
tel: 01-45-49-10-40
metro: Vavin

Maison Kayser
10 rue de L'Ancienne Comedie
tel: 01 43 25 71 60
metro: Odeon
(several locations throughout Paris)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:28 AM  

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