Sunday, December 31, 2006

Food, not fashion

New Year's seems to be all about food in Paris. Oh, yes, and champagne. Even though today is Sunday, nearly all the specialty food boutiques were open in our neighborhood. We are eating chez nous tonight---too busy and too crowded to go out. The menu St. Sylvestre for us includes: paté, four or five different cheeses, roast chicken with roast potatoes, fresh green beans, lots of wonderful French bread, and la buche Keyser for dessert.

This little buchette is a delightful concoction of chocoate cake, chocolate mousse, and whipped cream. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but it is about 3" long and about 1.5" tall--not counting the garnish. Just enough for one or two.

We've already had the first course of paté and cheese. I'll heat up the chicken and potatoes, and cook the green beans in an hour or so.

Our current plan is to eat slowly and late (for us!) then go outside, walk up, and stand on one of the many bridges to watch the fireworks. However, we aren't 100% sure there will actually be fireworks. The Pariscope (clever name, eh?) lists nearly everything going on in town for the week but no mention of fireworks. Since we are located right on the river, it doesn't require too much effort for us to go out and watch. If nothing lights up the sky, we can be back home in minutes.

The weather is a bit iffy, too. The sun I hoped for today has been blown away for another day. If it is raining, we'll stay in. No promises about staying up until midnight either. You know, been there, done that.

May 2007 bring prosperity, happiness and good health to all!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Alas, the sun is gone.

Yesterday's sun gave way to more typical Parisian showers this morning. Since we'd stayed out very late last night---we went to a 10:00 movie, walking home and arriving after midnight, we easily slept late this morning. What movie? An Israeli film about two girls in the army assigned to checking IDs and papers in Jerusalem. I don't have much tolerance when people don't take their jobs seriously. I'd only give it two stars out of five. (Une Jeunesse Comme Aucune Autre)

By 2:00 this afternoon, in just a light drizzle, I decided that I'd best get some fresh air and exercise. I miss my morning excursions to the gym more than I'd imagined. Next trip, I going to make arrangements to use a gym here. So I Metro'ed over to Sevres-Babylon for some snoop shopping in the 7th.

Rue Cherche-Midi yielded some interest, but nothing really notable. I ducked into Comptoir Richard for my special Parisian treat: almonds coated with chocolate and then dusted with cocoa. Even better, each is individually wrapped, providing some portion control.

Bon Marché was a treasure chest today! Firstly, I was able to see and touch a coat I'd seen in Vogue this fall. I'd torn the picture out---it's in the files at home---but I saw and touched it!!! I was so overwhelmed I've forgotten the designer but I'll go back and look again next week.

But the piece dé resistance today was cashmere. Lovely, lovely cashmere sweaters. Plaited cashmere in blue and white, giving the appearance of the ultimately soft faded denim. Cashmere and lurex looking like moonbeams. Cashmere lace embellished with tiny beads and sequins. But I think the best was a one-ply, medium gray, very loosely knit pullover. It practically floated on the shelf----four or five ounces maximum. Now I know we can knit these---especially my friends with the fine gauge machines---but the result was ethereal!, here I come. If I order tonight, the yarn will be at the office before I return.

This picture is taken with my new QuickCam. I played with it this morning---hoping the crowd from Waverly would sign on---and snapped this of the tulips I bought in the market on Tuesday. They are more attractive than the picture expresses. Tulips seems to be available most of the fall and winter anymore. I saw them at Whole Foods before we left Baltimore, too.

Tonight we are heading toward Jussieu, (to the east of our apartment) checking out a restaurant from a guide book. If we don't like the way it looks, we'll probably end up with either lasgna or pizza.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Sunny Friday

Woke this morning in Paris to sunshine! A real treat---sunny days are few and far in the winter. One year I could've saved luggage space by not packing my sunglasses. OK, maybe I wouldn't have saved much space but you get the idea. Today, we wasted no time caffeinating ourselves, showering and heading out the door.

Even though this apartment in the 5th arrondisement has been our home in Paris for the last 15 years, we still make discoveries. Our friend Roth ( told us yesterday about a Viennese pastry shop just off the boulevard St. Michel. Today we found it: we must have walked past it a hundred times and never noticed. The original owner immigrated to Paris in the 1870's, opened this shop, and her family still owns and operates the business. The dining room is no more than 3 metres wide and perhaps 7 metres long, with seating for 25 or so. The atmosphere is straight out of 1870----some of the tables might be that old!

Such a total surprise, we were unprepared to order. But when in a Viennese pastry shop, order the classics. Non? A Linzer torte and a Sacher torte seemed right out of the story books. And they were delicious. Highly recommended---we'll probably go again this trip. (Patisserie Viennoise 8, rue de l'Ecole Medecine)

Then we hopped on a bus to save our little feet some wear and tear. (If you spend too much energy walking to your destination, you won't have the energy left to walk around.) In reality, the bus only took us about six blocks when we decided to jump off and stroll across the Pont des Arts in deference to the beautiful day.

From there, we walked through the courtyard of the Louvre---I think of all the people that have trod this ground, and all the intrigue that has taken place in this area. Across to the Bourse and through Les Halles (Mokuba ribbon (Paris store looks just like the NY store.) is closed until the 5th of January, so I might not visit this trip. Full of the world's most beautiful ribbons, the choices overwhelm me. Without a particular project in mind, I'm too indecisive.)

I took several pictures in the Marais today, and they are safely stored in my PDA until we return. In particular, one sweater in a very simple knitted lace pattern, with a four button sleeve trim caught my eye. In the same store window, a re-interpreted granny square pattern looked fresh and interesting: small squares (2" x 2"), black background and brightly multi-colored squares, and just a few gold sequins scattered over the entire surface. Overall, the clothes seem more colorful and more feminine than in recent memory.

I stopped in the Annie Blatt store and came out empty handed. I may return as there was a multicolored mohair mix that caught my eye---and that I keep thinking might be an acceptable addition to the stash.

Jeff's napping, the sun has disappeared, and the current temperature is 43.2° I'm going to read more Orhan Pamuk Snow for a while before we head to the 14th for dinner. Oh, yes. We also bought bread and a EuroMillions lottery ticket. I can't begin to imagine the red tape involved in claiming a major prize, but Jeff assures me he'll gladly deal with it.