Last blog was in July, we are now well into autumn, winter is not “far away”. Nothing happened in between ? Far from it but the Facebook page is easier and faster to manage.
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So what happened between July and November ? For the planet many good and bad things but for Martinn ?
First of all, a new professional email address
Visits from friends or to friends’
Vida visited here and I visited her in London a couple of weeks ago. We strolled inside passages, bought cheese and cakes rue Montorgueil and had an excellent and pleasant lunch at Hedoniste. In London, Vida treated me with a delicious Iranian dinner with a wide choice of meats and rice. All was SO good !
I saw Jim and Joanna in Paris and spent 10 days at their beautiful estate in Lassearade (Gers). Took some good cooking lessons with Jim. They are storing some of my furniture for sale …
Spent a few days with Catherine, all very generous and friendly, had a Princess bedroom at Le Petit château in Marciac, reacquainted with my former partners and learned about new projects in Marciac.
I had the pleasure to see Gail and Frank form Australia coming through Paris between La Rochelle and Dinan and before going to the Dolomites. Gail sent me wonderful photos from their discoveries. Gail and Frank are very busy grandparents with 3 young girl triplets and a baby boy.
Spent a week with the family in Valbonne, French Riviera and had my usual visit to Biot and its glass manufacture. Could not resist buying a few more glasses.
A few days in Oxford with Arthur. My first visit to him in this city but there will be many others as he’ll be there for 7 years ! This time we went to Bath and the Roman Baths , next time I’ll rent a car and go to the Cotswold ? Have to dare driving “on the wrong side”.
Many strolls in Paris, admiring buildings, their diversity and architecture. If possible take time and run buses. Avoid metro and car (parking is very difficult). Take advantage of being transported through the city for the cost of “ un ticket de bus”.
After a delicious Vietnamese lunch at “Le Bambou”, I finally visited “la rue de la butte aux Cailles” in the XIII° … always small niches I knew of but that I had no time to discover before.
Some restaurants I went back to with pleasure and others I discovered :
The Hédoniste rue Léopold Bellan is a must. You’ll love their tasty inventive cuisine, their fish cooked to perfection, their welcome and sense of humor.
La Brigout rue d’Argout has some classics with a trendy twist. The owner speaks an almost perfect English with this little French accent that is part of our charm, n’est-ce pas ? (Reminds you of somebody ?)
Discovered the “ Bouillon Chartier” rue du Faubourg Montmartre. I knew it was a landmark, a must go but this time I went and discovered by myself what is so special about it and why there is always people queuing.
Décor is a nice Brasserie style typical of XIXth century. As soon as you have decided on what you would like to eat, the plate is arriving. Amazing. Choice of typical French brasserie dishes such as “oeuf mayonnaise”, “salade de museau”, “salade de pommes de terre”, choucroute, boeuf en daube (I had this, melting in the mouth)…
Good and fast in a pleasant décor. Now all is not perfect : you will not choose where you will be seated : they fill the room as clients arrive, 4 per table and do not ask for privacy. Service is fast but do not expect to stay after you have eaten to finish your conversation. They rush you out to welcome the next clients. I think it is AN experience to try or a place to go when you do not want to cook but still want something decent to eat for a cheap price.
Had a nice nutritious Korean bento at Ace on rue Thérèse. For only 8€ I had some chicken Teriyaki with rice, 5 little dishes of salted pickles and a bowl of fresh fruits salad. I avoided kimchi though !
Cooking lessons and gourmet visits
With Jim in Lasserade, I learned a lot about technics, how to make up after you messed up something. Really helpful but the recipes are rich XIXth century French ones, full of cream and butter ; to enjoy sparingly.
Had a lesson on Molecular cuisine. Just to understand what it is about. It does not appeal to me, too fussy, too much of a technic versus authenticity, warmth of a traditional dish from “the terroir”. I just think the pearls are fun to put in a champagne glass (but if the champagne is good, you do not need anything else in it), and I’d rather have a real tomato sauce than the molecular ravioli.
Salon du chocolat : a fair dedicated to Quetzalcoatl ! From syrup to lipstick, everything is chocolate. I saw again some gold décor (leaves and powder); gives your recipes this “treasure look” that everybody will want to eat. Even on cheesecakes !
Sweet wines to serve with chocolate or blue cheese. When in the South West, I used Vintage from Laffitte Teston and I still ordered some this year, but the Maury from Mas Amiel is worth a try as well.
Went back to JP Hévin for his chocolate with cheese especially the blue cheese one. Roquefort, chocolate and vintage wine : a feast !
Chocolate with Armagnac…
Bought some tea with chocolate : imagine relaxing with the divine beverage adding the sweet sin of chocolate ? I particularly loved the rooibos as it allows me to enjoy the “5 o’clock tea” and sleep at night.
Left at noon at it was becoming so crowdie it was impossible to move, see anything.
Difficult to stay reasonable and keep up with the diet ? Not as much as I thought as the Brides spirit is still there and I have not reached my goal yet.
Museums and movies
No special reason but did not go to the movie theater that much.
I liked “Les saveurs du Palais” inspired by the real story of the private cook for one of y our president. Competition and politics in the Elysées kitchens. Passion for authentic food “du terror”, love for the good product, keeping its real flavor… ordered the DVD for January.
You know the feeling : taking something for granted, because it is there so close to you, you’ll have time to discover it … later. That’s what I had done with the Tour Jean Sans Peur rue Etienne Marcel. Procrastinating the visit for years. I finally decided to give it some of my “precious time”. And do not regret it at all. Medieval History just 5 minutes from home. The tower is part of the few medieval landmarks left in Paris, such as the Philippe Auguste basement in the Louvre. I bought a few books and would be thrilled to share the information with you. On top the Tower often exhibits about food and wine at this time.
So different exhibitions …
You have the main ones such as Hopper (Grand Palais) and Canaletto (Jacquemart André and Maillol). They are worth the visit but the crowds are sometimes difficult to cope with.
Some are more “off the beaten path” and still not to be missed.
Baltard at Musée d’Orsay is a must when you live in “Les Halles” or are interested with Paris History, its food and hygiene issues.
For years I have driven by the Arts et Métiers in the 3° but never stopped for a visit : shame on me ! The place deserves a few visits especially if you have a scientific mind but not only. Aisles of sciences and human genius, technics allowing art, modern issues such as preserving our planet and recycling. Do not hesitate to bring your kids, they'll love it.
And I was told the brunch on Sunday is good and not too pricey. Café des technics
Another one is rather unusual but so “rich” and emotional : settled in a former school, the premises are perfect to exhibit different artists. Unknown ones, they have in common to express their" incomfort" through art ; art is their therapy. You cannot stay insensitive. Be aware though that the exhibition is supposed to move on December 15th… the Museum of Everything
That’s all for now. Everyday I take advantage of Paris, everyday I am happy I moved back. Now I’ll get ready for Thanksgiving and the Festivals of Lights, ready to welcome my new guests.
Will write again in 2013 but do not forget the Facebook page and subscribe.