Dinner Tonight: First, a salad of field greens, fresh basil leaves, tomato, and unripened goat cheese, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Then, shrimp and calamari in a spicy red pepper/tomato sauce with penne. Mmmmmm. (OK, I cheated… the red pepper sauce was from a jar, but I enhanced it with Cholula pepper sauce from Mexico.)


Dinner tonight: A hot Toulouse sausage boiled, then broiled in the oven, with a Dijon mustard-honey sauce that I made by, well, mixing Dijon mustard and honey. On the side was a rice pilaf (made from scratch–not from a kit) and a honkin’ big pile of steamed broccoli (after all, I have to anti-oxidate that sausage!).

Home! …for now

On Wednesday night I said goodbye to Bonnie and Janine, after we did the very touristy (but enjoyable) tour of the Seine via Bateau Mouche. The river is so high that the tour was shortened and the price reduced to 30F, because the boats can’t fit under some of the bridges, but the view as we passed the Eiffel tower, at night, was in itself worth the price of the ticket.

Thursday I had some time to kill, as my plane did not leave until about 4pm, so I strolled the ‘hood (aka Le Quartier Latin and sniffed around a few corners of the Sorbonne, peeking in doorways and under chairs. Then I went over to the Pantheon and checked out Foucault’s pendulum and the tombs of Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Finally, I grabbed my bags from Delhy’s and took the RER-B to Charles de Gaulle 2, which was a quicker ride than I had expected. I arrived around 1:30, and my plane, it turns out, didn’t leave until 4:40. I was so early they wouldn’t even check my bags. So I lugged the Blue Whale that is my backpack to the Brasserie Flo, which is an upscale resto from the same people who serve up tantilizing dishes in some of Paris’s most prestigeous addresses.

With the Blue Whale proped up in a chair across from me, and the monogram on my “Flo” plate positioned perfectly, I decided that since I was so under budget I should splurge on a serious lunch–the kind of thing that would make Peter Mayle at least nod in appreciation. So off I went.

In fact, I was somewhat restrained. As an appetizer, I ordered the soupe de poisson Provençal, a personal favorite which I’ve only had a half a dozen times in my life because I usually refuse to eat it outside of Provence. This “brasserie”, however, was the kind of linen-tableclothed joint where the chef is named on the menu and even the butter is appellation controle, so I felt I was in good hands.

Indeed. It was delicious. This was followed up by a rarity across my palate–veal. It was the plat du jour, and consisted of several chunks of meat that had been seared and caramelized in an interesting way, and served with a fascinating sauce of some type that I cannot describe beyond “lovely“. It was accompanied by a pilaf of what appeared to be some kind of bulghar or kashi.

In the meantime, this was being washed down by a half-bottle of some kind of red Bordeau from 1996.

At the end, I cleansed my palate with some sorbet, fraise and citron. Not your typical scoop from a supermarket tub, this stuff was full of real fruit and lemon zest. Spectacular, and all for the relatively civilized price of 260F (including tax and tip), which is about $53 Canadian. Decent when you consider the linen tablecloth atmosphere, with it’s highly attentive waiters in bowties and black vests.

The flight was good, in full daylight (leave Paris at 4:40pm and arrive Montreal at 6:00Pm). Sitting next to me was some lady from Toronto who was disturbed by my sinuses (I’m still getting over my cold from Paris), but she was such a bitch about it that I don’t give a rat’s ass if my snorteling bugged her.