Midnight in Paris:Not Quite.

Some of you might recognize my title today as poached from the fairly recent Woody Allen film of almost the same name.  Although I was out last night almost to midnight I did not encounter Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Igor Stravinsky, F. Scott Fitzgerald etc. I did encounter some delightful cuisine, a lively scene and a beautiful moon hung high above the Canal St. Martin sky. First the cuisine.  As you might recall from my sign off line yesterday, I had intended to dine at the Auberge St. Antoine but when I arrived there via the fantastic Paris Metro, I didn’t like the look of the place.  It appeared to be just another of the typical, run of the mill Parisian cafe, bar, restaurants so I decided to return to “my neighborhood” or should I say my adopted neighborhood of the 10th arrondissement and the Canal St. Martin.  I had intended to try Chez Prune a classical Paris bistro recommended by my Airbnb host Floriane but by not paying close attention as I strolled along the Quai de Valmy on the southwest side of the canal I stopped at La Marine by mistake.  My dinner there, as you shall see, was actually rather delightful in spite of my error.  The scene was convivial and marked by mostly young and by appearance, middle class Parisians who were, as I arrived, mostly enjoying drinks, conversation, flirting and yes, the occasional cigarette!

It appears that a certain proportion of the younger French people do not appreciate the risk that they are taking with lung cancer, heart disease and early death from cigarette smoking.  Well, no more lecturing: on to dinner.  How does foie gras mi cuit, lamb tagine and raspberry tart with three glasses of wine sound to you?  It was delicious and I enjoyed it very much, spread over a leisurely two and a half hours.  The service was typical bistro but very helpful with wine and food pairing suggestions, developed with a combination of my good natured French and the wait staff’s helpful English.  As with my recent visits to France, when my French fails me the, Parisians are happy to help me out with their English. OK, on to the food!  I know that foie gras is not for everyone and I actually prefer fresh Foie gras but the mi cuit terrine I had was quite nice accompanied by a white wine from the Macon.  The main course of lamb tagine was fantastic- the sauce full of the wonderful flavor of the spices of the middle east, the tender lamb falling apart with my fork and complemented with a variety of delicious vegetables. The Cote du Rhone red wine proved to be a perfect accompaniment.  The recommended dessert, a raspberry tart demonstrated to me once again how the local, fresh, in season berries are so superior in flavor and moisture to the berries that I am used to at home.  All in all a perfect example of modern French bistro food, now more than ever combining traditional French cuisine with influences of the middle east.  I should say that the 10th arrondissement has a srrong complement of residents from the former French North African colonies of Morrocco and Tunisia which is manifest in the many shops which reflect their native influences.

The short walk home after dinner was highlighted by a beautiful and romantic sky, darkened by fluffy clouds but lit by the bright full moon high over the canal. As I approached my home corner of the rue Bichat and the rue Alibert it was obvious that the Petite Cambodge and Le Carillon were back in full swing.  You will notice that Le Petite Cambodge has the yellow awning and Le Carillon is the last photo.  As I write this blog post it is 7 pm and I am once again ready to sample the Paris night.  I am trying to decide between Chez Prune and Hotel Du Nord tonight.  I would like to try the full menu at Hotel Du Nord because on my prior visit there I was too early for the full dinner menu.  I will see how I feel as I walk along the canal and try to decide.  You will have all of the juicy details tomorrow.

 

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