Paris Journal 2015 – Barbara Joy Cooley Home: barbarajoycooley.com
I awoke this morning with that odd feeling of not knowing where I was. But of course, Tom and I are in Paris. We arrived yesterday afternoon, in time to snooze off the jet lag and watch the second day of the Tour de France on TV.
It was a Monday, when many restaurants are closed. So I checked LaFourchette.com and was reminded that one of our longtime favorite places, L'Épopée, was open on Mondays. So I reserved a table, with the promise of a 30 percent discount on our tab.
Walking down the Avenue Emile Zola is pleasant, even on a hot day, because of the many mature street trees. When we arrived at the entrance to the restaurant, three young people were standing outside, chatting: Two servers, and one young man who disappeared into the cellar kitchen.
We quickly discerned that the place was under new ownership. Would that be a good thing, or a bad thing, we wondered? Our fears were soon dispelled: the server brought us a mis en bouche, a tiny dish of salmon mousse, that was brilliantly delicious.
I decided to order the escargots and filet de bar (sea bass), and Tom ordered the filet de bœuf and profiteroles.
We were expecting the typical dish of six escargots, and our eyes went wide when we saw the big dish holding a dozen of the little snails. They were prepared the traditional way, but the amount and freshness of the chopped parsley was exceptional.
I asked for a glass of white wine, and one of the servers brought it without saying what it was. So I asked if it was a chardonnay. Yes, he replied, showing me the label -- a Maçon Villages. It was very fine, and only 3.50 per glass.
My fish was fresh, soft, tender, moist, and hot. It came with a light, foamy sabayon sauce, on a bed of veggies that included superb green beans and broccoli. On top of the fish was one razor clam -- a nice touch. Three mussels added some more flair to the dish.
Tom's beef filet was delicious, too, and it came with a little bit of red cabbage braised in honey -- it just melted in the mouth. The same was true of the potato concoction that was topped by a little fennel salad.
We looked around. All the artwork had been changed. Most of it now is large photographs of various scenes in the 15th arrondissement: the Statue of Liberty on the Isle aux Cygnes, doors of the 15th, a modern building in the Front de Seine, etc.
Dessert arrived -- three profiteroles on a plate accompanied by a little pitcher of rich, dark chocolate sauce. The friendly server encouraged us to share the dessert, and Tom gave me one of the profiteroles.
We were so happy to have such a great dinner for our first night in Paris this summer. This is our 18th summer in the City of Light. At home after dinner, it was quite light on the balcony even after 10PM. I sat out there, soaking in the familiar view, until sleepiness drew me inside.
At the crack of dawn I woke up, energized. I made grocery and housewares shopping lists, and tried to go to the grocery at 7:30AM. But I guess Dia doesn't open until 8. No matter, I thought, I'll just walk around the corner to the fromagerie, where I can buy eggs, milk, cheese, and orange juice. But no, the fromagerie does not open until 9. So I walked around another corner to the bakery that became our favorite last summer.
Voila! The bakery was open. I bought a baguette, a pain au raisin, and a little bottle of orange juice just to get us started. I wanted to avoid so many carbs, but that's what was available early in the day, and it was good. Really good. And it is just a short block away from the apartment.
Now I think I'll wander out to Monoprix for toiletries and housewares. See you later!
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
L’Épopée restaurant on Avenue Emile Zola.
Filet de bar at L’Épopée.
The filet de bœuf at L’ Épopée.