Paris Journal 2015 – Barbara Joy Cooley Home: barbarajoycooley.com
As we were seated at a table in the front window of Le Pario, we became aware of a group of about eight young women near us. Theirs was the only other occupied table in the dining room at that point, because the night was young – only 7:30PM.
One of the young women was French, and the others were all Americans. One slightly older young woman was probably the mother of at least one or two of the others. They were excited about the prospects of dinner in this Parisian resto, and the young French woman did her best to explain the entire menu to her companions. The conversation was interesting because of their enthusiasm.
The young French woman would say, “It’s like a purée of orange potatoes,” and the others would exclaim gleefully, “Sweet potatoes! Oh good!”
Later, I saw two of the young women in the ladies’ room upstairs. One said to the other, “I feel so stupid here!” The other said, “No you’re not . . . .” I said, “Just relax and enjoy Paris.”
Just relax and enjoy Paris. We certainly have been relaxing, getting over not only jet lag but the very physically taxing few weeks we had on Sanibel Island just before our trip.
We were looking forward to this dinner at Le Pario, where the food is not only delicious, but also creative and unlike what you will find anywhere else.
We were given a mis en bouche: a little glass of cool, velvety soup made with cashews. It took the edge off of our hunger, which had been building all day.
Our starter course was encornets (squid), stuffed with an entertaining mixture of special Spanish ham and seasonings, on a puddle of buttery sauce. Excellent!
For the main plate, Tom had roasted pork topped by a banana-based relish, and a side dish of light-as-air puréed sweet potoatoes. Mine was a “pressé de viande du soleil,” which was braised beef and bits of foie gras pressed into a small loaf. Every bite was a warm, savory, and comforting sensation.
Dessert was profiteroles again. We must stop ordering profiteroles; we’re becoming too predictable. But the sauce at Le Pario is particularly dark and rich chocolate, and we could not resist. The entire time we were eating profiteroles, I could hear Diana Krall sing “Temptation” in my head.
By sharing the starter course and dessert, we are essentially each having only two courses, and at a place like Le Pario, the serving sizes are mercifully small. With food this rich, the portion sizes better be small!
The service was exceptionally good at Le Pario – very professional, attentive, and pleasant.
We felt wonderful when we were ready to leave. We thanked the manager and server emphatically as we left. What a treat to be able to dine there!
It is the site of the former Oh Duo! Restaurant that we knew and loved for years. We’re so happy that its replacement is also wonderful. Consistently wonderful.
Even our before-dinner errand was successful. At Zola Colour, we had found just the right coupler for the garden hoses used to water the many plants on the balcony at the apartment, and just the right cap nuts for some exposed bolts on the clothes rack over the apartment’s dryer.
After our stroll back to the apartment, down the length of Avenue Emile Zola, we capped the bolts, coupled the hoses, and basked in the late-evening sunset as we sat on the balcony, six floors above the street level. The view looks west down the rue du Theatre, toward the Seine, and south toward the Parc André Citroën. It is home, for the summer.
Friday, July 10, 2015
The downstairs dining room at Le Pario is attractive, and the chairs are very comfortable.
Stuffed encornets in a buttery sauce.
The pressé de viande du soleil.
Roasted pork with a banana relish.