Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 4.5: Authentic Greek

Today I had several breakthroughs at work, so it was very productive!

Breakfast was simple -- a café and croissant at the corner bistro.  Lunch, with Bruno and Marc, was the galette du minute (today's special - ham, cheese, and vegetables, with a fried egg) at Café Galette, across the street from the university.

Dinner was special, though -- I took the bus with Pavlos back to his neighborhood in the 16th, and we had dinner with his partner Jacqueline at a neighborhood Greek restaurant called Chez Tony (quite a name for a Greek restaurant! -- apparently it used to be more Greek, I think Souvlaki Mykonos or some such, but they changed it to bring in a broader clientele, while keeping the Greek menu).  It was awesome -- we just had a bunch of appetizers/small plates to share.  First a round of phyllo pastries -- spanakopita, meat, and cheese triangles, all served with a small salad with balsamic and cilantro.  Next came flat pitas with cheese -- basically Greek quesadillas, just a little spicy and wonderfully toasted on the outside.  Finally was a round of dips -- taramosalata, tzatziki, and eggplant (basically baba ganoush) with warm pita bread.  They also were willing to indulge my taste for retsina (which is impossible to describe if you've never had it, but it's basically pine-flavored wine -- an acquired taste but really delicious and special once you acquire that taste!)  All in all, a terrific meal with wonderful company.

Late-night update:  around 12:30am, I heard a lot of yelling outside, along with what sounded like police whistling.  It went on for a while, and since I was up anyway, I went down to see what the commotion was.  After a bit, I saw some people coming past on the sidewalk, yelling something but also moving in a strangely smooth way, and I realized they were on skates.  Then another guy joined them, covered with flashing blue lights.  OK, now I am sure there is something odd going on, so I start googling around, and learned about Paris Roller, "the world's biggest weekly skating event."  So every Friday night, hundreds (thousands?) of inline skaters get together at Montparnasse and skate for a couple of hours, pausing only for a civilized wine and snack break.  The police monitor the event and close the street.  It's all very... French.  I think I have actually heard this event go past before, but I just thought it was rowdy people (and was already in bed so really not in a mood to get up and see why it was so loud outside).  Just as I was figuring this out, it really got lively, and I looked out in time to see the main group go skating past, right down the middle of Bd St-Germain.


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