Thursday, September 18, 2014

Days 3.1-3.3 - The Arrival of the Prodigal Daughter

Caroline arrived Monday morning -- her flight was a little delayed, but not by much, and she successfully navigated her way to my apartment.  We went to Cafe Flore to celebrate over breakfast -- legendary chocolat Flore (note the cute little insulating "flag" covering the handle of the pot), sandwich jambon et beurre, and a tartine and oeuf dur for me.  The eggs were a bit of a surprise - after I ordered, he reached over to an empty next to us, picked up a plate of four eggs that were just sitting there, and put them on our table.  I guess they just keep the eggs on hand for anybody who might want them?  I only ate one egg but wasn't sure whether it was an all-you-can-eat sort of deal or whether you were charged by the oeuf.

After breakfast, we walked through the Jardin de Luxembourg and then over to Montparnasse, where we saw a movie.  (Along the way, we had another round of gelato at Amorino -- I figured sooner or later, if I was going to meet my goal to try all flavors, I'd have to have some less preferred ones, so I thought I'd get it over with -- vanille bourbon Madagascar (sounds fancy but is just vanilla), figue (yes, fig; meh), and stracciatella (aka chocolate chip).)  Our idea was to see a movie we had already seen in English, figuring we'd know it well enough to follow the French.  But it turns out they mostly don't dub movies into French; they just subtitle them.  So we saw Guardians of the Galaxy in English, with French subtitles.  Still fun to try to follow the French subtitles (and see how things are translated that sometimes just aren't translated that well).  The best non sequitur translation was when a character referred to Jon Stamos (as an example of an minor famous person) and it was translated as David Hasselhoff.

After the movie, we took the Metro to Île de la Cité, walked through Notre Dame, and then sat at a nearby cafe for a kir and crêpe confiture.  The only blemish on the day (and it was unfortunately rather a big blemish) is that when I got my wallet out to pay, I realized I had been pickpocketed somewhere along the way -- I had had about 25 euros in cash, and the cash was all gone.  Very strangely, the credit cards and ATM card were still in my wallet.  I wasn't that upset about the cash, though I was really perplexed and honestly couldn't figure out how they had managed it (or why they hadn't taken the credit cards, since it would  have been easier to just pinch the whole wallet) -- but I was really upset later in the evening, when I realized they had in fact also taken my Nexus tablet.  :-(  (Which is bad not just because tablets are expensive, but because that was my source of books while I'm in France -- I had read all of the print books I had brought with me, and was reading e-books borrowed from the library.)

We came back to the apartment and Caroline crashed -- fell asleep completely for a few hours -- then I dragged her out of bed and out to dinner, back to Le Mâchot d'Henri, which I had enjoyed so much on Friday.  This time, Caroline had the foie entiere, and I ordered a random thing that had the word porc in it, which turned to be a plate of salami with vinaigrette and shallots.  Unexpected, but not bad.

For dinner, I had the canard au gingembre et orange and Caroline had the steak echalotes.

For dessert, we went to Amorino (yes, again!) -- this time, I went more mainline, and decided to start repeating some of my more favorite flavors, with speculoos, fraise (strawberry), and salted caramel.

On Monday, we were going to take a cruise on the Canal St-Martin, but Caroline hadn't slept well and was just wiped out, so I let her sleep.  Instead, we went over to the Latin Quarter, had a picnic in the botanical gardens (fresh baguette, salmon pâté, jambon, country pâté, and nectarines) and went to the zoo (lots of pictures on my Flickr site!).  Then we found our way to Shakespeare & Co., where I was able to buy enough used books to hopefully tide me over until I get home.  (I could not possibly go for three weeks without books!!)  We were planning to go to Chartier, a Paris classic and one of our favorite restaurants, but a fondue restaurant near St-Severin called out to us, so we ate there instead: escargots, salade mixte, three-meat fondue (chicken, duck, and beef, to be cooked in oil), and three-cheese fondue (which again, and inexplicably, came with potatoes in addition to bread).

On Wednesday, I went to work for the day, and Caroline slept in, then went over to the Champs-Élysées on her own -- very adventurous!  For dinner, I had made reservations at La Table d'Eugène, in the 18ème arrondissement, which had gotten great reviews on TripAdvisor.  The neighborhood is not at all nice, and you wouldn't expect a decent restaurant to be there.  When we got there at 7:10 for our 7:00 reservation, the door was locked.  We could see people moving around, so we knocked a few times, and eventually a woman came to the door and said that they didn't open until 7:30.  It was very odd that they took my 7:00 reservation without mentioning that they weren't open yet, and we were really hungry, so we almost left -- but just then, another couple came up (also American) and said that their concierge had highly recommended the restaurant, so we decided to stay.  And boy, were we glad we did!  That meal is worthy of its own post, though, which I will work on tomorrow.  So stay tuned!

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