March 29, 2011

Home again

We arrived home yesterday about 2:00 PM. Out good nephew Quinn was able to pick us up and was waiting at the airport. Thanks!

It is always nice to get home. Blaze,

Back home


was happy to see us, as always (though she was well taken care of by Linda)


and Little Gallo

Were happy to see us as well.

The yard was starting to burst into life

From Spring 2011 in the yard

and bloom
From Spring 2011 in the yard
From Spring 2011 in the yard
From Spring 2011 in the yard
From Spring 2011 in the yard

I always like getting home. I like our house, the way we live in it, and our daily routine (fresh bread, home roasted and brewed coffee, the newspapers).

Auntie Em was right, there's no place like home.

March 27, 2011

Le Train Bleu

(think of this post with a small remembrance of Lynn Lethcoe, who died a couple of years ago, way before his time. He first recommended Le Train Bleu to us)

After the reservation was made at Le Train Bleu, we headed directly over to the Gare de Lyon. (C'est magnifique!) We had to change Metro trains, once, but arrived just spot on time. (Those of you who know me know that I abhor being late. I think it drives Doreen crazy, but there you have it)

The restaurant is on the East end of the station:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

With big sweeping staircase and art deco everything, it feels like a place out of time. (M.F.K Fischer called it "Not a Station, but a Place" and I would agree). We were seated immediately (before the waiting hoards who had no reservations, even though ours were only 45 minutes old) and had a view into the Gare, watching both the TGV trains come and go, and the old fashioned, slow trains as well.

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

Doreen was happy to be at Le Train Bleu, as was I

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

The place was very busy - with waiters and waitresses wandering to and fro continuously. And loudly. And dropping several plate (I seem to remember four in the two and a half hours we were there). But it just contributed to the charm. We ordered leisurely and ate the same way. For my appetizer I had Pistachio Sausage from Lyon in Brioche:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

Doreen had Pig's Trotter and Escargot in Croustillant:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

Both were delicious. With the meal I ordered a nice Pernand Vergeles (Louis Latour) Burgundy (2007) which went very well with the starters, and later, the main courses. The sauce on my brioche was just delicious. I am sure there was plenty of butter in it.

For our main courses I had the leg of lamb with scalloped potatoes. I did not know it when I ordered the lamb, but they carved it at the table:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

It was beautifully presented:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

and plenty of it, too.

Doreen had the veal chop with macaroni and cheese:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

She found the veal a little stringy, while my lamb (some red, some nicely blackened) was great. I couldn't finish the whole plate.

For dessert we shared something called Creole Profiteroles. It was a single, large puff pastry with ice cream and banana inside. It must have been the banana that made it "creole".

They poured melted chocolate over it at the table, for a spectacular finish:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more
From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more
From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more
From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

It was quite enjoyable.

Overall, a wonderful meal.

As we were taking advantage of the facilities before we left, I noticed a cat, the Chat du Le Train Bleu in the lounge:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

Sort of sweet. I like the way that pets are treated here.

Here I am, waiting:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

The worst part was that I left my hat in the booth.

I realized it when we got to the Hotel de Ville Metro stop. Doreen went on to wait for me by Notre Dame:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

But my hat was still there, as you can tell after we ambled over to the Palais Royle during our postprandial stroll:

From Marche au Puce, Train Bleu, more

And we fly home tomorrow.

C'est tout!

Marche au Puce

We started out sort of slow this morning. But a cup of coffee, a Chaussons Aux Pommes and a Pan au Chocolat got in the mood to get going.

We decided to leave the apartment:

From Marche au Puce, Tren Bleu, more

and head up to the Marche au Puce for the morning. It takes about a half hour from our stop on the Metro, and is a rather seedy neighborhood. (Not quite a banlieues, but not far away from one) We have been several times before, and always enjoy the trip.

Almost the first thing we spotted was this screen:

From Marche au Puce, Tren Bleu, more

Which we may end up picking up for our fireplace. I am not sure of the size, but we will check it out when we return.

It is hard to describe all the little shops, selling everything from Carousel Horses (and chickens)

From Marche au Puce, Tren Bleu, more

To machine guns (yes!) art deco lamps, Picasso plates, old ceramic jars, and stuffed monkeys:

From Marche au Puce, Tren Bleu, more

We saw more than one stuffed monkey at the marche. But I was not allowed to buy any of them. (I remember, though, that one time in Borneo my brother Matthew bought a monkey's paw. Or maybe it was a money skull. It was cool, in any case)

We eventually left the Marche, without any purchases. But before we left, we stopped by to look at the fireplace screen again. The fellow who was there was very nice. We took dimensions, and then asked if he would check and see if Le Train Bleu, the restaurant in the Gare de Lyon, was open on Sundays. He not only looked it up, but called and made us reservations! Now, isn't that nice?

C'est bon!

Saturday in Paris - Wandering about

We spent Saturday leisurely wandering about the city. We left our apartment (we are on the third French floor - or fourth American floor) and walked down as per usual.

You can see that this was an expensive building from the beginning:
From Paris - St Sulpice and a llitte more

The stairs are wide and the hallways have windows. Very luxurious. We have enjoyed staying in this location (St Germain de Pres) and the apartment is quite nice.

We took the Metro up to Les Halles to stop in at one of the world's most famous kitchen good stores. This is where Julia Child shopped for her "Batterie de cuisine" while in Paris:
From Paris - St Eustace and a llitte more
We didn't buy anything, but we love going in there to see all the amazing things you "need" while cooking. They have some amazing copper pots, heavy steel skillets, tiny little porcelain ramekins and bowls, and so much more. You need a duck press? You can get one here.

From Paris - St Eustace and a llitte more

St Eustace was built in the mid 16th century. As you can see by the columns and arches, it is just on the verge between medieval and Renaissance. I think it is the patron church of deaf people.

From Paris - St Eustace and a llitte more
We spotted the Police (le Flics) dragging the river. We figure that this detective agency:

From Paris - St Eustace and a litte more
had something to do with it.

Later we walked down to Le Comptoir du Relais, a well know Bistro not too far from our apartment. Like almost everything in the food world, it is controversial. They have taken standard bistro food, made it better, and much more expensive. We had Oeuf Cocotte (those famous eggs in buckets) with Truffle cream, a plate of ham, cochon de lait (suckling pig) and a Russian Cake for dessert. It was all delicious. We did not have to wait in line, as Doreen got there right at the nick of time to snag the last table, a tall one on the sidewalk. It was perfect for us as we were able to sit side by side.

But we did see people waiting over an hour to eat there. It was certainly worth the money. I am not sure if it would be worth the wait.

Then later that day (!) we had dinner at L'atelier de Joel Robuchon. Probably our favorite restaurant in the world.

Sadly, our favorite waiter in the world (Vincent Chaudoreille) was not working that night (vacation! skiing in Switzerland!). It made it a little less special. But the food was good, as always. If I have time later today, I will post some descriptions.

March 25, 2011

A day in Passy

We started this day really late. I must be the one to blame as I was doing some work until about 11:00 AM or so. Well, maybe later.

But around noon, we jumped on the Metro (We still had some tickets left over) at the Mabillon station

And headed up to Passy.

We are both reading a book called Murder in Passy by Cara Black. Doreen had read a novel by her the last time we were here. And it was a promoted book ($0.00 on Kindle) a while back. So we wanted to see where the murder took place.

So we took the train.

This is the station where we changed trains. I think it was called Le Mot Juste. Or something like that. (la mot picquet, I am told). I liked the station, and took its picture.

We got to Passy, and found it very nice. It is sort of like a small village in a big city. I guess like The Heights in Houston. It certainly had its own feel to it.

This is the old train station. It is not a train station anymore.

You can see the Eiffel Tower from almost every place in Passy. It is on the other side of the river (The Right Bank).

We ate lunch at a "South West" food place called Le Maison Lembert. Foie Gras and duck. We had both.

I had chicken

Doreen had the Hunter's Plate.

Balzac (my favorite author) lived in Passy. He was a typical artist (that means always in debt) and lived here:

He would have to escape from his creditors, and his mistress's husband out the back door.

He would edit a LOT. This shows a proof from his publisher. Man! I would go crazy. They had series of edits from one of his stories that went all the way across the room. Fascinating. They also had all (?) the characters from The Human Comedy on a chart across three walls, including images of the characters. I don't know why we have not come here sooner.

Oh, and it was free! Very odd for Paris. I would have gladly paid.

Balzac allegedly died of caffeine poisoning. He drank a lot of coffee. This is his coffee maker.

Here is the gate from which he escaped.

He had some association with the published Gautier. I think I am related to Gautier. Or at least I had some relatives in Louisiana named Gautier, so I am claiming him as my own.

Balzac's garden was not well tended. Well, it was well tended, but it was not well designed. Rather wild. I like it like that. Not at all like Rodin's garden.

Here is the house where the murder took place.

near that house there was a park. It had this sign outside the park. You can't be jolly and walk your dog here. Your dog can't be jolly, either.

There were two different people taking a photo of this couple. So I thought I would join in.

Getting back on the Metro. There was a very low passage. I almost had to duck.

Finally, we stopped to get something for supper. Melons and Prosciutto and Sancerre.