Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adventures in France, Day 9

Ya'll, I'm starting to get sad about the prospect of leaving La Belle France. We only have one more perfect day in the world's best city, and I'm kind of at a loss. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

It rained today. We thought: well, what to do in the rain? How about the d'Orsay? Which is exactly what 30,000 other people were thinking. So, we waited in the rain. And then we went in. And it was very pretty and impressionistic and Mandy Patinkin kept singing "Color and Light" in my head the entire time. After about an hour or so, I hit my museum limit (I have notorious museum ADD) and we walked out to find a bright, sunny day. Go figure. Scott consulted the oracle:



And the oracle advised us to seek out Joël Robuchon. We were like, "Well, duh, oracle. Of course we should seek out Robuchon. EVERYONE should. But there's no way..."

Except that there was a way. Less than 5 blocks from the d'Orsay, there was this:



Now, let me be clear. We were in no way dressed to genuflect at the altar of Robuchon. I mean, SCOTT WAS WEARING A HOODIE. Also, we didn't have a reservation. But in we went, fingers crossed and breaths held.

And the minions of Robuchon could not have been nicer. Seriously. They hung up Scott's hoodie in a coat closet that has likely never seen anything downscale of Armani. They gave us great seats and an English-speaking waiter who congratulated us on our honeymoon and stuck a candle in our dessert. And, not for nothing, they also gave us one of the best meals of our lives.

I'm just going to let the food do the talking here...
















Truly magnificent. Scott will likely have more to say about this in just a minute. Especially with regard to a certain tarte on the plate above.

The rest of the day was spent on our wedding gift to each other -- an afternoon with a husband and wife photography team who followed us around the city and took hundreds of photos. We'll have the pictures in a couple of weeks, but we had a good time today and I think we got some good shots, despite the fact that we had to dodge passing rain showers and errant tourists the entire time.

Because we do not yet have the photos from the shoot, here's a random self-portrait of me checking my hair before the photographers arrived. I'm so vain, I probably think this blog is about me.


After several hours of finding our light, smiling with our eyes, and being our best pretty-ugly broken down dolls (ANTM, holla!), we tucked in for some steak frites in the Marais at Au Petit Fer à Cheval. The place was packed, but we still got this artsy shot in the back room:



Then we popped in for a Kir at Sophie's recommendation, La Belle Hortense. (Ironically enough, Scott and I both just finished a good non-fiction book that highlighted Hortense Mancini.) Delightful all around.



And, finally, we scored a couple of giant ice cream cones and a bottle of ridiculously underpriced Bordeaux for the walk home. Heaven.

Okay, Scott, take it away!

Well, what does one say after you've dined in one of the best rooms you'll ever find? And you basically walked in off the street looking like a schlub and -- okay. Let's put it this way: that was easily the best steak I've ever eaten in my life. Far and away. I could take or leave that tuna nicoise salad I started with, but that steak? Good lord. Lauren's quail dish? My God, they stuffed the quail with foie. The tomato salad was the essence of simplicity, expertly handled by a bunch of employable-for-life kids in the open kitchen, and it was magnificent.

It's ironic that we had just left the Musee d'Orsay right before entering high gastronomic heaven. We dutifully walked by the Symbolists and the Impressionists and saw Van Gogh's self-portrait and a bunch of other paintings neither one of us are terribly qualified to judge on aesthetic grounds, but I think it's telling that the pieces that made the biggest impressions on us were the Art Nouveau furnishings that clearly inspired the art direction of Rivendell in the LOTR movies. And then we went in and had this magnificent meal, which is a transitory experience, but was more astonishing than any of the paintings we saw. To each their own.

And seriously? The best part was when Lauren discovered that the tartlet second from the left was key lime pie. Holee shit. You may not know that key lime pie is my favoritest thing in the entire universe. It was the perfect discovery. I was so happy at that moment, to be there with my wife, in Paris, in that dining room, with those flavors on my tongue, with my nerves singing like that, with everything coming together for a perfect wave of pleasure and happiness. This is what great dining should do, and this meal succeeded in every way.

And then a bunch of other stuff happened that was not key lime pie THE END.

1 comment:

  1. Oo la la zut allors! You have just had a Mitchell-tastic day in Paris. We freaking love L'Atelier so much that we inflict its damage on our bank account every single time we go to Paris. And then to finish off with La Belle Hortense...c'est fantastique! So tonight, do you plan to watch Les Bleus get their derrieres kicked by Uruguay?

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