Monday, January 29, 2007

Mais, c'est le Weekend

The excuse of the French use to indulge. I heard on multiple occasions, whether it was my friend to convince his girlfriend to go out for a drink or the market stand which convinced the lady to buy more of her tempting pastries.

So on Saturday, I did what countless people of my race did during the weekend, I went to Chinatown. Well, Belleville really but still, Chinese enough. Before you sit back, cross your arms and shake your head in disbelief thinking that I have turned into my Dad's side of the family who insist on Chinese food all the time, let me first ask that all of you who do not own soy sauce or a bag of rice in your cupboard to throw the first dumpling.

Fine. Now that we have set that straight, let's continue.

We needed to pick up some staples and take stock to see what the most romantic city in the world had to offer in terms of Asian delicacies. I found a few places serving up "siu mei" roasted meats and such as well as Chinese buns and a number of cake shops. After filling up on staples such as rice, rice noodles, a few guilty packages of instant noodles, an assortment of sauces and foodstuffs, we went to Tin tin, nope, not the current exposition at the Centre Pompidou but a restaurant for Vietnamese food in Paris. It was quite busy when we arrived and we were seated sharing a table with others. The food was unremarkable and of a lesser quality than Vietnamese restaurants in both Hong Kong and Montreal but it was nice to have hot soupy noodles in the cold.

Saturday afternoon was spent accompanying friends to the huge mall Les Quatre Temps at La Defense before killing time in a cafe until late in the evening. Unfortunately it took over 2 hours to get into the flat due to the tempermental lock. It is the one thing which has really marred my time here thus far.
Sunday morning was spent at the Bastille Market where after running around like excitedly and poking my nose where it was quickly shoved back by an irate elbow, we finally settled down and bought some fruits and vegetables.

Those of you who are perceptive will remark that tucked away there is a little basket of goodies, namely the David Lebovitz' Hot Chocolate with Salted-Butter Caramel. I couldn't resist a packet of fleur de sel salted butter caramels, which I had to take away from the boy, who kept dipping into his pockets surreptitiously and replying to all my questions with gestures and sticky one word answers.

After picking up a copy of The Observer, which, to me and the boy's great dismay, was missing its food and music special, we returned home for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
That evening, we had a great treat in store. Having just arrived in Paris, we only have the impressive number of 2 friends in the city. One being a dear friend of 15 years and the other his lovely Algerian girlfriend. We were lucky enough to be invited over for a typical dinner consisting of couscous with large broad beans served with curdled milk, a simple but tasty dish served at room temperature. The curdled milk tasted like yogurt and gave a creamy texture and tangy taste to the couscous. I ate a large plateful.
Unfortunately, unknown to us was that this was to be followed by a sort of spicy stew/soup made with a type of vegetable resembling a large dried celery called "caldan", which I had never tried before. It was deceptively spicy and the meat was melt in the mouth tender. In fact, we only needed spoons to finish up the plate.
After coffee and chocolate, we rose (with difficulty) to waddle back the 20 minutes to our flat, struggle with the door for another 20 minutes before collapsing on the couch clutching mugs of steaming hot peppermint tea.
Masi, c'est le Weekend indeed.

Tin Tin Restaurant
17 Rue Louis Bonnet,
75011 Paris
Tel : 01 43 55 50 13
Métro : Belleville

Les Quatre Temps - La Defense
15, Parvis de la Defense
92092 Paris
Tel: 01 47 73 54 44
Métro: La Defense

Bastille Market
Every Thursdays from 7h30 à 14h30 & Sundays from 7h00 à 15h00
On Boulevard Richard-Lenoir from Place de la Bastille
Métro: Bastille


susan said...

God, Jess, Paris sounds perfect!! Tell us more stories about your bad door lock and stuff about the inefficiency of the country and labour strikes, so we don't feel TOO jealous.

Robyn said...

I never went to the Bellville Chinatown! Doh. Next time, perhaps. It's naturaly to want to stock up on some comforting foodstuffs in a foreign country. :)

Sounds like your friends whipped up a great dinner. You'll make more friends! Or if you have the time, maybe we can meet up when I visit. I wish I could've stayed in paris longer, rawr.

Monique said...

Looks like you're having loads of fun in Paris! I guess, who wouldn't?

Chinese food in Paris is expensive and not that good, if I remember correctly, and if things haven't changed. But all the pastries and cakes, and chocolates you can stuff yourself with! Wow.

Sui Mai said...

Hi Susan...there's been more nightmares about the door than you can imagine and the bureaucracy, don't get me started... may have to start a whiny blog soon!

Hi Robyn, I would love to meet up when you visit! Just say when! Also, well done on the forum, I look forward to participating on that!

Hi Monique, yeah, I don't think the Chinese food is that great... but the cheese, ah the cheese....

Viv said...

Wow you are in PARIS@@@@@@

I am so fond of that place. We only spent a week of our honeymoon there, but I think it has changed me forever.

The food, the place, the music and the people... *envy*

Please keep writing. Please please.