|Curried chicken tartine|
|No, this is not a sub sandwich -- this was cut from a log of Paris-Brest dessert|
We spent the better part of the afternoon scouting pastry shops. Always on the lookout for new ideas there's no better place to discover cool pastry ideas than Parisian patisserie, and so naturally Susie had compiled a list of places she wanted to visit. While we didn't get to them all we did manage to visit several. One in particular was in fact a spice shop recommended by David Lebovitz, "Epices Roellinger."
After many years as a successful chef-owner, Olivier Roellinger gave up his three Michelin stars and opened this wonderful spice shop in the heart of the Japanese section of Paris. His specialities are rare black peppers but he also carries a wide variety of usual and unusual spices. We picked up some fleur de sel and Susie was particularly attracted to his fleur de lune, a combination of sea salt and vanilla.
Epices Roellinger, 51 bis, rue Sainte-Anne, Paris 75002, 01 42 60 46 88, Metro: Pyramides. Closed Sunday and Monday.
One of the truly wonderful thing about strolling in Paris, casual strolling that is, without an agenda or itinerary, is you never know what you're going to come across, like Christmas trees made out of recycled plastic bottles near the Comedie Francaise. . .
. . . or a delicate paper sculpture hovering just this side of incredible outside a gallery,
. . . located inside the Gallerie Colbert:
We wound our way toward the Place de la Republique and caught up with our friend Marie B. We were scheduled to meet her at the Clown Bar, a place recommended by another friend Diane T. and quite close to near the Circus d'Hiver. But it turned out the place was closed so the three of us walked to a bar not far from Republique where we found a table a ordered an aperitif.
It had been a couple of years since we had seen Marie, and although sharing information n the internet is certainly convenient, it was good to finally see her in the flesh as it were, to talk about things that were and things yet to be.
So French, so Paris, and so is much of life, so Paris.
Once again we found ourselves saying au revoir to someone whose path we keep crossing on this planet. As Marie headed off for the Metro at Place de la Republique Susie and I headed in the opposite direction down Boulevard de Temple. A couple of blocks later we popped into a bookstore for no particular reason other than it was a bookstore, and browsed for a while.
Fifteen minutes later we walked back out into the cold drizzle and 5 minutes later walked into L'Olivier, a Greek fusion restaurant we discovered in 2008. The place is small, intimate might be the term used in the foodie magazines, but warm and comfortable. The menu was significantly upscale from when we were there last but the food was delicious and the wines, Greek of course, incredibly tasty. Few diners joined us that evening -- curiously the Tibetan restaurant next door was packing them in though -- and we had a chance to chat with the chef owner and his wife, the back and front of the house respectively. Some years ago they moved from the Greek island of Santorini to Paris so he could broaden his culinary experience. My leg of lamb with hummus and feta was absolutely wonderful and the couscous gateaux with ice cream equally worth the trip and the money.
Restaurant L'Olivier, 15 Boulevard de Temple, 01 42 77 12 51, Paris 75003, Metro: Filles du Calvaire. http://www.olivier-restau.com.
Back out into the dark of Paris, with umbrella up and ten minutes later we were walking up the stairs to our apartment on General Renault. The evening was spent packing up our things but we couldn't quite pack up our feelings. But then our trips have always leaned that way I suppose -- we have never been able to leave a Paris or France or Siena or Italy for that matter, really leave it I mean.
Wish you had been there, but then maybe you were. . .