Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paris 9/20 and 9/21

While it is true we are in Paris, it is also true that we are on vacation, so for these first couple of full days we have slept in. My plan to get up this morning at 8 and go to Place de Vosges for a run? Didn`t work out. Yesterday was kind of a nice fusty day for us, with stops at La Musee de Victor Hugo and La Musee Carnavalet, plus lots of meandering. I almost bought a copy of Les Miserables at Shakespeare and Company but decided a brick-shaped book was not going to be fun to pack home. I finished World War Z: An Oral History of The Zombie War, by Max Brooks this morning. The chapter near the end about clearing the tunnels and catacombs of Paris was super creepy and, looking out my window, super local. Loved that book! Looking forward to whatever the follow-up is.

We finished the day yesterday at a bistro called Le Coude Fou. Our waiter was mr. put-upon impatient guy when asked for a legume-related vocabulary tune-up--I could not remember what les courgettes were. Hey man, it`s like the Jam says: that's entertainment. What I didn`t catch was a central vocabulary checkpoint in my order; braised joue de boeuf. It was kind of a bulbous cut, but tender, and I didn`t think it was too funky based on my midwest pot roast experience. The fatty parts had sort of melted into the texture or grain of the meat. There were some moments of gooey gel-ishness. No biggie, just figured they`d braised this thing slowly and to the melty max. The polenta was tasty. I woke up wondering about the cut and looked it up. I had ordered something I would have totally wussed out on had I known: beef cheeks. I was retroactively proud of my unintentional culinary envelope-push. And it tasted pretty good.

Tracy's work took her to the 13e today, so I tagged along and had a super ramble back home, to Place Joan D'Arc, down to a big park on Rue de Choissy, then to Chinatown, and back up Rue D'Italienne to Place D'Italienne, the neighborhood's big central roundabout. The 13e was a more low-key hood, I liked it. Working people, more ethnic diversity. Then I headed up Rue de L'Hospital past Le Jardin Des Plants, stopping at a cafe for a double espresso and a chapter of the new Willie Mays bio. Awesome day.
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