Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not quite yet the end

Its hard to believe that its almost the end of the month. Stores and restaurants that used to be closed are now slowly coming back to life. The street down my window is once again full of speeding cars.  Still and all, summer hasn't quite lost its grip on us yet.  And nothing says this quite like this picture of children happily splashing and playing in and out of the water fountains.

I know I've been remiss, but I've missed writing and sharing. So I promise to be good and this blog will once again have content!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Le Square Marcadet

Its funny how every time we have friends from out of town  and we go out to dinner, we automatically gravitate towards Montmartre. I guess because its a nice area for atmospheric dinners and there is the draw of seeing the Sacre Coeur after.

This time around, we choose Le Square Marcadet, which is not so close to Sacre Coeur and all the touristy areas. Its got an unassuming front but the interiors are warm and inviting.  The nice surprise was their canopied garden seating area which I imagine in summer would be really pleasant.  Yes, we are in the middle of summer, but that night it was far too cold for us to have dinner there so we opted for the more cozy option of dining inside.

While perusing the menu,  we were served with some bread and an olive tapenade which was quite nice.  Its always nice to have something to munch on while waiting.  

For starters, I opted for their foie gras wrapped in crushed pistachio and served with a jelly of apricot and sauternes (which is the sweet wine normally served with foie gras) and a small salad. It was rich, fatty and delectable.  I probably didn't do my cholesterol levels any favors with this dish, but I figured, you only live once!

 And because I had chosen such a rich entree, I decided to have fish for the main course.  It was roasted white fish wrapped in bacon (oops, there goes my cholesterol again) served with a pea and mint risotto. The fish was cooked perfectly, with the bacon providing a nice foil to the fish. I was a bit apprehensive about the risotto because I'm not so fond of mint in my dish (unless its mint tea) but I need not have been worried. It was delicious, the peas retained a pleasant crunchiness which balanced perfectly with the creaminess of the risotto.  The mint was extremely light and not overpowering at all.  I was happy as a clam with my dish!
 I just had to take a photo of the other's main dish, which was a grilled T-bone steak of veal served with mashed potatoes and onions.  From the taste I had, the meat was perfectly grilled and it had a surprising satay -curry like sauce which went surprisingly well.  An unexpected but wholly welcome touch, I'd say!

 We finished off our meal with some ice cream. At this point I was so full that I forgot to take a photo of it!  But it was a sweet end to a good meal.

Being in the area and being so full, we thought it'd be nice to get some fresh air.  So we stopped at the Sacre Coeur to admire the view.  It was really nice to stand there and look about without the usual big crowd of people each trying to take that perfect photo.

I leave you with this night time shot of the Sacre Coeur

Practical Details:
Le Square Marcadet
227 bis rue Marcadet
75018 Paris

Monday, August 8, 2011

What might be the last one for the summer

A glimpse of the Tour Montparnasse
The city is almost empty now. Everyone is away but for a few hardy souls and visitors of course, but a lot of stores and restaurants are shuttered down.  Little wonder then that the brocantes have dwindled in number as well.   The last one I went to was in the 14th arrondissement, literally in front of the Tour Montparnasse.  Now I just have to say that nothing riles Parisians more than the Tour Montparnasse. It is universally decried as the ugliest building in Paris. People are fond of saying that the best view to be had of the city is on top of the Tour as its the only place where you can't see it

That said, the brocante itself was one of the most interesting ones I've been to this year. It was a good mix of individuals selling their wares, antique dealers and professional brocanteurs. There was a wide variety of beautiful, interesting and quirky objects for sale.   I took some pictures of the more memorable items to show you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mid(ish) week treat

This folks, has to be one of the best cheese souffles I've ever had in my life.  A good cheese souffle is that rare combination of cheesy savoriness married to the light flufiness of a souffle. Its a combination that can be very hard to achieve given that cheese and lightness don't necessarily go hand in hand. But this one right here hits it just right.  And we found it in the most surprising place; in Monoprix, our local grocery of all places! They have a section of baked and cooked goods and one weekend, we were desperate for a quick lunch item. We quickly grabbed a quiche and the souffle then hurried home, glad to be done with the lunch menu.  When we warmed them up and I had the first bite, I all but sighed in delight.  Its soooo good.

Since then, I've been on the lookout for it. And to my surprise its hardly available.   Today I asked again for it and the woman at the counter gave me a knowing look and said, "il faut venir plus tot, ca part tres vite" (you must come earlier, they go really fast).  Seeing my crestfallen look, she then whipped out the last two from under the counter!  I went home a happy woman.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Paris Plage

 You won't guess it from these photos, but the last two weeks have been cold and rainy and not at all summer like.  Yesterday was the first real sunny summer like day. To celebrate the return of good weather (may it continue like this!), we decided to take a walk and check out Paris Plage.  For the past couple of years now, for a month during the summer, the quai of the Right Bank turns into a beach.  Yes, you read that right, a beach.  Sand is brought in, bright blue beach chairs and umbrellas are set up, hotdog and ice cream stands all line up, ready to serve the beachgoers. And while there are some who sniff at the idea of such artificialness, there are more than enough people who come and enjoy what's on offer.

Where there are normally cars whizzing by, this part of the quai has been turned over to bathing suit wearing sunworshippers.
 There are several outdoor cafes, such as the one pictured below, which come equipped with lounge chairs.
 I wonder where they get the sand....I suppose people don't care, they just lay their mats and get ready to tan.
 And because it can get scorchingly hot, they've even put cool mist dispensers...
 Nothing says summer like ice cream and this one is proving to be a huge success!