Et alors…

Dinner on Sunday evening at Terroir Parisien just a few steps from the Seine on Le Rive Gauche. I was interested to try this place, as it had a similar mission to Le Galopin – namely using locally-sourced, in-season ingredients.

I arrived for a quite early dinner at 715PM. And, despite being asked to arrive at 715 rather than 7 as I requested, the place was quiet. This isn’t surprising for Paris – though I still wasn’t quite sure why I’d been asked to delay my arrival by 15 minutes…

Anyway, this place is nothing like Le Galopin. It’s sharply modern and a much less casual atmosphere – which is neither good nor bad, just a very different atmosphere. I had a great seat at the large central counter, with a view of the kitchen and the restaurant.

A reasonably priced carte (with descriptions in both French and English – for everybody? Or just les americains stupide comme moi..? It was helpful nonetheless). I started with a salade des petits legumes – carrots and beets, both raw and cooked, endive, a bit of broccoli and cauliflower. All in all, very nice – but to a degree uninspired. It’s all well and good to present fresh vegetables straight from the garden. But there was nothing particularly inventive here and certainly nothing to elicit gasps (well, OK – it was gorgeous in color). Perhaps I was a bit spoiled by my previous night’s dinner…

For my main, I had filet de boeuf – thin slices of steak, seared and tasty, with some lovely salad garnishing it and a side of pastry stuffed with potato and cheese. Yes, that’s right – pastry with potato and cheese. I thought this was delicious – simply prepared, yes, but satisfying in it’s entirety. The beef was chewy but not tough and tasted of meat – something I really like about steak in France. I thought this dish was excellent.

Et maintenant, le dessert. I was torn between pistachio and cinnamon bavaroises topped with black- and blueberries or the trio of pots de crème – vanilla, chocolate and coffee. I wasn’t sure about the cinnamon, so I went with trusty old pots de crème. Sadly, this was disappointing. The coffee version was very gelatinous and not really creamy at all; the vanilla was more like an egg custard – not a bad thing, but not what I expect in pots de crème; the chocolate was the best of the bunch, in that it was wonderfully creamy – but not especially chocolatey. Quel dommage!

The wine list was reasonably priced and I had a tasty rosé, followed by a couple of different reds, both quite good. Service was accommodating, with the staff happy to assist me in English (but I still try my best in French!). I think given its handy location, its chic atmosphere and its reasonably priced and mostly tasty food, I’d recommend it.

Stopped for a drink or two on the way home through the Marais, but made a relatively early night of it. Was up at reasonable hour this morning and after my usual breakfast at home of eggs, ham and croissant, I headed for La Grande Galerie de l’Evolution. WOW! Really cool. And amazing interior, like something out of a Jules Verne novel, with four floors of every variety of creature.

Headed back toward my apartment and stopped at an Italian cafe just downstairs. One of the many, many (many!) things I love about this city is that sitting outside at a cafe is possible during virtually any weather. Today, it was rainy and cold, but thanks to heaters and awnings, I sat on the sidewalk, enjoying my plate of penne all’arrabiata.

After that, I spent an hour or so at the Musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme – it’s small but well organized, with a helpful audio guide. Quite interesting and a testament (heh) to how little I know about that portion of my heritage. My next stop was at Hotel de Ville for a special exhibition about Jewish children in Paris during the Holocaust. It seemed fascinating, but was largely text-based and in French, so, regrettably, I wasn’t able to get much out of it. Next went to the Memorial de la Shoah – which was inexplicably closed today (or am I revealing my ignorance of October 8 being one of the High Holy Days..?). I’ll be back to visit later in the week…

Home again, home again. Had a lie-down, then, map and Metro ticket in hand, I set forth for Le Severo in the 14th, reputed to have some of the best steak frites in Paris. I must say, my steak, a filet de boeuf, was excellent. Beefy, meaty, full of flavor and cooked a perfect medium rare. I was surprised by the just-OK frites, especially given some of the delirious reviews of them from a variety of reputable sources. The Cotes du Rhone I had was very tasty. And dessert was a serviceable  creme caramel. As much as I enjoyed my steak, I’m not sure it was worth the trip from my place in the 3rd… But certainly a great steak!

Also, I’m finally starting to get over the guilt I feel if I’m not doing SOMETHING CULTURAL every moment. I realized today that going to two different museums, an exhibition and two restaurants (plus walking several miles) is actually a pretty full day.

And now, I’m back home, with a glass of wine, having successfully battled the French washing machine into submission and now in happy possession of a bunch of clean underpants. Now THAT is something to be proud of!

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