Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pt.8 Unknown Lunch in the Unknown Neighborhood of Paris

The French Adventure of a lifetime begins here (link)

Pt.8 - We have God-Knows-What for Lunch in a Restaurant God-Knows-Where in Paris

Greatly relieved, we resumed our aimless journey. Not finding the street we were looking for, Rue Coquilliere, or even knowing where we were, we got hungry. We started looking at the posted menus outside of the cafes. It was 2 pm — we had gotten off to a late start, and hadn’t accomplished too much — but we were on vacation.

There was a restaurant all furnished in light wooden tones. A Greek man standing outside the door motioned us in. We said we didn’t speak French. He said “Here”, and pointed to a picture of a plate of food, and then to the price — 60 f. Joyce knew how to convert this figure into dollars, and it wasn’t something she wanted to pay. He pointed to another picture —- the special — and a much lower price of 32f. It looked good. He had only four tables, and no customers at the moment — we would get the undivided attention of both him and his assistant. The restaurant had the cooking area up in the front window, separated from the table area by a cash register counter and a glass beverage cooler. There was a long wooden bar, intended to serve drinks, but, I imagine, served as a stand-up eating area when the four tables are full. I ordered a beer, a Miller Genuine Draft, and Joyce later ordered a soda. We had a very good lunch of shredded pork, that looked like gyro meat, with chili sauce (a thin sauce resembling Tabasco, and very tasty) served with salad, including black olives, french fries and lightly fried rice, all on the same plate. It was all quite tasty.

While we were eating, a man sat down at another table. He knew the owner, and the owner knew that this visitor knew some English, and introduced him to us. We began talking about how we were going to find Rue Coquiliere. By the time we were done, we had had a good meal, spent only 100 francs (less than $20), and had a new set of directions, which would lead us finally in the right direction to Rue Coquilleres.

We walked a few more blocks, and arrived at a large square dominated by a church, and the church’s outbuildings, I don’t recall the name of the church. Overlooking the square there were endless sidewalk cafes, mostly empty. Maybe the sidewalk cafe was a good idea before there were so many of them competing for the dollar of the cafe society wannabes, but now there are so many that none of them can make a decent living. In the square there is what seemed to be a space for a large crowd of people to assemble. One corner was dominated by a large sculpture of an opening hand. We waited our turn and took our pictures.

Continuing through the church square, we happened upon Rue Montmartre. This was on Joyce’s list, too, but at the moment we were looking for Rue Coquilerre, which, according to our latest set of directions, was only a block away, now. For once, the directions worked. On the next corner was, not only Rue Coquilliere, but the home of E. Dehillerin, “Le Specialiste Du Materiel de Cuisine” as their business card says.

next . . . The World Headquarters of Cooking Utensils

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