Friday July 29, 2016

Be sure to click on the flickr photos link on the right side of my blog (on a pc or laptop anyway) and look for my camera roll if you haven't spotted the 3 million photos I've posted on facebook lol.

Got up around 7:30am and got ready to face the day.  I had signed up for two 1/2 day tours through the tourism bureau for Saturday and they required that I print out the vouchers in order to get on the bus.  I found a place to do this, but got a little turned around and after 20 minutes I finally spotted it, just as it started raining.  Got on the metro, and off at Chatelet, but construction closed the train I needed to get on- in my direction.  Up the stairs and down others to take the train to Gare de Nord, then get out and up and over to St. Germaine.  When I came up the stairs, there were a few people standing inside under cover, it had started raining and they were trying to stay dry.  An older man chuckled as I continued up into the rainy morning; "It's good for your skin and good for your hair" I said. 

I crossed the street and darted into a McDonalds to check my bearings and figure out which way to walk,  That app is pretty great, and I saw I was headed in the right direction and pretty close to my destination.  I was meeting a small group in  front of Café Renard at 10:00am for a Taste of the Left Bank conducted by Paris by Mouth.  Since I was early I went inside the café and ordered a cappuccino and a croissant.

I still had time so I got a coffee and gazed out at the slippery streets and daydreamed.  It is so beautiful here.  I feel so calm.

Around the time the tour started I saw two ladies standing in front of the café and asked them if they were doing the tour.  They were Americans, but no, they were just trying to decide which way to go.  I hung out a few minutes more until I saw a lady with a bag full of water bottles.  She saw me at the same time and walked up and introduced herself- Sarah-  originally from LA, became sushi chef in Japan and NYC, now living here 6 years I think she said and working as a restaurant consultant, and doing these Paris by Mouth Tours a couple days a week.  She's great!  She is dying to go down to TJ and Valle de Guadalupe so she is now my FB friend so she can see who's who and what is happening through my adventures.

The rest of our group showed up.  A family with two boys from Aruba.  I think he is originally from the Netherlands and the wife is from cuba.  The oldest boy is 15-1/2.  The other couple are from Vancouver and the Philippines.  He runs a family business in the Philippines as his parents are older and need his help.  So he visits his family when he can.  They are off to visit family in Spain, and have been staying with their daughter who is living in Paris.  This was a great group and the size of the group was perfect for my taste. 

We started out at the original Eric Kayser Bakery on Rue de L'Ancienne Comedie where we picked up a baguette monge for our tasting later in the tour.  We had a taste of plie chocolate and almond croissants just outside.  I learned that these flavored croissants were a way to use up leftovers from the day before.  We also learned that every Eric Kayser bakery has the same yeasty mother starter that he has had since he started his business.  I am not really a chocolate croissant fan, but OMG I took several pieces-  perhaps it has to do with the chocolate he uses- only the best.  And he couldn't find the almonds of the quality he wanted, so he grows his own.

The next place we visited was Laurent Dubois Fromagerie on Boulevard St. Germain. What do they sell?  Cheese, cheese, and more cheese.  Every kind of cheese you would want, whether or not you had any idea it existed!  She encouraged us to try the unpasteurized cheese that we can't bring into the states -  and we weren't sorry.  She suggested that if you buy cheese here (the kind that is legal to bring home of course) that you ask that it be vacuum packed and put it in your checked luggage so it will stay cold and will remain good during the flight.  when you get home however, you should take it out of the vacuum pack and wrap it in paper, never plastic or a zip lock like (I'll admit it" ) I always do.  Or should I say, I have always done prior to this tour, and I promise not to do it again.  I also believe I'm going to have to stop buying supermarket cheese and visit Venissimo more regularly. 

Next we went to Patrick Roger chocolate on Boulevard Saint-Germain.  He has carved chocolate animals (see my pics of the gorilla currently on display) in every one of his shops.  The shop is like a gallery and the chocolates are the art.  Sarah bought several for us to try at our tasting.  I bought some hot chocolate for my friends from Clermont Ferrand as a hostess gift.  It comes in a cool gift bag too.

On our way again, we went to Autre Chose Charcuterie & Traiteure on Rue de Buci and bought pate de lapin, rosete de lyon, jambon de bayone.  They also had some truffles in jars for big bucks, and I thought of TJ Cox who told me at Stand Down with Julie Darling's JCUV that I should bring a truffle home for her.  I should have taken a picture at least to give to her, but I was really intimidated by the price tag.  Sorry TJ, i'll find some small thing since you asked lol.

We headed around a few corners and ended up at La Demiere Goutte wine shop on Rue Bourbon le Chateau.  It is owned by an American guy who is a friend of Sarah's and we were having our tasting in the back, along with wine from his shop.  We trailed into the back.  The young boys tried a taste of wine but didn't really like it.  The older one wanted to combine the cheese and salami in a sandwich but mom said no.  The younger one would not touch the cheese at all.  The rest of us had a great time chatting and eating and drinking.  Our guide Sarah gave us lots of great information about each taste and things to watch for in each category.

The wines we drank were 2015 Sancerre, Domaine Sauterau and a 2014 Saint-Joseph Yves Cuilleron, Les Pierres Seches.

The cheeses, oh those cheeses were:
Goat :
1. Saint Nicolas de la Dalmerie (3 weeks, Languedoc)
2. Selles-sur-Cher (10-21 days, Loire)
Brie de Meaux with truffles AOC (6-8 weeks Ile-de-France)
Palet de Bourgogne (4-6 weeks, /Burgundy)
Ossau Iraty (Basque Pyrenees 8-17 months)
Bleu de Laqueville (3 months Auvergne)

We got up and trailed out of the store, ready to say our good-byes but Sarah lead us around the block to La Maison de Chou Pastry Shop on Rue de Furtenberg.  We each got a small chou with our choice in flavored fromage blanc individually injected as ordered.  Once this was over, we left the tiny shop and were about to disperse and go our separate ways when we spotted two young girls with 3 Italian greyhounds, so of course we had to go over to pet them. 
When it was time to leave, we all wished each other happy travels, and I headed back to my airbnb.  I had looked up steak houses and wanted to do steak frites for dinner.  I got home and collapsed once again in a heavy nap in the hot humid afternoon, after sending an email requesting a reservation to a place nearby.

I woke up around 5:30 got dressed and headed out.  I found the restaurant easily but they were just opening at 7:30 so I couldn't get in yet.  The ladies behind the bar told me to go across the street to another place by the same owner that was attracting an afterwork happy hour crowd.  I sat at the bar and had a glass of wine and people watched, as always a fun thing to do. 

When it was time for my reservation I headed back across the street. The restaurant has a small bar, two love seats in the front, small tables against the other wall, and another sofa seating area near the back.  I chose to sit at the bar.  They had lots of choices of beef, with a few other things.  They were offering foie gras as an appetizer so I dove write in.  I ordered a filet with mixed vegetables and frites.  It was served with a blue cheese and a mustard house made sauce.  I ate it all , along with a few pieces of bread.

After I was finished I headed back to my airbnb and went to sleep, making sure my alarm was set for 6:30 as I needed to be at the Louvre-Rivoli station to go to Versailles and Giverny tomorrow morning at 8:00 am.

Just another yummy day!


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