Sunday, December 17, 2006

Monsieur Lapin

Note: Not quite spring cleaning, but end-of-the year draft-clearing. Instead of deleting all these half-assed outdated posts that have been sitting languishing at the bottom of the draft list, I'll just get them outta here and release them to teh internets. You've been warned.

Just before leaving to go to Monsieur Lapin, a bib gourmand restaurant in the 14th, I second-guessed the wisdom of my choice, since I don't really like rabbit anymore. But we had a very nice time, from the service to the comfort to the food. And no worries if there is anyone else out there who doesn't really like rabbit: they offer much much more!

We arrived a bit early and so we went to the Artists'Pub next door to have an aperitif. There, the owner filled us in on Monsieur Lapin. It used to be owned by a gay couple, who retired a year or two ago and sold it. She hadn't been since the change but said the new owners had redone the entire interior, and that the food was excellent. A friend had told her that he would treat her for her birthday, which was in September, and she was still waiting on him! We promised to report back to her after our meal.

The decor at a restaurant named Mr. Rabbit is centered around -- surprise!-- rabbits. There is one particularly gruesome print of Alice standing over White Rabbit's dead body, with a pistol in her hand, but this is safely tucked away behind the toilet door. The main dining area is full of small figurines, stuffed animals perched in ledges, and more traditional prints. My young cousin and my grandmother would probably love this, R didn't care, and I was just meh. Another thing unique about the restaurant is that one side borders a courtyard, which is filled with plants and flowers. This makes a huge difference, since you feel like you are in the middle of a garden, or at least certainly not in Paris, when you look out the window.

Monsieur Lapin has a few set price menus in addition to the many à la carte options (click to enlarge):R and I both chose from the 34€ 3-course set menu: When we were seated we were brought rillettes (I don't remember what of...) and cheese-stuffed olives. I started out with the house salad, which was quite the medley. Fruits and veggies and liver oh my! Also two very small organs which I think were kidneys, and hid under a stray piece of lettuce before the waitress cleared the table. R started with the rabbit terrine, which is as good as one might expect from a restaurant thus named.

Sticking with the rabbit theme, R ordered the croustillant for his main dish, which was so cute. Imagine a big, round, crunchy dumpling, filled with rabbit meat, mushrooms, and dried fruits (I think I recall plum or raisins especially but I will have to doublecheck with R to see if he remembers other specifics). I had the tuna, which was enormous, especially for a fish course, especially for France. I didn't come close to finishing it! It was served over mashed potatoes made with olive oil, which I actually didn't like that much because the olive oil was a bit strong and overpowering.

For our last course, we kept it simple. R had sorbet while I got cheese and yet another salad. I had all of my favorites: goat cheese, comté, brie, and brebis.

This is a great place for a relaxing, intimate evening. The service was excellent throughout -- our waiter and waitress were friendly and smiling, the food was served neither too fast nor too slow but just so -- and we had more than enough space in our little corner. When we reported back to the Artists'Bar afterwards we told the owner that she must insist on getting that promised birthday dinner. I don't have much hope for her, though: apparently she is still waiting on theatre tickets promised to her by the same friend on her last birthday!

Monsieur Lapin
11, rue r. Losserand
75014 Paris
01 43 20 21 39
M: Gaîté or Pernety
Open Sunday; closed Monday and Saturday lunch.
Reservations recommended.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rave: Les Graphistes

I love paper products, to the point of obsession. I have more stationary and cards than I will probably use in this lifetime, but I can never resist when I see good quality and interesting letter paper or cards, especially when on sale. I'm even worse with journals: I don't want to count how many new, empty journals are sitting in my closet, or worse, how many I have started but never finished. This is the story of my life, ever since I was a child and read Harriet the Spy.

I fall victim to these purchases in the gift shops of museums, occasionally in little bookstores like Artazart, and most often I get stuck lingering in the stationary departments of Gibert Jeune or Fnac. Sometimes this even happens to me in Monoprix or Auchan, as I remain firmly planted before the rainbow of the simple, but colorful, Clairefontaine notebooks. Yes, French paper is as good as everyone says it is, soft and glossy and thick, and nothing compared to Mead's thin college-ruled looseleaf.

I am mesmerised by one brand in particular, Les Graphistes by Jnf Productions. Last year I bought the following agenda and notebook. But this year they kept the same designs! And the only slight difference is one for the worse.
So, my agenda:Cliché? Perhaps. But they kept the exact same quotes as last year! I would like some new inspirational quotes, thank you very much. So I will not be purchasing this for 2007.
The partly-filled journal:Again, the same quotes! And the only change they made was to the color of the text: it is now white instead of black. I think the glossy black on matte black effect was much cooler.

Oh well I probably didn't need a new journal anyways. But I can't hold it against Les Graphistes, I still love their designs. I've seen this line at the Fnac aux Halles and the main Gibert Jeune, though apparently they have their very own boutique which I have yet to visit:

Jnf Productions
Achat et ventes de livres d'occasion
17-19 rue Visconti
75006 Paris
Tél: 01 44 41 19 60
Métro: St Germain des Prés

UPDATE: Actually, I just noticed that there is one difference with the agenda's quotes: the Che quote replaces "Allez, le temps est cher il le faut employer. [Jean Racine]" on the 2006 one.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bouchee a la reine

Bouchée à la reine, sometimes called vol-au-vent*, was my first introduction to French food. This was a menu staple at an eccentric bistrot in my hometown, and the first time I ordered it I knew it was something special. A delicate puff pastry bowl filled with a creamy sauce and chunks of chicken and mushroom, a perfect balance of beauty and substance: it was love at first sight.

This made me all the more excited when I visited Strasbourg, since I would get to experience authentic bouchée à la reine, it being an Alsacian specialty. During this first visit I was relying once again on R for restaurants and sightseeing. R knows Strasbourg very well, and all the pubs and doner kebab shops even better, but restaurants not so much. So for my first ever bouchée à la reine in France, he took me to a cheesy chain, where I again got the chicken version. I was happy, however, and it was much better than back home. The relationship had survived the Atlantic!

Alas, the 2nd time I had bouchée à la reine in France, there started to be difficulties. R had picked one up for me from a takeaway bouchée à la reine place (only in Strasbourg!) as a surprise. Warning bells should've sounded, especially given the greenish hue to the sauce. Can you guess what's coming? My first case of food poisoning. After this I swore off bouchée à la reine forever.


We happened to be visiting R's parents during my birthday. His mom knew that I loved bouchée à la reine, and so she decided to surprise me by making it.

R's mom is an awesome cook. She is a perfectionist in the kitchen and searches out the best quality ingredients. She buys her meat from a neighboring farmer: when a cow is ready to be killed and the farmer has enough buyers, the freezer out in the garage will be filled with kilos of meat. Every visit with his parents is a treat, not only because they are lovely people, but also because we are spoiled rotten with the awesome meals. I will never forget the best Thanksgiving meal I ever had, thanks to her. We had emailed for a few weeks about the menu and ingredients. When it came to stuffing I foolishly offered to bring a box of Stovetop with me. Ooh na na. This was not what Madame R had in mind. Instead she made real stuffing: a pork, veal and chestnut mix truly stuffed in the turkey. And old-fashioned whipped potatoes with a real rice grinder! And did I mention the magnum of a 1960s Bordeaux to accompany all this? Yeah. The best Thanksgiving dinner ever. I did help out - I made the pumpkin pie. Which was a total flop. An acquired taste, I suppose.

So. I've now established that R's mom is amazing in the kitchen and only uses and prepares the best. Late in the afternoon I come upon her violently peeling and separating some kind of organ. I ask what she's doing and if she needs any help. She replies that she is just preparing the ris de veau for the bouchée à la reine. Pardon?

"I thought bouchée à la reine was made with chicken," I reply.

R's mom shakes her head vigorously: "Only the cheap versions."

Hmm. So what is this ris de veau thing anyways? I ask R's mom and she gestures towards her stomach. I'm starting to get a sinking feeling.

I hastily look it up in the English-French dictionary, where it reads "Calf's Sweetbread." Great. What does that mean? "It sounds innocuous," I think to myself hopefully.

Using their dial up connection I do a quick google search, where I learn that it means...pancreas and thymus.

The relationship is doomed.

At dinner, I try to hide my discomfort, either swallowing the bits whole or sneaking them onto R's plate. And I've stuck with the "cheap" version of bouchée à la reine ever since.

*These two terms are sometimes listed interchangeably on menus. I don't know the exact difference between them, but I think vol-au-vent refers to the puff pastry bowl/presentation itself while bouchée à la reine refers to the entire dish/specific recipe for this Alsacian specialty. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Also, a literal translation would be "Queen's mouthful."

Photo lifted from Swee San's gorgeous Flickr account:
And do check out her equally gorgeous blog, A Self-proclaimed Foodaholic.


blogger beta and wordpress people, come here

Hey. Talk to me: should I switch to beta? Hold off as long as I can? Move to Wordpress? I have heard so many bad things about beta, I don't want to lose stuff and fubaru links and comments and shizz in the move. Just googling "blogger beta sucks" makes me scared. Is Wordpress better than blogger? blogger beta?

Thank you is all.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Many Happy Returns

I've been meaning to put this up for ages now, but let me give you just a quick rundown on repeat visits to Le Cambodge, Chez Stella, and Zen Zoo. Check the original posts for more details on prices and contact information.

Le Cambodge
(Read about my first visit here.)
Remember my complaints last time? And my strategizing about how to properly approach a dining experience here? To minimize frustration with this place, take out is the only viable option. Call for takeaway at exactly 8:30 when they open, and then pick it up 20 minutes later, bottle of wine or chilled beer in hand, and head towards the Canal for a picnic, weather permitting. The only reason I say to call right at 8.30 is because that is the only time it will take only 20 minutes to prepare your order. Later in the evening you might have to wait even 1 hr for takeaway, so keep this in mind if you are hungry or impatient. Also, make sure you doublecheck your order. The first time we ordered takeaway, they switched our order with the person in front of us. Neither the customer nor the host noticed, but we did, so we got the privilege of waiting an additional 20 minutes for them to prepare our order for a 2nd time. Hooray. No free drinks while we waited or anything. In spite of the consistently horrendous service, I keep going back! Do not go here if you have anger management problems or high blood pressure. But if you are a really chill person in need of some delicious cheap Cambodian food, give it a try. We have tried almost everything on the menu and the Bobun Beef special is the best. And my favorite. And seriously addicting. It will melt away your frustration with them - a love/hate relationship indeed.

Chez Stella:
(Read about my first visit here.)
Stella and Momo were in full form on the evening that we returned, cracking jokes about the tapette mayor, and flirting with all the customers, male or female. The food was good as always, and their chocolate cake, covered with chocolate frosting (or rather, the chocolate frosting with a side of cake), was sinfully rich. Definitely a keeper.

Zen Zoo
(Read about my first visit here.)
I heart this place. I love the bubble tea and the soup is perfect when I'm feeling down or just want something light. Plus the staff is so nice. It has become one of my favorite places in Paris. They also have cultural evenings, with Chinese films - check the website for details. Highly recommended!


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

just another boring post about my boyfriend...

Tonight my boyfriend said the craziest stuff. I wanted to be like "who are you and what have you done with my boyfriend?!"

We were talking about Becks and if he would really leave Real (in English):
Me: So where will Becks go? Back to the UK? I really can't see him going to the US - not yet at least.
R: Well, he's just a warm-bencher
M: Bench-warmer.
R: Yes, bench-warmer, at Real. And he's so expensive, definitely overrated.
M: Still, I think it's too soon for him already to go to the US to "retire."
R: But you know he is all about being a celebrity, he cares more about that than being a football player...[here R proceeds to give me a detailed account of Becks and Posh going to TomKat's wedding, Becks getting called back to Spain by his furious coach, and how Posh and Kat(i)e Holmes are best friends]
M: [jaw-dropped open, question marks floating over head] Have you been spending too much time in the Marais?

Later we got to talking about Ségolène Royal (still in English):
R: Everytime I see her on TV I want to punch the TV and break it.
M: Ummm...
R: [goes on and on about why he hates her - her fumble with the Palestinians, her inability to comprehend what a nuclear proliferation treaty entails, she's so dumb and tarnishes the l'ENA name, etc.]
M: Can you please write this down so I can post this on my blog? You're hilarious.
R: No, people will hate me.
M: Nobody will know your name. Please? Pretty please? English-speaking people need to hear about this. All you have to do is write it down, even in French if you want and I will translate. Or you can dictate it to me!
R: No.

Ah! I'll try to wear him down and convince him to post about it.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Chez Maurice Le Bourgogne

Au Bourgogne is one of the few restaurants on my blacklist. First mentioned way back when on my list of cheap restaurants, I discovered this place in the guide Paris Pas Cher. It's included there for good reason: they've got set menus from 11€ - 16 17.50€. Despite this, and much to the chagrin of my boyfriend since it is one of his favorite restaurants here, I refuse to return. Anytime he's going out with friends and I either can't or don't want to join them, he gets excited because it gives him the chance to satisfy his Au Bourgogne fix.

The first time I went, I too loved this place. The cheesy red checkered tablecloths, the convivial atmosphere, the jolly bartender (Maurice's daughter) and her young daughter Morgane trailing behind, carrying the credit card machine for her maman: a storybook family restaurant indeed. It was the first time I ate tartiflette, a heavy potato, cheese and bacon casserole, and it was delicious. Packed regardless of the day or hour, the clientele is a diverse mix of the neighborhood bobos, colorful regulars, students, single men who consider it their cantine, and a stray tourist or two. We almost always ran into someone we knew there, and once we even saw a reporter from Canal+.

Part of the Bourgogne experience involves a 15-minute interruption in the evenings, as a sad old lady with pancake makeup comes and gives her screeching renditions of French ballads. It makes it impossible to carry on a conversation, and if you have either dogs or babies with you I'm sure they will want to join in. My dog loves singing along to the French fire engine sirens, and I can only imagine how she would react if ever she witnessed this spectacle.* We always felt so sad and sorry for this lady, but it was truly horrible. This alone, however, isn't why I will never go back.

We returned quite a few times, usually with friends as it is a great place for groups, and each time was fine. We might have felt a bit rushed or cramped, and the cooking might have been inconsistent, but nothing out of the ordinary for a Parisian restaurant. And certainly acceptable given the prices.

The second to last time I went, I was eating my fromage blanc when I almost choked on a fish bone. I don't even want to ponder how a fish bone got in my dessert. I chalked it up to the hazards of dining out, though I was a bit hesitant to return after that.

It was my final visit that settled it. I started with a slice of mushroom quiche, and then had the Eggs Florentine, which is a casserole involving spinach and eggs and I don't even know what else. Just writing this is making me queasy. That night I was struck with something and I spent a lovely evening and the following morning hugging the porcelain. I think it was food poisoning; R counters that it was just the flu. But I was feeling fine up til after dinner, and I am sure Le Bourgogne was the culprit. The thought of cooked spinach now makes me nauseous and it will take some time before I'll be able to eat it again.

If you are adventurous, can't wait to see the spectacle for yourself, have an iron stomach, or are just really cheap, don't let me stop you. Try it at your own risk.

The menus (click to enlarge):

Chez Maurice Le Bourgogne
26, Rue des Vinaigriers
75010 Paris
Tel: 01 46 07 07 91
M: Jacques Bonsergent or Gare de l'est
Closed Sundays

Pictures forthcoming updated.

*Her charming groomer, situated on a street through which fire engines have passed in the course of the grooming, has nicknamed her La Petite Chanteuse.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rear Window

I've got some interesting neighbors in the building next door. My bedroom looks directly into their dining/living room, which makes it impossible to avoid either overhearing conversation if the windows are open or seeing things you're not supposed to see if someone forgets to close the curtains. This is true in both directions, which is why I'm also ultra-vigilant about my own windows.

For the past few weekends I have been really confused. First it was some old white people; then a black family whose young kids kept hanging out the windows; then a very loud group of Americans. At first I was excited -- American neighbors! -- until I realized that they were only here for the weekend since (DUH) the apartment was probably just a vacation rental. Yeah, it took me about a month to figure out why my neighbors across the way kept shape-shifting.

Last weekend some raunchy English girls rented it. Saturday afternoon, I was reading in bed, not paying attention to the outside world. R strolled in, walked over to the window, and stopped dead in his tracks. His eyes became saucers. "What?" I asked him. He just pointed. I got up to take a peek. "Oh..."

One of the girls was giving a strip tease to her other friends, with the windows and curtains wide open. By this point the girl was wearing only a thong.

At that exact moment, she turned around, saw us gaping, screamed, yelled "PERVERTS!" and slammed the window shut and pulled the curtains tight. BUSTED. The shutters remained firmly shut for the rest of the weekend.

I know R was probably very disappointed with this reaction, imagining all the wonderful possibilities of debauchery...a "Dear Penthouse" letter come true, etc. I guess he'll just have to wait to see if next weekend's neighbors can top this.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truer words have not been spoken

I was browsing Rick Steves' travel tips and I came across this gem:

Cold milk is rare in most [European] countries. Avoid the "longlife" kind of milk, sold off the shelf, that needs no refrigeration. This milk will never go bad or taste good.

I can't stand that irradiated milk and I always pay more for my paltry liter of fresh milk. French people are amazed to learn that back home, we buy our fresh, cold milk and orange juice by the gallon, not the liter. 1 gallon = ~ 4L! (OK, if you insist, it is exactly 3.7854.) And it doesn't really so much amaze them as reaffirm their suspicions that Americans truly are fat pigs who need everything in XXL quantities.

In case you need a visual:

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

My dirty little secret

In America, when you think frozen food, you think TV dinners. Lean Cuisine, Sara Lee cakes, Eggo waffles: not exactly culinary masterpieces. As always, the French are way ahead of us, with a frozen food chain that offers products that are more than just edible. While Picard does offer the basics you'd expect - frozen veggies and the like - they also have an inédits line, which is quite gourmet. Pictured on the left is an appetizer, scallops sitting on a bed of a basil-tomato paste and drizzled with a garlic & basil dressing. When my boyfriend bought this and served it, I would have guessed that he had bought it at a traîteur if he hadn't told me it was from Picard. Picard is so good you won't know it is frozen!

You could easily have an entire meal -- appetizer, main dish, and dessert -- from only Picard, and I know that it is done. Even the French can't tell the difference: one friend was slightly peeved to learn that on a return invitation for dinner, the host family served a meal that was almost entirely composed of Picard products. Why was she upset? Not because she had eaten Picard -- she didn't even know until the hostess told her -- but because she had slaved days over the meal she had served that family when they had previously been invited to her house.

Picard offers other family style dishes, and not just frozen lasagna and its variants. One of R's favorites during winter is the Poêlée à la Franc-Comtoise, which I could see as a breakfast side in the US. Bacon, sausage, onions, cheese and potatoes - it seems like a meal for a hearty lumberjack!

In addition to these basics, Picard also has a large range of desserts available, from exotic sorbet flavors to pies, cakes, and pastry components.

Of course, there is a downside to Picard: some items, especially the inédits line, can be a bit pricey. But for the convenience and the quality, as well as the actual customer service I have always received while shopping there, it can't be beat.

Locations throughout France

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Maira Kalman's take on Paris

Please check out Maira Kalman's blog on the NY Times for some beautiful illustrations of Paris.

UPDATE: The Julie Saul Gallery in NYC represents Maira Kalman. In October 2007 there will be a show of her NYTimes drawings.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fils du Soleil

Lodged between République and Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, the Fils du Soleil provides a little slice of South America in the middle of Paris.

The main event of our meal here was the love affair between my small dog and the owners' black lab, Nero. The wife was so enamored of the pair that she even offered to take them both for a walk and then up to their apartment, in the same building, to dogsit during the meal. We also learned how she came to acquire Nero and were shown all the photos of him on her cell phone: further proof that having a dog brings out the hidden Southern Hospitality in Parisians. The dogsitting offer was very kind but I had to refuse, and instead Nero was banished to the owners' table to keep his amorous paws off of my dog. No worries, though: I have passed by it a few times since then and if Nero is leashed to one of the poles in front of the restaurant, the two lovers are able to faire la bise.

Besides, this is a restaurant, not a doggie daycare, so let me tell you a little bit about the actual food. Tortilla chips and fresh salsa were brought to us as soon as we were seated, and we both ordered mojitos that were served to us disappointingly tepid. Reading the descriptions of the main dishes, I (correctly) decided that a main dish would be more than enough, but R started with the coquita de aguacate con mais (5.40€), which featured the most incredible avacado either of us had ever tasted. Like butter, and the size of a grapefruit, we had to inquire about its origins. The husband said he got it from an African speciality shop in the 10th near Faubourg Saint-Denis, and though I haven't been by to check it out I think I know which one he's talking about. Anyways. I digress.

For the main dish, I had a burrito (13.80€), which was served with guacamole, beans and rice, and a salad. What guacamole! I hadn't realized how much I was missing it, or just how good it could be, until I had it here. R had the bandeja paisa (13.80€), which was definitely a manly man dish: ground beef + lardons + eggs + chorizo + beans n'rice + plaintain (which I stole). And a side salad, which of course evens it all out.

We were both stuffed by that time and couldn't even look at the dessert menu, though the owners tried to ply us with tequila shots. All in all, the closest thing to TexMex I have found here in Paris, though I ought to be clear that this is far superior to the TexMex chains back home and it's not really even fair to put the two in the same sentence. They also have both lunch and kids' menus.

The menu (click to enlarge):

Le Fils du Soleil
5, rue René Boulanger
75010 Paris
01 44 52 01 21
M: République or Strasbourg-Saint-Denis
Tuesday - Friday, lunch & dinner; Saturday - dinner only


Friday, November 03, 2006

The woes of having a cameraphone without a flash

Tonight I saw an OSS 117 SmartCar! Alas, no photo to show for it. I can only hope that it will stay in my hood. I will try to hunt it down and post it later.

OSS 117, a James Bond spoof, is a Jean Dujardin film that came out this spring. One of my favorite scenes is where OSS 117 is supposed to be undercover but ends up giving a rousing performance of the song "Bambino":
***EDIT*** YouTube is being dumb and won't let me embed. I already hate the Google takeover. Here is the link

Also I came across this nice photo site, and the title for this photo made me nostalgic, since La Samaritaine was my favorite, until I realized that this is Galeries Lafayette, NOT La Samaritaine. Right? Did La Samaritaine even have a dome? I think the top floor was stationary stuff, but I'm just confusing myself even more trying to remember. La Samaritaine was my favorite for two reasons:
1) They had an actual dog department. The women who worked there were equipped with measuring tapes to determine your dog's size, and in lieu of dressing rooms they had dressing tables. Nevermind the fact that most of the doggie clothes cost more than I would spend even on myself.
2) They had an awesome vintage section in this wierd alcove connecting area. With authentic Burberry trenches in all sizes and colors starting at 100€! I'm kicking myself now for not taking advantage of that.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Further proof that I have no class

So here I am, back in the land of Brie, Camembert, Comté, Emmental, Chèvre...and yet what am I craving?You can take a girl out of the US...


Thursday, October 26, 2006

My favorite creperies

A while back I listed my favorite crêpe stands, and a comment inquired about my favorite crêperies. Nutella crêpes are the solution to any bad day, but the full crêperie experience is also a treat. Almost always, crêperies will provide a relatively cheap and quick meal, but this doesn't mean you will walk out any less stuffed or satisfied. Again, I haven't been to them all, and even the ones that I didn't include here aren't bad, just not my favorite for whatever reason. To be perfectly honest, I can't recall ever having a bad experience at a crêperie, and I have only felt like I paid too much if I go for lunch and they don't have a lunch menu. I just remembered. There are two crêperies that I would not recommend: an expensive one near BHV (rue des archives?) and one near Parmentier where the owner was very wierd and aggressive.

On to those with most favored crêperie status:

La Crêpe Rit du Clown
I like this place because they have a choose your own salad option with tons of toppings, which is great if you don't have a crêpe-lover dining with you. Believe it or not, there are some people who prefer salads to crêpes. I have even met someone who doesn't like chocolate, but that is a whole 'nother story. They also have a dinner menu, which they recently increased to ~15€ from only ~11€ (grr): cocktail + galette + dessert crêpe + cider. The only drawback is if you get relegated to the windowless basement, which can be drafty, means slower service, and just isn't as cute as the main floor.
6, Rue des Canettes
75006 Paris
01 46 34 01 02
M: Mabillon or Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Crêperie Saint-Germain

I have a fondness for this place because I used to lunch there quite frequently. It has a bright artsy decor, and a ~9€ lunch menu: galette + dessert crêpe + a glass of cider. No dinner menu. Cool upstairs alcove. Nothing really sets it apart from the other crêperies flanking it (the boat one and the art one - both just fine) except for the interior, but I guess this is as valid a reason as any to prefer it over them.
33, rue Saint-André-des-Arts
75006 Paris
01 43 54 24 41
M: St-Michel

Chez Imogène
This place is right across the street from one of my favorite cafés, La Pharmacie. It has multiple menus, with varying options and courses, but I can't recall the prices or the details. I believe the lunch menu is also around 9€, and the most expensive dinner menu is 15€. The menus might finally be up on the website by the time you are reading this so check it out. The seating can be cramped but the service is friendly and they also have daily specials that are more elaborate than one might expect from a crêperie.
25, rue JP Timbaud
75011 Paris
01 48 07 14 59
M: Oberkampf
Open everyday except Monday lunch

I also feel obligated to mention somewhere I have never been, Crêperie Ty near Montparnasse, because I have gotten outstanding recommendations for it from multiple sources. The bar owner around the corner from where I live swears by their salted caramel crêpes.

Anyone else have any recommendations?


Friday, October 20, 2006


Carambars satisfy my sweet tooth like nothing else. Similar to a Sugar Daddy, these have the same teeth-pulling stickiness with the added bonuses of cheesy jokes printed on the wrappers and a point-collecting system to get your very own Carambar paraphernalia. For the record, I have obtained the Carambar T-shirt, though I would never admit it to my dentist! Today I had this joke:
Qu'est-il écrit dans les bus italiens?
Ne parlez pas au chauffeur, il a besoin de ses mains.

What is written in Italian buses?
Don't speak to the driver, he needs his hands.

and this question (which made me think of Trezeguet):
C'est quoi le pire?
Rater un penalty en finale de coupe du monde
OU battre le record du monde du 100 mètres sans que ça se sache?

Which is worse?
Missing a penalty in the final of the World Cup, or beating the world record in the 100m sprint without anyone knowing?

My favorite carambars are the original caramel ones, though the fruit ones and the Orangina ones aren't so bad. Also, at L'epi Dupin in the 6th I once had a Carambar tarte. While it was an interesting idea, I prefer Carambars in their original form.

If you want to read some more of their cheesy jokes without having to worry about cavities, check out the "Blag-o-matic" on the official Carambar site [FR].

As a side note, I felt less ashamed of my Carambar addiction when I noticed that in the film l'Ivresse du Pouvoir, Isabelle Huppert's character, a judge nicknamed "the piranha" (based on the real Eva Joly), was constantly chewing on Carambars as she unraveled a web of corruption. See, Carambars aren't just for kids, AND even serious important characters in movies eat them. Neener-neener-neener.


Friday, October 13, 2006

This is a photo of...

a) my apartment
b) my boyfriend's grandfather's bachelor pad
c) a dive in the 14th

We had reservations at Monsieur Lapin, just next door, but with time to kill, and the only other bar on the corner closed, we decided to try Artists'Pub. It feels more like an abandoned attic than a bar, and in the US would be a lawsuit waiting to happen - underneath the chair across from us was an open rusting canister of kerosene! But the owner was very attentive (well, we were the only customers), and when she found out she was dealing with an American, raved on and on about the US (she has family there) and how it is the regret of her life to have stayed in France instead of moving there. It's a piano bar on the weekends, she said to call ahead to find out the theme of the evening. Even though it took me a while to get over the layer of cigarette ash that had settled over every surfance, I thought the whole interior was hilarious; I have never been anywhere like this before.

9, rue Raymond Losserand
75014 Paris
06 12 39 90 65
M: Gaîté
17h - 2h; closed Sunday


Saturday, September 30, 2006

For those of you missing Paris

I'd just like to alert you to two articles on it in the NYTimes, and a fabulous slideshow of night shots (including the one posted here):

Where Parisians Go Out After the Sun Goes Down
Paris la Nuit
Paris Under the Stars (slideshow)

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Someone needs to do this for Paris. It is the Gawker NYC subway smell map, with choices (and icons) pictured on the right. The one biggie that is missing here that is definitely present in the metro is smoke! So many people smoke while waiting on the platform (even though there are no smoking signs posted), and I've even seen people smoking on the train itself. The smelliest metro station by far is Châtelet, whose medley of olfactory pleasures includes Alcohol, Body Odor, Feces, Food, Mold & Wet, Sewage, Urine, Vomit, and of course, Smoke. Simply horrific. A close second would be République, where I've seen actual piles of steaming shit, and once even came across a well-heeled businessman pissing in a side tunnel in the middle of the day! Revolting. On second thought, maybe we don't need this, since almost all of the stations are disgusting and share the characteristic Métro blend (Parfum du métro). The notable exception is on line 14, where you can *almost* pretend you are on the tube, not the metro.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm used to the French-US tensions. But I usually don't get any crap for living in France when I'm back home, just like I don't get any crap for being an American when I'm in France (the extent of it usually involves eyerolling at Bush). Which made me even more taken aback after the following encounter. I was at a lunch with some acquaintances, and I had been chatting with one kid's girlfriend. I knew we were off to a bad start when she started bragging about how she got her current job just because Daddy made some calls (who actually *brags* about nepotism?), but it got worse when she asked where I lived:

Etienne: Paris, actually. I'm just home for a few weeks.
Kid's GF: Oh really? How do you like it?
E: I looove it.
KGF: Oh, well you know the only bad thing about France...
E: ?
KGF: It comes with the French! (laughing hysterically) I have a right to say this, you know, because one summer in high school I, like, went to camp in Switzerland and we took a trip to Paris and I, like, spoke French.
E: *resists eyeroll* yeeahhh...

OMG LOLZ LOLLERCOASTER!!! What an airhead. Thankfully I don't think I'll ever see her again.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

I know I've been living in Paris too long when I'm OCD about the way I place my items on the conveyor belt even at Publix*. In Paris, where I shop, you have to bag your own stuff. To make it easier on myself I categorize the stuff as I place it on the belt - veggies, cold stuff, bottles/cans/jars, etc. I have no need to do this at Publix, where the fabulous bagboys double bag as policy; automatically put the bread and eggs in their own bag so they won't get smashed; and even help you out to your car - no tips expected or even allowed!; yet I can't help myself.

Other things I've noticed while home:

-Shampoo bottles seem like they were made for giants in the US, compared to the itty bitty French bottles. And everything else, for that matter. On one of my first days back I went to Costco. I was overwhelmed, not only by the quantities of the items (a gallon of soy sauce, anyone?) but also by the sizes of a majority of customers. The free samples in the food aisles highlighted the differences between France and the US. Americans really are fat. Very fat.

-How easy it is to contact companies and resolve problems.
I had bought a Christmas gift for R last fall, but it didn't fit and so I had to return it. Even though it had been months since I bought it, I had the receipt and I got my money right back, no questions asked. So simple, so hassle free, I love it.

-Going to eat in restaurants.
I don't even care. I know that might seem wierd for anyone who has ever read this blog before, where it is very obvious how much I love the food. But I'm just not excited. As soon as I get my major cravings out of the way, it's all the same to me and I could eat Honey Bunches of Oats for dinner every night without complaining. Even though it is so cheap and so easy to eat out here. Part of it is the timing - why does everyone want to go out to dinner so early here? I'm not ready to eat til 8 pm at the earliest. Another thing is the huuuge portions. I prefer 3 dainty courses to one imposing American one anyday.

-How addicting Half and Amazon marketplaces are
I had ordered the obligatory American DVDs, CDs, and books before I left, so that they would be awaiting me. Dude these places rock. As cheap as ebay and without the post-auction hassles and delay. And I have only had one sour transaction where the condition/quality was not up to par.

-How annoying commercials are
Praise French TV!

So, yeah, it's great to be home. But I am also missing Paris, and when I return I will feel a different type of relief -- ahhh...pain au wine...museums -- and discomfort -- shit everywhere...stinkymetrosmell...expen$ive prices...
Just the give and take of being able to call two fabulous, parallel, cities home.

*I must confess, my loyalty to Publix is wavering. On a recent trip to visit a friend I discovered Wegmans, which combines Publix customer service and prices with Whole Foods random-ass selections. I think I'm love...
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Saturday, September 02, 2006


For my last dinner before my trip to the States, R and I decided to try out a Bib Gourmand restaurant in the 2nd, Mellifère, drawn in by the reviews which raved about the classic dishes, prepared with the freshest ingredients and faithful to tradition. In short, we were very disappointed. For a 32€ fixed menu, we expected more, we expected better, and certainly not just "Red or White?" when we asked about the wine list.

We were seated outside on the terrace, which was great for a summer evening, except for when the garbage trucks stopped right in front. The people behind us made a big show about it, the woman holding her napkin over her face and waving her hands dramatically, trying to shoo away the stench, and their daughter pinching her nose and squeezing her eyes shut, but after about 5 minutes the smell had passed and my appetite had returned.

In spite of this temporary olfactory problem, the actual meal started out well enough. I started out with the gaspacho, which hit the spot. The way it was served was really cute, too: a mug filled with the gaspacho, and an empty bowl lined with herbed bread crumbs, so that I poured it myself. My only complaint was the quantity, which was very tiny even for a French restaurant, and seemed disproportionate with the enormous platter of charcuterie that R had.

The main meal was where we ran into problems. I had ordered the salmon, marinated in balsamic vinegar and served with homemade potato chips. I was served smoked salmon, plain and simple. With a smidge of butter and a slice of lime on the side, no homemade potato chips.

A couple of problems here:
- the fumé that should have been in the description was missing. But perhaps they had a totally different dish in mind, since the side had disappeared as well.
- Menu errors aside, who serves smoked salmon as the main course?!
- I hate smoked salmon.

I sat immobile, staring dumbly at the dish before me, wondering how I could have knowingly ordered smoked salmon for dinner. But R sweetly enough got up to talk to the waiter, doublechecked the menu (victory for the American! salmon filet with potato chips =/= smoked salmon), and had my smoked salmon whisked away and replaced with the quail. Not exciting, I know, but safe. Which was what I needed. R's dish was fine (I think it was steak...?), as was my quail.

For dessert I had brebis with black cherry jam, and R had fruit soup. Both were fine, but after the salmon mishap I felt like such a jackass I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. In France you just don't send back dishes, even if there is a real error on the part of the restaurant. If I had been in the US I would've had no qualms about it, and I'm sure I would've been comped on drinks or dessert as a sign of the management's good faith. Not so here and I know it, but I couldn't eat the smoked salmon, and couldn't *not* eat it at that price, and so I felt like I had no choice but to send it back. This mishap aside, the menu isn't really that great (choice, quality, quantity) for 32€, and you can do better elsewhere. The young waiter we had was super sweet, though the older (queen) was snippy.

8 rue Monsigny
75002 Paris
01 42 61 21 71
M: 4 septembre


Sunday, August 27, 2006


I've got an upcoming trip home, and I've been running around stocking up on all sorts of French products for the family. The Grandparents can't get enough of Bonne Maman jam (though now the jelly IS available back home, it just doesn't compare to the real French stuff); the Aunt loves Gavottes; the Uncle loves dijon mustard in all its forms, including the mustard flavored cheetos by Belin; Petit Bateau for all the little ones; a Star Academy compilation or two for the tweens; filterless Gitanes to inspire my smoking friends and family to quit (they are just so nasty and hardcore - my cousin will only use them when he is broke as a joke, and even then he shudders at the thought, sometimes preferring no cigs at all to the Gitanes); and unfortunately, no more cider or wine for my parents. I just don't trust the airlines enough to consider checking them.

While I'm working actively on packing and acquiring all these French goodies, I'm also thinking ahead to what I'll do while back home and what I'll stock up on.

Things I can't wait for:

Publix fried chicken and sweet tea
A real meatball sub
Free refills! Iced water as soon as you are seated! True cocktails (maybe even frozen ones)!
Bagels & cream cheese
Sales/never paying full retail price/weekly sales ads!
Using the dollar!
Orange juice by the gallon!
Gustafson's chocolate milk
Fruitstands on the side of the road
Boiled Peanuts on the side of the road
Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches!
Customer service
1-800 numbers
Air conditioning
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report

I'll probably stock up on all the toiletry basics that are so much cheaper in the US; the American food items that I miss, like popcorn, raspberry walnut salad dressing, Muir Glen salsa, Twizzlers, Reese's Pieces, Orbitz gum (in bulk, Costco member holla!), Jell-o; Levi's; and anything else that catches my eye.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

A sweet, naive friend of mine just moved from the US to Europe. It is the first time she has been out of her region, really, much less a whole new continent and country and language, but she's doing quite well adjusting so far. We were recently discussing the baggage restrictions (how I long for the heyday of three 70-pound bags. Sigh.) when I learned that she has fedexed an additional 3 suitcases here. She is only here for a year, so I politely inquired about the contents of this baggage. After traveling back and forth between University and home, and now France and home, I have learned how to pack very frugally, usually only ending up with half of what I thought I needed and making out OK with that half.

My darling friend has not yet learned this lesson, as evidenced by the contents of just *one* of her fedexed bags:
-industrial power convertor (it apparently weighs 15 pounds itself!)
-juice maker
-rice cooker

*head against wall*

She has broken one of my cardinal rules of moving and/or international shipping, which is:
Never pay more to ship an object than it would to buy it (new).
This does not apply to gifts.

I guess if she thinks she *really* *really* needs all these appliances then it is worth it. I don't know how much she paid to Fedex it (and how much will La Poste charge her to get it *back* to the States?!) but I wonder how much it would be just to buy them here...I held my tongue, only laughing as she revealed the industrial power convertor that resembles a bomb. She's lucky she didn't fly with that because I'm sure the TSA would've had some questions for her!

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

La 25eme Image

Around the corner from Antoine and Lili, you'll find the 25ème Image, a bright bar and restaurant that is also a gallery, with photos lining the walls and sculptures hanging from the ceilings. The one pictured at the right was directly over our heads at the table, tilting and rotating ever so slightly throughout the meal. We were seated in the back room, where the ceiling is a sunlight, under a canopy of trees and a caged parakeet belonging to the person living above.

Their menu is simple, offering your basic salads, a few daily specials, and some desserts. (click to enlarge)I guess most customers come here to chill and end up eating something light, or maybe come by later for just dessert, because the offerings are so limited that I couldn't imagine coming here only for dinner. We came here to have a drink on their terrace, and moved inside when I got hungry and wanted something to eat.

At the risk of sounding boring, I have my favorites and I stick to them, so I ordered the Toasted Chèvre Salad (11€), which hit the spot. The only thing that set it apart from other similar salads was that it had the thinnest layer of minced marinated onions underneath the toast, which were great with the fresh tomatoes, and the dressing was an oil & vinager mix (as opposed to the typical mustard vinaigrette - no complaints either way). R. had the jambonette (13,50€), a pork dish, but the portion was very small and he was not satisfied.

Our waitress was very nice, and their location makes it the perfect place to go for a drink after a lazy afternoon at the canal. And don't forget to check out the art!

La 25ème Image
9, rue des Récollets
75010 Paris
01 40 35 80 88
M: Gare de l'Est
Open Monday - Saturday


Monday, August 14, 2006

I was cleaning out my bathroom this morning, throwing out old lotions and medicine and soap, and I came across this set of Dior makeup. I bought it back in the summer of 2002, before I spoke French, before I ever took my first French lesson, and it has taken me this long to "get" the name. The set is called Summer Hits in English, and in French, Les Tubes de l'été. Tubes - get it? Summer Hits, but also Summer Tubes, literally, because it is eyeshadow and lip gloss packaged in tubes. I'm sad that it has taken me this long to have a eureka moment about something so simple and dumb, especially when I've had the set for almost 4 years. However, little moments like this are crucial when you're living in a foreign country and I couldn't help feeling the tiniest twinge of pride this morning at uncovering the double meaning, even shouting it out to R. in the next room.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Citroën Méhari

Back home, the beach vehicles are mostly sporty fun things -- convertibles, dune buggies, jeeps -- but here in France utility seems to be key. Thus I present the Citroën Méhari, at a beach near you this summer!
I don't know what I like best: the buckles on the hood, the particle board rear gate, the raw interior, or the lackluster paintjob. There *are* some more fetching Méharis around, like the green & white striped one -- with matching striped interior -- that I saw but failed to photograph, so it does have potential as a summer fun-mobile.


Monday, August 07, 2006

I found the international trailer for Brice de Nice on DailyMotion:

A few questions. "The Brice Man"?! And why is "Ca farte" translated as "How's tricks" - that doesn't even make any sense. I don't know how I would say it in English but I'm sure there is a better translation than that. Finally, when was Brice de Nice released internationally? Did it ever come out in the US? Canada? The UK?

DailyMotion has lots of good quality clips from the movie and from Jean Dujardin's original sketches, including the very first one ever when he was doing stand-up. I don't know what year it dates from but he looks so young and so skinny in it! FWIW, I think DailyMotion has a better selection of French clips than YouTube, so check it out if you're looking for something that you can't find on YouTube.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Jean-Pierre Frelet

As you may know from reading this blog, I have been making my way through the Bib Gourmand restaurants in the Red Michelin Guide. The Michelin guide is one of the most reliable guides I have come across, and I have only been disappointed a few times when going by the trusty Michelin man. Looking for somewhere to go on a Saturday (you'd be surprised at how many of these restaurants are closed all weekend), I finally wound up at a Jean-Pierre Frelet, a small, serious restaurant in the 12th. I say serious because it seems like a place my grandparents would take me to - the decor is simple but classy, and there is enough space to almost forget about your neighbors while still remaining aware of their conversation (making me feel like I had to whisper).

They have a 3 course set menu at 26.50€ (pictured at right), which changes daily. By the time R. and I were seated the chef still hadn't returned from the market with his fresh picks; when he pulled up a few minutes later his wife hastily erased one of the main dishes (the brandade de morue) and replaced it with encornet, a type of squid. Market fresh, indeed!

We both went with the daily menu, since it is much cheaper than à la carte (which would be at least 40€ for 3 courses), and for the first time ever we ordered exactly the same thing: the bavaroise de homard, the encornet, and the soupe de fruits. The meal got better with each course. Neither of us liked the bavaroise, which was a heavy, whipped lobster cream. Something was just off -- was it too sweet? almost cloying? a clash of flavors? -- and I couldn't eat more than a spoonful. It came with a side of toast and a very garlickly tapenade that I would stay away from if you are going on a first date! The main dish was great - sliced squid served over a bed of julienned vegetables with a light pesto sauce - and the fruit soup was delicious. More of a fruit salad, really, this was a large bowl with whole strawberries and raspberries and quartered figs that were bobbing in a sweet sauce. We both tasted the liqueur in it and R. insisted that it was Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but when we asked the lady about it she informed us that it was a mulled wine -- and tea! -- reduction. Perfection, and just like the main dish, appropriate for the season: so simple but so good.

I would recommend Jean-Pierre Frelet for the fresh daily menu, which offers a very good value for the quality of the meal. The service is a bit slow, to be expected with only the wife running the floor, so don't be surprised by the leisurely pace (even by French standards). I have posted the menu below to give you an idea of your other options if the daily offerings don't appeal (click to enlarge):Jean-Pierre Frelet
25, rue Montgallet
75012 Paris
01 43 43 76 65
M: Montgallet
Open Monday - Friday, Saturday dinner only.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I changed to Haloscan commenting...didn't know that all my old comments would get deleted in the process...oops!

EDIT: OK, now my changes have disappeared, yet I didn't touch a thing...all old comments are back...strange, I think I'll just leave it as is for now.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Buttes Chaumont

I've been trying to visit every park in Paris, so I decided to share some photos of Buttes Chaumont, in the 19th, with you. This park is huge, very hilly, and has tons of open green space. On the Sunday afternoon that I went it was full of people having a picnic in the shade (with the obligatory bottle of chilled rosé), sizzling in the open sun, or playing light sports for very short intervals of time. It's not particularly well kept or manicured, like the Parc Monceau, but if you climb up to this gazebo, perched on a hill, you'll get a great view of the surrounding area:Making my way back from the gazebo to my staked out spot in the shade, I was distracted by the sound of running water. It was too loud to be coming from the creek running through the middle of the park, and searching it out I found this waterfall.I felt like I was on Tom Sawyer's Island! All that was missing was the magnetic mystery mine.

Buttes Chaumont
Rue Botzaris or Rue Manin
Paris 75019
M: Buttes Chaumont or Botzaris
Open 7/7 from 7 am to 8 - 10 pm depending on the season.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Le Plomb du Cantal

I've passed by this café many times and never glanced at the menu. It just looks like your dime-a-dozen Paris cafés, great for a quick expresso or a happy hour drink with friends, but not necessarily known for the kitchen's skills. One day I was walking by and noticed the enormous salads dwarfing the tables, and made a mental note to myself to return. Last week I finally did, and boy am I glad. I can safely proclaim Le Plomb du Cantal the best place for salads in Paris.

Le Plomb du Cantal has an entire page on the menu dedicated to salads, ranging from the basic to the decadent, and all with reasonable prices (avg 11-15€) for the size: the salads are a meal in themselves, even for hearty eaters. I got my favorite, a chèvre chaud, which was the usual green salad and tomatoes, covered this time with thin slices of jambon de bayonne, and 3 entire rounds of melted chèvre on toast. Perfection. R. got his usual, the Périgourdine, which included magret de canard and gizzards. The summer specials, with fresh melon, also looked very refreshing.

The invasive terrace, taking over the sidewalk in front on the neighboring stores, affords great people watching opportunities, and you are practically shadowed by the Porte Saint-Martin. While the service is what you'd expect at any café, you're sure to find something you like on the gigantic menu.It's too warm right now for aligot, but I can't wait to come back here in the winter to try it with their steak.

Le Plomb du Cantal
4, bd Saint-Denis
75010 Paris
01 42 08 01 11
M: Strasbourg-Saint-Denis


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm a cheap date

-Punch cocktail at Happy hour at Les Etages: 4€

-Falafel & Orangina at L'As du Fallafel (to go): 5€
-Picnic on the Seine, at sunset:
Just another lovely Paris summer evening...

Les Etages
35, rue Vieille du Temple
75004 Paris
01 42 78 72 00
M: Saint-Paul
7/7, 3h30 pm - 2 am

L'As du Fallafel
34, rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris
01 48 87 63 60
M: Saint-Paul
Closed Saturdays

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Coup de Boule Paroles

So, the lyrics for the "Coup de Boule" Zidane song, by La Plage Records

powered by ODEO
Coup de Boule
Attention c'est la danse du Coup de Boule!
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule à droite
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule à gauche
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)

Allez les bleus!
Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé (Coup de boule!)* 4x

Le rital, il a eu mal
Zidane il a frappé
l'Italien ne va pas bien
Zidane il a tapé
L'arbitre l'a vu à la télé
Zidane il a frappé
Mais la coupe on l'a ratée
On a quand même bien rigolé

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé (Coup de boule!) 4x

Trezeguet n'a pas joué
Quand il a joué il a raté
Il a tout fait capoté
La coupe on l'a ratée
Barthez n'a rien arreté
C'est pourtant pas compliqué
Les sponseurs sont tous fâchés
Mais Chirac a bien parlé

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé (Coup de boule!) 4x

Attention c'est la danse du Coup de Boule!
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule à droite
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule à gauche
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule avant
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
Coup de boule arrière
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)

Et maintenant penalty
Attention il va tirer
un, deux, trois...c'est raté!

Zidane il a frappé, Zidane il a tapé (4x)

On a quand meme bien rigolé
Zidane et Trezeguet
La coupe on l'a ratée
Zidane et Trezeguet (2x)
Et Trezeguet guet guet
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
et Trezeguet
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
et Trezeguet
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
et Trezeguet
(Coup de boule, coup de boule)
TrezeguetDodgy English translation to follow... ***edit*** My own English translation, take it with a grain of salt.

***2nd EDIT: I am cool with anyone cutting and pasting this in their own blogs or webpages, but make sure to give me credit and to link back! Thank you! I have also changed the line about Chirac given the comments.***

***3rd EDIT: For those teachers using this in their lesson plans, or for all those who are coming through BlackBoard links, I'm really curious to know how it's working out. Please comment or drop me a line. Thanks :)***

Etienne's Translation of "Coup de Boule" lyrics:
Watch out, it's the headbutt dance!
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the right
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the left
(Headbutt, headbutt)

Go Blues!
Zidane, he hit [him], Zidane, he slapped [him] (Headbutt!)* 4x

The guido, he was hurt
Zidane hit [him]
The Italian's not doing well
Zidane slapped [him]
The ref saw it on the TV
Zidane hit [him]
But we lost the World Cup
We had a good laugh anyways

Zidane, he hit [him], Zidane, he slapped [him] (Headbutt!) 4x

Trezeguet didn't play
When he played he sucked
He screwed up everything
We lost the World Cup
Barthez didn't stop anything
And it's not even complicated
The sponsers are all angry
But Chirac was eloquent spoke well

Zidane, he hit [him], Zidane, he slapped [him] (Headbutt!) 4x

Watch out, it's the headbutt dance!
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the right
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the left
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the front
(Headbutt, headbutt)
Headbutt to the back
(Headbutt, headbutt)

And now it's the penalty
Attention please, he's gonna shoot
One, two, three...he missed!

Zidane, he hit [him], Zidane, he slapped [him] (4x)

We had a good laugh anyways
Zidane and Trezeguet
We lost the World Cup
Zidane and Trezeguet (2x)

And Trezeguet...and Trezeguet...and Trezeguet-guet-guet
(Headbutt, headbutt)
and Trezeguet
(Headbutt, headbutt)
and Trezeguet
(Headbutt, headbutt)
and Trezeguet
(Headbutt, headbutt)

*You can't really tell if it's "il l'a tapé" or "il a tapé"...R. said the latter and thus it goes, although given the original Zidane song is "Zidane y va marquer"...who knows. Explanations welcomed.

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Coming Attractions

I've been meaning to get these up forever, be patient...
Le Fils du Soleil
La 25ème Image here it is
Rue Princesse - A Creperie, an English Pub, a Soup Bar, and a Club
Le Bistrot des Oies
Le Petit Chavignol
Le Petit Marcel
Jean-Pierre Frelet check it out here
My return Au Cambodge, Zen Zoo, & Chez Stella

In the meantime I'll give a quick rundown of the crêpe stands (not creperies/restaurants) around Paris. While I can't claim to have visited them all, and this list will only mention a handful, all crêpe stands are not equal.

My favorites:
-Blvd. St-Michel, right after the main Gilbert Jeune (I think it's also the cheapest, at 2.60€ for a Nutella crêpe).
-At St-Augustin, at the café on the corner of the main place and Rue de la Pépinière. They are so buttery!

The Worst:
-At the refreshment stand in the Parc Monceau. 3.50€ for a soggy microwaved mess? No thank you.
-Next to the McDonalds at Strasbourg-Saint-Denis. I think they put a lot of water in their Nutella.
-"Aux Meilleurs Crêpes de Paris" - Grands-Boulevards, right next to Le Brébant. What really bugs me is that they have the audacity to proclaim themselves the best crêpes in Paris when actually they are the worst, hands down. The crêpes are heavy, thick and rubbery.

Just fine:
-The one at Madeleine, right in front of the Orange Store.
-The ones on Avenue General Leclerc, between Alesia and Mouton Duvernet.
-The ones at Les Halles/Châtelet.

Suggestions/additions welcome!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Coup de Boule

And the newest installment in the Zidane saga is the song immortalizing the headbutt and Trezeguet's missed penalty:

powered by ODEO"Coup de Boule" by La Plage, 2:43.

I was glued to the screen during his interviews on TF1 and Canal+. I thought the TF1 was better (more detailed, more personal, less rehearsed?). He didn't say the exact words that Materazzi used, just confirming that the insult involved the women in his family, and he never once pronounced Materazzi's name, referring to him only as "he" or "that player"...definitely still some sore feelings. And this article on Yahoo sports [fr] says that according to FIFA code, teams can be disqualified if found guilty of discrimination or racist behavior...but I wouldn't hold my breath.

***EDIT*** Also I just came across this awesome Zidane compilation. It's long (~9 minutes), but definitely worth it - it has his goals, assists, controls, and of course taking down the defenders in his path.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Even ESPN can't accept France's loss...

I know I haven't written much. It's summer, it's hot, I'm lazy, I'm sad/depressed about the final. But I've got to share this with you. This morning I was looking at the France team gear available. I think I'm going to get this shirt, and I'm waffling over jerseys. Since Arsenal has a new sponser, the old O2 jerseys are on sale, and I do like the classic maroon ones. But I was most surprised to come across this recurrent glitch on the Footlocker/Champs/ESPN shop affiliates:Apparently even American shops are having a hard time getting over France's loss.

Because you see, this is the adidas shirt that would've been on sale if France had won. It's a bit small to make out, but it is the French version of the Italy World Champion Tee, currently on sale & available:For some reason the French one is showing up in their World Cup products, even though when you click on it an error message appears. Oops indeed - giving the French fans a reminder of what could've been is like rubbing salt in the wound! Anyone know if I could actually get my hands on one of these anywhere?

***UPDATE*** The France shirt is no longer showing up on the websites.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Allez Les Bleus!

So, I've caught World Cup fever like everyone else in is AMAZING. I breathed a sigh of relief, along with the rest of France, when they made it past the first round by the skin of their teeth. I was nervous for the Spain match, and they blew me away. By the time Brazil came around, I would've been happy for them to have made it just that far...and yet once again they rocked. And then they beat Portugal's diving team masquerading as the soccer team! What a fabulous comeback story! Already by the quarter-finals I was too nervous to entirely concentrate on the game, so I don't know how I'm going to make it through Sunday. Let me share some of my highlights of it all so far.

De Villepin's take on the Portugal match: "C'est une équipe qui continue de nous faire rêver. Alors bien sûr on a tremblé, mais c'est une équipe qui a la grâce, c'est une équipe qui va aller jusqu'au bout parce qu'elle est soutenue par tout un peuple, par tout un pays, avec beaucoup d'émotion, beaucoup d'amour. Et finalement, au bout du chemin, c'est ce qui fait la différence. Je pense que ce soir on a eu un match particulièrement difficile. Ce qui veut dire que cette équipe est expérimentée, elle a utilisé toute sa sagesse, toute son expérience pour battre le Portugal..."
This dude could go on forever about anything. What a Chatty Cathy! My favorite is the part about how the team is supported by "all the people, the entire nation, with a lot of emotion, a lot of love" I hear violins?

The Zidane song that I can't get out of me head (warning: it is very catchy):

powered by ODEO

Cristiano Ronaldo's Oscar-winning performances:I'd never seen this joker play before; I always thought he was HOT in the photos, but after the England and France matches with Portugal I can't stand him. What a disgrace.

And of course, a shout out to my favorite #12, Thierry Henry:Gimme a Huuuug!

And more seriously, workin' it in the Brazil game:Dida's look here is priceless.

Fingers crossed til Sunday!

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