I am a BIG fan of Steak-Frites and I had been told that Bistrot Paul Bert would satisfy my craving. We had talked about going for a long time and finally, with friends last October, we got there. Bistrot Paul Bert is at 18 Rue Paul Bert in the 11th arrondisement.
I called and, by some miracle, they had an opening for 6 of us at 9:00 PM. The place was packed, the tables close together, and the aromas assaulting us as we walked in the door were heavenly. The menu was written on a chalkboard (see above) though we knew what we wanted (the only question was going to be what to have for dessert). You may know that the French do NOT like to cook their meat for long, so your choices, in terms of how you want it cooked, are “bleu”- literally “blue” which means it’s basically raw, “saignant” which means red in the middle, and “a point” which means pink in the middle. You can ask for “bien cuit”- well done, but the looks of disdain you get will make you wish you’d never dared to say such a thing. The Steak Frites was everything we’d hoped it would be and an extra benefit was that we were able to get the chef to sign a copy of their cookbook for our son who has recently become a chef (or actually, officially, he is a “line cook” at a famous restaurant in NY).
I was reminded of that wonderful meal last Monday reading David Lebovitz’s blog post for the day (www.davidlebovitz.com) where he talked about a new restaurant that has opened at 6 Rue Paul Bert. It’s the same owner as Bistrot Paul Bert, Bertrand Auboyneau. It sounds like an INCREDIBLE eating experience, so that’s going to be my next stop……
If you don’t know David’s blog, but love great food and Paris, you need to check it out!
If you’re like most people, your first thought of what to visit in Paris is NOT the circus, but if you are a fan of trapeze artists, and beautiful horses, clowns, and even tigers, you can find them all at the Cirque D’Hiver, right next to the Filles de Calvaire metro stop (Line 8) on the Right Bank. This beautiful building was built during the reign of Napoleon III (mid- 1800’s) and it has housed circuses since 1852. The Bouglione family has operated it since 1934. It is called the “Winter Circus” because the Bouglione family has a circus in this building in the winter and tours around France during the spring and summer. I’m sorry to say this year’s show has just ended- it was called “Eclat” and ran from October 20th to March 17th, but there will be other sorts of events in the building during the spring and summer- musical concerts and a variety of other shows.
www.cirquedhiver.com is the website. The building holds about 2,000 people and because of its design, there are no obstructed seats– it is an oval building with 20 sides that enclose an oval ring and with its low angled roof, there is no center support pole like you have in a normal circus tent.
The building was recently renovated and it is really beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside, so stroll by there one evening or eat at one of the restaurants next door- the Clown Bar, for instance, is one we’ve enjoyed.
Back in November, I wrote about our wonderful trip to Bourgogne in 2010 to do some wine tasting and about our visit to Louis Jadot. I also wrote that the 2010 vintage was reported to be very good (that was certainly our experience even then, tasting wine still in the barrels) and that the bottles were not available when I was there in October of 2012. They are out now, and here in our local wine store in the US, they are VERY expensive, which goes to show that good vintage years are expensive, even in the early release years. I was determined to find a wine store in Paris where I could buy a couple of bottles of the Louis Jadot, for remembrance sake, but also to see if it was still as good as I remembered. I was hoping that if I bought it in France, it would also be a more reasonable price. So of course the first thing to do was to go online to the Louis Jadot site and see where in Paris their wines are sold. I found a GREAT store- Cave Bossetti at 34 Rue des Archives in the 4th arrondisement. Their website is www.caves-bossetti.fr/. I went with a girlfriend and the first thing we noticed on walking in was that there was an informal wine tasting going on. Everyone was very friendly (maybe slightly assisted by the free flow of wine) and the man that helped us was very knowledgable and helped us understand the various vineyards and offerings. They had the largest selection of Burgundies that I’d seen in Paris.
Interestingly, the prices were definitely still higher than I would have expected for such a “young” vintage, but they were much more reasonable than in the US. Also, what you start to learn about the Burgundy vineyards is that the price varies enormously by the vineyard as well as the price variance you’d expect based on whether it’s a “village,” a “Premier Cru” or a “Grand Cru”. The rating system in Bourgogne is based on the “terroir,” specifically the dirt that the grapes are grown in, and each plot of land is given its designation, so the grapes of that particular plot of land are ALWAYS given the same designation. The “Grand Cru” wines, which is the highest designation, are usually grown on the middle and upper slopes, known to have the best sun exposure and best drainage, the “Premier Cru” from the slightly less well-placed areas, and finally the “village” are generally from the flat areas near the villages. Any and all of these levels of wine can be absolutely delicious, so don’t turn your nose up at a “village.”
Anyway, we had a long talk with our new best friend at Cave Bossetti and I ended up buying a couple of bottles of Louis Jadot and also a couple of other 2010 bottles on his recommendation. One was from Vosne-Romanee, one of the best known and most expensive vineyards, but this bottle was, in his words, the “most economic” (cheapest) bottle I would be likely to find of the Vosne-Romanee vineyard (shown below). It was 31 euros. The other was from an area called “Irancy” (also shown below) and he said that Irancy doesn’t have any “Premier Cru” designated vineyards, but if they did, this one, from “Palotte” would be it. I will let you know if he was accurate in his description after I try it!
The agent said my manuscript was “plausible and publishable”- WAY COOL! But she said it won’t appeal to her publishing houses…..bummer. On to Plan B- try a few more agents, then, if rejected, self-publish! I’m actually not discouraged since she wrote such a nice comment!