Monday, April 12, 2010

Paris Window Shopping and Dinner

To go window shopping in French is, faire du lèche-vitrines. Translated literally it means to lick the windows. OK, maybe it loses something in the translation, but it is an interesting way of putting it. After having coffee with our friend Rick last week, Nancy and I took the metro to St. Michel to look for some ephemera at the bouguinistes along the Seine. We arrived just a little late as they were putting their wares to rest for the evening, so we walked along the Quai des Grands Augustins and window shopped our way back towards our hotel. As the restaurants were preparing for the evening's diners, it was a visual appetizer for us. We passed by the Max Chaoul Couture shop as our breath was taken away by the fantasy and beauty of the displays. I didn't realize how the clear acrylic chair back with the perched doves, caught the sky's reflection at first. As we walked past the closed store, we peeked in to see the racks of luscious tuile, satin, pearls and sparkles for a lucky bride. While the moody Parisian sky changed, a few raindrops fell as we turned the corner. Stopped at the light to cross the Pont Neuf was a Citroën Deux Chevaux, which means 2 horsepower. It was one of the first economy cars. Turning onto rue Dauphine, there are more bridal shops, restaurants and shops on the side streets. The windows were so delicious, maybe there is something to the window licking idea! Now we are getting really hungry and decide to get back to the hotel to freshen up for our 8 pm dinner reservation that one of our concierges, Phillipe, made for us. We love Phillipe♥ We arrived at L'Ourcine just a few minutes late...somehow things always take longer than you expect. We ordered a couple glasses of red wine and gave our waiter our dinner choices. Immediately after, an amuse-bouche of asparagus mousse arrived. It was as light and delicate as a couture bridal veil. I half expected a white dove to appear and rest upon my chair. We chatted a while reflecting upon our day, and I soon saw my duck appetizer appear in the window open to the kitchen. It was served promptly. Nancy had a crab ravioli with a lemon cream sauce, which was full of flavor and the lemon gave it perfect balance. We both ordered the pork tenderloin with polenta, seasonal vegetables and garlic roasted in their skins, which was heavenly. The crusty bread was served with butter that had a sprinkling of sea salt. Since no day is complete without a little chocolate, I had the warm molten chocolate cake for dessert. It came with a mint ice cream, but they gladly substituted vanilla for me. Chocolate and mint should never mix! Nancy had a layered blancmange and pineapple dessert, and of course we shared. We loved every last bite of our meal. It was inspired in taste, prepared magnificently and the service was attentive. Friends had a different experience with the service previously, which altered their dining experience here. I am hoping this was just a fluke, because as I write this I am craving to go back :-) And now is there a French word for licking one's plate??

L'Ourcine
92 rue Broca, 13th
01.47.07.13.65
metro: Les Gobelins or Glacière

If you haven't been over to Zurin's site, Cherry on a Cake, take a look at her wonderful giveaway. It has a nice French flair to it :-) Thanks, Zurin!

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15 comments:

Karen @ Mignardise said...

Happy to be the first commenter!

Is there a word for licking the computer screen?
It's not just the food that makes me want to do this - it's your LIFE!
Ooh la la Diane...

linda said...

you had me @ the first photo...
j'adore le francais bleu!!

what a pure visual treat this was...
& your dinner looked fantastic...

love the sky's reflection in the ghost chair...

post vraiment exquis!!

♥ Kathy said...

I would love to go there!

La Table De Nana said...

It's pretty much the same in French:)

What a treat.. what a lovely little outing(s) for us.. to accompany you in some small way..I love the look of that asparagus mousse..
Not to mention the lava cake..
I adore all the photos..you have a wonderful eye..I love taking photos..I bet we would never see each others whole face:) We would always have the camera up to one eye~

I know that during my trip to Europe..I was "bouche bée" the whole time..One exquisite scene after another.
You are so fortunate..I know you work very hard..I am happy there are some delicious fringe benefits..
Happy for you..and us that you share~

lisa said...

thank you, diane, for another inspirational blog! my first Paris trip of the season is tomorrow; i am so excited to get there!!! (even though the plane will be a full load!!) hope to share some layovers with you this summer! xox lisa

Thibeault's Table said...

Thank you for taking us with you Diane.

I love your blog.

zurin said...

Oh another wonderful post Diane! I must visit France one day...i was so near to it once but never made it..sigh...but looking through your eyes makes me feel like im getting so much nearer. Tq :)

n tq for the shout out..you are very very sweet. glad you dropped in n took part in the giveawy...i do hope you'lll win :)

lostpastremembered said...

I so wish I could stop by Paris in the summer... how lucky you are to stop in regularly.. you walk through the city like a native... such a pleasure to virtually join you and the food looked superb... especially the ethereal asparagus mousse!!!

Melanie said...

You photographs make me want to lick my computer monitor! lol. I love your photographs- they transport me.

2 Stews said...

Karen and Melanie...that is one way to clean your screen. Maybe we'll have to come up with a word for that!

Linda...I love that French blue, as well. And I am really wanting a ghost chair, and wishing I had that reflection, too!

Monique...what fun it would be to go out photographing in Paris together, then come back and share pics! Maybe someday...

Lisa...I can't wait to hear about your trip...what you saw and where you ate :-)

Kathy, Anne, Zurin and Deana...I wish I could take you there. Thanks for coming along on the virtual trip.

Trissa said...

Kicking myself! I missed this restaurant... looks fantastic. Something to look forward to next time then!

Barbara said...

Love your blog! This is such a fun posting and brings back so many wonderful memories!

Kate at Serendipity said...

I know where I'm eating next time I'm in Paris. Maybe we could go there for lunch? Heh, if the ash ever lets up, that is...

Thanks for the tour. How do you take your photos? What kind of camera do you use? Is it a problem to take photos in a restaurant? I'm always a little hesitant to pull out my honkin' big Nikon in a restaurant....

2 Stews said...

Trissa...there are so many great restaurants in Paris. We'll have to confer about some of your favorites from this trip. Your travels sound so exciting. I'm so envious of your time in Spain :-)

Barbara...thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's fun to see what others see. It's wonderful how seeing something can bring back a flood of memories.

Kate...too bad I didn't get "stuck" in Paris during the volcanic ash....we could've had many lunches AND dinners:-)

I have a Sony A-300 DSLR. I almost bought a Canon instead, but 2 factors sold me on the Sony. 1. The Sony has a live view preview so you can take a photo without looking through the viewfinder. This allows you to take a pic without being so obvious. 2. It is so much lighter than the Canon and I can carry it around without it being too heavy.

In regards to shooting in a restaurant, I frame the shot in my mind and then quickly take the pic and put the camera away. That's where not having to look through the viewfinder comes in handy. I've found my friends actually want me to take a photo of their food. I never let it interfere with anyone's dining experience and never, ever use a flash. I am very sensitive to being as innocuous as possible.

Have a great weekend all....Diane

Karyne said...

"Licking one's plate" is said the same word for word in French "Lécher son assiette"!
Was it expensive???