Thursday, April 29, 2010

Black and White

It was a day of contrasts. Black and white. My longtime friend, Jane was working a flight from Miami to Paris and we were meeting on our layover. I hadn't even left operations to get on the plane when my phone rang. It was Jane saying there were terrible storms in the southern Florida area and she was going to be late leaving Miami. We had planned on meeting the next day for a full afternoon and evening in Paris together. I didn't know just how late she'd be until we approached Paris and one of the pilots told me the Miami flight was 3 hours late :-(( Soooo, I was on my own for the afternoon. The temperature was that perfect balance of warmth without tipping to uncomfortable. The kind of warmth that brings gentle breezes into the evening, but still making a jacket unnecessary. I walked to Montparnasse and met my friend, Rick and we had fun catching up on the last few weeks as we watched the cafe's comings and goings. Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel and meet up with Jane who was waiting in the hotel lobby. After big hugs and smiles we went out to catch the rest of the afternoon with a walk through Luxembourg Gardens. We were happy for this day.We weren't the only ones enjoying the park on this perfect, late spring afternoon.We meandered through the gardens, watching the children chase each other and sail their boats on the pond. Leaving the tranquility of the gardens, we walked and talked our way through streets and passages, and in and out of shops. The sun started to settle as the Latin Quarter lit up. The street candy vendors stay open late, but a chocolate shop locked it's doors with a firm bolt as we decided to go back in and spring for an 8 euro bag of cocoa. We wanted it even more then...and we're still talking about it and how we'd use it! Hmmm...dust truffles...mocha cocoa...chocolate cake???? Problems, Problems. Walking along, we had planned on having dinner at a bistro on a cobblestone street with a few restaurants on it. Checking out the prix fixte menus of several restaurants, we gave each other a big look of "yes!" by the Boeuf Bourguignon posted on one of menus. Without reservations, we felt we were lucky to get a table and were asked to wait a few minutes in a cozy waiting area of this 17th century building. The ambience was warm, but the greeting was as cold and fragmented as the ancient rooms. We eventually were led up stone steps to a small table for 2 by a winding stairway. The low beamed ceiling and glowing fireplace added a sense of conviviality that contrasted to the slow service that seemed more of a bother than a pleasure. The appetizers were interesting in concept but not followed through in flavor. We both had the Boeuf Bourguignon, and thought it was just mediocre with it's thick sauce. I did like the way it was served with gnocchi in the small iron pot, though. We chatted away during our ultimate girl's night out. We had 3 choices for dessert and our Île Flottante and Creme Brulee were delicious and a nice finish to this 4 hour dinner. As we were paying our long awaited check I was wondering if that was a new chef I saw scurrying from table to table. Yikes!! I don't think we'll be back.

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