Since my last post was on the perfect burger, I realize that now talking about French bread, crepes and croissants is making me sound like a serious foodie, which I’m not. The problem is that my husband and I are in Paris, and two of Paris’s claims to fame are its cuisine and its wine. Eating here is a lifestyle, which I’ve concluded from walking past hundreds of people in many neighborhoods, also known as arrondissements, who are spending their mornings, noons, afternoons and evenings filling tables in front of and inside restaurants.
As soon as we arrived, we asked Jean at our hotel front desk to tell us about bakeries, namely the ones that produced the best baguettes. He gave us a map and pointed out a few in the area. I was so excited when we made our first purchase of genuine French bread. Since then we’ve discovered better-tasting baguettes, but there’s nothing like that first French bakery experience accompanied by my first attempt to spit out a few words in bad French. Since then my most thrilling bakery event has been using a complete sentence — the only one I know — to request a chocolate eclair. While requesting this treat was exciting, it didn’t provide half the pleasure that every bite did.
Our hotel in the Left Bank area is located near Rue Mouffetard, which I learned from a quote from travel guru Rick Steves today, is “a conveyor belt of comparison-shopper eaters with wall-to-wall budget options.” We discovered this on our own in four nights of wandering up and down the street reading menus and trying to make the hard decisions about where to eat. So far we’ve stuck to the common three-course fixed-price menu, which consists of an entree (main course in U.S. restaurants but appetizer here), main course, and dessert, and accompanied this with wine. The main drawback to these nightly choices is, of course, the growing evidence that we are not losing weight. (I’ve had to phrase this in the negative, because I can’t bring myself to say what we are doing). Although our daily walking regimen is impressive — even painful — it can’t seem to overcome our dinner choices. We started a diet today. We ate half a sandwich for lunch today and left the second half for dinner. We’re heading out now for dessert: caramel crepes with fresh ice cream, like none I’ve ever eaten. Surely this diet plan will turn out to be a winner.