November 29, 2008
When your friend you spend the most time with is as knowledgeable about wine as my friend is, chances are you tend to take more interest in the subject, your taste becomes more refined and you are no longer satisfied with just any bottle, or any restaurant with a mediocre wine list, or any restaurant at all that has crappy wine glasses set out. It’s both a curse and a blessing.
This week I went along to a dinner at il Vino, the restaurant here in Paris opened by Enrico Bernado, the winner of the 2004 title of Best Sommelier in the World. Bernardo has held the title for 3 years, and was ousted last year by a Swede, Andreas Larsson. The restaurant’s menu is in fact a wine list. There are a selection of wines that you can choose from, and then your meal is devised based on the wine you choose.
The idea is great, the wine list is fine, all the staff are sommeliers in their own right and can guide you with your choices and have great detailed knowledge on hand if you have the vaguest question. You start by notifying them of any allergies or aversions and the adventure begins from there. We were a table of 5, and we all decided the Menu “aveugle” (blind) would be fun. They paired 2 entrees, 1 main, 1 dessert with 4 different wines for which we were to discern.
Sadly we were disappointed with our lot. The sardine starter was ok, the swordfish was great, the duck main was ok, and the dessert of clementines on pastry was good. But 2 out of 4 plates is not what I’d call successful at a restaurant of this calibre. The biggest problem was the size of the portions which were miniscule. We all left hungry. The other major set-back was the wine served with the Swordfish entree was a Beaujolais Nouveau. It was quite good for a Beaujolais Nouveau, but to put a Beaujolais Nouveau on a tasting menu at â‚¬95 per person we thought was a bit cheap… there is no way it would have even entered our minds while we were blind tasting, that it could even be an option.
Nevermind. The staff were great, Enrico made himself available for photos, and while I don’t think I would repeat the experience I’m happy to have tried it.
I guess as I stated initially, our taste becomes more refined, we drink better and better wine at home, and we eat well which is not hard if you live in France and enjoy cooking. Going out for dinner, especially at these kind of prices should be a formidable experience. Il Vino fell a little short.
filles at 5:53 pm
November 27, 2008
I think this is brilliant. Remember the old everyday phones of your childhood? Remember how you could tuck them up under your ear for hours and hours, chatting away to the cute boy down the street, or the long conversations with no-one special just on and on and on…. I love this idea. I want one.
filles at 4:52 pm
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November 26, 2008
For christmas there is this very sweet shop that does porcelain everything, hand-made everything, not too far from here. We found the loveliest little ____ dishes for Milene, not to mention all the other wonderful things we had to leave behind. And their business cards, embossed on a creamy white square card are gorgeous. Le Petit Atelier de Paris.
filles at 11:19 am
Just discovered this new hotel in Paris. Haven’t been there yet, it was in this months ELLE magazine which our neighbour Michel left on our doorstep Monday evening. He’s very cool like that, he gets loads of magazine subscriptions, Elle, AD, Allure, Maisons France, Elle Decoration, Vanity Fair etc and once he’s read them he passes them onto us…
Anyway, the hotel. Design by Phillippe Starck, architecture by Roland Castro and opened by Serge Trigano (president of Club Med) it’s located in the hip and trendy Saint-Blaise quartier in the heart of the 20th arrondisement, not so much just a hotel, but a whole EXPERIENCE…. I think we might head over there on the weekend and check out the baby-foot tables in the bar.
Starting at â‚¬79 a night, it’s a bargain.
filles at 10:54 am
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November 21, 2008
Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivÃ©!
It’s a race, on the third Thursday of November, millions of cases of Beaujolais Nouveau are shipped for distribution to Paris and around the world. Thats almost half the production of the region for the entire year. What started out as a local phenomonem of wine growers filling pitchers direct from the barrels with a wine made fast to drink while the better Beaujolais was taking a more leisurely course, was regulated first in 1938, and then again in 1951 when the local custom hit Paris, and finally in 1985 when the current date was set.
Beaujolais Nouveau is a triumph of marketing and promotion, mostly due to the efforts of Georges Dubeuf, the largest negociant in the region. Tasting wise, some people would have you believe that Beaujolais Nouveau is as about as close to white wine as a red wine can get. Due to the way it is made – the must is pressed after only three days – the astringent tannins normally found in red wines aren’t there, leaving an easy to drink, fruity wine. This, and the fact that it tastes best when chilled, makes for a festive wine to be gulped rather than sipped, enjoyed in high spirits rather than critiqued. Hence the ritual we undergo on the third Thursday of November.. where almost everyone can be found at some point, on a stool, in a bar, tasting this years crop.
It hasn’t the pedigree of some classic wines, but it’s fun, it’s a ritual and I’m happy to play my part.
And so, last night, under the guise of a ‘vernissage’ Anne & I plopped ourselves down to do a little tasting of the Beaujolais Nouveau at Vintage… and the two I tasted were not too bad at all.
filles at 10:51 am
November 19, 2008
Quebec week continued…
Tonight we’re going to see Fred Pellerin at the ThÃ©Ã¢tre du Petit Saint Martin not far from here in the 10th. It will be good to sit back and listen to a ‘storyteller’ spin a story or 3 and forget all the rest of what’s going on around us. We heard Fred Pellerin on the radio this summer when we were in Quebec and we laughed, and laughed at his proposal to put a “lid” on Montreal to protect it from the suburbians (or was it the other round?). Anyway, I’m looking forward to it.
filles at 3:49 pm
November 18, 2008
TV is my life at the moment. Movie after movie after movie. On tv that is. At the moment, or at least for the last 6 weeks or so I’ve been turning on the telly. Actually too often really. It’s on most of the time when I’m home alone, whether I watch it or not. I flick through the stations until I find something on in english, I may watch it, most probably not, it’s just noise in the background, an excuse to not do the things I should be out doing.
Funny thing is, when I’m out doing other stuff, I don’t miss it. There aren’t shows on tv that I have to watch. I don’t know the schedule except for Spooks on Thursday nights – although that’s more because it’s Michelle’s favorite show – but even then we usually miss it because we’re out most Thursdays.
No, it’s on all the time but it’s very rarely watched. Is that as bad as being on and watching it? I wonder…. am I helping to skew the statistics on TV watching in France?
filles at 2:46 pm
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November 17, 2008
SoirÃ©e x 2
Friday night I had the pleasure to tag along to see Diane Dufresne, the Quebecoise who people either seem to love or hate. I’m a bit closer to the later, but the concert itself was brilliant and just long enough to enjoy, not too long to get tired of the shrieking. Her sense of style is wonderful, she was dressed to the nine’s and looked fabulous with a bunch of flowers in her hair. Accompanied by the French pianist GÃ©rard Daguerre the show was at the magnificent theatre Bouffes du Nord behind the Gare du Nord. Afterwards we all went back to Valeries apartment in St Ouen for a late supper overlooking the eiffel tower. It was lovely.
We hung about all day Saturday, Michelle went to the hairdresser, the beautician, and the thai takeout, while I read, answered emails and watched some episodes from series 2 of ’24’.
Saturday night we were invited to a private soirÃ©e for a birthday party at Vintage. Despite only knowing the birthday boy vaguely, we had a wonderful evening. Champagne was on tap and the cÃ´te de bÅ“uf and sauce Bernaise was just fabulous. At 4am after a lot of fun and dancing we made it home and spent the entire day inside sleeping and reading and watching daytime tv before sneaking out after dark for a pad thai & green tea at our favorite thai.
So much for a quiet weekend in…
filles at 2:08 pm
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November 14, 2008
(thanks to Rhodri and others)
filles at 9:21 am
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November 10, 2008
With a capitol P
1 jeroboam + 2 champagne + 3 white + 5 red (and a lot of 80s music later)
= Party for 9
filles at 8:19 am
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November 7, 2008
Yesterday I went to see the Jaques VilleglÃ© exhibition with Valerie at the Pompidou Centre. Fantastic showing, I’d love to have one of his works hanging in our apartment. It would look just perfect, even though we barely have any straight walls left to hang things on. Being on the top floor, in the roof, most of our walls are at a 45 degree angle… we’ve mastered a method to still hang things (thanks to Roger) but it doesn’t work for all our art. Case in point the new Arnaud Liard painting we just bought is on canvas, with a layer of cement covering it. We hung it in the best spot in the house, in the lounge, on an angle for a couple of weeks before we noticed that the canvas was literally billowing out in the centre from the weight of the cement. A quick change and it’s now centre spot in the dining room on a flat wall… it’s taken some time to get used to the change of location, we had to rotate all our other painting to make them work but we’re getting there.
Anyway, Jaques VilleglÃ©. He has several series on show, along with a video of him today. Most of his work is huge, fabulously bright colours, and what’s amazing is he’s been true to his art for 50 odd years, the same practice of poster ripping year after year. Today apparently he’s stopped since laws have changed and bill posting is less and less common, not to mention he must be in his early 80’s. But wow. Great show if you get a chance.
filles at 9:22 am
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November 5, 2008
The girl who used to write semi regularly? I’m still here, just a bit unfocused. Brilliant news this morning blaring out of the radio at 7am, finally the Americans did it. They made sense. My faith has been restored. In honour I went to see the Olivier Stone film W this morning, but to tell you the truth it didn’t seem much different from all the other so called documentaries that have been playing on french TV for the last 2 weeks. I guess that can be taken as a good thing if you want to be close enough to the truth, but as a movie, in the cinema on the big screen, it was hard to stay awake. There was nothing really awful about it, except maybe the performance of Thandie Newton as Condaleeza Rice, the rest was very bland and not much new. I didn’t even feel sorry for him as I was led to believe I would from the critics, just blah.
Everyone’s talking about the election here in Paris, I even got a few congratulatory pats on the back at the gym this morning… doesn’t matter how much I plead I’m not American, being Canadian as I am to them (thanks to my Quebec accent) is close enough.
Now we’ve got to wait and see what happens between now and Jan 20th when Obama takes over the throne.
filles at 2:55 pm
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