THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Next Stop…Paris!

by Harvey Gold on June 10, 2012

Written on the Fast Train from Paris to Belfort, France.

Staying in the historic La Louisiane Hotel, something of a smaller Chelsea Hotel of Paris, our first evening in the City was great, as always; however, really nothing much to howl about in terms of food and spirits. The meal was good, the wine tasty, but nothing notable for these pages.


Day two, our first full day, turned out to be quite special. We met a wonderful retired American at Paul, a lovely patisserie that is increasingly ubiquitous in France and now maintains a presence in the UK and the US. Born on Central Park West, he lives half the year in Paris, half the year in Palm Beach, and gave us recommendations that we just loved. The first, which we took advantage of that evening was a restaurant in the 6th Arrondisemont, maybe 3 blocks from our hotel, called Alcazar. He suggested we go after 8PM and ask for Fabrice, Alcazar’s manager, a fellow who turned out to be delightful and charming. We were greeted joyously with free glasses of champagne and moderate- to high-priced food that absolutely did the trick after a long day of walking. The architecture and interior design was also fascinating, hearkening back to another time, this, perhaps an elegant take on the modernism of the ’60s.

Poppyseed heaven at Korcarz

On the next day, we also following our new friend’s suggestion by seeking out a bakery in the Jewish District of the 4th Arrondissement, Korcarz, that as he had promised, had the best strudel EVER! The two of us shared one of poppyseed and a few raisins, one with apples and stuff, and yet another with ground nuts and stuff. Brilliant with a cup of coffee. We took away a lemon meringue tart that JUST got consumed on the train, a bit too sweet for me, but clearly of a great quality as Dolli beams so as she hangs off the train’s lighting fixtures.

This isn’t a full blown travelogue, so we won’t discuss, in depth, running into an old friend from Ohio on the “Love Bridge” over the Seine, or the gypsy girl with mad skills picking my iPhone even though I reacted as quickly as I could to her bum rush with a clipboard. Simply stated, “She won. Move on.”

I will say that we made it, rather randomly, to a restaurant called Vagenende (for an English version of the website, click on the little British flag on the right) on our last evening, and I found it to be the first place in Paris in two trips to offer Soup de Poisson (fish soup), a favorite of mine. It’s a red-based “bisque” (but thicker with fish meat), usually poured over delightful slices of toasted baguette slathered in garlic mayonnaise and shredded cheese. The cheese melts as the croutons soften in the hot soup and it becomes a great and grand fishy, gooey melange of garlicky happiness. Needless to say I was garlicky and happy as I washed it down with a Leffe Blondeitself an interesting adventure. The first sip of this 6.6% blond was tasty enough, but again, as reported from Holland, another Belgian that didn’t seem to shout out any of it’s spices. But as it breathed and rose in temperature, by my third sip it literally roared spice—specifically, cloves. Still, that didn’t make it overbearing or too much it’s own component of the dinner to be any less refreshing, as I enjoyed it into my main course, a wonderfully prepared calves liver with a balsamic reduction and mashed potatoes.

Sorry. HAD to have a bite before we took the pic.

Yeah, the American in me would still insist, in any other venue, that it would be better with a pile of fried onions and a little bacon…but that would be wrong. This was delicious, sweet, and mouthwatering.

No one treated us poorly for speaking no French, the service was efficient, and personable. I highly recommend both Vagenende and the Leffe, which I’ll look for again before too long, here and at home. This morning we enjoyed a last breakfast with our expansive American friend holding court at Paul, and I’ll now close, a little over an hour from Belfort.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carol, the beer doctor June 11, 2012 at 9:42 pm

OMG drinking Leffe in Paris. Can’t imagine anything finer!


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