Paris is lousy with Chinese. All in town for the big parade down the Champs-Elysees and the red re-lighting of the Tower tonight.
Karli and I ran into a pack of them at Bourdonnais – on our way to the Champ du Mars – mainland Chinese. Grace taught me how to spot them – Armani with the occasional Louis Vuitton fur coat tossed in – subtle, not too flashy. She says that's where the real money's at in Asia these days. That explains all the tricked out tour buses we see – not Japanese – and as much as it pains her to admit it – not Korean. And now I get the black-marketers lurking around the LVs – stopping girls in the street to buy any bags they can – handing over thousands of Euros – not one centime to the girls for their trouble of course.
Over in the 15th, stopped in a pharmacy to ask about nicotine patches for Grace. The pharmacist – a really sweet Indian girl – showed me their promotion in the window – patches, gum, fake ciggies – all on sale.
Had to pay homage to one of my favourite things in Paris – the Y'a Too Partoo machine. They call them automatic shops – not even close – they're shrines to food and drink and urge and impulse and mechanical wizardry.
Headed back through the park and a woman and her 3 month-old chow – Bou-bou – started to tag along. We talked about how the U names were trop difficile - it's a dog registration thing. So far we’ve only met a few U's – Uzi, Ulysses, Uber. Last year the T's lucked out – of course Tybalt – Karli's best dog friend, a French bulldog – Tia, Tara, Thomas, etc.
Breakfast – Karli had her usual. I had half my usual bread – the toasted pain complet – blueberry preserves, green tea, and fromage blanc – I need more protein.
Miran came over after flute to make lunch – heh-muhl pa-juhn – seafood pancakes - those Korean pancakes she and Grace say are the thing to have on a rainy day. Ironic that after all the rain she was making them under blue skies. She said the Metro was packed – with Chinese on their way to the parade. I'd almost decided to go – but then she started making the pancakes – while Grace started the mi-yuhk-mou-chim - the seaweed salad. Grace soaked the dried seaweed, then sliced the onion and cucumber thin. Miran put some of the onions in a bowl then added the batter mix. She prepped the seafood – shrimp, calamari, mussels. Grace made the yang-nyum-jhang - the dipping sauce – thin sliced hot peppers, chili powder, soy sauce, roasted sesame oil, sake, and the trimmings from the scallions – keeping the most beautiful whole stalks for the pancakes. She seasoned the seaweed salad then chilled it. Miran heated the pan, mixed the batter and onions with water, added the seafood, adjusted the salt, oiled the pan, then poured the batter mix in. She said it should be thicker than a crepe but thinner than an American pancake. When it was just starting to set, she placed three of the beautiful whole scallions on top, spooned some batter over, waited, then flipped. Still very pale – which surprised me, thinking that it should more golden – but she flipped it again – the scallion side barely caramelised at this point – until it was just crisp but tender. I set the table with a Gewurtztraminer – Grace wanted to pop a bottle of Champagne but we decided to save it until later. Pancakes, seaweed salad, dipping sauce, wine – warm, crispy, fragrant, spicy, satisfying – perfect Saturday lunch in Paris.
The frantic phone calls to and from Robuchon tonight left me and Grace drained. Dinner – Pizza Hut – French Pizza Hut. Passed on the current Tartiflette special – but it is really good. What's not to like – creme fraiche, lardons, onions, potatoes – though the fromage a tartiflette sounds dubious – but then there's the mozzarella. Decided on the Meridionale – thick slices of grilled eggplant, and grilled red and yellow peppers, basil, olive oil, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. And since it's a 2 for 1 pick up deal, the Incontournable Supreme. Walked up Bosquet to St. Dom, then over to Jean Nicot – with the ever-present Poujauran truck. I do need to stop in to see M. Poujauran soon. Walked back and caught the Tower light show – red tower, white sparkling lights - until 07:00 - from my bedroom window.
China to France. France to China. Sign of things to come.