Through my eye

A sometimes caustic view of things.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Paris Food

Funny, I've successfully avoided eating odd things all over europe--but now, in the most civilized city in the world (by their own estimate), I've gone down new paths of cuisine inadvertantly--twice.
On Sunday we went to a museum in the north of the city which, surprise, was not near a cafe, restaurant, brasserie or kebab place, so we backtracked to the last one we saw. I should have been alerted by the white tablecloths and cloth napkins, not to mention the wait staff's suits and ties, that it was pricy. It was also the kind of snobbish place that pretends not to understand English. The result was that I ended up with finely sliced raw beef.
Now, I knew not to order tartar, which generally looks like raw hamburger and appears to make it possible to digest all the gristle that French beef seems to have--at least in the cuts I can afford.
As it turned out, sprinkled with lemon juice and lightly scattered with basil, the slices were easy to eat. And I now know what "aguilettes bleu" means. Combine that with thinly sliced frites (french fries) and a yogurt dessert and a cup of coffee for me, three nicely done (barely cooked, I thought) boneless lamb chops and french beans with little mushrooms and a lemon tart for Connie and two glasses of wine and we had a lunch that was a mere $126.00.
Tonight, at the unpretentious little restaurant at the hotel next to where we are staying, I ordered what I thought was some version of veal--"rognons de veau saute avec champignons."
Now, I know that champignons are mushrooms and saute (with the accent) is stirfried, so how risky could it be?
I knew from the outset (or the down set of the plate) that what I was about to eat was some sort of organ meat and I felt I had to give it a try. It wasn't too bad, just a slightly liverish taste which I can tolerate with spices and in certain sausages and preparations, so I kept eating.
It took a long time to finish, however, because the rubbery texture wasn't what I usually chew and there were an awful lot of the little rounded pieces of whatever--in fact at one point, I thought they were multiplying on the plate.
After the meal, back in our hotel room, Connie looked it up in our pocket French-English dictionary--Mes enfants, mes amis, "rognons de veau" means little calf kidneys.
I'm carrying that damn book on me for the rest of the trip in France.


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