Posts Tagged ‘cafe flore’

J’ai Faim! Le Bistrot d’Henri

August 15, 2011

Le Bistrot d'Henri

Ohhh, j’ai faim. The Experienced Travelers pledge fidelity to our food-mad Readership with a restaurant report on Le Bistrot d’Henri in the 6th, near the Place St. Germain at 16 rue Princesse.  How apropos that Melinda and I dined like “les princesses” at the Bistrot. (Hopefully like princesses that kept their heads after 1789.)  And what could be better for a girl’s frame of mind than a great meal with a flirtatious Frenchman at the next table.

We found Henri through the Adrian Leeds Top 100 Cheap Restaurants guide. Cheap was a relative term for our weak US dollar, but Adrian steered us right. This was an excellent use for the Found Money I saved by resisting the  Hermès scarf ring.

A flash in the pan promises excellence on a plate at Le Bistrot d'Henri

We settled into the deep banquette and immediately began research on a bottle of Côtes de Provence. Dancing flames and culinary gymnastics from the open kitchen sent us straight to the menu.  Here I exercised caution, because the French disguise liver with sonorous phrases that trick me every time. I once ordered three courses that were all liver and Nurse has never let me forget it.

Be upstanding and welcome this terrine into the ET Culinary Hall of Fame

Melinda and I opened the proceedings with terrine de fois de volaille de maison,  a chicken terrine that rightfully rests in the ET Culinary Hall of Fame.

Melinda practices her terrine spreading technique

Dear Readership, Henri’s terrine is a 7-euro meal in itself. During Proustian “involuntary memory” moments, it all comes back to me; textured goodness heaped on a round of baguette, going down with a satisfaction that is uniquely French.  Forget what I said about liver. I was wrong.  Henri has reformed me.

Free-range Bresse chicken with mushrooms was top-notch

We poured more wine to prepare our pallets for the plats; Melinda’s ravioli in cream sauce and my poulet fermier a la crème aux champignons, which was safely not liver, but free-range Bresse chicken in white sauce with mushrooms.  We were delighted to share an order of potatoes gratin dauphinois and dined as the restaurant filled to capacity, and the din of convivial chatter rose.

Pear clafouti with a shy creme caramel just behind

The table next to ours was occupied by two couples. The man next to us took an immediate interest in what we were eating and where we were from. He mesmerized us with a Gallic style that held us in thrall. His wife rolled her eyes to the other couple while Monsieur Charm ably pointed out the merits of our crème caramel and pear clafouti.

When done well, French flirtation is an experience that ranks with the Louvre and a ride on the Seine as necessary Parisian events.  And now I know it can be practiced in the presence of one’s wife, purely for sport and spirited repartee.

French dining offers ample opportunities for a sporting flirtation

Fortunately, all French men flirt, so there’s plenty to go around.  A first-rate engagement strategy is in play when he admires your stunning command of the French language.  I only know 15 minutes of French – all in the present-tense —   so this is a gratuitous compliment that works every time.  Flirting is harmless and character-building, and recounting it will amuse your friends once you get home.

Melinda and I said our goodbyes to Monsieur Charm (who told us it was a French custom that you don’t leave your dinner until the table next to you has finished…) and walked to the Café Flore for the ritual nightcap.

Our dinner at Le Bistrot d’Henri in the rue Princesse did leave us feeling like royalty – comfortably full of excellent food and well attended by hovering staff and our neighboring Frenchman.  Vive la France and all who dwell in her.

To check out online reviews for Le Bistrot d’Henri and get directions click here

Outdoors at the Cafe Flore - the perfect nightcap on the Blvd St.-Germain

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The Indomitable Hermès

June 16, 2011

Hermès emits rays of chic on the rue faubourg Saint-Honoré

The Experienced Travelers know that when life’s trials loom large, a girl needs an article of unparalleled exquisiteness that inspires her to overcome adversity.  We assure you — no accessory rises to the occasion like an Hermès scarf.

From the moment we landed in Paris, there was a giant ET magnet drawing Melinda and me to 24 rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the home of Hermès since 1880.  What began as a harness and saddle workshop in 1832 has become one of the premier luxury brands for silk, leather goods and fragrances.   We took in the rarefied air – a combination of new leather, perfume spritzers and smoldering American Express Centurion cards.

A stairway to heaven for any girl with a sugar daddy

The interior is classic French chic that suggests a Dior-ed Zsa-Zsa Gabor (“Lovely to Look At”, 1958), or my hero Audrey Hepburn as Gigi, *after* the Paris finishing school.  I was completely out of my league, but the polite staff overlooked the obvious and behaved perfectly.

She is laden with bags, and still goes for the scarf!

The scarf counter did a booming business in luscious hand-screened silk squares that made my eyes water.  I admired a scarf ring which would complement the Hermès scarf that Nurse gave me for my 50th birthday.  It was pretty.  It was chic.  It was about $170US. For a scarf ring.  (Nurse : u r at  hermes. so what. get a 2nd mortgage )

But I summoned my strength and passed on the purchase.  Immediately I made a quick ET calculation and converted it to Found Money.  These emotional decisions form the foundation of the ET Found Money strategy, and they build character.

The new Hermes - it's not just about horse motifs anymore

It was just kismet that we found the newest Hermès store in the rue de Sèvres and we had to investigate.  Maybe the aura of wealth would adhere to our ET molecules so we could float through Paris on a wave of privilege.  Well, we didn’t float, but we were completely awed by the modern, sophisticated style of the store.  If Hermès in the Faubourg is headquarters for the doyennes of Paris, then the rue de Sèvres is it’s trendy equivalent.

It's strangely similar to the chair we got at Big Lots - but maybe not.

If you long for an Hermès living room ensemble, or an Hermès tray, set with Hermès china for your breakfast in bed with Hermès tea, this is the location for you.  Though I didn’t find Hermès paper towels it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  I’ll check with Melinda, but I think I recall Hermès cocktail stir sticks for your Hermès martini.   It’s replete with air and light and Found Money of all denominations pouring into cash registers.  They’re all living the Hermès life.

A text message from Command Central (i am hungry. send food pics) jolted us from our dreams of wealth.  We left Hermès for the Cafe Flore to make a dent in that Found Money. Even in the 70-degree sunshine, we spotted Hermès scarves around chic shoulders.  We knew that those ladies would have to never stand down in the face of adversity.

Melinda inaugurates the 14 glasses of wine we relished on that first day in Paris

Paris QuickPics: Les Terrasses

April 11, 2011

The Experienced Traveler is coming apart at the seams at the Cafe Flore on Blvd St. Germain. It's a hardship but our research must be done.

The Experienced Travelers got 24 more hours in Paris, compliments of the airline that outright cancelled our return flight.  Next time the going gets tough, I’ll remember when Divine Providence granted me an extra day in Paris.  At the current ET exchange rate, that comes to 6 more glasses of wine each.

And isn’t this evidence that St. Genevieve, the patron Saint of Paris, is watching over us?  Melinda had a “lost day” yesterday due to a funny tummy – and voila!  She got it back today.  I assure you, she made the most of it, shopping the St. Germain neighborhood with vigor.

There’s so much more to report – including a very scientific macaron taste test, several memorable meals and hours of people-watching.  Our shoes are worn; our muscles ache;  but our spirits are in exceptional form!  Hopefully tonight we’ll visit Polidor for dinner and let you know how it goes.

The ET view from the terrace of La Fontaine St Michel on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

Back in Paris

April 8, 2011

A long lunch in the sun at the Cafe de Flore

Alors, mes amis!  An Experienced Traveler has returned to Paris!  After just two days, my mental circuits are gratefully adjusting to French sensitivities.  It’s so, so good to be here.

Nurse is home running Command Central, providing strategic direction via the miracle of text messaging.  So my Associate ET on this trip is her daughter Melinda, a tireless traveler who has single-handedly improved the state of the French economy since her arrival.

The weather is perfect and spring is alive in Paris, from the Rue Cler to the food halls at the Bon Marche, and at the Place St. Germain and the rue de Bucci. We scoured the Marais and both the Iles, and enjoyed a surprisingly pleasant dinner in Montmartre.

There’s so much to tell and so little time to write.  Suffice to say that  after consuming of 14 glasses of wine between us on our first day, we now limit ourselves to wine at *every other* cafe stop.  Nurse kept texting — what r u eating now? — and we succombed to death by cobblestones after combing the Marais for just the right buys (ask me about the briefcase I left behind…)

We will keep gathering content, dear Readership – always with you in mind.  Internet connectivity is a hit-and-miss affair, but I’ll post when I can.

Bon appetite! Goat cheese salad and an omlette from the Cafe Danton


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