Up early and off to the American Hospital of Paris for my dialysis session. The AHP is a superb facility – state-of-the-art machines, top staff, and a nephrologist who pays close attention to you and your medical condition.
David picked me up at about noon, and we ventured out in search of something to see and do. We decided on the Place de Bastille/Place des Voges, but quickly found that we were going to have a problem getting there. The center of Paris was “catastrophique,” according to our ace taxi driver. It seems that the King of Spain was visiting – probably to watch Nadal and Djokovich play at Roland Garros – and virtually every street around the Place de la Concorde, including the Champs, was blocked. He finally decided the only way to get there was via the Peripherique, the road that encircles all of Paris. About 25 minutes, and 40 euros later, we arrived in the Place de Bastille and decided that our first step was lunch.
We have often gone to Bofinger, the quintessential Parisian brasserie, with its ornate décor, heaps of seafood and shellfish, and bustling, almost curt, wait staff. Today, we decided to try Petit Bofinger, its smaller, less formal cousin just across the street.
It was crowded, but we got a nice table and perused the menu. I ordered the roast cabillaud (cod), and David the roast saumon. The helpful waitress explained that for just two euros more, David could opt for the luncheon prixe fixe menu, with a starter or dessert and a glass of wine. David ordered the oeufs mimosa (stuffed hard-boiled eggs served on thinly sliced beets), but – not being thrilled with the wines that accompanied the meal, decided to get a bottle of Petit Chablis for the two of us, after – of course – our kirs. The waitress brought our wine, but forgot the kirs until we had finished half a glass, and also forgot our bottle of Badoit (sparkling water.) Everything worked out okay, and the food turned out to be pretty good.
After lunch, we strolled around the Place Bastille a bit, always great for people-watching (check out the guy with blue hair on our Flickr page,) then grabbed a taxi back to the Lavoisier so we could get done with our packing. The hubbub with the King had subsided, so the driver took us back by way of the Place de la Concorde and the French Presidential Palace. Some of the streets were closed – like the Honoré Faubourg – but others were open, albeit with groups of submachine-gun-toting police much in evidence. We got our packing done, and were ready to go to our final meal in France (for this trip), a new favorite, Crom ‘Exquis, just 50 metres from the hotel.
Crom ‘Exquis is run by Pierre Menneau, the son of Michelin-starred chef Marc Menneau who owns l’Esperance in Vezelay. Although he hails from Burgundy, his cuisine is lighter than the traditional Burgundian fare, and is absolutely superb. He has a Michelin star of his own in his future. Pierre recognized us from previous visits and greeted us warmly, asking about David’s daughter and Jay who had been with us on our last visit in October. Alex, the headwaiter, also gave us a genuine welcome back, and the meal was off to a grand start. We started with kirs, and a plate of Crom ‘Exquis – which look like small cubes of light dough, filled with butter and herbs, foie gras, or truffles. They are a delightful way to start a meal.
David opted for an entrée, langoustines, and we both decided to go with the St. Pierre (also called John Dory,) one of our favorite fishes. As usual, the food was superb, light and flavorful. David chose a Meursault to go with our meal, always a wonderful wine, and probably my favorite. Pierre insisted that we have dessert. so I chose his version of a Tiramisu while David went for the millefeuille chocolate. Although the meal was finished, we enjoyed more chat with Pierre, Alex, and Cedrick (the sommelier), and – after promising to return soon – left for the long walk back to our hotel.
Tomorrow we are up at seven to head for CDG, a flight to JFK, and then the last leg home to little Lucy.