vendredi, octobre 03, 2008

Markets (not the kind that are failing) and Dinner

Dammit. I had written up a long blog post and saved it, and then apparently I did something stupid while moving around my files and now I see that I’ve lost the entry for Oct 3. So here it is again. Obviously, this will be a bit shorter than the original.

So today was the day that I was going to check out the nearby open-air market, on boulevard Richard-Lenoir. It’s open every Tuesday and Friday, and it looked like it would be a pretty big one. Upon arriving there, I saw that it was about the same size as the Place des Fêtes market I used to go to, only arranged in long rows along the middle of the boulevard and maybe a bit more expensive.

Part of the higher prices had to do with the fact that there were more specialty booths. For example, there was a woman there selling nothing but mushrooms (that looked SO GOOD), including hard-to-find Korean mushrooms and super-expensive cêpes. There was also a cheesemonger (one among many) who had a more narrow but very well-selected range of cheeses, with better prices than most at the market. I got this really buttery cheese with no particular name that is apparently a specialty of Les Vosges, some vieux Comté, and a couple of Rocamadours (small discs of very fresh goat cheese).

I was in the mood for ceviche, so I headed over to a fishmonger that looked credible and asked for some help selecting a fish. Usually I would make ceviche with Peruvian corvina, but that’s pretty much impossible to find here. So I told him what I was making and described the kind of fish I usually need, but as soon as he heard it was “raw” a little lightbulb went on over his head and he decided that what I really meant was sushi. So then he started showing me his tuna and salmon, neither of which are good for ceviche. Finally, I just took some swordfish, which is a reliable standby for ceviche.

I had trouble finding some properly hot peppers for my ceviche, but luckily I came across a Senegalese merchant selling creole food. I bought a bunch of accras de morue (cod fritters), and along with it he gave me a container of super-spicy habañero pepper sauce. Mmm.

I headed home and busied myself making ceviche and putting away my groceries, worked a bit more on my proposal revisions, and then went out to take care of some errands and do some laundry.

By the time evening came around, I had a dinner date with a friend who had recently arrived to Paris as well as with one of his friends, so I grabbed a bike from the Vélib station near my place and headed over. My friend was over near the Ecole Normale Supérieure, which is near the bottom of rue Mouffetard. I had picked the route that seemed the most direct on the map, but I didn’t realize until I was pedaling my way up a steep incline that the route went up and over the hill upon which the Pantheon sits. Ack. Next time I’ll use Googlemaps’s “Terrain” setting to check before heading out.

Anyway, we met and headed over to rue Mouffetard (known as being the cheapest street in Paris for restaurant food) and had a pretty decent meal. Considering the blah food I had here two years ago, I was pleased to get something that was edible this time.

From there, we were still in the mood to go out, so we started walking to the Marais to see what was going on. After some discussion and a lot of wandering, we found our way to Yono in the Marais. We had a (rather expensive) drink, and then decided to keep moving. One of the guys in our group really wanted to go to a club that he had read about, called OpA near Bastille, so off we went.

The club was a pretty good example of what a “mainstream” club in Paris looks like: polished décor, surprisingly small dance floor, bottle service taking over most of the seating areas, an almost exclusively hetero crowd, guys being very assertive in their advances and girls being defensive, and a random mix of “electro” hits as soundtrack. To the DJs credit, he was actually beat-matching the tracks and making something out of it, but the selection was still crap. Nonetheless, I amused myself by again observing groups homosocial groups of (presumably) heterosexual men engaging in intense homoerotic play while throwing themselves at any female within sniffing distance. I had just been talking about this with my companions earlier that night, so I felt a bit vindicated by having some empirical proof to show them.

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