Since both my parents and my sister were going to be leaving town tomorrow, this was really the last day to see Paris and run any gift-buying errands. So my parents went off to the Bois de Vincennes to look at more trees, and Carla and I the morning doing what felt like a (stereo)typically Parisian shopping trip.
We got up painfully early to be at the Pierre Hermé shop around opening, so that we would be sure to get all of the flavors of macaron that we wanted. We get to the location near Place de la Concorde, and the shop is closed, despite the posted hours. So we walk over to La Durée, which was already open, to pick up some chocolate gifts in pretty boxes for Carla’s friends back in NYC. For some of her friends, she said, it was more about the pretty boxes from La Durée than the chocolates inside.
We decided to take a walk around place de la Madeleine, since we were already there, and we ended up going into Hédiard and getting a box-set of patés and foies gras for another friend of Carla. From there, we decided to kill some time at a café nearby, warming our hands with mugs of hot chocolate.
We walked back to Pierre Hermé and it was finally open, so we bought a massive box of macarons, only later realizing that we would have to eat all of them before tomorrow (macarons don’t travel well. At all.
My sister wanted to hit a store on Ile Saint-Louis to buy a hat for another friend, so we stopped by the apartment to drop off our wares and headed over to the island. The store was closed. So, again, we found a café on the island and sat down for a drink. After an hour or so had gone by, my sister went back to try the store again (theoretically, it should open no later than 11h00), but it was still closed. Thankfully, she found the same hat in a store nearby. Mission accomplished!
Our “big meal” for the day was scheduled for lunch instead of dinner, since they were going to travel very early the next morning and they didn’t want to be sluggish and half-drunk on wine when they got up. So we had made reservations at the Dôme du Marais, the same place we went to last week.
When we first got there, around midday, there was an elderly and wealthy-looking matron who had just arrived, taking off her coat. She was clearly not used to waiting for anyone, let alone the rest of her family / future inheritors, so she was restless. She would sit down at the table, fidget, then get up and ask the maitre d’ if he had heard from the rest of her party, then she would check her phone, then she would get up and go to the washroom, and so on. About twenty minutes later, the rest of the group arrived to a somewhat frosty welcome.
The menu today was the same as last week, so mom and dad just chose different dishes from the same selection and my sister got to try out the same thing, but I decided to try another menu available, with slightly fancier offerings. My appetizer was a potato and leek pompadour (i.e., scalloped and covered in a cheese sauce), which came with a mountain of fresh shaved black truffle. I’m not talking little grated bits of black truffle, I’m talking whole slices of the thing, piled up in to a heap about the size of my palm. In North America, that much truffle would’ve cost half of the menu at least.
My main dish was a fish called courbine in French, otherwise known as maigre and meagre, which is apparently a kind of bass that lives in brackish water. It was, as you might imagine, fantastic; not too dry, not undercooked, and with a little shell of fried potatoes on top. The dessert was a soufflé flavored with Chartreuse liquor, which was exquisite.
Anyway, the meal was great and we left feeling full but not uncomfortably so, so Carla and I went off on another shopping mission. This time, we headed over to Denise Acabo’s “A l’Etoile D’Or” chocolate shop (now dubbed “la loquita” by my parents), where we bought a very fancy collection of chocolates for one of her friends, and then a little bag of chocolates for ourselves. On the subway ride back to the apartment, we ate the whole bag and felt a bit sick.
At the family’s apartment, they finished packing and then we took all of the perishable food items from the fridge and put them in a series of bags to carry over to my apartment. We hopped on the subway, got off near my place, and then passed by a bakery for some bread. Once we had climbed the stairs to my place and unpacked the various bags, we sliced up the bread and had a sort-of dinner of cheese and sausages and patés. A couple of hours later, I was shuffling them out of the apartment and back to their place to rest up for the trip home.