The Year 2006 was the first time we celebrated our wedding anniversary. He usually either couldn't remember the date or was not around on the day itself. But last week, we happened to be in Paris on the big day and so decided to celebrate the occasion.
We had lunch at Taillevent, a Michelin-rated 3 star restaurant near the Champs Elysées in Paris. As we were approaching the restaurant, Hubby remarked that the doorman was better dressed than him. Well, when we entered the restaurant, they removed our coats and proposed to lend Hubby a jacket :-).
The decor was warm, wood-based, intimate but not ''promiscuous'' (i.e. we were not in each other's laps). We were served a few warm mini-Gougères (choux pastries made with cheese) as we looked through the menu and sipped our sweet white wines (a Baume de Venise for Hubby and a Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive for me). The waiter taking our orders was good in his job and I say so as he very brilliantly guessed that I must not be fond of smelly Roquefort cheese and kindly proposed to change it to a Comté (which I adore). We both decided to take the lunch menu @ 70 Euros pax and even chose the same dishes.
We started out with a Crème brûlée de foie gras de canard aux fèves de Tonka. The duck liver was light and creamy but not a mousse, and the caramalised sugar covering it was a smart way of introducing sweetness to the dish (the usual way is to serve the liver with a chutney). The fresh apple slices added acidity and a sharp, fresh taste, a change also from the usual apple jelly.
It was followed by a Saumon d’Ecosse poêlé, échalote grise et salsifis. The salmon was well-grilled on the outside and nicely pink on the inside, cooked to perfection in other words. You can't see the shallots but can definitely taste them in the sauce. I'm not excited about the salsifis, which tasted like a cross between asparagus and turnips. But on the whole the dish was delicious.
Hubby had the Roquefort Carles, pruneau d’Agen au banyuls in the menu for cheese while I had some Comté. For dessert, we decided to try a different pastry each and exchange half-way through. So I started out with the Damier au chocolat et au café and finished with the Tarte aux fraises des bois. I have been places so I can confidently say that nobody can beat the French when it comes to desserts. The pastry shell for the tart was light, rich, smooth and melt-in-the mouth all at the same time. And the wild strawberries were small, sweet and crunchy, and just as good eaten on their own. Chapeau bas.
We had a glass of wine to go with each course. And they cost almost as much as the food. The bill came up to nearly 300 Euros, which when you think about it, is almost the monthly minimum salary in Portugal... Not something we can afford every other day.
After lunch, we went to the Champs Elysées to do a bit of shopping. Hubby bought CDs and DVDs from FNAC and I bought clothes for the kids from GAP. Then we went to the cinema (UGC Normandie) and watched Albert Dupontel's latest film ''Enfermés dehors''. A crazy comedy. Quite impossible scenario. Like a cartoon brought to life.
After the cinema we made our way to the Petit Théâtre de Paris near St Lazare and watched a play titled ''les monologues du vagin'' (The Vagina Monologues) involving actresses Isabelle Aubrey, Sara Giraudeau and Astrid Veillon. Originally American (Eve Ensler), it has been performed 1800 times in Paris to-date, though with different sets of actresses over the years. The script was based on testimonials obtained through interviews with over 200 women about their memories and experiences of sexuality and the play gave voice to women's deepest fantasies, anxieties, sensations and fears.
There were women who had never looked at or touched their vaginas intimately, there are those who were ashamed of their vaginas, there were those who were raped during wars and there were yet those who had their vaginas mutilated in the aim to reduce their sexual appetites... In any case, you usually walk out of the play no longer looking at a woman's body, or thinking of sex, in quite the same way again. Well, I found it interesting, but since I do know where my clitoris is, am pretty well-informed already about the genital mutilations and am aware of the rapes during wars, I would have preferred something a little more active, like Dieudonné's politically-incorrect one-man comedy shows, for example.
Anyway, it was a nice day out just the two of us for once, and we finished it with a simple dinner in our favourite Chinese restaurant Sinorama near Place d'Italie. And overnight in a small hotel in the Butte aux Cailles :-).