Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Posts Tagged ‘Paris

A traditional Parisian lunch at Le Comptoir

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Le Comptoir Bar

Le Comptoir Bar

Outside seating at Le Comptoir

Outside seating at Le Comptoir

Californians eat lunch early, what with getting up early in the morning for the 5 mile jog or an hour of hot yoga or both. A Californian tourist in Paris arrives early at restaurants during the lunchtime and gets a seat. An hour later would typically mean an hour long wait. Except for one or two of the trendiest restaurants, a reservation thankfully is not needed. Most places in Paris, one gets by with a few words in English, a few in French and lots of energetic hand gestures and facial expressions. Try doing that on the phone. So yes, I am grateful for the no reservation needed situation.

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Written by Som

January 14, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Europe, France, Paris

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Lady in the Lake, hardboiled crime in Paris

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Hot chocolate slurry

Tea House at Passage Christine

Of course in all great cities you walk and walk and walk. In Paris, you like me, perhaps choose to walk in good looking shoes. So, by the time evening rolls around, you are left sitting somewhere with very tired feet.

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Written by Som

December 18, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Le Reminet, a perfect Californian meal in Paris

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Le Reminet and neighboring wine bar

Le Reminet and neighboring wine bar

Le Reminet, Cozy interiors

Le Reminet, Cozy interiors

Food in Paris can be overwhelming. Particularly after a week of breakfasting on croissants, lunching on baguette and pâtés, and dining on delicious cuts of game birds, and pigs cooked in clarified butter and fortified with bacon jus. And crème fraiche topped pastries in between meals. How can you not eat well in Paris? But you can be also be overwhelmed by the craft – thousand layers in Pierre Hermes’ mille-feuille, minced pig’s feet stuffed in small potatoes at Christian Constants’ Les Cocottes, Joël Robuchon’s langoustini ravioli with truffle sauce to name a few. Le Reminet by Seine, near Notre Dame, is a tiny restaurant where we ate one of the most delicious meals this Paris trip. And we could have been eating in San Francisco.

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Written by Som

December 3, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Les Cocottes, eating near Eiffel Tower

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Neighbor with a morning cup of coffee and cigarette

Neighbor with a morning cup of coffee and cigarette

One nice thing about traveling from San Francisco to Paris is the hour you wake up on the very first day  – it was three in the morning for us. Paris is beautifully lit and quiet at that time. We waited eagerly for our first taste of croissant and coffee at the neighborhood cafe. Early signs of dawn breaking are the activities around these breakfast cafes. Morning load of pastries and bread arrives, the chairs are placed out, the waiters share a few moments over their morning cigarettes. I notice a neighbor popping her head out of, what I assume to be, her bathroom window for a smoke.

Dressed in our freshly bought European style attire, we headed out. After a week, my beautiful shoes and the cobblestone paths of Paris parted ways but not on the first day. We decided to combine the two most quintessential symbols of Paris, Siene and Eiffel tower in one shot, walk along Siene to Eiffel tower. From Place Michel Debre to Blvd Saint-Germain to Rue De Bac to river Seine. Even with our hundred stops for photographs, we were near the tower in a couple of hours. Does a slow saunter work up an appetite? No. But sight of delicious pastries from the storefront definitely does.

Cafe near Les Cocottes

While waiting for Les Cocottes to open

Canelés, baked flour cakes soaked in syrup

Canelés, baked flour cakes soaked in syrup

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Written by Som

November 27, 2010 at 1:57 am

Breasts, patchouli oil, mint tisane and a Bangla conversation at the Parisian hammam

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Sleeping at Jardin de Plantes

Sleeping at Jardin de Plantes

I like a good deep tissue massage to undo the damages caused by hours of sitting hunched over on the computer. My local massage spa in San Francisco Bay Area is less of a spa and more of a therapeutic center. Housed in an ugly building in a strip mall, the masseuse pummels the life out of you, kneading and elbowing and kneeing your muscles into submission. All knots begone. I thank the American immigration system that brings me the expertise of traditional Chinese massage techniques at my doorstep. When traveling, I try to get one in a strange city or airport with the purpose of undoing the tortures of the airlines seat. The tale of Korean massage where they turn you into a minor contortionist is for another occasion. This time, the story starts at a hammam in Paris – this is a story of oiled breasts, steamy dark rooms, minty potions and odd snatches of conversations.

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Written by Som

November 11, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Posted in Europe, France, Paris

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One river to bind them all

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In cities like Calcutta or Paris, the river is the precious that brings together the livelihoods and lifestyles of the people of the city. There is no denying the differences of course. In Calcutta, Ganges river is wide. Wide enough that on a regular traffic clogging business day, crossing one of the two bridges can take an hour or more. For many in Calcutta, the river is everything. They live in small precariously placed shacks along the riverside, cooking on crude stoves, bathing, urinating, defecating in the river, making a living off odd jobs by the riverside. Every once in a while the city police comes by and tears down the shacks and the cycle starts up all over again. For other Calcuttans, the riverside is a sanctuary from the hot and muggy interiors of the city. Often in the evening, when the rays of setting sun make the silt laden water look like gold, the Bengali babus can seen heatedly debating politics and cricket accompanied with roasted peanuts and hot chai. The local train line is just by the banks so every once in a while the toot of the train pierces the surrounding noise and the din. Is it just the mugginess that makes everything feel slow even in that throng of moving bodies? Large ferry and cargo boats crawl past without attracting attention. Tiny little picturesque boats offer rides to young lovers who can perhaps steal a kiss away from the throng of hawkers and gawkers. Nothing spectacular but nevertheless stunning.

Goddess idol being prepared for immersion

Goddess idol being prepared for immersion

Traveling priest or a homeless person

Traveling priest or a homeless person

Live music between Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis

Live music between Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis

Notre Dame and cruise boat

Notre Dame and cruise boat

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Written by Som

October 27, 2010 at 8:06 am

I tat I taw a puddy tat, I did taw a puddy tat … in Paris

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Zlebia from Tunisia

Zlebia from Tunisia

 

One watches travel channels and food TV and begins to think that one knows it all. Nothing should come as a surprise and often, nothing does. And then one finds Zlebia from Tunisia in the Latin Quarter of Paris!

What is this strange looking shiny pretzel like thing?

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Written by Som

October 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm