[IMPORTANT NOTE THAT I JUST REALIZED WAS IMPORTANT: The follow story is about my third visit to the dentist for my root canal. Just the finishing touches. Nothing invasive! Hence the lack of painkillers. ;)]
"Do you feel anything?" asked Dr. Chargari as he tapped my tooth with something metal and pointy, basically the kind of thing you would rather not have near your tooth.
"I can fell the tapping, but it doesn't hurt."
"Oh good, then you probably don't need a shot. Would you want one?" Would I want a shot? How about I stab your gums with a needle, eh? Would that feel awesome?
"...If you don't think I need it, then no."
He continued to do drilly things to my tooth that caused toothy bits to fly out of my mouth. No pain whatsoever, aside from the sad psychological consequences of being disconnected from my toothy bits. Sweet. After smushing some stuff on my back right molar, he declared my root canal to be finished. MY TOOTH IS FREE! OH BABY.
So if you have tooth problems in Paris (and you never know considering what you'll be eating here), I highly recommend that you visit Alex Chargari. He's quick, friendly, speaks English, and the office is clean and all high-tech like.
And that was your non-food message of the day. BACK TO THE FOOD.
we rock, vegetarian-friendly style
Last Friday night Sophie, Alex and I went to L'as du Fallafel, the famous falafel joint in the Marais that is loved by many (including Lenny Kravitz, as the restaurant likes to remind us. There's also a "LENNY KRAVITZ RECOMENDED" sticker on the window. A sticker! He has a sticker! When can I get a sticker?).
There was a constant line in front of the take-out window and although we were seated right away, the inside of the restaurant was continously crowded as well. We squeezed ourselves into a corner table. Or at least I did. BECAUSE I'M CHUBBY. HAHA?!
(The ?! punctuation means that you have to imagine me saying whatever precedes it in a maniacal loud questioning way. I'll act it out for you if you ever meet me in real life; there's a moronic wide-eyed look that goes with it.)
Sophie and I ordered the special falafel pita sandwich (I think Alex got the regular non-special one...and we probably made fun of him for that) composed of cute falafels plops (falafels are always cute), tangy sauce stuff (stuff like tahini, hummus and whatnot), chopped cabbage, cucumber chunks, and—my favorite part of all—fried eggplant nuggets, all smooshing together in a soft, thick and chewy pita bread pocket.
Is it the best falafel I've ever had? Truthfully, no. It's one of the better ones I've had and the large, hearty, not-too-guilt-inducing sandwich is a good deal, but I can't praise this place up the wazoo like so many other people have already done since I've already had a relevatory falafel-eating experience.
The best OMG-worthy falafel I've ever had was from the tiny, unassuming Taim in the West Village just around the corner from one of my favorite sandwich joints/yuppie farm, Doma. What was the difference between LDF and Taim? I felt like Taim's falafels tasted lighter, fresher, and more flavorful. Taim's bread was also exceptionally fresh tasting, while LDF's was...well, much better tasting than most pitas, but not to the point of "OMG THIS PITA MAKES ME SEE JESUS!"
LDF's fries were good (as in worth getting if you really want fries, and who doesn't?), but still not as good as Taim. Taim wins for freshness, I suppose. Maybe it's not fair for me to compare them. :\ It's not like LDF was disappointing; I had just set the bar too high. If L'as du Fallafel is really the best place to get falafels in Paris, I'll try it again. However, if anyone has recommendations I'd be willing to try the other falafel places in the area (there are a bunch without view of each other).
Sophie wanted to go to French gelato institution Amorino, but I insisted on visiting Pozzetto since I had never tried it before. With bellies full of chickpea mash, we walk to the nearby gelateria while huddled in our jackets. There's no better time to eat gelato than when it's freezing cold, eh? (It really is a good time to eat frozen things when it's cold if you ask me. It won't melt!)
Luckily there weren't many other people with mad gelato cravings or else we may not have secured the small round table next to the shelf of panetonne and gianduja chocolates. The friendly gelato man spoke to us in English despite that Sophie and Alex can speak French. Of course, we were conversing in English because my American-ness overpowers everything else like an atom bomb that obliterates an entire city. After we placed our orders (three flavor cups for all, oh yeah), the man let out a crazy infectious laugh that sounded something like "Hehehehehe"...
...wait, that's how all laughs sound. You had to be there. I can reproduce this in real life if anyone wants me to. It sounded a bit restrained, but strong at the same time. Imagine putting your thumb slightly over the mouth of a hose with running water...and then replace the tube with a human and the water with laughing. It's kinda like that.
"I want that laugh as my ring tone!" exclaimed Sophie. Oh yes, don't we all?
He soon came back with a sample for each of us. Alex wasn't interested. SILLY HUMAN! Sure, we were about to eat excessive cups of gelato, but there's no harm in a little sample. The cioccolato fondente was the stand-out flavor. I'll talk more about that soon.
Let the gelato-eating begin.
I'm sure my face did some kind of happy smiley glowing thing when the silver bowl stuffed with slabs of pistachio, stracciatella, and hazelnut gelato was placed in front of me. It's a natural human response, I think.
Oh lordy, creamy flavorful non-artificially-colored-or-flavored goodness, take meee. I was going to say that I prefer gelato that's a bit softer and airier than Pozzetto's, but it doesn't really matter as long as it tastes awesome. And this is pretty awesome. The flavors aren't uber-strong, but they taste real. It can be sadly difficult to find ice creamy substances that go a step beyond just being a sweet tasty product by incorporating real stuff. And I wish I could think of something more poetic than "real stuff", but you know what I mean. Also, I'm not poetic. More like apoetic.
Sophie ordered pistachio, fior di latte, and maybe hazelnut (memory...fading...) and Alex ordered fior di latte, cioccolate fondente and...wait, we didn't all get hazelnut, did we? [scratches head] Well, whatever. While everything tasted good, as I said before the standout flavor was cioccolate fondente.
Actually, I have to admit that I don't remember which chocolate flavor it was, but it was...well, something chocolatey.
...God dammit, this isn't turning out the way I hoped. A real food critic would've taken notes or something, like "THIS IS WHAT WE ORDERED." Instead I'm looking at brown gelato and thinking "CHOCOLATE", then looking at the menu and seeing MULTIPLE CHOCOLATE FLAVORS, then realizing that I don't remember which one it was. Well, whatever he got tasted like sweet chocolate ganache in gelato form, which in my opinion is a helluva lot tastier than ganache. The flavor outshone all the others for its instant brain-perking quality. One little taste and all of a sudden your brain goes, [beeboop] "WHOA GIMME MORE." (Yeah, my brain beeps. What do you wanna make of it?)
Our gelato cups were accompanied by these weenie pea-sized cookies that were like French macarons made with hazelnut flour instead of almond flour (I have no clue what they're called). Pozzetto sells huge bags of them in case you want to keep a stash with you at all times.
You bet that Sophie and I were enjoying ourselves. You'd be crazy not to. CRAZY.
It's easy to say that my pants weren't getting any looser by this point. I could've stopped eating, but that Sophie, oh man, she wanted to keep on going. Amazing, I tell you. She deserves some kind of award, probably in the form of food.
We sat outside at Les Philosophes (they keep huge-ass heaters out there so that the tradition of sitting outside can continue in freezing weather) for more dessert and drinks. Sophie had her eye on a cheesecake of the luscious creamy graham cracker crust type, but instead got the weirdest looking cheesecake I had ever seen that was more like a cream pie if the cream were cream cheese flavored. It may have gotten a thumbs up if they called it a cheesecake cream pie, but...nah, this was wrong for something labeled as a cheesecake.
Drinking coffee is a very Parisian thing to do. (It might also be a "normal human" thing to do.) So I tried it. And I failed. Using 10 sugar cubes to mask the bitterness of the coffee totally defeats the purpose of drinking coffee, but I don't really mind coffee flavor in desserts (sugar concent plas a key, obviously) so I thought, "HEY THIS WILL BE PALATABLE." Nah, I can't do it. (However, this year I had a cup of complimentary coffee at a Colombian restaurant in Queens and thought that was rather good...after a generous dousing of sugar.)
Weird cheesecake. Coffee that I can't love. A waiter who barely noted our existence. They also have "real" food so maybe the experience is better inside the restaurant. [shrugs]
I know going to three places in one night on a regular basis would spell ultimate doom for my health and fat percentage, but it's just something you gotta do every now and then. Because! I said so. It can be hard to find people who are willing to do that, but for better or worse I seem to find these bottomless-stomached people easily.
The morning after
The next day the three of us met up again for brunch at La Tour Maubourg cafe. Sophie and I went for the 11 € set menu that included a croissant, butter baguette, pot-o-jam, an omelette, fruit salad, orange juice, and coffee or hot chocolate. It's a wide variety of food that's filling without making you feel uncomfortably pregnant (not that you'd feel comfortably pregnant, but ye know what I mean).
There were salt and pepper mills on the table to season our plain omelettes with. I may just not pay enough attention, but I don't recall every seeing a salt and pepper mill on a table. Maybe pepper. I liked that I could sprinkle my egg with giant salt crystals and pepper chunks. None of that wimpy powdery stuff.
The light and crusty bread tasted awesome with a generous slathering of butter and the croissant was exceptionally good for its softness, flaky layered-ness and buttery flavor.
The fruit salad was thankfully made of fresh fruit, including MANGO (besides grapefruit, apple, orange, grape, and kiwi)! There wasn't much mango, but that it was in there at all made me happy. I love mango, oh yes.
Sophie had to leave right away to go back to London and Alex and I had to go to class. Ahh! But the madness isn't over yet; I'm visiting London from December 8th to the 10th. Soon there will be more Sophie-Robyn fooding adventures. Hehehehe.
Do I eat anything healthy?
I know my eating habits aren't exactly what any nutritionist would recommend, so I'm sure my body appreciated to get some vegetable matter in the form of Alex's vegetable and tofu stir fry on Friday night. Yay, someone fed me! And it didn't come out of a can or the freezer! I was quite overjoyed. I was less overjoyed by the character-less Hello cookies that I choose for dessert that tasted like...I dunno man, don't buy em.
Good times. I love em. I hate that after you're on such a high the only place to go is down, but I guess that's unavoidable. You know you won't be sad all the time; you know you won't be happy all the time.
During the sad times, I just eat chocolate.
L'as du Fallafel
34 Rue des Rosiers, 4th
Metro: Saint Paul (1)
La Tour Maubourg
58 Boulevard de La Tour Maubourg, 7th
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg (8)