"You wanna come out to eat with me and a friend?" I asked Valerie last Wednesday night.
"Yeah, sure!" Our homestay family was still on vacation meaning that we had to fend for ourselves for dinner. Which wouldn't have been fun with our semi-empty kitchen unless I wanted to make a meal out of yogurt and sardines.
"Cool. Uh...by the way, I've never actually met her before."
I hadn't intended to bring Valerie to my dinner with Sophie, a friend I made through the magic of food blogging earlier this year. She goes to school in London and had only a few days to hit the best fooding spots in Paris. This may have been the only time that I met up with an Internet friend for the first time accompanied by someone else. The idea of meeting up Internet friends tends to raise eyebrows and I don't usually have much to back myself up with besides, "I've done this a gazillion times before," which raises even more eyebrows.
Valeria and I walked to Trocadero where Sophie and I agreed to meet. Not that it's one particular spot, but rather a large open plaza full of people who want a full-on view of the Eiffel Tower. Crowd + darkness + no idea what other person looks like = great meet-up situation.
"Uhm. Maybe we can just shout her name," I suggested.
"Er, okay. SOPHIE!" called Valerie in a half-joking tone. A few seconds later...
"Are you Robyn?" Whoa, it worked!
Well, my bright red jacket probably helped, but apparently the name calling was also beneficial. The possible awkwardness that may come from meeting an Internet friend for the first time only lasts a few seconds before you start talking about food and how much you love food and then it's like, "OMG I LOVE YOU LET'S GO EAT." (I have to admit though, it may be easier for me to meet up Internet friends because I'm usually the person the other person is coming to meet with. It would feel different if it were the other way around. And sometimes it's equal. Anyhoo, you probably know what I mean without me having to explain it.)
I wasn't familiar with places to eat around Trocadero , but after looking at the menu we settled on Le Malakoff, a brasserie right outside the Trocadero metro stop.
I always thought the restaurants in that area looked a bit stuffy, and...maybe I was right. Although I didn't know what our waiter said to us (Sophie is conveniently from France, meaning that she can speak French, meaning that she would be the designated "order placer"), he acted a little arrogant and I think he was surprised when I ordered the andouille dish as though he assumed I wouldn't be able to finish it. I SMELL A CHALLENGE.
Actually, I smelled...meat. Smokey meat. The sausage looked innocently sized next to the pile of frites. After cutting into the soft meaty log and releasing its squiggly shaped viscera, I realized that it was that size because a larger sausage may kill its eater by way of meat coma. I felt like the sausage was the essence of an entire pig stuffed into a tube, which one may find highly desirable...or horrifying.
I'm somewhere in between: the composition of squiggly bits packed together with meaty bits was new to me (but at least it's not like a ground meat patty. God knows whats in that, you know? HAR HAR...of course, I eat hamburgers without much hesitation), but I liked it enough that I wouldn't mind eating it again. I don't know how to describe the flavor (the first thing that came to my mind was "meeeat explosion" and "tastes like something Chinese"). If you're really curious and not put off by "odd meat-tastic thing with organ bits" then feel free to try one. If the waiter looks at you funny, it may be because you're female and andouille more resembles "man food".
Valerie was sadly not a big fan of her confit de canard, which was otherwise loved by Sophie and me. There may be a reasonable explanation for this perplexing food preference (because, you know, confit de canard is SO DAMN TASTY); Valerie had a bad brownie experience in Amsterdam the previous weekend. I won't tell you the whole story, but it involves a lot of puking, leading to a very unhappy digestive system.
I don't remember the exact name of Sophie's dish (not that I remember the exact name of mine either), but it featured a huge piece of juicy tender chicken. She happily demolished it.
Valerie was full after her semi-eaten duck. I was feeling meat explodee after my sausage, but still alright for dessert. And Sophie...ah, Sophie. SHE CAN EAT FOREVER. Or perhaps that's just when she's in France for two days and has to psych her stomach so that she can stuff it beyond capacity. I absolutely loved her enthusiasm for eating, the crazy sparkle in her eye when the main course was finished and she knew that dessert was a-comin'.
"Robyn, you're the girl who ate everything! You can't stop now! The desserts go into a separate stomach! I'M GOING TO HELP YEWWW!"
I'm exaggerating her awesome maniacal foodiness just a bit, but she does kind of remind me of me. Maybe we can call her "the girl who ate more than everything". :)
I got lucky with my first creme brulee in Paris. This baby was huge (I'd had wimpy ones in the past), surprisingly eggy (as opposed to something more smooth and liquidy) and full of vanilla flavor. And of course, it was topped by a perfect caramelized, crackly crust.
Sophie's tarte tatin (accompanied by a small pot of whipped cream) was also great. Not that tarte tatin should be anything less than that. I don't know what else to say about it; I've eaten tarte tatin enough times by now to know that this was one of the better ones.
We headed back to my apartment. They walked; I wobbled. That night I had only experienced a glimpse of Sophie's food craziness (which can be overwhelming when paired with my food craziness, and since we feed off of each other's craziness, you can see how dangerous it would be if we actually lived near each other). Wait until you see day 2.
[Please feel free to comment on the third part of this entry!]
address (only one!)
6 Place du Trocadéro, 16th