Fried rice. I must have fried rice. Oooo! And wonton soup!

I placed my urgent order with Friendship Chinese among receipts in euros and camera cords. Jeff had talked of pizza and whiskey on the (extended) plane ride home, but was no longer hungry at this point in the evening. So it was that I was free to decide our first taste of Chicago.

Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t wander the streets of Paris only looking for cheeseburgers. We are not the travelers so maligned by William S. Burroughs. Chinese food is actually quite prevalent in Montmartre, although sold deli style and too suspect for me to attempt even if I had wanted it. There are just certain things that remind a person of home and cleanse the palette for proper reflection. (I finished the egg rolls, cold, this morning for breakfast.)

My first thought on our eating experiences in Paris is of sauce. I will admit to a brief moment of sadness upon realizing that nearly everything has sauce on it. I will also admit to a small amount of joy at the thought of coming home to less sauced cooking after my constitution started to rebel against so much rich food and epic amounts of wine. Jeff, on the other hand, was in heaven simply because the sauces were heavenly. From the au poivre that comes with plat boucher to the tomato-based braising reduction served with veal and white beans, even the confit at the bottom of roasted potatoes, they were all mop-worthy. I’ve never seen Jeff eat that much bread or starches in all of the two plus years we’ve been together. His reason – that the bread was good and the left-over sauce was worth eating – is all that really needs to be said.

My second thought is of illegal consumables, particularly foie gras. We know “what’s in that,” to quote the catch phrase of so many vegetarians. We’ve even seen the more graphic photos of less scrupulous farms, thanks to PETA and the push in Chicago to ban it. We still eat it with a quiet prayer for the suffering of all sentient beings behind our illicit glee. On our first night in Paris, we wandered down to the bistro right by our flat after a shag, a nap and a shower. The plat and entree combo was an excellent price (20 euro), so we each got one. My entree was foie gras marinated in a digestif that I can’t remember anymore served on a bed of salad greens. I expected the little rounds of paste we’ve come to know as foie gras. I expected that it would be better than in Chicago. What I didn’t expect was a heaping portion of an actual liver, cooked perfectly rare and chilled to a silky, dense, pudding-like consistency. It was sweet, nutty, and had a clean, savory aftertaste. My eyes started to water, my heart raced and I speechlessly offered some to Jeff. We both agreed that it was a happy bird in its lifetime because it lacked the unmistakeable funk of stress hormones. We also agreed that if Chicago aldermen had ever had foie gras like this, they probably wouldn’t have tried to ban it. On another evening out with friends, C and I had the ouef cocotte au foie gras, which incorporates small slices of liver sexiness into a lightly baked egg. Add butter, chives, and some cracked pepper for something I want for breakfast every day for the rest of my life, regardless of the risk that I would balloon up to 500 pounds in a year. In fact, Jeff even tried a bite. He hates eggs with a passion, let alone vaguely soupy eggs.

My last thought for today is that of revealing sources. I know this is a food blog and if I’m going to contribute to the corpus of literature (as it were), I should at least include the names and locations of where I ate, if not pictures as well. You all know how I am about taking pictures of food in public, especially with my inconspicous DSLR and particularly when I have to schlep a camera bag on a night out. That’s not going to happen. Camera bags ruin the silhouette of my outfit. Similarly, I’m not going to reveal my sources, except for those places where I feel the source can be revealed. A bit of tautology, yes, but many of these locations are doing just fine on the local Parisian dime and I refuse to kill what I love.

Until next time!

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