Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Anniversary Lunch

     It was one of the major ones--anniversaries that is--but, instead of a long dinner out, we decided to follow the French tradition and have a long Sunday lunch instead. Besides, very few good restaurants in France stay open for dinner on Sundays--possibly because people are still recovering from Sunday lunch.
     Our friend Bob had told us about Le Reminet,, a tiny place on the Left Bank. We dropped in the day before, really liked the look of it, made a reservation and made our way over there at 1 p.m. on Sunday. 
    Maybe 34 seats, gold-framed mirrors that let you sneak looks at your neighbours, twinkling chandeliers, it's a pleasant room to spend several hours in. Every other day of the week, this tiny place offers a staggeringly inexpensive three-course lunch for 13.50 euros. Those of you who aren't in France, do the maths, and then know that that sum  includes all taxes and the tip (although it's good manners to leave small change behind when you pay the bill). Bargain? I'll say. 
    Later that week, we returned there for lunch (see menu) but Sunday was a very special occasion so we stayed on the carte side. First to arrive were little amuses of chickpea purée topped with a wee slice of toasted baguette topped with diced vegetables. That eaten, we made our way through foie gras, grilled salmon trout on a bed of tiny fresh peas and feves (surely the most labour-intensive vegetable anywhere--I mean first you pod them and then, once they're cooked, you pop each tiny bean out of its shell. This is definitely the kind of dish that, as the immortal Julia Child once said, had people's fingers all over it. But, at that point, honestly, who cared? We ended up with lavish desserts involving chocolate, and the kind of mousses that were so sticky you just knew they were heart-stoppingly rich in egg yolks and cream. Kirs to start, glasses of white Sancerre, and then a bottle of red Sancerre (which I didn't even know existed). 
     So what do you do for an encore? Well, I don't know about you but we walked across the little park to Shakespeare & Company and had the mother of all book-buying binges.

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