Pamela Popo night
I adopted a new rule for my life back on Trip No. 12 to Paris, which has been refined on the last three trips, and which has yet to let me down when I am lucky enough to see it in play: Always let the French person pick the wine. [It really goes "let the Frenchman pick the wine," but that sounds really contrary to my postmodern/feminist/women's college educational background.]
Therefore, that this Saturday night dinner in Paris (i) would be at a venue (Pamela Popo) whose photo gallery on the web site set my aesthetic senses racing for a just right - unpretentious - hip vibe; (ii) would include Romain and Anne - with Romain being a great cook - and French(man), obviously; (iii) also would include their friends, one French/one American, and that this couple who lives in the Marais (confirming hip status pretty immediately) is on a first-name basis with everyone at Pamela Popo, would be joining us....well, I was just pleased to have another opportunity to watch and enjoy the spectacle of French men, and an American who had lived longer in Paris than the US by then, go through the lively debate about what wine to select.
The wine ... I do not recall too much about this. I did enjoy watching the ritual and hearing the dialogue of which wine and who was having what. I do recall my quasi de veau was as good as Adam had raved. I do recall a dessert - which must have been what la carte on line shows as "Tartelette tiede au chocolat...caramel a la fleur du sel." Perhaps one of the best desserts I have ever had.
All was happiness and light as we eased into Hour 3 of Dinner at Pamela Popo: The delight of meeting old friends, making new friends, sitting in a highly ambient ambience, on a lovely Saturday night in Paris, the night before our last full day in Paris, and enjoying post-prandial lively conversation.
And then it happened.
Someone appeared with a tray of 6 martini glasses. When the tray was lowered for serving one beverage to each of us, Shelly surely was as wide-eyed with wonder as I was. What? What is this? A cocktail?
Adam is grinning mischievously. Romain and Anne look amused by our surprise. I am just happy that, huh, wow, cocktails for after-dinner drinks ...in Paris? My old and new French friends repeat over and over what the name of this lovely libation is. I just cannot get what the word is. Pom pom cul cul cul? Now, the word "cul" - that I know.
Romain helped me out by translating it loosely as "spanky spanky."
Adam explains: it is half mojito, half cosmopolitan. And it has a liberal sprinkling of fresh mint. It was really lovely. A blush pink. Not an icky pink. Very fresh. We toast. It is very good. Very good. Way too good. Adam says: no more than two of these.
By this time Shelly is texting furiously to our group. You have GOT to get over here. Now. I believe that in my happiness, no, joy of the moment, I declared that I was never leaving Paris. Ever.
And then another tray arrived. Adam is really enjoying this. But probably not nearly as much as Shelly and I are really enjoying this.
We decide we must descend downstairs to the bar/lounge area to await our friends.
And another round of the spanky spanky arrives.
- kettle one
- jus de citron vert
- sucre de canne
- jus de cranberry
- menthe pilée
It is also a Serge Gainsbourg song.
And then there was, yes, the 4th round of Panpan Cucul(s).
I thought I could charm my way into getting the playlist for the lounge that night from the bartender who was continuing to ply us with those spanky cocktails - but no. It's the owner's own list. Not for sharing. But I was welcome to Shazam away. And so I did. And learned that "Shazam" can be used, and is used, as a verb in French. Some of my tags that night: I Follow Rivers (Lykke Li(; Knight Moves (Chilly Gonzales); Rock me Again & Again (Lyn Collins); All this Love that I'm Givin' (Gwen McCrae); Paid in Full (Rakim); Jungle Boogie ... the Kool & the Gang and the Michael Jackson later really pushed us over the edge. There was much singing. Maybe some chair dancing.
And then someone realized 4 rounds was enough.
Our Austin group that joined us departed for the 5-minute walk home across the Seine to rue de Bievre.
I was headed that way too. Until ...until I saw Shelly making after-party plans with our French friends. I heard something about a club and dancing.
And so it was that we would walk and walk, explore another venue in the Marais, decide champagne back at the guys' apartment sounded really great (especially as I had hyperventilated earlier upon learning that Jean Dujardin, whom I had loved way before The Artist, for his OSS 117 characyer, lived across the street from our new French friends.)
And so it would be that at 4:30 am or so, we would finally call it a night.
But not after we did grave injustice to Minnie Riperton's classic ballad: Loving You. You know you love it too....La la la la la. La la la la la....
I also made my 10 a.m. meeting the next morning, uh, later that morning for coffee with a lawyer friend at Trocadero.
But leave Paris I did. On a jet plane. On Monday.
And just in time for me to be checked into an Austin hospital not 48 hours after getting back for ... of all things: pneumonia.
I'm just getting back up to speed enough to, yes, at least harbor the thought of getting back to Paris.
And back to Pamela Popo.