On day 12 of this cleanse/detox regime that I do twice a year (and usually after a France trip), I am acutely aware of how much of our television diet includes intensively evocative, sexy images of food. As I am apart from that world right now, eating organic only, extremely low to no carb, and drinking about a gallon of spring water a day amidst a ton of vegetables, it's a good time to think back on that food-laden time just three and one-half weeks ago, not just in Angers but also the Paris part.
I bet you were not expecting this. These are jelly beans. Something I would not ordinarily be interested in, but a friend hanging with me at the Bouvet Ladubay bar/lounge insisted they were amazing. They are hand-crafted, thus the uneven roundness, at the Q&K Confiserie in Angers. They were not icky. They were very delicious.
I enjoyed so many things about my stay at the Hotel Mercure right there next to the Centre des Congres. Breakfast, absolutely. The lighting in the rooms. The proximity to Premiers Plans film festival. And some of the business lunches there were quite lovely. I had to get this little dessert from the buffet bar just to get a picture of it. Adorable.
To get one of those many official lunches for us off to a right start, there was this array of amuse-bouche.
There was local fine wine of course. I had some of that.
At a chamber of commerce new year's wishes event over at the stunning Greniers Saint-Jean, it was finally cocktail time after the speeches and power points There was this non-alcoholic piña colada. I had serious doubts about having anything like this in France. It was delightful. Not too sweet. Just nice and delectable. I did not need a second one though.
Once I found the very local, fresh and tangy cheese offerings, I did need more than just one bite of those samples. The Mayor caught me on my fifth little bite. This cheese...the cheese is seriously my downfall when in France.
No trip to Angers is complete without a lunch or dinner at Chez Rémi at 5 rue des Deux Haies. The hot savory soup with spicy crunchy chorizo did not disappoint.
It was soon back to Paris to finish up a work project. There were chocolates waiting for me in the apartment (an upgrade I lucked into).
I finally made it out the next morning to do some shopping for basic foodstuffs so I could make some breakfast of protein at the apartment. This routine only lasted for one morning. I ended up always meeting Maureen in the morning for coffee at the St. Regis on the Ile St. Louis, where she would deliver a print-out of a document I needed.
The new favorite beverage: double espresso with a pitcher of hot milk on the side.
After that one, and after about an hour into our stay there at the St. Regis, she says. "I think I feel like another one of these." Oh, she so read my mind. I had one too. It was a 4-espresso morning. I was on fuego for that day, as friend Mollie would say. Lots of work done that day, followed by a run along the Seine in the late afternoon.
And then you know what? I was tired of French food. Yes, it's true. I needed Italian food for a change.
This polenta fritta seriously hit the spot, with this rocket salad with pine nuts. But the best was yet to come. This was not a bread-heavy trip at all, but this bread was out of this world. The combo of bread and this heavenly pasta dish...probably why I felt a couple of pounds heavier on the trip back.
The restaurant was Bafo - cannot find anything on it en anglais. But our server could not have been cuter in telling us to come back closer to 10pm, when we stopped by at 9pm thinking to sit right down.
We killed time in this, uh, interesting cafe down the street.
With the electronica music blaring we started in on more red wine.
Funny how quickly a 45-minute wait goes this way.
And let this be a reminder.
If you need to wait for a while before you can be seated, you do not just hang around the venue as in the US at most places.
There is just no room.
You just leave and come back. This works out fine when there are venues at which one can wait it out of course.
The next night we ate at Au Petit Fer Au Cheval. It is friend Maureen's favorite watering hole in the Marais, as it is for many other regulars there. I had no idea they had that tiny salle back behind the bar area. It helps being with regulars. We were seated right away. I had confit de canard, preceded by a giant crudité salad, which I desperately needed to get something from the vegetable food group into the day's food intake.
Then I was stuck inside the whole next day, Monday, and before you know it, with my deadline made 4 hours before the taxi came to get me, I was en route back to Austin. Even on 3 hours sleep I could appreciate the beautiful restroom facilities at CDG airport.
Note: there is no one at CDG at 6am in the morning. Will get there at 6:30 next time for that early BA flight to London.