Neighborhoods, Good Eating, at Home & in Paris

I want to Talk about good food, good neighbors, and interesting neighborhoods, at home and in Paris (lots more to share about Paris) … and how good it is to be home.

Secret Wish at the Luxembourg Gardens

The mystical boat, in Luxembourg Gardens, with my new French friends.

The flowers were still in bloom as we headed to my favorite day in Paris. We took our books, got a sandwich from Paul’s Boulangerie, and walked to the most beautiful park in the world. Benches near the Luxembourg Garden’s big pond, where little sailing vessels are manned by children, gave us a cozy place to relax and people watch. I wandered to a group of men who surrounded a good sized, home made toy, a Kon Tiki type of boat that rested on a flat out baby stroller. The little rigging was happy with friendship flags. I was enchanted. Jack, the artist, asked me if I’d like to make a little flag. He gave me a tiny paper, told me to write a secret wish and then paint and sign/date my weenie work of art. I made a picture of my dog Skye. “Tres jolie, un chien!” laughed Jack. It was such a thrill watching it added to the many mini diverse flags. Happiest Parisian afternoon! (More talk of Paris awaits.)

Le Dome

In the disparate, historic, artistic area of Montparnasse, there is a great towering building, a cemetery where Jean-Paul Satre and his love Simone de Beauvoir are buried, underground tunnels of the Catacombs of Paris and a grand Gar — the train station to Tours, Rennes, Le Man, and on…. Bars and cafés were the places where ideas thrived and starving artists were allowed to subsist and perhaps leave a drawing if they could not pay their bill. One such palace, Le Dome, is now one of the finest dining brasseries, serving seafood delivered fresh from Brittany every day. Beginning as a dingy meeting place for exiled artists and intellectuals like Lenin and Picasso, it is now a temple for seafood. The place to eat oysters and fish. And so we did!

We sipped our Deutz Rose Champagne while David slurped a dozen gorgeous oysters (Belon number 3). I indulged with langoustines (sort of a cross between lobster and shrimp), a delicacy I still dream of… (Do we have them here?) The tiny mussels, dorade, sauté de homard breton (tons of lobster), and a giant Napoleon for dessert were cooked to perfection and served by a fabulous, doting head waiter with a tuxedoed staff in the romantic Belle Époque atmosphere dating from 1898. Our compliments to Direteur Jacques Drouot. Le Dome honors many of the famed artists the restaurant tended to with well placed displays of photos. Lovely. My only faux pas was thinking we had a big bowl of olives … that turned out to be sea snails.

One can find magnificent pictures of the food and the restaurant on the Internet. It’s a great way to visit this veritable institution from far away. Hopefully, you will be ready for your close up some wonderful day.

Meet Your Neighbors

Last weekend, in my Sherman Oaks hood, the neighbors met at a local home for a potluck and barbeque. An old fashioned Block Party/Persimmon Picking Party. Caught up with old friends from the block/blocks and met some really nice new friends. This is a good thing and makes my heart happy. So my thanks to Darcy Kaye and Denis Maloney for the organizing, and to the dear and darling Judy Oberg for her home. I love this stuff.

We’ll Talk…