Sunday, June 27, 2010

Le Comptoir du Relais...and other Saturday stuff

Finally I got my lazy behind over to a museum. Good thing SM wanted to go early (11am, that's early for me), which forced me to wake up. Beautiful day!

Apparently, if you're a resident of the EU (I take my Carte de Sejour everywhere) and 25 or under (I still have a year and 4 months until I'm over 25!), admission too Musee d'Orsay (and maybe other places?) is gratuit. Score. And we made it right before the Crime and Punishment exhibition closes on June 27th, which, by the way, was really cool and disturbing and included a guillotine (apparently the French state used them as late as the 1970s!)

I love the Orsay. First, the building (old Paris - Orleans train station which they were going to tear down until the French protested, something they tend to do quite well and often) is gorgeous. Second, they have some of my favorite art including Woman with a Parasol facing Left, The Luncheon on the Grass and The Artist's Studio. They also have a really graphic painting by Courbet called The Origin of the World (NSFW and click at your own risk...). And third its not a huge museum you get lost in. On a related note, check out J. Seward Johnson's (yes, J&J heir) sculptures of famous paintings including a couple of Renoirs, Manet, Monet, Picasso and even the American Gothic painting.

Ok, I went all link-happy again. Moving on.

We were starved after walking around and so I decided we should check to see if, by some miracle, we could get into Le Comptoir du Relais. Someone told me the earliest dinner reservations if booked now are in November. I don't know what this place's deal is (its tiny and attached to a hotel so I think hotel guests get first dibs?) but apparently, luckily for me, no reservations are taken on weekends! So we got seated outside within 15 minutes. 

The chef, Yves Camdeborde, is fairly well known. Dinner is around €50 for an ever-changing, no-choice prix fixe (I guess hence the wait?). But by day its just a bistro, with some pretty darn good food. But I must say that when I tried his food at the Le Fooding event in NYC last summer, I really didn't like it (I think he ran out of food and whipped up some awful Camembert of the worst things I ate that year, so much that I almost gagged, and I like cheese!)

I ordered the the seasonal veggie salad which included broccoli, petits pois, carrots, snow peas, haricots verts, pickled garlic (yum!) and sucrine lettuce. 

If I saw this before ordering I would have hesitated. But it was really good. I did have trouble figuring out what to order because there were 6 -7 items on the menu I wanted to try and that, in my opinion, is a huge amount for one menu. 

SM got the tuna. I don't know how it tasted (I don't eat tuna) but he said it was delicious. It certainly looked it.

Although quite happily satiated, I couldn't resist dessert. Strawberries in spiced red wine (they called it sangria) with toasted almonds. Hit the spot on such a hot day.

SM's succumbed to peer pressure and ordered dessert as well. His chocolate pot de creme wasn't too shabby either.

Not too expensive, delicious, and good people watching near Odeon? Monsieur Camdeborde, it is quite likely I will be seeing you again, not only here but next door at L'Avant Comptoir, a tiny standing-room only wine bar that also has a take-out (buckwheat) crepe window.

And, on an final note, it was the gay pride parade that day.

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