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An American in (and outside of) Paris


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#16 Chambolle

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 05:04 PM

Pompéi - un art de vivre. Musée Maillol.

A painted Dionysus, the god of wine, welcomes you.

It's always fascinating to look at man-made objects from almost 2000 years ago.

Plenty of kitchen utensils and jewelry. Not very interesting to me. Impressive bronzes - much more interesting.

It's quite a treat to see how the human form was interpreted back then.

It's quite rare to see colorful paintings and murals created during the Roman Empire.

Beyond Vesuvius's protective cover, little painting remains from the period.

But don't be fooled because we are not in possession of such things. Murals of gods in action abounded on the walls of the Pompeian wealthy and even the not so wealthy. And Pompeii was a modest town - a far-away outpost of the empire.

There were statues too. Marble ones. Statues of various heights and sizes.

I like statues of gods with large erect penises as much as the next guy.

And I got a bit of rise out of seeing an enormous flying winged phallus too.

But truth be told, overall, this exhibition didn't excite me as much as I was hoping.

The exhibition space was limited. The organization and layout of the objects weren't great. The audio-guide was totally, uninteresting nausea of the obvious. Seriously lame and such a shame.

Fortunately, I did read this detailed introduction to the subject. It was a very nice read.

I have been to Pompeii and then continued on to the great museums of Naples. It should be done in that order. Many of the best objects found in Pompeii have been moved to Naples. You want to have seen the actual site, to have walked the once-buried streets, to have explored the once-happy homes and to have re-imagined the catastrophe in situ PRIOR to seeing the objects in Naples. Highly advised for the curious.

And then, boat over to Capri for a few days and head for the hills of Anacapri where you can bask in the sun and chill. Chill by drinking some white wine - start with a greco di tufo and follow it by a falanghina. Your worries will fade away with the setting sun. Don't be a typical tourist and then regret having only made the day trip. Capri doesn't become magical until the sun sets and the day trippers depart. The beauty of the Gulf of Naples is well-known for a reason.

Chambo, your concierge, at your service.

http://www.museemaillol.com/

#17 Chambolle

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:59 AM

Boire un Verre - Verjus - le Vème et le VIème - un Vernissage - une Guepe Verte - la Victoire ?

That was the first 30 hours of my weekend, plus or minus.

Boire un Verre. So some big shot CEO is in town. Mr. CEO runs a video technology company with a pretty serious custom video platform and all the associated metrics and analytics you'd ever want to hear about. It's a world-wide operation. East of the Rockies, west of the Rockies, east of the Channel, west of the Channel. Paris is the HQ for Europe. Chambo gets a call from contacts back in the States: "Hey Chambo, he'd like to meet with you and talk shop". I respond: "Chambo at your service". After some rapid fire emails and text msgs (without a single wasted voice minute to speak of), we are situated at the center of the civilized universe, having a drink on Ile Saint Louis. We're babbling about bandwidth. I'm inquiring about why they axed Akamai and left Limelight and took all their video operations in house. It was a simple matter of economics, he said. Like I said, it's a pretty serious operation, but that's neither here nor there. Slowly but surely, when in Paris, the conversation always drifts towards food and restaurants. Chambo is now unequivocally playing on his home court. Mr. CEO has no fricking idea who he is up against, even if his go-between back in the States warned him that Chambo eats out from time to time. Soon Mr. big shot CEO, iPhone in hand, roaming at who-the-hell-knows-how-many-euros-per-kilobyte, wants to bet Chambo on various restaurant-related nonsense. Internally, I'm laughing. Externally, I tell him that it might save both of us some time and him some aggravation if he simply hands me his wallet right now. He ignores my warning. This all started because he is absolutely convinced that the tourist trap that is La Tour d'Argent only serves dinner. I inform that it definitely serves lunch. He contradicts Chambo. Always a risky maneuver. I re-inform him that the tourist trap serves lunch. Furthermore, I told him about a friend who just had lunch there last week (cette belle francaise was dragged there by an American client against her protestations) and she told me that she ate so much that she couldn't think of eating for the next 36 hours. He ignores me and demands that we wager. Fine, no problem, I know some charities that can put his money to better use than he. We shake. I now tell him to google the restaurant. I grab his phone. I start reading to him out loud lunch review after lunch review. He shouts "Merde ! " and says he wants a chance at double or nothing. I cringe, I laugh and I agree. This goes on for a while. Mr. big shot CEO is now broke. I'm now in possession of his wallet. He's virtually working for Chambo now.

Verjus. After bankrupting said CEO, Chambo rushes off to the gym. After the gym, Chambo is now faced with a critical decision. Walk two minutes north to Verjus or walk three minutes east to Spring. Chambo heads north for the novelty. The downstairs (rez-de-chaussée) wine bar is tiny and packed. Packed with nothing but English speakers, best I can tell. Oh what a drag - I should have left right then and there. The woman working behind the bar clearly isn't French. Slowly but surely I realize that she's the better half of the Hidden Kitchen couple (I had never met the HK couple prior to this evening). She's adorable and nice and kind and friendly. Everything one might imagine Minnesota gals to be. Her married male half is descending those spiral stairs fairly frequently with small plates in hand. Only the wine bar is open at the moment. The upstairs restaurant is a still work in progress. At the end of my short rez-de-chaussée stay, I ask to ascend the stairs and survey the (US) second floor situation. I'm granted permission. I ascend. It's a small room. A giant stained tarp covers buckets upon buckets of paint and who knows how many ladders, paintbrushes and what else. The room is far from ready for prime time. I'm chatting up Braden, the male half. He is a young, sweetheart of a guy. He's telling and showing me how the room will be set up and what type of furniture they'll have and what they are going to do with the kitchen and even where they are going to return the dirty plates to be washed and all sorts of gory details. They are planning on cramming 36 or maybe even 38 seats in that space that should only handle mid-20s. It's going to be interesting. I think that they might have some kinks to work out at the outset, but who knows. They are currently taking reservations for December. They have a big New Year's Eve menu planned. Tick tock, tick tock goes the clock. I'd advise waiting a bit. They are extremely nice and sincere people. I truly wish them success.

I had a couple of glasses of wine (un macon blanc et un coteaux de languedoc rouge) and a couple of small plates (coques au chorizo et poulet frit). I saw the other stuff come out. I had zero desire to continue. The place was not comfortable at all. It was actively uncomfortable with the sardine-stuffed crowd there. The bartop does not overhang its base; hence the stools don't work quite right; there are no hooks for coats and chilly evening weather is upon us. I could continue. I won't. I'm not rushing back. They got some important tweaks to make.

I did rush off to Spring afterwards though. I arrive. Upstairs (rez-de-chaussée) service has long terminated. I announce to the gentleman who greets me: "Please tell Daniel that Chambo is in da House". I shoot the shit with Daniel for the next 15 minutes by the pass. I like that guy a lot. I tell Daniel that I was thinking about him recently and I proceeed to recount the story about the hunt for Le Grand 8 that I have shared above. We swap plenty of fun stories. I ask him if he's been to MaSa or Agapé Substance or Verjus or Neva or L'Auberge du 15 or Cobéa ? He laughs and shakes his head at me and says "Chambo, how do you keep up with this stuff?". I tell him that I got my ways. He tells me that he knows that Verjus space very well because it used to be a restaurant that he frequented called Alfred, owned by a French politician. I tell him that the Alfred sign is still up at the moment. I ask how many people did Alfred seat on that 2nd floor. He says probably about mid-20s. I nod. Re the other places that I mentioned, he says: "I believe a bunch of those places are closed on the same day that we are closed and hence I can't get there. If I only knew what I was getting myself into when I started this thing. It never stops". I tell him that he should consider taking a day off - a Ferris Bueller day off. He smiles; his eyes twinkle; he likes that idea for an instant; then he's back to reality: "I'd love to, but I can't at the moment". I tell him that I respect that and share with him an important philosophy: "I believe that if you are going to do something, doing it good ain't good enough. You gotta do it great. Insanely great. It doesn't matter what you do - just do it great. For example, you cook and I eat. We both try to do it great, right ? " He nods approvingly and agreeingly. I babble on a bit about wine. Daniel casually mentions that the owner of one of the world's top chateaux recently dined at the restaurant and that he offered Daniel an invite to taste there. This chateau is pretty much close to impossible to visit and Daniel has a private invite from the owner. I immediately offer to drive Daniel there. Silence. Total silence. He doesn't immediately accept. Chambo's out the door.

le Vème et le VIème. After the disappointment that was my dinner the prior night, I decide to take the bull by the horns and procure my own food. I have people coming over for Sunday evening wine and nibbles. A truckload of wine just arrived from Burgundy. I have secured cellar storage for it at a friend's house here. He informed me that I should anticipate some modest "leakage" from this stock. I told him that as long as the "leakage" was properly supervised then I would be fine with that. Hence, Sunday night is planned to be an evening of properly supervised leakage. It's Saturday. I'm racing around. Terra de Belllota for some Spanish treats. The Maubert-Mutualité market (ehh? it sure ain't the market on Ave du Pres Wilson, but it's good enough) for a bunch of fresh veggies (did you know that Chamb makes a mean roasted cauliflower with cumin?). In case things get sloppy, some pasta and sauces from da Zavola. Done with 5th. Back to chez Chambo to unload. Off to the 6th to reload. A massive load of patés and additional charcuterie from Gilles Vérot (how does paté en croute de canard et foie gras sound. And you should see his jambon persillé. Fit for royalty). A not-so-quick pitstop at Poilane pour pain. The line is out the door, as usual. But look at that in the window ! A loaf of bread in the exact size and shape of un ballon de Rugby). Tomorrow, Sunday, is the World Cup Rugby Final. La France contre La Nouvelle-Zélande. The country is all abuzz. It's going to be one triste time and one sad soirée chez Chambo if the French don't win. Pray for Chambo. Wish them luck ! Actually, I have a backup plan just in case they lose, as they usually do. I'll take my guests out onto ma terrasse and I'll offer them a jaw-dropping view of le tout Paris all lit up at night. There's nothing like a commanding view of the City of Light at night all aglow to put a smile on the face of any Frenchie. Chambo's prepared for anything. Oh yeah, I got some serious cheeses, of course. I'll snag some Kayser baguettes just prior on Sunday. I'm loving Kayser being close by.

un Vernissage. Got an invite so I went to a very cool opening for Julian Schnabel here in Paris with a 1.85m Russian supermodel (her guy is out of town. Chevalier Chambo will play the gentleman and show her a good time). Schnabel uses a gigantic Polaroid camera from the 1970s (of which there are either 5 or 6 in the world, depending on who you talk to) and simply took some shots. It's true Polaroid develop-before-your-eyes technology and paper that's used, but it's on a very large scale. The resulting one-off images are 50cm x 60cm. That's about 20" x 24". Lots of shots of stuff in his various studios - in Manhattan, in Brooklyn and a massive one in Montauk (it seems like his house, actually). Lots of portraits of himself and friends - Mickey Rourke, Lou Reed, Christopher Walken, Murakami, Placido Domingo, etc. Oh yeah, his Blind Girl Surf Club meme is represented a number of ways. Good stuff. Interesting shots. Very cool crowd. Not chic because it's not the neighborhood for that (rue Amelot about 50 meters from Le Repaire de Cartouche) but very bobo cool with an East Village-ish vibe. Stayed for 45 and then off to dinner and then onwards for a drink.

une Guepe Verte.

la Victoire ? Yow ! It's game time ! I gotta run now. Allez les Bleus !

#18 splinky

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 01:56 PM

sounds huluish

“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no!', I said, 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.”
~Jack Handey

*proud descendant of cheese eating surrender monkeys*

 


#19 Nancy S.

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:14 PM

Boire un Verre - Verjus - le Vème et le VIème - un Vernissage - une Guepe Verte - la Victoire ?

That was the first 30 hours of my weekend, plus or minus.

Boire un Verre. So some big shot CEO is in town. Mr. CEO runs a video technology company with a pretty serious custom video platform and all the associated metrics and analytics you'd ever want to hear about. It's a world-wide operation. East of the Rockies, west of the Rockies, east of the Channel, west of the Channel. Paris is the HQ for Europe. Chambo gets a call from contacts back in the States: "Hey Chambo, he'd like to meet with you and talk shop". I respond: "Chambo at your service". After some rapid fire emails and text msgs (without a single wasted voice minute to speak of), we are situated at the center of the civilized universe, having a drink on Ile Saint Louis. We're babbling about bandwidth. I'm inquiring about why they axed Akamai and left Limelight and took all their video operations in house. It was a simple matter of economics, he said. Like I said, it's a pretty serious operation, but that's neither here nor there. Slowly but surely, when in Paris, the conversation always drifts towards food and restaurants. Chambo is now unequivocally playing on his home court. Mr. CEO has no fricking idea who he is up against, even if his go-between back in the States warned him that Chambo eats out from time to time. Soon Mr. big shot CEO, iPhone in hand, roaming at who-the-hell-knows-how-many-euros-per-kilobyte, wants to bet Chambo on various restaurant-related nonsense. Internally, I'm laughing. Externally, I tell him that it might save both of us some time and him some aggravation if he simply hands me his wallet right now. He ignores my warning. This all started because he is absolutely convinced that the tourist trap that is La Tour d'Argent only serves dinner. I inform that it definitely serves lunch. He contradicts Chambo. Always a risky maneuver. I re-inform him that the tourist trap serves lunch. Furthermore, I told him about a friend who just had lunch there last week (cette belle francaise was dragged there by an American client against her protestations) and she told me that she ate so much that she couldn't think of eating for the next 36 hours. He ignores me and demands that we wager. Fine, no problem, I know some charities that can put his money to better use than he. We shake. I now tell him to google the restaurant. I grab his phone. I start reading to him out loud lunch review after lunch review. He shouts "Merde ! " and says he wants a chance at double or nothing. I cringe, I laugh and I agree. This goes on for a while. Mr. big shot CEO is now broke. I'm now in possession of his wallet. He's virtually working for Chambo now.

Verjus. After bankrupting said CEO, Chambo rushes off to the gym. After the gym, Chambo is now faced with a critical decision. Walk two minutes north to Verjus or walk three minutes east to Spring. Chambo heads north for the novelty. The downstairs (rez-de-chaussée) wine bar is tiny and packed. Packed with nothing but English speakers, best I can tell. Oh what a drag - I should have left right then and there. The woman working behind the bar clearly isn't French. Slowly but surely I realize that she's the better half of the Hidden Kitchen couple (I had never met the HK couple prior to this evening). She's adorable and nice and kind and friendly. Everything one might imagine Minnesota gals to be. Her married male half is descending those spiral stairs fairly frequently with small plates in hand. Only the wine bar is open at the moment. The upstairs restaurant is a still work in progress. At the end of my short rez-de-chaussée stay, I ask to ascend the stairs and survey the (US) second floor situation. I'm granted permission. I ascend. It's a small room. A giant stained tarp covers buckets upon buckets of paint and who knows how many ladders, paintbrushes and what else. The room is far from ready for prime time. I'm chatting up Braden, the male half. He is a young, sweetheart of a guy. He's telling and showing me how the room will be set up and what type of furniture they'll have and what they are going to do with the kitchen and even where they are going to return the dirty plates to be washed and all sorts of gory details. They are planning on cramming 36 or maybe even 38 seats in that space that should only handle mid-20s. It's going to be interesting. I think that they might have some kinks to work out at the outset, but who knows. They are currently taking reservations for December. They have a big New Year's Eve menu planned. Tick tock, tick tock goes the clock. I'd advise waiting a bit. They are extremely nice and sincere people. I truly wish them success.

I had a couple of glasses of wine (un macon blanc et un coteaux de languedoc rouge) and a couple of small plates (coques au chorizo et poulet frit). I saw the other stuff come out. I had zero desire to continue. The place was not comfortable at all. It was actively uncomfortable with the sardine-stuffed crowd there. The bartop does not overhang its base; hence the stools don't work quite right; there are no hooks for coats and chilly evening weather is upon us. I could continue. I won't. I'm not rushing back. They got some important tweaks to make.

I did rush off to Spring afterwards though. I arrive. Upstairs (rez-de-chaussée) service has long terminated. I announce to the gentleman who greets me: "Please tell Daniel that Chambo is in da House". I shoot the shit with Daniel for the next 15 minutes by the pass. I like that guy a lot. I tell Daniel that I was thinking about him recently and I proceeed to recount the story about the hunt for Le Grand 8 that I have shared above. We swap plenty of fun stories. I ask him if he's been to MaSa or Agapé Substance or Verjus or Neva or L'Auberge du 15 or Cobéa ? He laughs and shakes his head at me and says "Chambo, how do you keep up with this stuff?". I tell him that I got my ways. He tells me that he knows that Verjus space very well because it used to be a restaurant that he frequented called Alfred, owned by a French politician. I tell him that the Alfred sign is still up at the moment. I ask how many people did Alfred seat on that 2nd floor. He says probably about mid-20s. I nod. Re the other places that I mentioned, he says: "I believe a bunch of those places are closed on the same day that we are closed and hence I can't get there. If I only knew what I was getting myself into when I started this thing. It never stops". I tell him that he should consider taking a day off - a Ferris Bueller day off. He smiles; his eyes twinkle; he likes that idea for an instant; then he's back to reality: "I'd love to, but I can't at the moment". I tell him that I respect that and share with him an important philosophy: "I believe that if you are going to do something, doing it good ain't good enough. You gotta do it great. Insanely great. It doesn't matter what you do - just do it great. For example, you cook and I eat. We both try to do it great, right ? " He nods approvingly and agreeingly. I babble on a bit about wine. Daniel casually mentions that the owner of one of the world's top chateaux recently dined at the restaurant and that he offered Daniel an invite to taste there. This chateau is pretty much close to impossible to visit and Daniel has a private invite from the owner. I immediately offer to drive Daniel there. Silence. Total silence. He doesn't immediately accept. Chambo's out the door.

le Vème et le VIème. After the disappointment that was my dinner the prior night, I decide to take the bull by the horns and procure my own food. I have people coming over for Sunday evening wine and nibbles. A truckload of wine just arrived from Burgundy. I have secured cellar storage for it at a friend's house here. He informed me that I should anticipate some modest "leakage" from this stock. I told him that as long as the "leakage" was properly supervised then I would be fine with that. Hence, Sunday night is planned to be an evening of properly supervised leakage. It's Saturday. I'm racing around. Terra de Belllota for some Spanish treats. The Maubert-Mutualité market (ehh? it sure ain't the market on Ave du Pres Wilson, but it's good enough) for a bunch of fresh veggies (did you know that Chamb makes a mean roasted cauliflower with cumin?). In case things get sloppy, some pasta and sauces from da Zavola. Done with 5th. Back to chez Chambo to unload. Off to the 6th to reload. A massive load of patés and additional charcuterie from Gilles Vérot (how does paté en croute de canard et foie gras sound. And you should see his jambon persillé. Fit for royalty). A not-so-quick pitstop at Poilane pour pain. The line is out the door, as usual. But look at that in the window ! A loaf of bread in the exact size and shape of un ballon de Rugby). Tomorrow, Sunday, is the World Cup Rugby Final. La France contre La Nouvelle-Zélande. The country is all abuzz. It's going to be one triste time and one sad soirée chez Chambo if the French don't win. Pray for Chambo. Wish them luck ! Actually, I have a backup plan just in case they lose, as they usually do. I'll take my guests out onto ma terrasse and I'll offer them a jaw-dropping view of le tout Paris all lit up at night. There's nothing like a commanding view of the City of Light at night all aglow to put a smile on the face of any Frenchie. Chambo's prepared for anything. Oh yeah, I got some serious cheeses, of course. I'll snag some Kayser baguettes just prior on Sunday. I'm loving Kayser being close by.

un Vernissage. Got an invite so I went to a very cool opening for Julian Schnabel here in Paris with a 1.85m Russian supermodel (her guy is out of town. Chevalier Chambo will play the gentleman and show her a good time). Schnabel uses a gigantic Polaroid camera from the 1970s (of which there are either 5 or 6 in the world, depending on who you talk to) and simply took some shots. It's true Polaroid develop-before-your-eyes technology and paper that's used, but it's on a very large scale. The resulting one-off images are 50cm x 60cm. That's about 20" x 24". Lots of shots of stuff in his various studios - in Manhattan, in Brooklyn and a massive one in Montauk (it seems like his house, actually). Lots of portraits of himself and friends - Mickey Rourke, Lou Reed, Christopher Walken, Murakami, Placido Domingo, etc. Oh yeah, his Blind Girl Surf Club meme is represented a number of ways. Good stuff. Interesting shots. Very cool crowd. Not chic because it's not the neighborhood for that (rue Amelot about 50 meters from Le Repaire de Cartouche) but very bobo cool with an East Village-ish vibe. Stayed for 45 and then off to dinner and then onwards for a drink.

une Guepe Verte.

la Victoire ? Yow ! It's game time ! I gotta run now. Allez les Bleus !

Thanks for writing about Verjus. I'll be curious to hear how it develops. I too love chatting with Daniel. The night before we had dinner there in July, we ran into him at the Frenchie wine bar -- it was Monday, his night off. (Dinner at Spring the next night was delicious -- two sauces with demi-glace!) Your nibbles tonight sound good (although I too prefer Pres. Wilson market, esp. for Joel Thiebault vegetable), but I'm surprised you choose Poilane bread -- I'm not a fan. Nevertheless, your travels continue to amuse and impress.

#20 voyager

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:09 AM

I shoot the shit with Daniel for the next 15 minutes by the pass....I ask him if he's been to MaSa or Agapé Substance or Verjus or Neva or L'Auberge du 15 or Cobéa ? He laughs and shakes his head at me and says "Chambo, how do you keep up with this stuff?". I tell him that I got my ways....

Indeed. :P

It's not my circus,

not my monkeys.


#21 Chambolle

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 12:52 PM

Monday Morning Breakfast Chez Chambo

But let me first update you on a few things:

I decide to ... procure my own food ... 1. In case things get sloppy, some pasta and sauces from da Zavola ... 2. Done with 5th ... how does 3. paté en croute de canard et foie gras sound ... A not-so-quick pitstop at Poilane pour pain. The line is out the door, as usual. ... A loaf of bread in the exact size and shape of un ballon de Rugby). 4. Tomorrow, Sunday, is the World Cup Rugby Final. La France contre La Nouvelle-Zélande. The country is all abuzz. It's going to be one triste time and one sad soirée chez Chambo if the French don't win. Pray for Chambo ...

1. They did.
2. I actually skipped over a whole bunch of other stuff that I bought. I'll share a couple more purchases with you now.
3. Would it sound any better if I told you that there was also some fig in there ? It was damn good.
4. We lost. Did any of you even bother to pray for Chambo ? Probably not ... Thanks ... Thanks a real lot.

Before we get to my breakfast, I want to bitch a little.

I'm starting to get real sick of people who cannot follow instructions. What is unclear about "No. Bring nothing ! No. We are all set on the liquids front ! No. Dessert is taken care of! No ! No ! No ! No !" ? Is there room for misinterpretation there ? The French word non is pretty damn similar to the English word "No". I just don't get it. These totally annoying guests bring all this champagne, that of course we need to start with and end with, and it totally screws up my plans for the evening. And that's not the half of it ! They bring a refrigeratorful of desserts from various patissiers that will mostly go uneaten, including this dark chocolate thingie that I'm snarfing down right now from Thevenin on rue Daguerre. I don't want these empty calories in the morning but what the heck can one possibly do when you open the fridge door and all this sweet stuff is singing out to you in unison. I doubt I'll invite these people back. They are unthoughtful and they only think about what they want, not what the host wants. The French are like that, you know. Okay, enough of this. I'm really not a complainer.



So I woke up this morning and I wasn't thirsty and I wasn't hungry.

But what separates Chambo from the competition is that he doesn't let lame, pathetic excuses like that stand in his way from carrying on.

I power on. I drink and eat. Breakfast is the meal at hand.

Coffee first.

Fill up the kettle with water. Place on cooktop. Power up the Starship Enterprise aka my De Dietrich induction cooktop that I briefly chatted about recently. Place ground coffee beans into Bodum french press. Add boiling water. Cover. Wait 4 minutes. Press. Pour. Drink. Ahhhhh, yesssss, much better.

Note to Self: In the future, attempt to fire up the warp-drive engine burner nearest you if you place the water kettle on the burner nearest you. Do not fire up the burner further away from you accidently, especially if you have an empty pasta pot that you used the prior evening sitting on that other burner. That's the reason why you were wondering why the water hadn't boiled yet. That's the reason why that pasta pot was smoking. It's best to fire up these burners in BOOST mode after having had some coffee in the morning, but that does present a slight catch-22 scenario.

Next Note to Self: If you desire to impress your friends while simultaneously demonstrating the concept of instant vaporization, ignore the above Note to Self and proceed as follows. Take smoking hot pasta pot. Add water, not a lot. Voila - immediate vaporization. It's quite impressive, really. These induction burners are seriously rad.

Solids second.

Slice twice the Miche Poilane ... oh goodness, I must have death and loss on my mind this month. First Steve Jobs dies. Next, Les Bleus lose the rugby match. And now this. Sorry folks, I unfortunately need to temporarily interrupt this breakfast story for something more meaningful to me.

I distinctly remember the day when I learned that Lionel Poilane died. He was en route to Brittany.

It was the day after his accident. We were in the area at that very moment. We were half a km out at low tide exploring the wet sand encircling the abbey of Mont Saint Michel when the news finally reached us. A strange place to receive such news: Poilane - Dead - Helicopter Crash ! Wow, I thought, Paris is going to be in mourning.

As I mentioned years ago, I have spent time in Brittany. Nothing in that post is untrue, but in typical Chambo understated fashion, I hid my true credentials. I had been to the area many times. I knew the area very well. But one can always know things better and learn new tricks. I was trying to sniff out and dig up a hidden culinary bone - a buried bistro treasure to share with and shock my hosts who escape to their exceptional 18th century edifice many weekends per year. No such luck as there were no bones thrown to Chambo that day. (When properly restored, these malouinières are truly exceptional. There's an owner's club for them. It's a pretty tight-knit community. They take a lot of pride in being not only the owners of the domain but also in being the custodians of this piece of patrimoine francais.)

All this Brittany / Normandy talk reminds me. I forgot to mention that I bought beurre Bordier samedi dans le Veme to go with that pain Poilane. It's my house butter - demi-sel, sans doute. I was also tempted on Saturday to buy some oysters and mussels from the region but I opted not to do so because I don't have a professional shucker on premises.

Okay, back to breakfast.

Take the two wonderfully moist slices of bread and place them on the outside of the coolest toaster you ever did see. Commence toasting. While munching on a banana, remove Bordier butter and deux oeufs de poules elevées en plein air (okay, sorry, sorry about cutting out some important details - more specifically "ces oeufs sont garantis de poules elevées en liberté, dans de grands espaces couverts de végétation, et nourries des produits du sol. Bon appétit." Yes, these eggs are bio, ie biologique, ie organic.). Oh shit ! That reminds me. Sorry about this, I got to take you back to Saturday market real quick.

So I'm buying some of those awesome yogurts in those little glass jars from her. I'm buying my Bordier butter from her. I'm asking her if she has some eggs. She: "Oui, monsieur" Me: "C'est combien?" She: "4.xx euros" Me: "For how many ?" She: "Six" Me: "You chicken farmers live pretty fucking good, don't you ? Tres bien. Donc, six and can we just open up the carton and verify that none are broken ?" She, insulted: "Monsieur, I don't sell broken eggs. I have never sold a broken egg in my life. I check the eggs prior to coming to the market. I check the eggs again after arriving at the market. I don't sell broken eggs." Me: "Sorry, sorry, sorry." Note to self: You're in France. You're at a French market. These people take their job seriously. Don't insult them.

Okay, back to breakfast. Where were we ? Is the toast burnt yet ? Oh yeah, we're making eggs.

Without breaking the glowing yellow yolks, carefully crack two eggs on the rim of the BOOST-mode-heated, non-stick, Bordier-buttered frying pan. Please be sure not to vaporize eggs in the process. Add salt, pepper. (I feel really bad that I need to shortchange you all but I'm simply running short on time. If I had a bit more hours in the day, I could serenade you with stories about the life-changing salt and pepper that I procured and just ground onto my eggs. Oh well, but I'm trying to keep this brief) Munch on one slice of toasted, Bordier-buttered bread while eggs cook. When whites are solid but tender and lots of gooey oozy yellowness will flow from the cholesteroled circles of life, slide sunny side up eggs onto second slice of lightly-buttered toast. Eat with knife and fork. Alternate with coffee sips. When done, eat dark chocolate thingie. Prepare a post to the Mouthfuls Nation.

Begin day.

#22 Nancy S.

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:24 PM

Monday Morning Breakfast Chez Chambo

But let me first update you on a few things:

I decide to ... procure my own food ... 1. In case things get sloppy, some pasta and sauces from da Zavola ... 2. Done with 5th ... how does 3. paté en croute de canard et foie gras sound ... A not-so-quick pitstop at Poilane pour pain. The line is out the door, as usual. ... A loaf of bread in the exact size and shape of un ballon de Rugby). 4. Tomorrow, Sunday, is the World Cup Rugby Final. La France contre La Nouvelle-Zélande. The country is all abuzz. It's going to be one triste time and one sad soirée chez Chambo if the French don't win. Pray for Chambo ...

1. They did.
2. I actually skipped over a whole bunch of other stuff that I bought. I'll share a couple more purchases with you now.
3. Would it sound any better if I told you that there was also some fig in there ? It was damn good.
4. We lost. Did any of you even bother to pray for Chambo ? Probably not ... Thanks ... Thanks a real lot.

Before we get to my breakfast, I want to bitch a little.

I'm starting to get real sick of people who cannot follow instructions. What is unclear about "No. Bring nothing ! No. We are all set on the liquids front ! No. Dessert is taken care of! No ! No ! No ! No !" ? Is there room for misinterpretation there ? The French word non is pretty damn similar to the English word "No". I just don't get it. These totally annoying guests bring all this champagne, that of course we need to start with and end with, and it totally screws up my plans for the evening. And that's not the half of it ! They bring a refrigeratorful of desserts from various patissiers that will mostly go uneaten, including this dark chocolate thingie that I'm snarfing down right now from Thevenin on rue Daguerre. I don't want these empty calories in the morning but what the heck can one possibly do when you open the fridge door and all this sweet stuff is singing out to you in unison. I doubt I'll invite these people back. They are unthoughtful and they only think about what they want, not what the host wants. The French are like that, you know. Okay, enough of this. I'm really not a complainer.



So I woke up this morning and I wasn't thirsty and I wasn't hungry.

But what separates Chambo from the competition is that he doesn't let lame, pathetic excuses like that stand in his way from carrying on.

I power on. I drink and eat. Breakfast is the meal at hand.

Coffee first.

Fill up the kettle with water. Place on cooktop. Power up the Starship Enterprise aka my De Dietrich induction cooktop that I briefly chatted about recently. Place ground coffee beans into Bodum french press. Add boiling water. Cover. Wait 4 minutes. Press. Pour. Drink. Ahhhhh, yesssss, much better.

Note to Self: In the future, attempt to fire up the warp-drive engine burner nearest you if you place the water kettle on the burner nearest you. Do not fire up the burner further away from you accidently, especially if you have an empty pasta pot that you used the prior evening sitting on that other burner. That's the reason why you were wondering why the water hadn't boiled yet. That's the reason why that pasta pot was smoking. It's best to fire up these burners in BOOST mode after having had some coffee in the morning, but that does present a slight catch-22 scenario.

Next Note to Self: If you desire to impress your friends while simultaneously demonstrating the concept of instant vaporization, ignore the above Note to Self and proceed as follows. Take smoking hot pasta pot. Add water, not a lot. Voila - immediate vaporization. It's quite impressive, really. These induction burners are seriously rad.

Solids second.

Slice twice the Miche Poilane ... oh goodness, I must have death and loss on my mind this month. First Steve Jobs dies. Next, Les Bleus lose the rugby match. And now this. Sorry folks, I unfortunately need to temporarily interrupt this breakfast story for something more meaningful to me.

I distinctly remember the day when I learned that Lionel Poilane died. He was en route to Brittany.

It was the day after his accident. We were in the area at that very moment. We were half a km out at low tide exploring the wet sand encircling the abbey of Mont Saint Michel when the news finally reached us. A strange place to receive such news: Poilane - Dead - Helicopter Crash ! Wow, I thought, Paris is going to be in mourning.

As I mentioned years ago, I have spent time in Brittany. Nothing in that post is untrue, but in typical Chambo understated fashion, I hid my true credentials. I had been to the area many times. I knew the area very well. But one can always know things better and learn new tricks. I was trying to sniff out and dig up a hidden culinary bone - a buried bistro treasure to share with and shock my hosts who escape to their exceptional 18th century edifice many weekends per year. No such luck as there were no bones thrown to Chambo that day. (When properly restored, these malouinières are truly exceptional. There's an owner's club for them. It's a pretty tight-knit community. They take a lot of pride in being not only the owners of the domain but also in being the custodians of this piece of patrimoine francais.)

All this Brittany / Normandy talk reminds me. I forgot to mention that I bought beurre Bordier samedi dans le Veme to go with that pain Poilane. It's my house butter - demi-sel, sans doute. I was also tempted on Saturday to buy some oysters and mussels from the region but I opted not to do so because I don't have a professional shucker on premises.

Okay, back to breakfast.

Take the two wonderfully moist slices of bread and place them on the outside of the coolest toaster you ever did see. Commence toasting. While munching on a banana, remove Bordier butter and deux oeufs de poules elevées en plein air (okay, sorry, sorry about cutting out some important details - more specifically "ces oeufs sont garantis de poules elevées en liberté, dans de grands espaces couverts de végétation, et nourries des produits du sol. Bon appétit." Yes, these eggs are bio, ie biologique, ie organic.). Oh shit ! That reminds me. Sorry about this, I got to take you back to Saturday market real quick.

So I'm buying some of those awesome yogurts in those little glass jars from her. I'm buying my Bordier butter from her. I'm asking her if she has some eggs. She: "Oui, monsieur" Me: "C'est combien?" She: "4.xx euros" Me: "For how many ?" She: "Six" Me: "You chicken farmers live pretty fucking good, don't you ? Tres bien. Donc, six and can we just open up the carton and verify that none are broken ?" She, insulted: "Monsieur, I don't sell broken eggs. I have never sold a broken egg in my life. I check the eggs prior to coming to the market. I check the eggs again after arriving at the market. I don't sell broken eggs." Me: "Sorry, sorry, sorry." Note to self: You're in France. You're at a French market. These people take their job seriously. Don't insult them.

Okay, back to breakfast. Where were we ? Is the toast burnt yet ? Oh yeah, we're making eggs.

Without breaking the glowing yellow yolks, carefully crack two eggs on the rim of the BOOST-mode-heated, non-stick, Bordier-buttered frying pan. Please be sure not to vaporize eggs in the process. Add salt, pepper. (I feel really bad that I need to shortchange you all but I'm simply running short on time. If I had a bit more hours in the day, I could serenade you with stories about the life-changing salt and pepper that I procured and just ground onto my eggs. Oh well, but I'm trying to keep this brief) Munch on one slice of toasted, Bordier-buttered bread while eggs cook. When whites are solid but tender and lots of gooey oozy yellowness will flow from the cholesteroled circles of life, slide sunny side up eggs onto second slice of lightly-buttered toast. Eat with knife and fork. Alternate with coffee sips. When done, eat dark chocolate thingie. Prepare a post to the Mouthfuls Nation.

Begin day.

Sounds delicious -- I would have been a happy guest (although I might have brought some Christine Ferber jam and pain des amis from Du Pain et des idees)

#23 Wilfrid

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 03:23 PM

Let's buy him a blog. I'm in for a dollar a month.

#24 GG Mora

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 05:57 PM

Let's buy him a blog. I'm in for a dollar a month.

I'm in for 5.

#25 Nancy S.

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:36 PM


Let's buy him a blog. I'm in for a dollar a month.

I'm in for 5.

I'll pony up as well.

#26 voyager

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 07:30 PM



Let's buy him a blog. I'm in for a dollar a month.

I'm in for 5.

I'll pony up as well.

We could have a virtual wine tasting fundraiser.

It's not my circus,

not my monkeys.


#27 Chambolle

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 08:48 PM



Let's buy him a blog. I'm in for a dollar a month.

I'm in for 5.

I'll pony up as well.

So you are willing to pony up, eh Nancy. How much ? Anyone else willing to chip in ?

Hmmm. Could I make a career out of this independent blogging thing? :unsure: With just a few more generous patrons, I would almost have fuck-you-money. I have so dreamt of walking into mouthfuls middle mgmt offices and flipping them the bird and saying "I quit. This is the shittiest job I've ever had ! You guys give out bonuses like Scrooge. And you are miserable tyrants to work for. Have a nice life ! " Someday ... someday soon ... but until then, I need to keep sharpening my saw, grinding my axe and honing my craft.





Sounds delicious -- I would have been a happy guest

Nancy, stop teasing me with your breakfast advances.





Actually, I would like to have dinner with you sometime, somewhere.

I'm not convinced that Chambo is corporeal.

Nancy, I have dreamt and dreamt that we would dine together one day.

What a special day that would be for me. Us together in our homey house of a restaurant - just think of the special treatment that we would receive - we would be doubly blessed.

If only ... if only it were possible ...

Sadly, I'm not of your world. Of your physical world.

I am here in the ether. I am ethereal.

I'm more corporate than corporeal.

Adrian had it right.

Anyway, you are much too nice and normal a person to suffer my presence. You are too pure and good and right to associate with kaleidoscopic fauves like me.

You are a taken woman and I am now nothing but a wild beast entangled and trapped inside a supermodel's silky, sexy, spider's web of seduction and introductions. Pray for me. Please pray for my soul.

Anyway, my world is electric chaos. It's disorienting. I live in total darkness. Those who peek Through the Looking Glass and discover my rabbit hole rarely leave untouched - they are scarred for life by the fire burning within Chambo and his uncontrolled, overflowing lava of lunacy and love.

If only I could travel faster than the speed of light and I could make time run backwards, Lewis Carroll-like.

If only I could take you back to childhood :

Posted Image

If only I could set you free by cocooning you up in your original larval state :

Posted Image

Then, if only an Australian butterfly or the Queen Bee of Hearts or a Bat Out Of Hell flapped her wings on the other side of the moon, things might have developed differently for both of us.

Posted Image

We could have been two peas in a pod. We could have been fancy soulmates, Nancy !

Posted Image

We could have gotten dressed up every night and feasted together on the nectar of the gods.

Posted Image

But it didn't work out that way, did it ? :(

You are now that fully-developed, colorful, beautiful butterfly, admired by all and netted by one.

One who is not me. Hence you're no longer free.

No longer free to fly me to the moon.

Life is not fair. Never was. Never will be. Forget fairness, Chambo. Just dream. Just dream big dreams.

You humans don't know how good you have it. All that flesh and blood. You lucky devils. I can only dream.


Alas the time has finally come - I will reveal my true secret identity - but not til tomorrow



Just imagine what you'll know tomorrow ...

#28 Sneakeater

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 10:05 PM

Your MF bonus this year is going to be triple what it was last year.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#29 Nancy S.

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:34 AM

Your MF bonus this year is going to be triple what it was last year.

And I'll throw a bit extra into the pot.

#30 Steve R.

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 12:11 PM


Your MF bonus this year is going to be triple what it was last year.

And I'll throw a bit extra into the pot.


Yeah, this is some real informative stuff. Just one question: we're thinking of visiting France soon... where should we eat?

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