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An American in (and outside of) Paris


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#1 Chambolle

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:31 PM

"Je pense donc je suis" - Descartes, un francais. 17eme siecle.

"Je raconte donc je suis" - Chambo, an American. Twenty-first century.


I'm as free as free can be.

I move about with the wind. I go where my heart takes me. I have basic needs to meet.

I'm an eagle soaring above the city looking for pretty prey - looking for my next meal.

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I have the worries and responsibilities of a newly birthed butterfly exploring an endless field of flowers.

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I'm Chambo. I'm an American. I'm in (and outside of) Paris. And I have stories to tell.

#2 GG Mora

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:46 PM

Mongo can't wait.

#3 voyager

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 09:52 PM

Bring 'em on. :D

#4 Chambolle

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 08:07 AM

Okay, first things first.

Questions have been flooding in so rapidly that my inbox has completely overflowed.

This reminds me of the South Beach (FL, USA) sewer system after one of those thirty-minute, torrential rainstorms. Afterwards, you are wading through water a frankfooter-high for hours. Hence, I apologize for not responding to everyone individually.

Let me generalize and summarize. It seems as though there was one big question on everyone's mind:

Hey Chambo, don't leave us hanging! Where are you hanging your hat in Paris nowadays? You homeless and living in them Parisian sewers ? That sounds pretty misérable.

These concerned individuals were referring to my recent post about searching for a Parisian apartment. I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown. Steam-engine pressure was building up within me as I was on the verge of becoming homeless. The situation was not resolved at that point. Now it is.

Some folks with a good memory were asking me if I was simply freeloading again at my buddy's palatial Parisian pad on Place Francois 1er.

Let me answer that right away - I would have loved to have been !

It sure was the good life - with no hotels and no rent to pay, you got a couple extra coins in your pocket to waste frivilously. And you are in the exact right neighborhood to do so. How convenient. In the afternoon you're stepping out the door, walking by Dior and then swilling a drink dehors while chilling and killing time with Karl L at L'Avenue on Avenue Montaigne with all those incessantly imbiding, incredibly interesting, international, jet-set fashion plates. Nighttime isn't too nasty either. Pop out your door, be sure to be wearing your Armani when you reconvene with that same alcoholic army at the A-OK Athenée. That's Le Bar du Plaza Athenée - Avenue Montaigne, just in case you weren't sure. Enter the hotel and turn right and as you pass le restaurant d'Alain Ducasse do not forget your social mask and head down the hallway like you truly belong. Who needs front row seats during Fashion Week when you can go here and see the same models and the same clothes (if you know which nights and when to go). These are not foodie addresses. This is public Paris at its most seriously surface, superficial chi-chi-iness. Chambo likes (de temps en temps), but it ain't for everyone.

So clearly, I would have loved to be freeloading at my friend's place. But alas, it was not meant to be.

I'll tell you why ...

#5 voyager

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 09:28 PM

You're out having way too good a time. Would you just stay home and write? Or at least share where and what you've eaten in the last 168 hours.

#6 Chambolle

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 09:18 PM

You're out having way too good a time. Would you just stay home and write? Or at least share where and what you've eaten in the last 168 36 hours.

You Americans sure are demanding, aren't you ?

I'll be getting to the food-related posts in just a few weeks. Please be patient.

Nevertheless, since Chambo is such a nice guy, I'll throw you a bone.

This weekend I conducted a brunch-off between Coutume Cafe's cute little packaged offering on Saturday (j'ai choisi Le Brunch Veggie Coutume Remix) and Le Bal's British brunch menu on Sunday. I recommend both if you are in the area and I'd even travel a bit for Le Bal, as I did today. I like the people, the vibe and the food of Le Bal. Simple and straightforward. Good ingredients prepared with care. Priced to sell.

After today's duck pie for me (yum!) and eggs and bacon followed by pancakes for my burgundian winemaker buddy at Le Bal, we decided to take a long walk so that we could continue to shoot the shit for a while and enjoy the extraordinarily lovely, sunny, slightly crisp afternoon. I hadn't been in Montmartre for almost 10 years so we're off on a real anti-chi-chi stroll. Hence, our heading to Blvd de Clichy, gliding by le Moulin Rouge, up rue Lepic and onwards towards the masses and masses of Montmartre meanderers, even passing the famous (grace a Renoir) Moulin de la Galette in the process:

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Times sure change, don't they!

Renoir was painting real life back then and notice how le Moulin de la Galette was pretty darn chic and fancy on Sunday afternoons in his day. You don't see working people getting dressed all fine and dancing all pretty on Sunday afternoons on rue Lepic nowadays. Tsk tsk.

Anyway, once we got to the moshpit that is Montmartre and we fully took in the view and observed the joy on the 4 or 5 just-married couples who were posing for their photographers, Chambo refocused on a mission.

No technology was allowed. We would search up and down every and any street trying to find a simple but good Montmartre bistro that Daniel Rose had mentioned to me back in Spring in the Spring. There was one slight problem - I could not remember its name. I thought the name was something like Le Huit. My burg brewing buddy is then telling me that he had eaten somewhere around these parts recently although he couldn't remember where, so now he was equally curious to find the joint that he had frequented.

We are both on a mission. Chacun à sa mission.

We are merrily attacking the streets, walking up and down every nook and cranny until ...

Chambo finds his prey.

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La voila ! Le Grand 8 !

And as I am about to point it out to my buddy, his voice rises and he declares: Chambo! La voila! C'est le petit resto ou j'ai diné ! C'est bien ca - Le Grand 8 !

We both look at each other, nodding approvingly at this modest, rustic but kind of charming place.

I pop in, scope out the joint, chat up the owner for a few minutes, tell him that Daniel Rose brought this wonderful place to my attention, confirm that they take ressies (they do) and further confirm that they take ressies for the 2 tables that have excellent (daytime) views (they do, but you better call well in advance and one of those tables is a 6 top). And then, like MacArthur before me, I inform the owner "I shall return" and leave.

My buddy needs to split. He tells me that he's exiting Paris for a bit. Off to a couple of countries to present wines at various 3* Michelin restos. We decide to reconvene next week at a place that I know that he will like because: a) I've eaten lunch there, and b) we talked extensively about restaurants in Paris and Burgundy and I know I know his taste. Next week: dinner at L'Auberge du 15. We part ways. He's off to find the nearest Vélib stand.

I decide to walk a bunch more via a route that will take me past rue des Abbesses towards and down rue des Martyrs, while passing the Kooka Boora coffee shop (its terrasse was filled to the gills on this crisp day), then swinging through the bobo heaven that is the area around St Georges and continuing merrily merrily on my way.

In Paris, life is but a dream.


Now back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

#7 Chambolle

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:51 PM

So clearly, I would have loved to be freeloading at my friend's place. But alas, it was not meant to be.

I'll tell you why ...

Back in May, I told you all that I was staying at my friend's apartment.

However I never followed up and gave you some additional details about that Spring stay at his pad.

First things first - my friend is no longer the owner of said pad.

That's why I'm not staying there now.

Would I have been too timid or too embarrassed or too something to ask him to use that place again for weeks on end? I seriously doubt it.

Here's the real deal.

When I was invited to stay at his fully-furnished place back in May, he told me that my dates should work but that I should know that he was in the process of selling the place and that it was possible that the apartment would actually change hands towards the end of my visit.

I told him "No problemo. Just give me a heads up prior so I can plan accordingly."

And he did.

The day before movers came, his secretary texted me in the late afternoon and told me that all the furniture in the common areas would be removed in approximately 36 hours. She said that my friend's personal bodyguard and some additional Eastern European beef were driving a moving van from Eastern Europe to Paris as we speak. They would be arriving late tomorrow night. They would sleep at the apartment. They would pack everything up early the next morn and they would be on their way.

I text her back "No problemo".

I called my friend and said hi and he said hi and I asked how he was doing and he said fine and he asked me how I was doing and I said fine and he said that he was glad to hear that and then I said: "What the fuck is going on over here ! "

When I called, he was puttering around on his new hyper-powerful powerboat in Miami and said he was having trouble hearing me over the roar of his engines, plural. He said: "Chambo, don't worry about thing. We are going to leave the beds there. We are going to leave all the kitchen plates and utensils and pots and pans. You'll be perfectly happy! It's just the big pieces of furniture that I want. You'll be fine, don't worry". Chambo: "You going to leave the dining table and at least a couple of chairs ? Or one of those comfy living room couches and that giant coffee table? I need a place to eat and work." Him: "Nope. One more thing. Just so you know, the new owners take position of the place in 4 days. So you got to be out by then [that was going to be a Friday. I was heading out of Paris on that Thursday for a week. I was now going to have to scramble]. Why don't you just come stay at my [four star] hotel in [an Eastern European capital]. I'll put you up for as long as you want. Chambo, you like Eastern European girls ? Think about it". Chambo: "Tempting. Very tempting, but I got better plans, dude." Him: "As always. By the way, my bodyguard has biceps the size of sequoia trees. He finished second in a world championship arm wrestling tournament a few years ago He has an extremely large libido and he will have been stuck in a truck driving for two days. While he's there, I'd advise you to lock your door when you're sleeping." :unsure:

He pretty much looked like this guy:

http://www.armpower....e=ind&w=800x600

When the massive brick wall (ie the bodyguard) arrived in the evening, he said (think Arnie Swarchenegger accent): "Chambo, I hear you know Paris like really good. Can you recommend any girlie bars when we could enjoy a beer?" I sent them on their merry way. Best I could tell, I think that they were out all night. The following morning, Hercules and his half-brother emptied the place of furniture but good, even over my protestations of "Come on guys, just leave one of those ugly couches and that coffee table. I mean I gave you that girlie bar address last night and all ..."

Ungrateful goons.

Anyway, I split that place Wednesday night.

Where did Chambo stay after he was booted out of there, you ask ?

Well, another good friend who I have known for over 10 years told me that he would be extremely insulted if I did not stay in his empty apartment because he was heading to Moscow for work for a number of weeks.

And you know Chambo. He wouldn't dream of insulting anyone.

And he didn't.

#8 splinky

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:25 PM

wow shampoo, you really are a hard case! the dude had to sell the apartment, remove the furniture and send muscle just to evict you. what must you be like, at last call?

“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*

 


#9 Chambolle

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 04:31 PM

wow shampoo, you really are a hard case! the dude had to sell the apartment, remove the furniture and send muscle just to evict you. what must you be like, at last call?

Would you mind sending me the floor plan to your apartment. Thanks. Just curious to see how it might work out for me ...



Elsewhere, people have been getting on Chambo's case because he eats lunch at places where the lunch menu is identical to the dinner menu.

Chambo has been forced to defend himself.

Now Chambo is being questioned as to why he might want to eat in a non-French restaurant when in Paris.

No problem. Chambo will try to explain where he is coming from in multiple ways.

First - relatively normally - and then, in more Chambollic fashion in an ensuing post.

But since this explanation is quite personal, I have decided to more appropriately answer the question in this thread.

Voila. Maintenant, je m'explique ...

Anyone been to or heard reports about l'arroceria FOGON?

C'est une histoire de l'Espagne, du riz Bomba et des jambes. (de cochon)


But, I ask, why would I choose this in Paris? Why not wait until a hop over the border is in order?

Why might I choose it if it's good? That's simple to answer.

I'll answer it with another question - How many French meals in a row does one want to eat?

And I do not have plans to hop over the border at the moment.

Let me throw this out there to better understand why my eating habits in Paris may be different than yours.

Here's the thing. I spend a good amount of time in Paris each year. Hence, when I'm in Paris, I'm never really thinking that I'm "on vacation" and therefore I don't have the desire to maximize some limited number of meals. Instead, in my mind, I'm just living a part of normal life. Hence I don't usually want a long tasting menu experience from a new bistro-ish restaurant. My French friends with whom I dine surely don't because they're not nutjob foodies. They are just going out for a normal dinner. They have no idea that these new neo-modern-bistros even exist in their city. (Half the people at Septime two nights ago were speaking English.) They are busy professionals with wide and various interests, but those interests don't generally extend to the latest, greatest restaurants and hyper-detailed, restaurant-related trivia. I'm the one who is always bringing them to these new places. They go along happily and they kind of expect that of Chambo but it's just not their thing. Further, Frenchies like to do dinner parties. Hence, if I have dinner plans chez un(e) Frenchie, then lunch becomes my only option for a good meal * eating out that day. And I enjoy eating lunch. Not a two-hour lunch, but an hour lunch. Especially if it's good. I do have an unhurried hour for lunch since I'm not racing around during the day to do all that shopping, see all those sites, re-experience all those neighborhoods and pack in all those exhibitions** because time is limited. Actually, during the day, I'm kind of working.

It's no different than when I'm in NYC, for example. I enjoy going to the new places and I have a good-sized number of restaurants in my rotation. I go back and back and back to these places. Lots of them. When I go back and back and back to Blue Hill, for instance, I never get their tasting menu. Never ever. That's not the way I use the restaurant. I just pop in for a meal because I'm hungry that evening. It's not some major event. Same with Paris.

Hence, I'm sorry if I'm not doing the tasting menu at these places for you all, but that is not my normal mode of operation. Some places, yes, if I'm in the mood and I think that it's important to experience the restaurant that way. Or, more often here nowadays, if that's the only choice that the restaurant offers.

That's Chambo in a nutshell.


* Just joking, my French friends cook very nicely. But let me be clear - dinner is never ever about the food at these dinner parties. The oohing and ahhing about how good the food was and how great a cooking job the host did lasts about a minute or two. No one is discussing the food on the plate and wondering how it was prepared, etc. And if there is restaurant discussion, it's usually because Chambo broached the topic. Dinners are simply a social event for busy professionals from wide-ranging arenas to unwind, relax, drink a lot and get caught up on the lives of others and maybe possibly talk a tiny little bit about shop here or there. These are normal people.

** There are a ton of very good exhibitions going on this fall season. I've been to some. I'll get to them all. But I'm more hot turtle soup than lievre a la royale rush. I'll get to them slowly but surely. Each and every one of them. Taking my sweet time.

#10 splinky

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 05:28 PM

wow shampoo, you really are a hard case! the dude had to sell the apartment, remove the furniture and send muscle just to evict you. what must you be like, at last call?

Would you mind sending me the floor plan to your apartment. Thanks. Just curious to see how it might work out for me ...

dude, i didn't just fall off a turnip truck, my paris floor plan and address are a closely guarded secret and my private enforcers are not averse to "disappearing" troublemakers.

“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*

 


#11 Chambolle

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:25 PM

Chambo will try to explain where he is coming from in multiple ways.

First - relatively normally - and then, in more Chambollic fashion in an ensuing post.

But, I ask, why would [you] choose [a Spanish restaurant] in Paris?

All men dream of greatness - very few succeed.
Dreams front and center - then they recede.

Somewhere deep down in my primordial brain
I dream the dream of 16th century Spain.

I believe in conquistadors and Spanish conquest.
I believe in the beauty of Spanish women.
I am not a pig, but I respect their legs.

I believe in searching for and diving deep into the Fountain of Youth.
I believe in the Iberian ideal of exploring all Earth's beauty.
I believe in searching for Spanish treasure - Spanish gold.
I believe in finding and founding a New World.

To fully answer your original question:

When she says L'Espagne, you give her L'Espagne.
When she says Spank Me, you Spank Her.

Women command. Men listen and obey.
It has always been such. Then and today.

#12 voyager

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 01:16 AM

Oh,my,Chamby! Such verse. Have I become your muse? :blush:

#13 Chambolle

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:17 AM

Oh,my,Chamby! Such verse. Have I become your muse? :blush:

No. Why would you think that ?

I've not been [to Fogon], but it certainly isn't on my wish list. As I remember, one person I trust recommends it if one insists on tapas and isn't worried about the tab.

Call me Chambo.

Some moments ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no sausage in my pocket, and nothing particular to interest me on Île, I thought I would walk about a little and see the watery part of the world.

I crossed the Seine while staring at Notre Dame.

I was growing grim about the mouth; it was a damp, drizzly October day; it was a November in my soul for I was being forewarned to forget about Fogon. I found myself involuntarily pausing before storefronts in the fifth. I found myself involuntarily sticking my head inside every eatery I eyed.

There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish the same feelings as Chambo.

Chambo was downcast. Chambo had the weight of Spain on his mind and the heartless glory of the Spanish conquistadors in his heart. He also had the courage of the Iberian explorers in his soul. He swore that he would circle the city, like Magellan before him, in search of Spain in Paris. He swore that he would make Cortes proud. He swore that he would find a worthy destination for his Spanish taste buds if it took him all day and all night.

As expected, Chambo succeeded. And it took him all of about 1 minute to get the job done.

For as he strolled past the tourist trap that is La Tour d'Argent and turned left onto Cardinal Lemoine, what did Chambo sniff out on his right ! Nothing other than Spanish silver, if not Spanish gold. A treasure chest of products to make Cortes overflow giddily with childhood memories. The place hadn't even been in Paris for a year and yet Chambo stumbled upon this near-virgin territory ...

Terra de Bellota. L'Espagne au coeur de Paris.

Nothing but products from Cortes's birthplace of Extremadura, Spain.

Nothing cooked. Think ham. Think cheese. Think wine. And then, think again.

Think foie gras d'oies NON GAVÉES.

Non-gavées ! How good could that be ? I thought this liver garbage was all about the gavage ? It couldn't be good, could it ?

I haven't tried it yet, but just take a look at what this New York chef had to say. He is proclaiming it to be the best foie gras that he has EVER tasted. And he goes further: His best culinary experience. How's that for marketing ! Does he own the company that makes this stuff or is it truly that good ? Questions abound.

Think of a sparse Paris stone basement that transports you to Spain.

It looks like Bellota-Bellota now has a lotta competition on the left bank of gay Paris.

I'm at your service, Mouthfuls Nation.

I'm Chambo. I'm an American in Paris.

#14 Wilfrid

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 03:08 PM

We're okay for bandwidth, yeah?

#15 Chambolle

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:13 PM

We're okay for bandwidth, yeah?

Best I can tell, it's streaming pretty darn good over here in France. That said, does anyone know how to defrag a hard disk to free up some space ?


I'm going to make this one real quick because I got to rush off to dinner now ...

And I enjoy eating lunch. Not a two-hour lunch, but an hour lunch. Especially if it's good. I do have an unhurried hour for lunch

So after my 55 minute lunch at Sola* today, I was considering what to do with that extra five minutes that I had to spare.

I decide that I would high tail it over to Cafeotheque and make a quick bean purchase. I have a busy afternoon but I prioritize beans before business.

So I walk briskly, take in la beauté de la derriere de Notre Dame en traversant la Seine, pop in to the coffee shop, breathe in the aromas and notice that the coffee of the day is Kenya.

I love Kenyan beans !

Why not have a quick cappuccino? Great idea!

I plop myself down at the bar and order.

Cap arrives. The cap is crap.

The barista is new and she is an amateur. I subtly sway my finger in the appropriate direction.

He, not she, arrives. The other barista.

Chambo: Sorry, mais ca marche pas.
Him: La temperature ?
Chambo: Oui. Tiède.
Him: Agreed. [after dipping a spoon in and tasting] We'll redo it.
Chambo: And honestly, that wasn't the only problem.
Him: I'm glad you had le bon reflexe to say that there was a problem. Nothing worse than a customer leaving unhappy. This coffee is too hot. This coffee is too cool. Everyone likes something different.
Chambo: Agreed.

That kicked off our discussion. An hour later, I left. Oops !

I had a second cap. A third cap made in a smaller cup. An espresso. A fourth cap made with a double shot. All on the house, as we chatted.

I'm seriously wired right now. I'm not nervous to report this story, but my hands and fingers are shaking uncontrollably nonetheless.

Not only was the initial cap merely warm, but the coffee flavor was a bit washed out, muddled even. That acidic, crisp brightness that I enjoy was non-existent. That's not good. Not good at all.

He hands me the redo. This second cap was temperature correct, as per my preference, but the washed out aspect remained to a large extent and there was no brightness present. As we discussed this, he went to work. I told him that I do indeed like their Kenyan beans and I bought some here a few weeks ago. I did indeed confirm that they carry only one type of Kenyan. I told him that I have had many caps here that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

He hands me a cap in a different cup.

This third cap was a clear improvement. Smaller cup, hence less milk, hence more coffee-ness. Brightness is still extremely weak. That led to a discussion about milk as he prepared me an espresso to prove that the beans themselves were perfectly fine.

Sit down, coffee connoisseurs. And take a deep breath.

Star date: 20111020. Cafeotheque is now using UHT pasteurized milk in their cappuccinos.

Do you recall my David Flynn discussion from way back about the difficulty of getting consistent fresh milk in France ?

The Cafeotheque guy pretty much repeated the exact same thing, word for word. He said that their prior milk supplier simply could not deliver a consistent fresh product. The milk was turning in less than 3 days. That led them to explore and experiment with various potential milk sources. They found a specific UHT milk that they believe is just as good as a non-UHT as long as you don't overheat it. (Hmmm, do I believe this, hmmm interesting.)

I told him that David Flynn, ex of Le Bal, would not be on the same page as you on that one. I recounted my Flynn conversation to him. He said: "Yeh, David has strong views on milk. Oh, by the way, David is doing some pours here now, filling in for one of our baristas." Me: "Flynn is working here ? I thought he's avidly working on getting his own place up and running." Him: "It's not his own place. He has a partner. In the interim, he is here part time. Their opening is going to be delayed some." (I had heard about the delay elsewhere. Hence, with a second confirmed source, I can now report it.)

I taste the espresso. Yow ! Acidic and fruity up the ying-yang. That was a revelation ! You see, I don't drink espresso. And frankly, I didn't love it (the espresso itself. slightly too bitter for me at this stage of my coffee career) but the acidic bright fruity thang was unmistakable. I comment on that. Him: "Yep. You see the beans are fine. And yes, espresso is a different beast".

An English woman arrives at the counter (because she is not being served while seated. somebody must be occupying the barista's time, I guess) and overhears part of our discussion. She says that she would like a latte but she does not like UHT milk. Barista says you will not notice it at all. She says she will. She says she always notices when UHT milk is used. Barista says trust me - if you don't like it, you don't pay and I'll gladly make you something else. She hesitates. Barista says you have nothing to lose. She agrees. She sits down. She is served. Barista and I continue chatting. She returns. She doesn't like it. She says that she can taste the UHT clearly. (What a pain in the butt customer, she is. She's worse than Chambo ! ) Barista apologizes. She opts for an espresso. She is served it and sits back down. No complaints. I whisper to the barista: "I knew she was going to reject it ! How could she not ? She said that she could taste the UHT stuff. Hell or high water, she was going to taste UHT in that drink ! I was just about to make a large wager with you on that one. Frankly, I was wishing that I had some non-UHT milk in my pocket for you to use so I could interject "Mais Madame, he didn't use UHT milk ! How could you have tasted it !" He replies: "Yeh. If we hadn't been talking about it, she never would have suspected it."

Before we were so rudely interrupted by the Madame Placebo Effect **, the barista asked me if I had previously been served by such-and-such-other Cafeotheque barista as he described this guy's substantial height, facial hair and lack of good eyesight. I said "Yep. Many times." Barista nods, turns his back to me, keeps babbling and gets busy with the machine. He tells me that the other barista often puts a double shot into his caps even if you don't ask. He turns around and hands me a double shot cap. I sip. With eyebrows raised and still staring into the cup, I offer two words: "Pas mal ". Then two more while nodding: "Beaucoup mieux " ***

Shortly thereafter, I thank him for the conversation and I leave. I leave fully caffeinated and carrying coffee beans chez Chambo.

And people on this planet wonder why baristas matter when consistency is concerned?



* Lunch at Sola, yet again. (after un déjeuner thai et un déj vietnamien the last couple of days, one really starts missing french cooking !) Just go to Sola, folks. Lunch dinner whatever. A lovely cute place that accomplishes its mission quite well - its mission being modern french cooking technique with some japanese ingredients/influence here and there along with a japanese-inspired presentation aesthetic.

** Who knows ? Maybe she's actually a world champion cappuccino taster. Then again, she ordered a latte - very weak, seriously weak. A total amateur order !

*** It was indeed better, but after all his efforts, I didn't have the heart to tell him that I wasn't really loving these Kenyan caps. For the record, I'm not convinced about this unnoticeable UHT milk thing. Not by a long shot. I'm still confused about why my Kenyan caps were not showing brightly. Was it the ratio of milk to coffee ? Could it have been the UHT milk itself ? Could Kenyan beans possibly not make a good cap ? Have I had a Kenyan cap before at Cafeotheque? I think so, but I'm not positive. Wait a second. That Kenyan espresso shot was definitely bright - very bright. Wasn't it? Wait a minute. What do I know about espresso ? Let's be honest here - I don't know diddley !

But I'm on a mission and I'm willing to learn ...