Wednesday, July 11, 2007
on duck and smorgasbords
oh boy do i love me some duck!
Duck is one of those things that is so wonderful, but really ought to be eaten no more than once in a while. Not because i wouldn't eat it often, because i totally would stuff my face with it. It’s just that it’s kind of fattening and stuff.
My dad eats duck only once or twice a year, and it’s always from this restaurant, which i swear Parisians laugh at, but is such a great place. It’s called La Taverne du Sergent Recruteur, and it’s on the Ile St Louis in Paris. My mom scoffs at it, because frankly, it’s a smorgasbord. Having not been there in 8 years, i’m not sure if anything has changed about their menu, but it used to be prix fixe and you’d get either beer or wine à go-go all night, included in the price. They bring you big baskets of food: patés, breads, tons of charcuterie, fresh undressed veggies, and prepared salads, then your entrée and dessert. The duck confit there was fantastic, and probably still is if still on the menu. Be forewarned, though. You will be so insanely full when you leave, so uncomfortably full actually. Because seeing all that food all around, seeing the hoards of German and American tourists pigging out to their hearts content and getting drunk on ambiance and wine, you cant help but want to indulge a bit yourself. Afterwards, my dad and i had to walk around the island twice in order to feel okay enough to hop on the Métro home.
The next day, i went in to work (i was interning with an architect) and told my boss about where we’d gone. He got so excited to hear me talking of the place. He said that it is in fact true that most Parisians shun the place, and his own wife refuses to go; but he always looked forward to when his foreign friends would visit, because they always made a point of going there. Which makes me believe that he’s not the only Parisian who is secretly in love with the place (he was a very chic architect indeed, wore flowy silk shirts to work and had this manner of speaking which would put you in a daydream). I bet you Parisians would love to go, because the atmosphere and mood are terrific, but would never be caught dead there as it would ruin their reputation. My dad went once with a co-worker years ago, and since the place was packed they ended up sharing a table with a bevy of tall gorgeous Virgin Airlines flight attendants. Needless to say, it was an evening he was not soon to forget.
A few weeks ago, having not seen the boy in ages, i decided to put on my best boobalicious shirt, switched out my everyday handbag for a nighttime purse, and schlepped out to the boy’s work to dine in style in the hopes of stealing the boy away from the kitchen for a minute or two. He told me he had already planned out what i was to eat, so to sit back and not worry about the details.
I sat at the bar (i’m pretty friendly with the bartenders there, having spent more time with them than my own husband lately) and was treated to some pretty great food. First up was a spinach salad with warm brie, bacon, and sherry vinaigrette. Mrs B had told me about this salad before, about how great it was, but the idea of warm brie in my dressing seemed a bit strange. I know, this coming from the girl who will eat cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if given the opportunity. But it did not disappoint; it was really terrific. Next up was the duck with a cherry and port wine sauce. I was in heaven. Completely unable to finish the large portion while there, but i did snack on it afterwards while standing above the garbage can at home, gnawing away at the bones like it was the last supper or something. Even cold, it was good.
For dessert, they sent me out an enormous sampling of little things, truffles, lemon cheesecake bites, tiny beignets, etc.
All this accompanied by some good wines. I always start off an evening out with a glass of bubbly; then, taking suggestions from the bartenders, i had a glass of a red blend and then two (or was it three?) glasses of a white. And if i could find the little slip of paper with the names of the wines on it that i had them write up for me, then i’d be in good shape; but i think i left it in my other bag. If i find it, i’ll post the names. Oh well. All in all it was great.
Dear boy, i’m sorry it took me so long to write this post, after all i did promise you i’d write about the duck ages ago. But you know, things like my birthday and me sitting here with a freakin’ sinus and inner ear infection from hell didn’t help any.
PS the picture above doesn't do the duck justice. but that's what happens when you try taking pics of food in mood-enhancing darkened bar.