Monday, February 20, 2006

Cheezbooga, cheezbooga, cheezbooga, Fries!

Sunday dawned, rainy and dreary, but Dr. B and I really needed to get out of the house. With me being sick, and him working on application after application, neither of us had seen the light of day for a while. We decided to take the 7 line of the metro up to the Marais district, as a friend had told us some stores and restaurants were open in that area. We walked around, fighting over the umbrella the whole time (note to self: bring 2 next time) and wandered through the charming streets, looking in shop windows, and getting very, very wet.

We decided to stop in a café to warm up. We chose one set back a bit (with the charming name of "Le Café"--I'm not kidding) . The café was trendily decorated, with red chandeliers, big gold mirrors, and lots of red and black. The servers were clad in black tops and jeans, and were having a blast, talking and laughing and joking with each other. We looked for a table for two. Unfortunately, all tables for 2 were right next to tables with smokers. We grudgingly chose one near the window, next to a man who appeared to be nearly done with his cigarette.

We ordered coffees, and waited for him to finish, hoping we'd soon be able to breathe free and clear.

No dice. Dude was a chain smoker. Even while eating his burger with cheese, bacon, thousand island dressing, (*Update: and a mostly raw egg, on the burger) and fries, he smoked.

We quickly finished our coffee. Dr. B was sick of being wet and miserable, so on the walk out, I suggested we look for the bookstore I found the other day on the Left Bank, and then stop into the Anglo Pub/Microbrewery/Restaurant, the Frog. There are several versions in Paris, and others around France and in Spain. I knew the idea of a pint of microbrewed beer would cheer him up.

We took the metro, and came up for air at St. Michel. We took off on foot, walking through the touristy but picteuresque areas of the Latin Quarter.

After walking in circles for about 45 minutes, we gave up on finding the bookstore. It was Sunday, anyway, we figured, and they probably weren't open. We were getting hungry, however, so following my crack directional skills, we hunted for the frog.

Another 45 minutes later, Dr. B had had it with my crack directional skills. We decided to walk to Shakespeare and Co. to pick up a copy of FUSAC, the regular French/Anglo publication that the Frog advertised in regularly. Unfortunately, there was no address listed, just a metro stop. We started walking again.I had the brilliant idea to descend to the metro, and go directly to the stop listed. I figured we'd be there, enjoying a pint and some "chips", within minutes. Upon exiting at St. Germain-des-Prés, we circled the area, looking for "The Frog and Princess".

For another 45 minutes.

At this point, I was so low on blood sugar I was woozy, and Dr. B was starting to loose steam as well. I stopped into a hotel to ask directions. The manager didn't know of the place, but did have a yellow pages, and eventually we found it, just 2 blocks from where we were (of course, we had walked past it at least twice during our travels.)

As we entered, we both automatically spoke French to the host. While we were perusing the menu, however, we heard the bartender and waitstaff speaking English. It was decorated much like a place at home, in Wisconsin, with wooden chairs and floors, sports on the bigscreen TV, and shiny stainless-steel beer tanks in the back. The first item on the menu grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go.

Bacon Cheeseburger with Pub Fries.


We ordered, and soon were enjoying their home brew while waiting for our food. (For Madisonites--I'd compare theirs with JT's, but not as good as Capital or the Dane.) We laughed as the bartender and servers let out a roar of joy after a soccer goal, while we watched the french couples at the nearby tables nearly fall off their chairs from shock. It was almost like being home again.

The burger was really good, not great, but close enough. The pub chips were not up to the Bubba Fries at Jordan's Big 10 (I call them "crack fries" because once you have one bite, you cannot stop ever in your life for wanting those fries), but they were very good, close enough. The waitress wasn't American, she was English, but she let us speak English to her the whole time.

We figured since we had skipped lunch, we could indulge in dessert. I ordered the brownie with vanilla ice cream, while Dr. B went for his ultimate favorite, pecan pie. It was good, not great, but close enough.

So, for a few hours, on a rainy Sunday in Paris, we went home. Since it took 6 months for us to get there, I don't feel guilty. Sometimes, it's just nice to go somewhere where you feel good, a little more like yourself. Not perfect, but close enough.



At 11:20 AM, February 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading this blog since December, when I booked a flight to PAris with my two sons (12 and 16). We were in many of the same places yeaterday - also very wet! But it is Paris, after all - and magnifique. Today, the Louvre, L'arc de Triumphe, and La Tour Eiffel - while the sun was out, we stayed out as well! We are from Cape Cod and enjoying Paris very much. Susan

At 2:34 PM, February 20, 2006, Anonymous LaCresha said...

Hello Mrs B!! I cannot wait until I get to Paris!! :) Due to my husbands health problems and medical bills, our trip has been pushed back yet again...*sigh* I love reading about your trips out around Paris.

At 5:41 PM, February 21, 2006, Blogger Kat said...

I met my French ex-boyfriend at the Frog and the Princess. That's my old neighborhood. GREAT times and great memories in that place. Your post took me back. WAY back! Thanks!

At 8:50 PM, February 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was fun to read. Fun! Because I am in Madison, and I will think of you the next time I am stuffing myself with the fries of sin at the Brocach...

At 9:36 AM, February 22, 2006, Blogger ~steph~ said...

have you seen brad and angelina around town???!! its all over the entertainment "news" programs that say Brangelina are in Paris!

At 1:47 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger La Rêveuse said...

Well, Ronffrey haven't yet been invited to their pied-à-terre for an aperitif, so frankly, until that happens, I couldn't care less. If I had to pick a team, it would have been Team Aniston anyway. Her Loonieness Angelina not-so-jolie creeps me out, honestly. Just because she decided to erase her tattoos, stop wearing a man's blood in a vial around her neck, and spend her leisure time working for charity doesn't make her any less of a man-eater. We'll see how long Pitt lasts.

I would like to run into David Sedaris around town, though. He would be fun to have coffee with. :)


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