Americans in Paris

My childhood next door neighbor, past travel buddy and friend is here in Paris this weekend using what little American vacation he gets yearly to revel in the amaze-balls that is Europe.  I don't know how he does it, but the man gets to Europe more than I get to the states - and I have family there...he just has pints and good wine to appreciate here. I'm baffled/jealous all at the same time.

In any case, last time he visited I was living in Cannes and flew up to (snowy, freezing my bootay off) Paris to hang with his group of travel friends - but this year I am a (freezing my bootay off) Parisian! So much better - so many more possibilities because I'm not a total tourist anymore, falling for the restaurant menus translated into fifty languages including pig latin. I can actually suggest places to go that are off the beaten path / not yet discovered by Rick Steves! (I know, I know, I'm kind of amazing).

Last night Neighb texted me asking for a wine/cheese bar extravaganza idea and I sent him the address of a place on rue de la Roquette called Resto Zinc - maybe you've heard of it? I was a little stressed to make a suggestion - what if it sucked? what if they wanted hip, modern Paris when I had sent them to hole-in-the-wall-authentic Paris? ahhhhh. crap. Copain and I had no Friday plans and ended up meeting them there as well - so I could torture myself with hoping things went well in person instead of from afar. awesome.

Our waiter was what I can only describe as a giant awkward nerd who I just felt bad for. yeah, poor dude. I asked if we could sit for a drink and a fromage plate and he looked at me confused and asked - pour diner? Well no, I clarified - just for wine and a fromage plate. Yeah, so pour diner then? he repeated. Umm, okay...if you say so...and so we followed him to one of the five tables that were so clearly hard for him to choose from. 

After perusing the wine and cheese menu we decided on a Côte du Rhone red and the assiette dégustation (tasting plate) of fromage...basically happiness for about 35 Euros.  When we signaled that we were ready to order Monsieur Bizarre decided it was a good time to tell us that the kitchen wouldn't be open for another "petite demie-heure" - little half an hour (as opposed to a big half an hour?). Okay, then we'll just take the wine and then in the little half an hour we'll take the cheese - merci. 

He arrived with our glasses and our bottle and jauntily set it all down on the table. But I glimpsed the bottle before he could start pouring - and Côte du Rhone it was NOT. When I kindly pointed this out to him, his awkward level went up about five notches - and then six more when I looked at the menu and mentioned that it was about 8 Euros more expensive than our original order. Not ones to cause a scene, we agreed to try the Côtaux du Loire that he had brought instead and he took this as an opportunity to explain the amaze-balls quality of grapes in the Loire Valley and the leeetle keeek that the wine had due to the richness of the grape mélange...ohh la la, this one knows how to sell it!

A petite forty-five minutes later and after a firm word from Copain to Monsieur Bizarre, our cheese platter made its grand entrance into the world and onto our table....and all was forgotten.  Two more bottles of Côte du Rhone followed, the restaurant filled with chattering Parisiens, and even though we were clearly the loud obnoxious American table, they seemed to accept our imposing presence in this little corner of France.  

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