L’Homme Tranquille

L'Homme Tranquille

L’Homme Tranquille is a small restaurant in the rue des Martyrs, precisely a block from our apartment. It is a very cosy, intimate, comfy, friendly place. It looks a little secret from the outside : the door is narrow, the large windows that look out onto the street are curtained, and the lighting inside is dim, coming from low lamps and candles.

You push the door open – the handle a bit faulty – and enter a room with a high ceiling, in which small wooden tables are set up close to one another. Posters for art shows and movies, some old, some new, signed or unsigned, are pinned to the walls, in a seemingly random pattern. Long shelves, high up on the wall behind the counter, display a collection of antique glass bottles, water jugs, and ceramic food jars.

You called ahead to know if there was room for two, and you are greeted by the friendly owner, a very tall thirty-year-old with unruly hair and a thick woolen sweater, who takes care of the service, single-handedly or with his wife. He offers to seat you at a table close to the heater and lights a small candle. He pauses a moment and says he remembers you from last time, or more accurately, he recognizes your boyfriend and apologetically explains that he has no memory for women’s faces. A moment later, he comes back with two kirs (white wine with blackberry liqueur), on the house. “Parce que je vous aime bien“, he says warmly.

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I remember very well the first bruschetta I ever had, served at the San Francisco vegetarian restaurant “Herbivore”. We had arrived in the US about two months before, it was the night of my 21st birthday, we were with our friend Jérémie, and after dinner we went to see Arling & Cameron play. The barman wouldn’t give me a free drink even considering the occasion, but we had the artists sign their album’s poster for me, which sure made up for it. A very good birthday night indeed.

We enjoyed bruschetta so much that we kept ordering it whenever the occasion arose. But as much as bruschetta is a common appetizer in Californian restaurants, I have very rarely seen it served in France, so I had been in bruschetta withdrawal for quite a while.

The other night, I was coming home from work on the bus, wondering what to make for dinner, like a good 80% of my fellow passengers I’m sure. I was mentally probing the contents of our fridge and pantry, when the happy thought dawned on me that I had all the ingredients to make bruschetta. Or my version of it, at least.

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Le Bar à Soupes

Le Bar à Soupes

Laurence, one of my best friends, works at the Opéra Bastille, and sometimes has to work Saturdays. She had joined me a few times for lunch close to my office, so I decided to return the favor, and met her during her lunch break this past Saturday. We had an hour, so fast food was the way to go. In its healthy trendy Parisian version of course!

Le Bar à Soupes, as the name implies, serves mostly soup. You can buy it to take away or sit in the tiny restaurant, like we did. It offers a daily selection of six flavors, comfortingly classic or wonderfully inventive, prepared with seasonal products supplied by a local producer (a Mr Démerisse). The soups are accompanied with little loaves of bread (plain, sesame or poppyseed) made by the organic baker Moisan (just like at R’Aliment). They also serve cheese or charcuteries plates, as well as a few simple desserts.

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Walnut Butter from the Monastery

Crème de Noix du Monastère

[Walnut Butter from the Monastery]

I take bus 67 to get home from work every day. This bus line isn’t very crowded, and takes me from the South of the 13th to the 18th arrondissement along a very pleasant route. You can usually find me sitting by a window, reading, writing, or just gazing outside and observing. At one point, in the 4th, the bus drives up the rue du Pont Louis Philippe, a typical Marais street, lined with small and arty store windows. They all intrigued me very much, but it never seemed to be a good time to get off the bus and explore, so I never had.

But when I was out shopping in that area last Saturday, I finally walked up that street and spent some happy time going in and out of these beautiful – if pricey – stores : home decoration, jewellery, clothes, paper and calligraphy supplies, japanese earthenware and kimonos…

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An Index Of C&Z Recipes

I have worked on building an index of the recipes I share in this blog. It will allow you to browse through them in alphabetical order, sorted by date, or by category of dish.

It will of course be updated automagically as I add new recipes, and you will find a link to it in the “About” section on the left navigation bar…

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