Table of Contents
- 1 Destination: Paris
- 2 Mode of Transport: Andouillette
- 3 New York, my town
- 4 La Brasserie Bofinger
- 5 It quickly became an obsession.
- 6 In the Marais
- 7 La Closerie De Lilas
- 8 Brasserie Lipp
- 9 Brenda’s Short Travel Guide to Paris
- 10 Click Here for latest prices and more details for flights to Paris
- 10.1 Stays:
- 10.2 Click here to get the best prices and more details about Hotel Saint-Louis Marais
- 10.3 Click here for the latest prices and more details about Hotel de la Paix
- 10.4 Eats:
- 10.5 Books we used for touring and dreaming about Paris:
Mode of Transport: Andouillette
Brenda and Bailey are feeling a bit under the weather and are very happy with staying at home and watching cooking programs all day. I need to get some air and tell them that I am going for a walk. It’s cold out so I choose to wear my favorite cashmere scarf. It’s charcoal grey and very long. The hand on it is luxurious. I wrap it around my neck multiple times for style’s sake, but mostly to keep myself warm. It’s like an old trusted friend. I definitely put my trust in it when I walk around on cold days.
New York, my town
I am very fond of my town, New York. I love it for what it is, and I love it for what it can morph into if you let your mind and sensibilities wander. No other town, in my estimation, can stand on it’s own as does this city; nor can any other town become a reflection of other great cities around the world as this one does.
On cold sunny days, especially when I have my favorite scarf on, my sense of memory brings me back to a cold February, in 2003. Walking around my downtown neighborhood in New York, I let my mind turn back the clock and pretend to again to be visiting Paris that year.
I start walking over to one of my favorite haunts. I walk north on Crosby Street, take a sharp left on Spring Street and enter Balthazar. I perch myself at the zinc bar and place my standard order of a dozen oysters, kumamoto when they are available; and the lamb sandwich. They have a vin de pays by the carafe, so I ask for that.
I pretend I am in Paris.
The kumamotos are small, laid over a bed of ice, served with cocktail sauce and a mignonette. They are little delights with a mild fruity essence and just enough brininess. I decide to forego the vin de pays for now and order a glass of chardonnay with the oysters. I feel as if I am feasting on butter without having any. The combination is malty and smooth.
My sandwich arrives, and the meat is at a perfect temperature of medium rare. The lamb, with lettuce, tomato, with just the right amount of mayonnaise is bookended by two toasted slices of sourdough. It’s served with crispy double fried frites. I like to dip these in some bearnaise, which I ask for on the side. It’s perfect with the vin de pays.
La Brasserie Bofinger
I look around Balthazar and it reminds me of La Brasserie Bofinger on Rue de la Bastille. There’s a faint sound of Billie Holiday in the background, overwhelmed by the clatter and energy of the place. Bofinger is not unlike this. Bofinger was the first place Brenda and I have ever tried a dish named, Andouillette.
Andouillette is a coarse dry sausage made with pork or veal, long intestine, and chitterlings, with a seasoning of pepper, salt, onion and wine. It is not for the faint-hearted. Upon looking at it, one can almost feel gout coming on. It has a barnyard smell and taste about it. It can stand up to any wine, but best with beer.
It quickly became an obsession.
First I heard of Andouillette was in a short story in one of my many Hemingway Anthology books. He loved it, and so did Brenda and I. We both grew up in a culture in which offal was not out of the ordinary, so by no means were we intimidated by this robust sausage. It quickly became an obsession.
My carafe emptied. I need another drink to prolong my daydreaming. I order a very dry Gin Martini. I prefer Beefeater; it’s still made in the heart of London , there is something traditionally intriguing about that. I thank my bartender, he returns my gratitude with a smile, and with a light fist, knocks on the bar and wishes me good luck. In drinking man’s language, that means the drink is on him.
In the Marais
Brenda and I stayed in a humble hotel in the Marais, but dressed as if we were staying at the Ritz Paris. She wore a beautiful corseted top, that caught the eye of the night attendant at the hotel, paired with a winter white low rise boiled wool trouser. Her coat was a patchwork of fox and pony, black to the floor. Her boots were Valentino Garavani, with a high red heel as an accent.
We walked into the Ritz that evening as if we belonged there.
We went to the bar on the Cambon side, better known as the Hemingway Bar. Colin Field was behind the bar that evening. He made Brenda a classic French 75 and I had a perfect Gin Martini. I had four that night. I remember light ice crystals floating on the top of the drink. It was perfect. The evening was perfect as Colin cranked up an old phonograph and played a version of Falling in Love Again, by Marlene Dietrich.
[Tweet “We walked into the Ritz that evening as if we belonged there.”]
La Closerie De Lilas
The following morning, we both needed a nice walk in the cold fresh air and something substantial for lunch to soak up some of the poison from the previous evening. We go to Montparnasse and head to La Closerie De Lilas. Another Hemingway haunt, and appropriately had their andouillette. This dish was a little more polished than the one we had at Bofinger. It was seared a little more and it wasn’t as “fragrant”. Perfect with a heavy dose of mustard and a dry soda with bitters.
The walk over had been long and cold, and I needed few bites of my sausage before unraveling my scarf. The sun shone bright, and the streets filled with protesters (this was shortly after 9-11, and not everyone was happy with decisions George Bush had made regarding the war). Brenda averted her eyes from what was going on outside and just lost herself in the peaceful music that filled the room.
My daughter has become somewhat of a baguette aficionado,
My bartender takes me away from my dreamscape for a second and asks me if I wanted another drink. I decline; so, I ask for my tab and pay him. I wrap myself up and head out to the cold. The weather is quite crisp. I sneak into the boulangerie right next door from the restaurant and buy two baguettes for home.
My daughter has become somewhat of a baguette aficionado, since we returned from our trip to France in 2012. She loves them flaky. She has a penchant for making a mess at the table with the way she tears through the baguettes.
When I speak of France with my daughter, it is almost always about the week we spent in Paristogether as a family. Her favorite place on earth is the playground in the Luxembourg Gardens; where there is a small entrance fee, but kept pristine. One day in specific she talks about all the time is how our first stop in Paris on our first day was at her mother’s and my favorite eatery in Paris, Brasserie Lipp on Saint-Germain.
Bailey ordered a steak and Brenda and I ordered the andouillette. It’s our favorite andouillette of all the places we have tried. We sat in a corner table outside, under an awning protecting us from the rain. We talked and laughed, ate and drank until the rain went away and the sun came out. On our way back home from lunch, we happened upon the playground for the first time, and made a daily visit ever since. Bailey considers that a perfect day, and I agree.
I love my city. I love that it allows me to have my little corner of Paris in it. I can’t find andouillette anywhere in the city, but that’s okay; my gout had been acting up anyway. I walk East on Spring Street toward the Bowery and stop in at a local wine shop to pick up a bottle of Givry. It’s starting to get late in the day, and the girls are probably wondering where I went. The sun quickly goes down, and the chill picks up. I’m glad I have my old trusted friend to keep me warm for the walk home.
Ok, Have you tried Andouillette? Would you? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to know! Share this dish with your friends, please.
Brenda’s Short Travel Guide to Paris
Flying there from the U.S.
Most Main U.S. airlines have direct stops to Paris from NYC and all major American cities. Our favorite is Air France which we flew in 2012. We also flew Iberia in 2003. The cost of our flight was about $1200 round-trip during summer in 2012. In 2003 it was only $300 round-trip with a stopover in Madrid .
In 2003, Andrew and I stayed at Hotel Saint-Louis Marais which was a great hotel for a couple. It was quite romantic and the neighborhood was packed with great local eats.
|Hotel Saint-Louis Marais|
|1, rue Charles V|
|+33 (0)1 48 87 87 04|
|+33 (0)1 48 87 33 26|
In 2012, Andrew, Bailey and I stayed Hotel de la Paix in Montparnasse. We loved it because it was so close to Luxembourg Gardens that we made a stop there every day. It’s such a wonderful stop for kids because of the very well-equipped and well-kept playground.
Hôtel De La Paix – Paris Montparnasse
225 Boulevard Raspail – 75014 PARIS – France
Tel. : +33(0)18.104.22.168.82
Email : [email protected]
5-7 rue de la Bastille
Tél : +33 (0)1 42 72 87 82
Books we used for touring and dreaming about Paris:
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