No Degree of Separation


This was the view at midnight as we moved into the New Year. We were at Dorie’s and Michael’s along with 16 other interesting and intelligent people. French and American, ex-pats who’ve been living in Paris for decades, and visitors here for a few days; all involved with Paris and Food: writers of books and blogs, sellers of French champagne and a producer of food apps for mobile phones and iPads.

The first degree of no separation was when we were talking to a woman guest. She was visiting Paris. Turns out she lives in Santa Rosa … Santa Rosa! That’s 10  miles from where we live.

There were 2 tables with places set. Each setting had a number written on a small piece of paper. There was also a hat with small pieces of paper with numbers written on them. Each of us drew a piece of paper and we sat where the numbers matched. So what are the chances that with 7 couples, not one couple would sit at the same table? Don’t know what the odds were, but that’s what happen

The meal started with champagne to be had with an endless supply of oysters. Vouray was available for those who didn’t want champagne. When the 2003 Sauternes were placed on the tables, we knew the foie gras was not far behind.

Then the main course: a fantastic Hachis Parmentier (the recipe is in Dorie’s Around My French Table on page 258). The dish had every flavor of the French countyside. We drank American (Cain Five, Peju’s Fifty/fifty, Silver Oak) and French (St Joseph) reds.

The party broke up a little after 3 AM. The weather was balmy (for December) and the drizzle had stopped. There was no public transportation and no taxis to be had, so we walked. It took us an hour and a half. When we crossed our local bridge (4:30 AM, January 1, 2012) over the Port de L’Arsenal (a waterway between the Seine and the Canal St. Martin) we got this picture looking up towards the Bastille. Happy New Year, indeed!


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