Dining with Man’s Best Friend


Utah Beach

These came from Utah Beach,  Normandy. Very different from Utah Beach - 1944


Drinks on the Petrus III


A first: we had drinks on Petrus III, a boat owned by one of Bernard’s friends. It’s the boat in the top middle of the photo. It’s docked on the “Port de l’Arsenal.” To the right lies the Seine. To the left, the Bastille and Canal St Martin. Our apartment faces l’Arsenal, a bit to the right of the boat.

Ready for Dinner


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!


A Magical Christmas

On Christmas day we went to Théâtre des Champs-Elysées to see Mozart’s Magic Flute. And so it was.


Obliged to take single seats, R sat on one side and E in the other. The overture opened the production with white lines, circles, squares, mathematical figurations projected onto the curtain so there was no mistaking we were in for a Masonic evening. Mozart was a Mason and the Magic Flute is about the hero’s journey to find love and forgiveness.


The singing, the acting and orchestra were sensational. If you are interested, here’s the link to the Paris Opera site and a taste of what we experienced:



 As always, the Parisian audience was incredibly enthusiastic. At the curtain call

curtain-call.jpgthe conductor had the orchestra play “Oh Tannenbaum” and the audience sang along. It was just good fun, they did an encore of “Jingle Bells.” That of course brought people to their feet singing loudly and members of the cast dancing.


Outside we took photos, albeit flawed though with the iconic background.

          rv2outdoors.jpg              es-outside.jpg

You come out of an amazing, fulfilling, entertaining event and the first thing you see when you hit the street is the Eiffel Tower. C’est Paris!


The topper was dinner with Dorie and Michael at their apartment; speaking of food, sipping wines, eating delicious food and the usual incredible cheeses. Ça c’est Paris aussi!





Renée’s back Talking with the Butcher


Equally Bound to Happen

The new adventure occurred not more than 5 minutes after I finished the last blog.

I was emptying the garbage when I heard some voices in the back yard, turned and said “Bonjour” to a group of people who were walking around - a woman and three men. When I went to the hallway door we engaged in conversation as the woman and her husband were thinking about buying the apartment on the 2nd floor. She asked me if I lived here and we explained about our yearly visits and how much we love living here - the apartment, the neighborhood, etc.

Turns out they live in Paris but are looking to move. Then it turns out that she and her husband are intellectuals teaching at the Sorbonne and Stanford. Ah Stanford, so we are “neighbors” in California so we exchange cards. Then it turns out that she is a member of the French  Senate.

Will we meet again? Do we know why we meet? Do we know why we part?

Sir Richard Burton, the 19th Century adventurer, explorer, soldier, diplomat, linguist (29 languages) translator ofThe Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana and The Thousands and One Nights, sufi who make the Hajj to Mecca (in mufti) asked those questions in his poem:  The Kasidah-

Why meet we on the bridge of Time - to’change one greeting and to part?

We meet to part; yet asks my sprite, - Part we to meet? Ah is it so?

Man’s fancy-made Omniscience knows, - Who made Omniscience nought can know.

Why must we meet, why must we part. - Why must we bear this yoke of MUST?


So who knows why we met. The point is that Paris once again and quickly opened her arms and said welcome! 

Bound to Happen

We are back in Paris and we experienced our first ‘bad moment.” After drinks in the 6th with friends we took a bus (the 86) to the 12th to have dinner with some American friends.

Instinct is a funny thing. So often we sense something but don’t act on it. As we were getting into the bus a man in front of us,  short, long pony tail, holding a French newspaper, stopped suddenly and we walked around him. A short time later, Renée went to look up something on her iPhone and it was gone; the iPhone and her French cell phone. The man was by then, sitting in a seat nearby and I was certain he was the thief. I walked next to him and called Renée’s cell. I heard the ringing on my phone but could not hear the phone ringing, if in fact, he had it.

When we got off the bus, to hurry home and start the cancellation process, Renée told me who she thought had done it- the same man, I suspected. Nothing to do but go home and start calling.

We were finished by 11:30  PM and found a small Café around the corner was still open for as light meal. We ate, we had some red wine. We ended the evening with Renée’s philosophical thought: “At least no one died.”

Everything in perspective!

So we’ve had our “bad moment” and will enjoy the rest of our stay in Paris. Who knows what new adventures will find us?