an american in paris: day 9 – jeudi

lunch at Korcarz

After the long Three Kings Day, which saw us visit two museums, buy a galette, crown Coco the queen, and me eating two whole marrons from Ladúree, I think Paris the trip (as opposed to Paris the city or Paris the person) finally caught up with me. I was tired at the end of every day, but in a good way, and I woke up every morning (never as early as I liked) energized to do something new (or at least something else). But not Thursday. Thursday, I wanted to sit around and be as lazy as possible. I could do this. I may not be able to make semi-decent coffee or remember basic things like the French word for “spoon”, but I could be lazy.Khloe, Jeff, and Coco decided to return to Galeries Lafayette to see what les soldes would yield. I decided to stay in, take a long shower, catch up on my newsfeeds. I made a quick jaunt to Monoprix, as I needed a nail clipper and emery boards (that mani-pedi I’d been putting off since Thanksgiving was beginning to make me feel like Howard Hughes), and some soap.

Let me take a moment to mention that I didn’t bring conditioner on this trip, I ran out of shampoo, and I didn’t want to buy full size bottles of anything. I didn’t see travel-size bottles of anything at Monoprix or any of the neighborhood pharmacies. So of course I abandoned all reason and washed my hair with a bar of Nivea. Seriously. The Nivea was great on my skin. My hair? Not so much. My hair was clean, certainly, but it looked like a bird’s nest.

They came back in the afternoon, Khloe bearing some lovely table linens that were just gorgeous. We agreed that French bedding would be a worthy purchase for next time. We set out for lunch at Korcarz, the Jewish deli and bakery on Rue des Rosiers. I had a quiche while Khloe and Jeff got sandwiches. We all pondered Khloe’s question about what we’d done differently in our twenties if we could.

I’ve thought about this question, or variants of it, rather, for quite some time. The only single response that ever makes sense to me is that I would have moved back to New York City after graduating from college, if not that summer then certainly the following spring. I think I always knew this is what I wanted to do, which I think is an important distinction to make in my mind from “what I should have done” but, ah well. Such is life (and student loans and health insurance, apparently).

That question was a bit of a bummer. The cure? Shopping at Muji. Why there is no Muji in Chicago but, like, five in New York City, is a retail injustice that escapes me. So of course I compensated by buying a bunch of travel accessories at the store. Empty bottles. A small funnel and scoop for filling those bottles. A packet of miniature tubes of delicious toothpaste. A castanet for Hyacinth (whose birthday is coming up). Jeff spotted another Space Invader on the way home.

So dinner that night was at this wonderful restaurant called Le Carré des Vosges. It was just around the corner from the apartment, so no Baby Björn, just the sling to carry baby Coco to dinner. The restaurant was small, elegant, though I wasn’t a big fan of the fake floral arrangements on the bar. A wine refrigerator, with sleek electronic displays behind smoked glass, was a significant but quiet presence by the front door. We didn’t have a reservation but it was early, so we got a four top near the bar. The maitre d’ and the bartender acted as our waiters, and could not have been fonder of the baby.

The winter prix fixe menu was a reasonable 40 €, so I had a Kir Royal with my meal. Jeff also went for the prix fixe option. I wish I could remember everything. I wish I’d remembered to take pictures! I think I didn’t because as attentive as the staff were, it made me feel self-conscious. So there’s no picture of the roast chestnut puree with foie gras that would just pop! in your mouth. No photograph of Khloe’s immaculate scallops. Not the flaky, perfect cod, or the buttery soft veal. Guess you had to be there.


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