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Three Week Habit, Spring in Summer, Two for Eight

18-6-12yogapretzelPhoto courtesy of starcasm.netTHREE WEEK HABIT

The living room was rearranged again pushing all the chairs and tables aside on Friday night to accommodate yoga mats for another instruction from Nancy Szczepanski — who is helping these old creaky bones and muscles get back some flexibility. My daughter, who is an ‘old pro’ at turning herself into a pretzel, joked that after all the years of her cajoling me to take yoga, I wouldn’t listen to HER, but to some outside voice of authority. How true it is!

Nancy has me working out a few minutes every morning before doing anything else and I’ve promised to stick with that for at least three weeks to comply with the proverbial “21-day rule” to create or break a habit. I must admit, I’ve now missed two days during which I had a visitor, but the mat will be out again tomorrow morning as if those two days hadn’t happened.

For those beginners who wish to join our “yoga for geriatrics” group that meets on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. chez moi, email us at [email protected] to see if there is room — I can’t fit more than four mats in my living room. (Go Sport had a good selection of yoga mats for 25€ or less. Be sure the mat is for yoga and not other gymnastics as it’s important it doesn’t slip on the floor and you won’t slip on it while in some exotic position.)

18-6-12springSPRING IN SUMMER

It took many tries, but I finally scored a reservation for dinner Saturday night with a visitor of mine at “Spring, a young (33 years old) American chef’s (Chicago), Daniel Rose, acclaimed little restaurant. It was always tough to snag a seat, even when it was located in a 16-seater spot in the 9th arrondissement, but now that it’s in newer chicer digs in the 1st (6, rue Bailleul) with not quite double the seating capacity (28) and with the New York Times touting it, it’s even tougher.

Call and you may get no answer nor voice mail. They accept reservations via telephone (+33 (0)1 45 96 05 72) only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m on Saturday. I tried emailing them ([email protected]) and got no response. (It must be nice to be so independent…and loving it, obviously.)

The glass door of the newly renovated 17th-century space is closed until you are allowed in and escorted to your table. At the price of the multi-course (we counted 7 or 8 or more) fixed price menu (Daniel decides what he’s serving)– 76€ for dinner and 44€ for lunch — you might expect table cloths, but think again. This is minimalist dining at small café tables with an English-speaking friendly staff and a restaurant full of Americans.

Normally I avoid restaurants that cater to the American-visitor-in-Paris like the plague, but curiosity won the battle. The critic in me tried to find the negatives throughout the meal, but they all went astray by the time the desserts were presented. Sure, the “amuse geules” of radishes and tapenade sauce didn’t pass the “so what” test, but everything that followed was close to heaven.

Don’t ask me to describe any of it. Dishes that are as complex and artistically creative as Kandinsky paintings mean they aren’t that memorable — visually speaking. No matter, it’s what goes on the tongue that counts, at least in my restaurant book, and this counted. Rose manages to take food products we’ve all had before and turn each one into a work of art on the palette.

Rose’s adorable Jewish mother came over to our table to say hello and tell me what a big fan she is of House Hunters International! She was ‘kvelling’ (bursting with pride) — no doubt she must be awfully proud of her son who’s become such a sensation in Paris, the center of French gastronomy that doesn’t normally welcome outsiders into its fold as they have of him.

11-6-12-Francisco-LeivaTWO FOR EIGHT

Sunday night we rearranged the living room again, this time for more tango lessons. Francisco Leiva is a great teacher — he doesn’t seem to get annoyed with anyone’s bad stepping and makes the session fun, even if sweating under pressure. Of course, we have already developed the habit of opening a bottle of wine to raise a glass before we start practicing our “ochos” (figure eight dance steps) and somehow that makes it all more relaxing!

I wonder what my neighbors are thinking now that they are hearing sounds from above that may be different than any they’ve heard before. They haven’t complained yet, but it doesn’t last all that long and fortunately, tango is NOT flamenco — if you get what I mean?

We are fortunate that Francisco has agreed to come speak (and dance) at Parler Paris Après Midi on September 11th! He’ll talk a bit about tango as a dance, and tango as something you can learn to do and enjoy. We may get lucky and get a demonstration!

18-6-12 orchestre silencio live3Orchestre SilencioIf you want to come take lessons, we’re going to join him this coming Saturday or Sunday for group lessons and then a “bal” with the Orchestre Silencio and the Orchestre Nada Mas during the “Festival el Corazózon des Abbesses” (the third edition). And if you meet Francisco, tell him I sent you!


A la prochaine…


adrian 16-6-12Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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18-6-12COTEDEPARADISP.S. Hot off the seaside press: “La Côte de Paradis,” Parler Nice Apartments newest luxury rental — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom spacious, air-conditioned with balcony — is open for vacation rentals. It’s not up on our Web site yet, but now’s the time to reserve before high season becomes low availability. La Côte de Paradis is the apartment adjacent to Le Matisse sharing one entrance, so for large parties, it’s ideal to rent both! For more information and to book your stay, email [email protected] and stay tuned for the Web pages coming soon.


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