Three ladies made their way to the 11th arrondissement in Paris last night to meet, eat and swap stories at the much-loved bustling bistro, Paul Bert.
The third lady is behind the camera.
My friend Rosemary from London had steak entrecote with bearnaise sauce and the bistro’s signature crispy fries.
Beth from Toronto and I shared a stew of slowly-braised beef cheeks in red wine served with sea shell pasta called conchiglie. It was deliciously satisfying.
Rosemary tactfully dissuaded me from ordering Chinon again (I’m always ordering Chinon. I’m a Chinon buff.) We all agreed that a nice Crozes-Hermitage would fit the bill nicely.
Towards the end of the meal, Rosemary saw a soufflé go by and said she simply had to have one.
I saw a crème caramel go by and the sight of it gave me a fillip. I used to make crème caramels – in a bain marie – when I was a teenager. I thought I was being terribly sophisticated. Not having tasted one in over a decade, I put in my order.
And I was so glad I did! Light and silky and doused in a sweet caramel sauce. I swooned with each spoonful. Beth went for the cheese plate and a wooden plateau arrived laden with different fromages.
The service was impeccable; the skilled waitstaff patient and charming. The convivial atmosphere of Paul Bert has you striking up conversation with the diners beside you. It helps when they are Americans: friendly and sociable. This couple hails from New Orleans. He’s writing a novel, he told us.
And these young people are from Brooklyn.
I think we were all making a lot of noise towards the end of the evening. I’ll bet the French were thinking “Those loud Anglo-Saxons with their cameras….and snapping pictures of a common crème caramel. Grands dieux!” (“Good grief!”) Oh well. A good time was had by all.