Wednesday, October 01, 2008

IN SEARCH OF..........

I like finding things out by myself. I know it's the long way of exploring a place and I know there are plenty of opinions to be found about what is good in Paris, where to go, where not to go. But I simply prefer approaching things like a five year old with no knowledge and no expectations and without someone's opinion etched into my mind. It leads to conversations like....

ME: OH MY GOD, I found the MOST AMAZING bakery today that sells artisan bread and these butter cookies that are SO AAAAWESOME.
YOU: Poilane?
ME: Uh, yeah. How'd you know?
YOU: Cause it's a really old and famous bakery.
ME: Oh. Well, totally. Yeah. That place ROCKS!

It's just.....more fun for me this way.

My latest search has been more difficult. I didn't fully realize the complications of foraging for food in a tourist area before I actually moved into one. I've never lived in a tourist trap before. One by one I have written off all the overpriced and less than mediocre restaurants on my block bordering the 6th and 7th arrondissements. I can't even afford to be mediocre here. My hopes were raised when the epicerie around the corner on rue des Saint Peres opened at the beginning of September. YES! They were then smashed into bits when the small rotisserie chicken I purchased came to a total of 26€. I visibly choked when the cashier rang me up. 26 FRICKIN' EURO FOR A PIECE OF CHICKEN????!! I at least hoped it would be the best rotisserie chicken I ever ate but as I chewed the dry bits of chicken trying to calculate how many euro each bite cost, I realized I had been taken for another mediocre and overpriced ride.
Again.
Sigh.
GONE are the 2 euro Indian meals I could easily have when I lived in the 10th. GONE are the surprise and wealth of little hole in the wall restaurants offering tasty bits for not a whole lot of money. And if it sucked, oh well. What did you expect for 3 euro? Suivant.

So I cook a lot. But now I have to deal with the Monoprix St. Germain where, despite trying to do my shopping at every hour of day, it remains a hellion of crowded shoppers and lackluster produce. La Grande Epicerie is way out of my league for any regular shopping and the produce stand on Rue de Seine is just...eh. So yesterday I went to check out the Marché St. Germain in my usual style of not reading anything about a place beforehand and just going. Expecting an actual food market, I rolled in with my wheely cart. And stopped.


Soooooo....am I in New Jersey now? Uh, is that a food court I see? Is this Short Hills Mall? Is there a Hot Topic here too? And more importantly, can I get cheese fries? Is this air conditioned? Uh......where's the....marché? Wait, am I still in France?

After rolling past The Gap and Zara, I finally found the market tucked into a back corner. Empty but for a few shoppers, there was not a whole lot of choice there but hey, at least I'm not being run down by carts and pushy people in Monoprix. I have already written off the fish vendor at the front who sold me tuna steaks covered in scales (um, how does one manage that?) and Merlan filets filled with bones but the butcher seems alright, the produce hasn't been toooo bad and I got a nice bottle of wine from the caviste.

In the meantime, I will keep not doing any research at all and instead just blindly walk the streets one by one in search of something better.....

6 comments:

Rich said...

Isn't there a market on Boulevard Raspail? Judging from the places you've mentioned, you must be close to that.

lincoln said...

Right beside the Marché, on Rue Lobineau, is a super-affordable old place called Le Petit Vatel. It's donkey's years old and should suit you well.

Peggy said...

I think you should just keep your approach with the perspective of a blind five year old - who wants to be running around Paris with guidebooks and others' scribbled recommendations?
I stumbled upon that mall like market thing when I lived in Paris and roared when you made the analogy to Short Hills Mall, I was thinking the same.....

Anonymous said...

I'm from N.J. I've shopped at Short Hills Mall -- honestly, almost all the malls in NJ. When I was in Paris last November wandering around the very same way as you do -- wanting to maintain an openess to experience -- I felt the exact same way as you when going into the Monoprixs and Marche -- wtf? Passing Starbucks after Starbucks! WTF? Keep trying, Dana. I did run across a couple of jewels, but don't remember names. I can hardly wait to see Paris again! Love your posts!

CoCo said...

Didn't mean to be cagey by posting as anon above... trying to figure that feature out!

KFD said...

merci for the tips! i'll make the exception and check them out. :)