Glasgow and Hot Dogs

photo: jan, david, dana, linda, kathleen

This is not the same group as last week - note David Leslie noting himself in the club's booklet.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Thursday, 9. December 1999:- Welcome back all 'virtual' and real charter club members and all members who have not yet joined, with or without the mild formality of clipping the club's membership card - not obligatory! - out of Monday's 'News About the Club' in this week's edition of Metropole.

As usual, Jan Shaw is the first to arrive for today's meeting and as usual she says she doesn't know where Dana Shaw is, and as usual he comes in five minutes later without any notion he was 'lost' in Paris.

The weather is perfect for residents and visitors in Paris. However, as has often happened in past weeks, the low sun bats into the café La Corona - giving the café's interior horrible bright-light spots - which will ruin any photos I don't ruin myself.

It would help a lot if the Institut de France over on the left bank would raise its coupole a couple of stories. But it is not raining nor anywhere near snowing, so I shouldn't complain.

Today's waiter - 'garçon' - is Monsieur Ferrat. For him, Jan Shaw has an unusual request. She wants a big cup of café withphoto: kathleen & card a little pot of hot milk on the side. She thinks this is called a 'café noisette,' but Monsieur Ferrat says it is 'un grand café americain avec du lait apart.' Calling it coffee-hazel-nuts instead sounds fine to me.

Tougher to get than winning the lottery; Kathleen's new residence permit. Is she happy?

While we are waiting for real club business to start Dana Shaw tells me about the patisserie-chocolatier shop two doors away on the same street as the café - with the same address as the café by the way - which has the best 'croque-monsieurs' in Paris.

This is a very big claim because there probably are about 3500 other places that make them in the city. Dana says the 'Cabor's' croque-monsieurs are heaped up with mounds of grated cheese and - but he is interrupted.

Other regular club charter members arrive in their own good sweet time, and we pass around the handshakes and 'bisous' with server-lady Linda Thalman and Kathleen Bouvier.

Dana is interrupted 17 times and all I find out is that the 'Cabor's' croque-monsieurs do not have mustard in them.

For readers who are coming in late, a croque-monsieur is a staple of every Paris visitors' diet. It consists of two slices of buttered whitephoto: the hot dog bread with a piece of ham in between and with grated cheese on top. These are grilled until the cheese melts, and they would be good if they had mustard in them.

This Corona-sized hot dog makes a croque-monsieur look like chicken-feed.

Most of them are perfunctory, and they are often over-grilled. The idea of them has great potential that is seldom realized, so finding a place that makes the 'best in Paris' is a major feat. Bravo Dana!

One interruption has come from the out-of-breath arrival of Linda who has to tell us she found a parking space near Invalides - a couple of kilometres - the metric system again - away and across the Seine. Bravo Linda!

The other interruption comes from Kathleen, who needs to show us her brand-shining-new, never-used, bona-fide French 'carte d'identité.' We all 'bravo' Kathleen for this extraordinary and authentic demonstration of determination and courage.

Dana manages to get in that he thinks maybe the 'Cabor' uses not only more cheese, but better cheese. As everybody knows, General De Gaulle once said France had too many different kinds of cheese, and since he said it several hundred more have been added to the national reparatory.

Dana went to school in Paris for a couple of years a long time ago and he remembers that there was no 'white, sliced bread.' He says there was a bread he thinks was called 'monk's bread' and it was sliceable. Most regular bread was breakable, but baguettes were too thin to slice for sandwiches. Science advances, and you now see baguettes sliced too.

This brings us to the vital 'city of the week' portion of the club's meeting. Only Linda, the server-lady, has yet to give us one and thus we have Eugene, Oregon.

But before this can be voted on, David Leslie arrives unexpectedly from Glasgow, Scotland, and it becomes the 'city of the week' by acclamation. Bravo Glasgow! Linda takes this rather well, and we all agree that Eugene, Oregon will get its chance sooner or later.

David, who is a medical practitioner in Glasgow and who knowsphoto: dr david leslie about things, says his wife is in Samaritaine buying the place and orders a dark beer of some sort. Other members decide to have 'hot' wine and Monsieur Ferrat arranges for this.

To pep herself up, Linda orders a 'hot dog.' We unanimously vote this delicacy as 'food of the week' - because, next to croque-monsieurs and onion soup, hot dogs are a staple of Paris' café fare, although you seldom see people eating them.

Taken from under the table, this photo of David Leslie is not over-lit, but fuzzy.

When it comes we all see why not. Although sliced, white-bread is not so rare in Paris anymore, hot dog buns are not found on every street corner.

Every other café's, and La Corona's fallback too, is to slice half a baguette lengthwise. This results in the world's longest hot dog 'bun' so the only thing to do is put a 30-centimetre - on the metric scale - Frankfurter in it.

La Corona being La Corona, as well as host to the Café Metropole Club, outdoes most other cafés by putting two of these monster sausages in its hot dogs, plus it adds a half-kilo of cheese. All of this is grilled, just like a croque-monsieur.

This is too big to eat with ordinary-sized hands, so it is served on a big plate with a stout knife and fork, accompanied by napkins. Linda eats nearly the whole thing.

While doing so, Dana explains the meaning of 's'more' - which is so complicated I can'tphoto: m ferrat & linda remember the details. David, who seems to know quite a bit about medicine, tells us about a Glasgow delicacy - deep-fried Mars bars. He adds that Glasgow is the heart-attack capital of Europe.

M. Ferrat is proud of Linda for nearly eating the whole hot dog.

Then he looks at his watch, thinks about his credit rating for two seconds, and races off to the Samaritaine before his wife can buy the neat Christmas window displays on its Rue de Rivoli side.

The abruptness of David's departure causes Linda to wonder how many parking tickets she may have gotten and I look and see the time is 17:15. Today's club meeting is into overtime.

For members and readers who were concerned, the new 'club' pen from last week is still okay for light writing. I really do miss the old one, because it was really good for putting exclamation marks on the page.

Thanks for all the cards, letters and 'virtual' membership applications you have been sending. These last are not obligatory for joining the club.

All you need do is wave your hand - any one will do - in some area over your head three times, and repeat 'I am a virtual member of the Café Metropole Club in Paris.' One time is enough.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Next Thursday, 16. December, is a perfectly ordinary Thursday - except for possible late-night shopping - in France. The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual, so the time for your club's meeting still is from 15:00 to 17:00. If you like hot dogs, bring a big appetite with you next week. The place is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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