The 'Answer of the Week'

photo: bordeaux for winter

Winter damp makes stout Bordeaux a 'seasonal' beverage.

Is Not 'Where's the Can Opener?'

Paris:- Thursday, 18. January 2001:- Winter has a cold and clammy grip on the city now and I'd just as soon spend a grey afternoon at the Café Metropole Club, which is warm all over and well lighted. Its red upholstery, yellow decor and green plants give the club's café La Corona a decidedly cozy atmosphere, somewhat like a baroque Mexico.

All the same, on the way to it I take a little side-step - a careful one! - to the middle of the Pont Neuf to take a couple of artistically moody photos of the downstream Seine, showing the twiggy trees and buildings on both sides of the river fading into western mists.

While wondering what to do with these photos - if they come out - I notice that the Quai du Louvre sidewalk is nearly without any other sidewalkers, and it's not even raining. Some of the cafés are closed too.

La Corona's bar is nearly as empty, but Patrick - the club's 'Waiter of the Week' again - says a member has already arrived. I'm glad thisphoto: michelle royston is Michelle Royston because I want to hear about her trip to Champagne and the other adventures she's had while getting filled in on the food aspects of Paris.

She tells me that the cathedral at Reims was very cold, ordinary houses dotted around Champagne looked neat and she is looking forward to the Cordon Bleu's sauce course on Saturday. She also says she has three different food jobs.

Champagne is worth a visit, even in winter, according to Michelle.

Charles Eitel arrives and immediately gives us his favorite recipe - after ordering a medium-sized jug of winter-seasonal Bordeaux - for pieces of fresh baguettes smothered in melted chocolate.

Since I am not drinking anything and writing furiously, I thought he was going to say, 'baguettes slathered with garlic,' and have a hard time switching gears to chocolate.

Then Charles tells us about the great restaurants that only cost half as much as other great restaurants. Their only fault, he says, is that the half-price ones are so popular you can't get a table in them much before midnight.

All of Michelle's and Charles' talk about all the restaurants that they could get into does not stretch my stomach muscles, as Charles claims happens if you eat in them.

Apparently, people who eat in restaurants often have a scheme that goes like this - in Charles' ownphoto: charles eitel words, "We'll have a big lunch and a light dinner." The implication is that it is impossible to have a 'light' dinner - after having a stomach expanded by lunch.

Michelle and Charles tell many more food stories - one about stockpiling olive oil, as if it is something irresistible and you can never get enough of it so long as there is room to store it.

Charles takes two rare pauses - of talking, of sipping - at once.

At this point, some time after 15:00 but long before the meeting is over, three new members spot the club's location and sit down to join it. I now have high hopes for a new 'City of the Week.'

Sharyl and Paul Rupert are from Sausalito, California - no chance of a 'City of the Week!' - but they are accompanied by Bill Rude who comes up with the ace of being from Larkspur, California.

This new 'City of the Week' is famous for being the hometown of the Silver Peso cocktail lounge and motorcycle gang bar, and being the gateway to or the exit from San Quentin prison. If this wasn't enough, Larkspur is also mildly famous for its unique houseboats that don't float.

While Sharyl and Paul Rupert are reallyphoto: sharyl rupert from Sausalito, they spend a lot of time in Paris all the time, looking after their apartment rental outfit called ChezVous. Check it out - it's really real.

They got into the business because, as Paul says, Sharyl was 'in the international wine traffic,' which required her attention as well as her person to be in France often.

Former 'international wine trafficker,' Sharyl Rupert.

The apartment rental business requires a fair amount of attention too because the most expensive washing machines on the European market have the nasty habit of blowing their soapy water all over the floor instead of down the drain.

I know all about this because I have had several experiences with the cheapest washing machines on the European market doing the same thing to my floor. One even unscrewed itself while I was on holiday in Spain and did it.

Sharyl has a theory that one's life rhythm has to be in sync with washing machines, without actually saying this is the reason Paul spends some of his days mopping up flooded apartments.

Ah well, just part of life's little 'travails' I think. Bill is not part of this mop up operation, because in the members' booklet he's written 'tourist' to answer the non-obligatory question about the primary reason for being in Paris.

This becomes the 'Answer of the Week' - because only one couple out of all the other 168 new club members have ever given this as a reason for being here. Bill'sphoto: paul rupert answers to two other questions are 'zip.' A lot of other new members have answered 'fun.'

One last tidbit from the apartment rental business - Paul tells us about the clients who couldn't find the electric can opener in the apartment they rented.

Paul Rupert knows his mops - but not electric can openers.

This gets a big laugh because we all know that electric can openers are nearly as hard to find in Europe as electric corkscrews. The only kitchen utensil easier to find is the annual version of the electric oyster opener.

Endless Repeat Shopping Tip

Paris' Winter Sales - 'Soldes d'Hiver' - began just over a week ago and continue for five weeks to come. If you hit them soon, there may still be some true values left. Expect 'oohs' and 'aahs' for your rare bargains if you care to show them off at the club.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Actual real old historical details about your Café Metropole Paris Club - as opposed to recent 'reports' - in Paris, can be found on the 'About the Café Metropole Club page,' which is about your club and is accessible here, and from each issue's 'home' page.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

If you choose to skip the 'about the club' stuff you should read this about the next Café Metropole Club meeting. It will be held on Thursday, 25. January 2001. If you are in Paris it will merely be a day with something to do with Saint-Paul - which will be followed by Friday, which will be a fairly ordinary Sainte-Paule Day - according to my calendar.

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is every Thursday of the 3rd millennium. The time for your club's meeting will still be fromphoto: bill rude 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'OTMOT' - but otherwise known as 3 pm to 5 pm elsewhere.

The club's usual secretary will be making 'report' notes during the coming meeting. Since the date for it falls after New Years is over and before Saint-Valentine's Day, the meeting may be one of Paris' few quieter events - judging from a feeling I thought I had.

I forget to ask Bill Rude to wave his hands around instead of his head. Sorry, Bill!

Of course, if fewer members are present you will have a greater chance to make your 'Quote of the Week' or be from the 'City of the Week' - so long as I am listening. Give it a try anyway.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini