Big Beers and Frites

photo, group of the week, marie and josef The fun Group of the Week, Marie and Josef.

Food, Drink, Of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 13. December:–  It will come as no surprise to regular readers that we are having strange weather. Monday's forecast called for sunny skies today, and I was counting on it, but last night's forecast on France–2 TV said it was going to be excessively gloomy today, possibility of rain, maybe winds, batten the hatches and buy some cheapo street gloves because the temperature is headed towards zero.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I opened my peepers and it was not gloomy, it was not windy, it wasn't raining and there was actual sunshine, just like the forecast said last Monday. Okay, I was bewildered by it all and then I went out and it was cooler than it's been. One of those forecasts gets one out of five, and the superseded one gets five–by–five, but who can remember Wednesday let along last Monday?

While I am being perplexed you are not supposed to think this is an introduction to a pre–excuse, sloughing off blame for tonight's new forecast. Right or wrong I am responsible. When I'm right I'm right and when it's wrong it's Météo France.

photo, glass of beerOne of a half–dozen.

The first thing we have to watch out for is morning fog. I don't know about you but I intend to sleep through it. It is predicted for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It may transform itself into high, thin, gauzy clouds, slightly shrouding the sun. The sun is low in the sky by the way.

If you miss the morning fog it may be sunny when you go out. It may be entirely sunny, depending on the fog situation, or it might only be partly or slightly sunny, depending on the fog situation. On the other hand with the sun so low in the sky it might shine in your eyes, below the fog. From this afternoon's experience, it is bright. Maybe some street shades will help.

The other side of the weather coin reveals temperatures that are barely on the metric scale. For tomorrow we have been promised 3 degrees. If you think that's low for Paris in December you are right. Saturday promises to be even more extraordinary with a high of 1 degree. Then Sunday comes and falls right off, with zero forecast. In non–metrics that is 32 freezing degrees. Oh yeah, there's to be a little breeze of 30 kph sliding through here from the northeast, coming I guess from the lousy shores frozen of the Baltic.

The Big Beer and Frites of the Week Report

I was halfway to the métro at Raspail when I thought maybe it was a mistake to leave without my gloves. They aren't street gloves either. I was fooled by the bright sunshine. So I put my hands in my pockets but by then it was too late.

photo, plate of frites The real thing – French.

The métro ride, which I have not mentioned lately, was about the same as the last time I mentioned it. There didn't seem to be any strike happening. There was one yesterday, but it might have fizzled. There was supposed to be a train strike today but it might have been called off on account of Gadhafi's visit.

He's been visiting because he surrendered some hostages he was holding for ransom, after our president Nicolas Sarkozy promised him something and a parliamentary commission is trying to find out what it was without actually asking the boss. Meanwhile the colonel is zipping around town in his white stretch limo with all his bodyguards and a platoon of French spooks, dropping in unannounced to places like the Louvre to pick up a bit of random culture.

All the sirens these escapades are causing cannot be heard clearly in the métro, so I had a quiet and uneventful ride to Odéon. I got my paper like usual and checked the watches in Tati Gold, and slipped down Ben Franklin's alley and went down Dauphine to my bridge. And right there was – a proper first! – the first new Fiat 500 – "Of the Week" – that I have seen in my life.

photo, beer and fritesSnack of champions.

Just think. The old ones are so old they are antiques and you see them here all the time. But the new ones, made by thousands in a new factory in Poland since last summer, I only see one now. How can this be? Are they hoarding them? Anyway. It looked okay, just like the original little piss–pot. It was not retro–looking, it was retro.

My thrill of the week. But onwards, across the bridge to the club. When I got there Madame la Patronne said I had a cold hand. Monsieur Ferrat asked me if I was okay. Patrick, the official Waiter of the Week, who is not the waiter of the week this week, told me I have a cold hand.

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