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 One of those forecasts gets one out of five, and the superseded one gets five–by–five, but who can remember Wednesday let along last Monday?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.

photo, yoko in beatles story, tuesday The Beatles Story on Tuesday, with the club's Yoko at the far right.

However in the Grande Salle the sun that was low in the sky was flooding the place with light and making everything yellow and gold, and I immediately warmed up and took off my jacket and opened the paper to read about Gadhafi's adventures, or the strikes, or the trials, or whatever.

I hadn't gotten far when member Marie Mazurchuk arrived. We last saw each other at the beginning of the strike, after leaving the theatre where we saw Yoko, appearing in the Beatles Story, on Tuesday. She has added a lot to the show. See below

The temporary Waiter of the Week turned up and Marie told him she wanted a plate. "De frites?" he asked. After he left she said, "How did he know that?"

It could have been the formidable beer she ordered with the frites. From out of the distance by the bar I saw a dude approaching who became more familiar the closer he got, until I was sure it was member Josef Schomburg which is who it turned out to be. Josef said, "I have a hangover."

photo, xmas trees in front of samaritaine In season even if
Samaritaine is closed

The waiter interrupted to give Marie her huge cool beer and plate of hot frites. Both looked darn good! Josef signalled the waiter and ordered a round of the same thing, big beer and frites. The frites were golden and hand–cut and we had salt and pepper and vinegar handy, and both of them sprinkled all of it around until it smelled like the united Canada home week.

Marie, who says she is passing her homelessness in Paris, is getting ready to return to Vancouver. She has a correction for last week's report though – it was supposed to be Kitsilano. She said everybody pronounces it wrong. It's not Kitsalino! like they say. I said that I read about mass–murdering pig farmer but I didn't see anything about evidence. Finding the remains of 12 women on his pig farm isn't proof he dunnit. It's moot through because he was convicted and they will even have another trial with another 20 cases.

Meanwhile Josef decided to tell us about the birthday party he was at last night. He remembers that there was Champagne. The waiter came by and Marie and Josef demanded more beers. It was getting more like Canada by the minute.

We admired Marie's blue scarf. It was a great scarf! Josef said something about a fur sack, perhaps in connection with the night before. Marie told us about watching French TV – seeing episodes of Columbo. Josef said it was one with the best dubbing. I always thought he talked too much so I never watched it.

Josef, in answer to Marie's question, said he came to Paris on a holiday in 1989. Then he ordered another large beer. They discussed the noodles at Kunitokaya. Marie said they weren't tasty. Josef suggested that she try the nta udo noodles. I probably wrote it wrong.

I decided to do the Group Photo of the Week right where we were. There was a lot of light, it was cold outside, and the group was right in front of me. Marie looked through the viewfinder too, and Josef tripped the shutter a few times in the club secretary's direction.

photo, ric the secretary The club's secretary. Photo: Josef.

Then Marie asked for a tip for a good place to have a final meal. Josef suggested the Grand Colbert at the Palais Royal. I have just had to stop and look it up, and I looked at two guides, there's nothing there. Why did it sound so familiar? What have we done?

As we were leaving, on account of club time being up, Marie said she was going to see the holiday lights on the Champs–Elysées. Yes, just go down the block to the métro at Rivoli, and then ride up to Etoile. So handy on the way back to stop at Palais Royal and search for that Grand Colbert. What were we thinking? It was worse than spelling Kitsilano wrong, much worse.

Yoko is Doing Déjà Vu Again

Popular club member Yoko is appearing in the musical Beatles Story, which is on stage at Le Méry in the Place de Clichy. Club members can get half price tickets by contacting Yoko here at least three days beforehand. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 21:30, and Sunday at 17:00. Métro line 13. If you wish to pay full price, call the theatre at 01 45 22 03 06 for info. See photo above

About the Café Metropole Club

Trip your mouse over a recent club meeting report buried somewhere in these pages. Less trying than being at tediously long and wet club meetings but nothing is perfect. An explanation for what we might have been doing today may help and can be found on the About the Café Metropole Club webpage.

graphic, club location map

Edge of Patezoned

Spontaneous as any Thursday, half unrehearsed, semi out of control and again something less than three members. Club meetings run from 15:00 to 17:00 every Thursday. The next meeting will be on Thursday, 20. December. These metric times are the same as 3 to 5 pm around other odd unmetric places, while meetings are held around here. Whatever you feel like saying will be totally appreciated by the other members present if there are any and they are listening, and sometimes they are, but not always.* Your other, absolutely true, stories are totally welcome too even if they are true.

Caution – should you have a personal desire to remain unfindable via the Web, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be 404 – not found by Web search engines before becoming found. Spurn membership to stay unfound.

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because it's been a month of Sundays since members have had Drink of the Week like beer and and Food of the Week like frites. Yum!

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.
Next club meeting on Thursday, 20. December.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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