As much as I love travel, and eating, and traveling when eating, I'm really not much of a foodie. Yes, I will occasionally take pictures of food that is put in front of me at restaurants. And yes, I did focus mainly on eating when I went to Paris. But I think Paris can bring out the foodie in anyone. I, for example, spent an afternoon eating cheese and wine.
I like obvious choices. I do not have a subtle pallate, and in spite of my travels I do have a soft sport in my heart for the absolute worst American food. That's why I wanted to try and do something different in Paris. I had eaten good food there, but I wanted to try and do something that I wouldn't do normally, in terms of culinary tourism. Luckily, a torrential downpour that struck while we were walking through the Montmartre area on a Tuesday afternoon left us hustling to find shelter. (We avoided the many people who tried to get us to see "live naked girls" to get out of the rain. Again, this was a Tuesday afternoon. Probably not exactly the varsity squad working at that time.)
While we were hustling through the downpour, we came upon a tiny store front that had three tables inside, two of which were taken by couples drinking wine and enjoying large platters of cheese resting between them. Instead of succumbing to our basest natures and going to watch naked girls dance, we decided to be civilized and cultured. We would get drunk on wine and full on cheese.
I've never been a wine and cheese guy. Neither of us knew the first thing about what to order. But the girl working behind the counter was incredibly friendly, and she spoke English very well. She told us that this was a Corsican place, and all the cheese and wine was exclusively from Corsica. There was food everywhere too, on barrels lining the walls and some resting on the window ledge for passersby to stare at.
This was some kind of meat in a tomato concoction. Again, I'm not a foodie. But this looked awesome.
Bread was everywhere in seemingly random piles throughout the tiny storefront. Look at this thing. It's like a bread zoo.
As you can see here, they brought us a huge platter of cheese, a basket of baguettes, a bowl of roasted tomatoes in olive oil and garlic, and some sort of fruit chutney which I wished I could have made a PBJ out of. (Again, not a foodie). Also, two glasses of the finest Corsican….red. Not sure what type it was.
It was all amazing. And cheap. It came to about twenty euros, which is cheap for Paris. I think we had five or six big blocks of cheese to attack, all really different in terms of taste.
As you can see, the place was not very big. On the table you can see that there was a bowl of intensely fresh lettuce. And yes, we took turns taking pictures with the berrets. No one seemed to mind. I think the Corsican counter girl thought we were amusing/stupid.
We ate alot of cheese and drank alot of wine. Then we tried to get a cab while huddled under the establishment's awning, which we shared with the Corsican girl, and another woman who I took to be the owner, while they smoked cigarettes. In spite of our obviously unsophisticated understanding of cheese and wine, they were super friendly and curious about our travels. They even waved down a cab for us.
I don't know where all of these negative stereotypes came from about the way the French, and particularly the Parisians, treat foreigners. Everyone I met really couldn't have been nicer. (And that's coming from someone who avoided the strippers).