May 23–More Dining, Less Art

Had to work hard at the gym today to make up for yesterday’s indulgences. May have to work out harder tomorrow.

In the 11th again, just around the corner from Chez Paul, Septime is a spare, bright place with a fantastic 26 euro lunch menu (with two choices of entree/plat/dessert). Would go back in a nanosecond and wonder why we don’t have more places like this in Toronto (or any for that matter). Two choices of each course, prepared brilliantly. Natural wine, although the pinot noir we had was excellent.

Sat around watching people at Cafe de la Mairie until it was time for dinner.

Apart from more loud Americans, the recently-opened Verjus in the first is worth all the acclaim it’s getting and more. Two young Americans who live nearby, got tired of being consultants so launched this place, an upstairs restaurant and downstairs bar. Like a number of other spots, if you are coming to Paris soon, make a reservation. Braden Perkins, one of the couple and the chef,  told us that all of the young chefs/owners in the places we’ve been going–Au Passage, Septime, Frenchie, Le Chateaubriand, Le Verre Vole, etc.–simply get the freshest meat, fish, produce they can find and create the day’s menu around that. It shows. He also showed us his iPhone where, for instance, the fisherman text the resto-owners what they’re bringing in that morning and the owners text their order back. Hi-tech in the restaurant business. Anyway, it was superb.

Meanwhile, it occurred to me that almost nowhere in Paris does anyone wear anything but casual to dinner apart from places like La Tour d’Argent, Lasserre and places like that. But it’s casual clothes virtually always, almost no matter how high-end. Even Lasserre only requires a jacket for me. The universalization of dining, I think.