lundi 1 novembre 2010

Lunchtime in Paris @ La petite provence

Mouffetard street neighborhood is very appreciated by tourists, especially young Americans, probably attracted by the cheap hotels and the central location. Paris is a very dense city and once you are in the district itself, everything of interest is within an hour of walk. A pedestrian way to spare the price of a metro ticket. I wouldn’t include Mouffetard in the category of interest but at least its picturesque is genuine. The tramps sleeping off the pavement were here 55 years ago, before the tourists came, or so told me my dad. The restaurants in row date back the arrival of the visitors from the world, this we can infer from the food offered : Greek, Turk, Irish, Australian, Italian, Japanese, French... You guessed Paris is not France, but despite the real estate bubble there still are real Parisians, like my friend Jean, who invited me to La petite Provence, rue du Pot de Fer, in the vicinity of Mouffetard. Myself being from Provence cuisine, I was curious about this pretender. 10 € for entrée and main course or main course and dessert is not much but common place where competitors are waiting next door alongside takeaways with even cheaper offerings. In La petite Provence, the food itself is hardly provençal or anything from an identifiable origin. The Niçoise salad I ordered was yet another betrayal of a lost legend, too bland if I except the salt in the canned fish. And no olive oil ! The main course, fish as far as I can see from the video, was prepared in exactly the same manner as the escalope of my guest. Toasted potatoes, fried vegs and a sauce whose memory has faded since last Wednesday. Little art here, but a well-tested process to deliver calibrated dishes at a sustained rate to cater hungry folks walking back from the Eiffel Tower. I suspect the cook have a kitchen operator contract. Actually,we had a pleasant meal. After a morning carrying and mounting shelves from my apartment to Jean’s, this decent and invigorating food was welcome. The waiter was a nice guy, with a PhD in cytology and a lot a humor, waiting for a better job opportunity. At least, we had a conversation, but I hoped for a better food opportunity.

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