Monday, October 29, 2007

Back in Paris

After a busy two weeks in New York, which included eating every meal out, I was happily back in Paris and ready to do some major food shopping yesterday. With the damp, grey blanket that covered the city it was the perfect day to do so as well. A bit jet-lagged I had forgotten the Sunday morning madness that ensues in the marché as people clamor to get their things before its early 1pm closing. “Brace yourself,” I told M as we barreled into the crowds and side stepped out way through and waited our turn in the interminable queues. Following the market it was a stop at the boulangerie. M suggested the one closest to our house, which normally I say yes, fine, but, (gasp), I said no, no, let’s go to the one up and over which has the best bread…M looked at me and I semi-panicked…am I becoming un peu française? By insisting we go out of our way with heavy bags in order to get the right baguette, in fact I think that might be the case.

Well, it turned out to be the right choice, because as we ambled over and out of our way, we passed by our favorite Greek market/restaurant and decided that we had to at least go in for olives which we forgot to buy at the store. This little eatery was a regular stop for me when I first arrived but lately I had unintentionally by-passed it , buying the bland, commercial versions of eggplant caviar at the supermarket to save money. Mistake. If not for anything but Dakis’s (not his real name), charm and subtle, dark humor, it’s worth the extra 5 euros to go there.

Dakis is a flirt and unassuming comedian I have decided, but his mumbled, heavily accented French is so hard for me to understand that I end up missing most of what he says, so with M with me this time, I had a good translator. As we entered the store and said “Bonjour,” he looked at M suspiciously and said (fully knowing) “are you two together?” M says (somewhat old-manish), “yes for a long time.” “Oh,” Dakis deadpans, “but weren’t you in here with a brunette last week?” Then, later when he rings us up at the counter, I comment on the flyers for Greek language courses, something I say, I attempted to take in college but it never stuck. “Well,” he grumbles, no trace of smile or irony, “take a few—in 2018 Greek will be the language spoken by all in the European Union.” Well, maybe you have to be there to get it, but even if you don’t, the food he has is amazing.

Some of the items for sale, fresh hummus, tzatziki and taramas (2-3 types), can be bought by the kilo; at least ten different olives are available, fresh, not in cans, (I always get the standard black Greek because he says they are the best), golf ball sized meatballs and eggplant and feta balls (for lack of a good translation), and of course grape leaves. For dessert he has at least five types of homemade Baklava and my new favorite, loukoumathes, the honey, nutty, sticky candies dusted with powdered sugar. Plus, he seems to always throw in a bag of pita bread with any order as well.

Prouduits de la Mediterranee, Traiteur Grec, rue Moines, 17th.

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