Sunday, November 13, 2005

Paris Journal: Le Grand Colbert

There's something I like about a meal that requires its own equipment.

Most such meals involve shellfish, and Paris brasseries often feature huge, ornate platters of all manner of mollusk and crustacean. In this case the coolest and most necessary tool was a sharp needle that you twist into a minuscule snail shell and which usually comes out holding a quarter of a bite of delicious meat. But there were other utensils, like a cracker for the langoustine and crab claws and a long thin fork for the larger snails. Like surgeons, we kept changing tools as needed. "Cracker... needle... foreceps..."

Then we just surrendered and used the long thin fork for everything. The snails were the best, followed by the shrimp -- big succulent pink ones and tiny grayish brown ones that I ate whole like popcorn.

Margy had steak tartar for her main dish, and we watched our British waitress (I had told her she speaks English very well before I learned it was her native language) add onion and pickle and Tabasco to a huge mound of very fresh looking ground beef. In the end it was enough to feed two hungry Dobermans, but Margy did her best.

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