Tag Archives: dining

Fun Night Out At Frenchie Wine Bar

I hope you all had a nice weekend and that your week is off to a smashing start. We finally got a little cleansing rain here in Paris yesterday, and today the sun and cool breeze have returned. If this month has been typical of Paris in June, I highly recommend a June vacation to Paris. The crowds are thinner than they will be next month, and the weather has been ideal.

My college roommate and long-time good friend is on her way to me right this minute, having the good sense to flee Texas in summer and be rejuvenated in Paris. We will have a fun week of walking, shopping, and (of course) dining and drinking.

Speaking of dining and drinking, Mark and I recently had a spontaneous and thoroughly enjoyable Friday evening at one of our favorite spots, Frenchie Wine Bar. You may have heard of her older and harder-to-get sister,Frenchie, who is just across the street. Frenchie has been a hot dining spot here for several years. We tried unsuccessfully to get reservations there for months before the Wine Bar opened across the street. The Wine Bar doesn’t take reservations, and once we  experienced its delicious food and lively atmosphere I decided I didn’t care if I never went to Frenchie. Since then we have returned many times, often with visitors from home, and have never been disappointed. The Wine Bar opens at 7:00 PM every night, and we have always gone an hour early in order to be at the front of the line. The place is small and people tend to linger, because the food is served in small plates and people order at a leisurely pace. This last time, however, we didn’t plan ahead and showed up closer to 8:45. We had to wait for an hour but did it inside at the bar, providing me with ample time and material for taking pictures. Enjoy.

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This lobster roll was probably the best thing we ate all night. Divine.

This lobster roll was probably the best thing we ate all night. Divine.

This couple was also waiting and I thought she was so chic. He- not so much.

This couple was also waiting and I thought she was so chic. He- not so much.

Enjoy your day, mes amis.

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Filed under Paris, Paris dining

Spain Wrap-Up

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Our vacation to San Sebastian was just about perfect. Leisurely (6 days in one small town), family (2 out of 3 kids in attendance), beachy, sunny, and yummy (pintxos, wine, cold beer, and lots of helado). However, now that I have been back in Paris for a day, it’s time to wrap up the vacation posts. And the vacation laundry.

We rented an apartment through feelfreerentals.com, who were professional and responded promptly to all of my inquiries. Our apartment had been recently renovated and was tres chic. The location couldn’t have been better- right on a main boulevard and close to the old town and to both beaches.

Here is a peek from our windows, which looked down on the boulevard.

 

Unfortunately, those soft, sweet sounds percolating up from the street became not so sweet later in the week, when a man, his puppet, and a very big microphone took center stage. The sounds morphed into a cross between world-wide wrestling and a Mexican game show, and were even louder in our living room than they were on the street. By the time we heard his opening “Hola, Hola, Hola” for the third time, I was seriously considering throwing myself out of our seventh story windows and turning that puppeteer into a mime. And his creepy puppet, too. But enough of the complaining.

We ate tapas (called “pintxos” in the Basque country) almost every day, moving from one bar to the next, sampling the specialty pintxo of each one. Our favorite pintxo experience was at a tiny place with a slot machine and a very friendly bartender. He served us delicious potatoes in garlic and olive oil, as well as a some tender and flavorful mushrooms. I became a fan of the local white wine called “txakoli”, which was sparkling and very dry. The bartenders hold the bottle up high when pouring it, to increase the air going into the wine as it hits the glass. Delicious!

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A few other pics of the pintxo experience-

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delicious garlic shrimp skewers and grilled octupus

delicious garlic shrimp skewers and grilled octopus

San Sebastian is known for being a gastronomic capital of Europe, which is surprising given its small size. One night we veered way off of the pintxo trail and ate at a very fancy restaurant called Arzak. We indulged in the tasting menu, which was seven amazing courses. I won’t show you each one, but here are some highlights.

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tuna and strawberry – who knew?

 

apple injected w beet root, accompanied by creamy foie gras and potato

apple injected w beet root, accompanied by creamy foie gras and potato

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grilled lobster w a crispy star-shaped crepe

red mullet served on a iPad-like device with a rushing river on the screen

red mullet served on an iPad-like device with a rushing river on the screen

dumpling served on a crunched can!

dumpling served on a crunched can!

I loved the harbor and, of course, the beaches.

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The architecture was gorgeous.

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And that, my friends, was San Sebastian 2014. I highly recommend it if you enjoy beaches, amazing food, and friendly people.

Just watch out for the puppet guy.

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Filed under Spain, travel, Uncategorized