Paris – Thursday

Evening out tonight with my Turkish distributor and his wife. As you know, I have visited him several times and he is a good friend as well as a customer, so a nice soirée is in prospect. I select the venue: Le Petit Zinc in Rue St. Benoit, just off Boulevard St. Germain in the Left Bank. Not far from Vagenende where we went on Monday.

Thursday evening is late shopping night in Paris, and you know the ladies have to submit to retail therapy, so we arrange a late booking at 21:30. Petit Zinc’s ambience is fantastic as usual: a large oval dining room on three levels, colourfully illuminated by Art-Nouveau lampshades. We are seated right in the middle of the oval, with a grand view of our fellow diners.

The menu arrives with the regulation apéritif: after some hesitation, I select a so-called Salade Folle as a starter – this seems enticing but turns out to be a mistake! I receive a mâche and chicorée salad with four shrimps and a slice of warm foie gras. A folly it certainly is – the ingredients were individually good, but the mixture of the three left much to be desired! Avoid!

My guests choose instead the plateau dégustation de huitres – a selection of four different types of oysters, from the various regions of “ostreiculture” in France. They report that a difference can indeed be tasted, but oysters are not much to my liking, so I decline the offer to try.

As a second, we all have an excellent salmon tartare – very good with fresh slices of baguette, and certainly a recipe I must find in time for the Christmas dinner. A good bottle of Chablis 2001 goes down very well with things fishy.

Dessert: I love those French classics, so a tarte tatin is my choice – the classic upside-down pie, but with a variation, as this is made with pears instead of apples.

After the coffee we set out back to the hotel, past one in the morning!! Le Petit Zinc is highly recommended for an evening when you’re out to impress, who knows, maybe to escort a good friend…

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