Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In Search of Le Poulet Roti.

On Saturday, while wandering the streets of Montmartre, I came across a charcuterie, or butcher. In the window was a huge variety of meats and sausages, some familiar, others quite strange. But the one that caught my eye, the one I would be back for was the whole Bresse chicken. Bresse is often said to be the best chicken in the world, and with it's unique blue feet, why wouldn't it be. And at 16 euros a kilo, it better be magnifique!

I'll get back to the chicken shortly.

This morning I got an early start and made my way to La Defense to see Le Grande Arch. It has to be one of the most impressive buildings I've ever seen in my life. Truly a work of art. Not knowing where I was going, and the directions exiting the Metro were a bit spotty (huge Metro station, by the way, it even has a mall), I followed the "sortie" signs to Le Grande Arch (even though at one point the signs pointed in both directions, oh yes they did). Coming out into the daylight, I looked up and boom! There's Le Grande Arch in my face! And it is Grande. Tres Grande. I walked the plaza away from the Arch to get a photo. Then walked up those marble stairs. Me, with the terror of heights above two feet. Then I got a bit of vertigo when I looked out at the view and nearly panicked at to how I was going to get back down those marble stairs. It was a moment that passed relatively painlessly. I didn't take the tour up the building, I thought I might just be pushing my abilities a bit much. The "cloud" in the middle of the building is used to control the wind that's created by the Arch. The anchors that hold the "cloud" are bigger than a Smart Car.

From La Defense, I took the Metro to Place de la Madeleine to see the famous Fauchon and Hediard markets. Markets, not really, except for Hediard. They had some really unique fruits from Asia. I was tempted to buy one or two but decided I would instead focus on my Poulet Roti. I did get some peppercorns (I'm nearly out here at the apartment), fleur de sel with basil, lavender, and lemon, a couple of beautiful lemons and some olive oil.

I did treat myself to lunch at a cafe on Place de la Medeleine and had steak au poivre with fries. The steak was delicious and the fries were of the frozen variety. Actually, I really didn't mind.

From there I had planned to walk home. Not an easy walk. Either from the standpoint of distance or the route I would have to take. And this time, I had to use my trusty maps, on more than one occasion. And damnit, sometimes the street that was supposed to be there, just wasn't.

Although I did pass by Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, no less than three H&M stores, a Ben & Jerry's with a line that was more than ridiculous, about a dozen beautiful churches, and way too many shoe stores for my own good!

After dropping off my bags, I went back up to Abesses to get my bird. And a cafe.

I don't care what anyone says about the French. Everyone here has been so very, very nice to me. Even through my atrocious pronunciation, they are fantastique!

Little did I know that whole birds here are exactly that. The whole bird. Head. Feet. Innards. And more than a few feathers. When I motioned to the butcher to cut the head off, I don't think he was surprised at all. He continued to clean it up, just for the silly Americain, and even took a blow torch to it to get rid of any feathers. Trussed it. Wrapped it. And handed me the Bresse sticker. I should probably get it out of the garbage and save that sticker. I doubt I'll buy another one. They are crazy expensive birds. This little bird will last me quite a while.

So far, I have resisted the Patisseries. And the macarons. And it's been a few days since I visited my boulangerie. I'm crazy about the vegetables. And I buy a container of strawberries everyday. And even the yogurt is better here. And I don't miss Diet Coke. Not at all. But I can't seem to get enough water. I don't leave home without a bottle of water. Ever.

Le Poulet Roti is nearly finished. A photo will be up later. In the meantime, Bon Apetit!

P.S. - On the last photo, what looks like pepper on the bird, isn't. It's the torch marks. How freakin' cool is that?


  1. Lisa, it seems like you are having an amazing time! I didn't even know there was a modern version (sort of) of the Arc de Triomphe. Pretty cool, when you get back we can practice French together!


  2. Giggles! When are you back in Cleveland? And I must make poulet roti for you. It's fantastic. Maybe it really is the chicken!

    If you look very closely at the fourth photo, I know it's really hard to see, you can see the Arc de Triumph in the distance. It's straight away from the Le Grande Arch.

    As crazy as this city is, they really do have a plan!

    I can't wait to see you! And make you giggle just a bit, in French!

  3. Steak au Poivre and Galleries Lafayette! Oh, the memories! Find one of those crepe stands on the street and have one...yummy heaven.