Do you watch Project Runway on Bravo? If you don’t you should. It’s a fabulous show. Probably the best reality TV around. 3 of an initial 16 designer wannabes sketch, drape and sew their way to the tents at Bryant Park. These folks seriously know what they are doing. I watched the show from Season 1 Episode 1, and I could qualify to be an officially licensed Project Runway Groupie. And Tim Gunn is – well, he is the ne plus ultre of fashion TV. Style network should ditch Cindy, Fiona and, dare I say it, Isaac? And they should make themselves into the All Tim Gunn All the Time network. Manolo suggested this first, I’m just seconding his nomination. Oh, and speaking of PRun commentary, if you haven’t already, get thee to Project RunGay. Fabulous commentary that is snarky, hilarious, and dead on! But I digress…
Anyways, this last episode was mostly set in Paris. And lo and behold, where were the designer wannabes staying whilst in the City of Light? The facionable Hotel Lutetia. I was there! Okay, it was 11 years ago, before most of the designer wannabes could drink (and probably while a few of them were still in diapers), but I was there! It is a fabulous hotel. We didn’t actually stay there. We were staying at a place closer to the Gare Austerlitz. But we went to the Brasserie for dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday. If you check out the bonus videos on Bravo’s site, there’s one of the designers having breakfast in the Brasserie. We sat at the next table over from theirs.
Oh, the seafood was unbelievable! I remember the oysters. Having been raised on Chappaquidick and Wellfleet oysters, I thought I knew something about those little mollusks. No way. The French have it all over us when it comes to oysters. We got one of those big towers with about one and a half dozen oysters of different types. There were several varieties, delicate briny babies, medium meaty sweeties, and these amazing ones called Belons. Oh. My. God. I died and went to heaven. I can’t say if the Brasserie still specializes in seafood, but you must try Belons when you are in France next!
After dinner, we went up to the bar. Our waiter at the bar was just a sweetie. When he realized we were American, he asked if he could speak English with us so he could practice. Contrary to popular myth, Parisians are charming. Parisians are the Bostonians of Europe. Crusty, reserved, but they are genuine and quite warm once you break the ice with them. I found that with just about everyone I met in Paris. I think it helped that we both spoke passable French with a fair accent. As we arrived, a jazz trio was setting up. We struck up a conversation with the singer, and it turned out she was originally from California. She found out that we were swing dancers (I was still teaching at the time), and they played a bunch of songs for us. I was drinking Champagne (natch) and for his birthday my husband ordered a glass of Napoleon cognac – when in France, right? We danced, we chatted with folks, we had a wonderful time, and decided to order a second round (it was DH’s birthday and our last night in Paris). When we asked for the check, the waiter brought it, and it was way too low. We asked him to fix it so we could pay for the second round, and he told us that the second round was on him. His words: “Because I prefere you.” Needless to say, we left him a very big tip.
Ah, Paris! Some day I hope to get back there. I’ll wait until after 2008 though.
Mmm, thanks for letting me indulge in some lovely memories. Bon Nuit!