Browsing in Paris
Yesterday, I decided that since I was the last person in the world to be using Safari as a web browser, I should switch to Firefox. Everyone says it’s better and since I use Movable Type for the blog, Firefox has little buttons to make things bold or to italicize, so I don’t need to type in a bazillion symbols everytime I do that.
About twenty years ago, which I hope means the statutes of limitations has run out, when working in that vegetarian restaurant I mentioned, someone brought in something for us to, er…well…let’s just say, it was something that was designed to change your perception of reality if you took it.
So of course, we did.
When you work in a restaurant, you develop a rhythm, especially when it comes to setting up your statio in preparation for the rush of customers. If you have a fixed menu and you’ve been working in the same place for a while, when you arrive, you can almost work on auto-pilot to make sure everything’s in place (called mis-en-place), so when the rush comes, you’re full-organized and never get buried under orders (or as they say, ‘in the weeds’). If you’ve done it right, the evening runs like a finely-tuned Swiss watch. If not, you’ve got no business in a restaurant kitchen.
And your night will be a catastrophe (not to mention the customer’s as well).
So one evening, someone brought in something which we ingested that was terribly strong and radically alerted our ‘perception of reality’ (yes, even vegetarians have their vices). As we started our work, though, the owner arrived and surprised us with a brand-new menu, full of items we’d never seen before. So we had to completely change our set-ups and prepare all new dishes.
It was a massive bummer, to put it mildly.
It’s like your computer crashing, taking everything with it, and you need to re set-up everything again. To make a long (long) story short, once the customers arrived, it was like your worst dream coming true, the kind where you’re running towards something, but the faster you run, the farther away it gets. So as the order tickets started coming in, we all panicked and found ourselves seriously in the weeds (in more ways than one), and the evening was a catastrophe.
When I installed my new browser yesterday, everything changed on my little Mac.
My beloved bookmarks, which I’ve spent years collecting, I cherished as your grandmother cherishes her Hümmel figurines, were gone. And the look of my blog platform changed: Yes there were those terrific little buttons that add links, italics, and what-not, but each time I used one, it jumped up to the top of the document, meaning I had to re-scroll back to where I was typing, prompting a mad dash to find where I left off. So like coming down from a bad high, back to my familiar reality, I’ve returned to Safari.
I guess old habits die hard. Like my love for rustically grainy breads, and had a chance to return to one of my favorite bakeries in Paris yesterday when I had a doctor’s appointment on the other side of the city.
In Paris, there’s lots of little streets that are called ‘market streets’, and the rue Poncelet in the 17th arrondisement is a good one. After meeting with my surgeon for my upcoming intervention, I realized that I was just a few blocks from Stübli, a terrific German bakery and delicatessen. (The good thing about talking to a French surgeon is that I only understand about 54% of what he said, so I have less reason to be scared of whatever’s going to happen when I go under the knife.)
But as I walked down the rue Poncelet, like an unfamilar browser, I found the name had changed of the bakery…but thank goodness the grainy breads were still there. I purchased three weighty loaves (two to cache in the freezer), a couple of salty-brown pretzels, then I headed across the street to Alléosse, one of the top cheese caves in Paris.
Although they’re very nice, I’m sometimes scared to go in there (which is funny…I’m not scared of surgery but I’m afraid of a cheese shop), since their selection is so astounding and I’m a bit overwhelmed by their glorious selection. But now I go in and chat them up, asking lots of questions and always find myself carrying home a few new and curious cheeses to try.
When I got home, I fixed myself le snack, and a glass of Lillet rouge to calm my nerves from the shop, (mais oui…) and realized although I’d been on one of the best shopping streets in Paris I’d come home with German bread and English Stilton.
I guess they’re like old bookmarks, and like my browser, I’m can’t give them up.
13, rue Poncelet (17th)
T: 01 46 22 50 45
(Closes at lunchtime.)
(Formerly Stübli, which still has a good bakery and boutique across the street.)
10, rue Poncelet (17th)
T: 01 48 88 98 07