|Veal Brains with Polenta|
When I was a kid, I was a notoriously picky eater. As I've already established, sushi wasn't something I had any interest in trying. Tripe, duck feet, tofu, and some other mainstays of Chinese cooking? Nope, I turned those down, too. But while these foods are, admittedly, a bit on the adventurous side, my pickiness wasn't restricted to just the likes of raw fish and intestines. Even the simplest and most basic of foods -- tomatoes, eggs, ice cream (I used to say that ice cream was "too cold" -- yeah, I have no idea what I was thinking, either) -- were rejected by my ten-year-old palate. Fast forward to the present, and thankfully, my tastes have changed. I have become much more open-minded about trying new foods and am no longer squeamish of unfamiliar foods. Kidneys, tripe, gizzards, and bone marrow are just a couple of the foods that, twelve years ago, I wouldn't have wanted anything to do with. But now, when I see something like veal brains show up on a menu, I am not only intrigued, but I'm ballsy enough to order it.
And that's exactly what happened during my lunch at Christophe, a small bistro located in Paris' 5th arrondissement. First off, I have to say that, if not for the multiple positive reviews I had read about the restaurant online, I probably wouldn't have eaten there. Why's that, you ask? Well, just take a look at the font used for the restaurant's banner. It's tough to take a business seriously when it uses the Curlz font so prominently on its storefront and on its website. It's kinda like being the owner of a professional sports team and writing a letter to the fans in Comic Sans after a certain star player "took his talents to South Beach"...oh wait, I guess that's been done, too. So maybe the use of Curlz isn't as egregious as that. After taking a deep breath and putting aside any misgivings I had about the restaurant's taste in computer fonts, I entered the bistro. An hour later, I walked out after enjoying what was perhaps my favorite meal of my entire stay in Paris.
Never having had foie gras before and feeling the need to try it given that I was in Paris, I started out with an order of it for my first course. Served with toasted baguette and a smear of balsamic vinegar, the foie gras was deliciously fatty and unctuous. I was hooked from my first taste, so much so that I would order foie gras three more times over the next day-and-a-half. I cannot even imagine how badly I screwed up my arteries by eating so much foie gras over the course of two days, but it was so worth it. Although not as smooth and a bit, for lack of a better word, crumbly when compared to the foie gras that I would order at my next few meals, this was the cheapest preparation (€10).
|Yes, the labels are 100% necessary|
After eating a meal with enough fat and cholesterol to give a dietitian (or me) a heart attack, I thought it would be best to forgo dessert (but a couple of hours later, I ended up getting a Mille Feuille from Pierre Hermé, so I guess you could say that I simply delayed my dessert). I can say that my meal at Christophe was certainly one of the high points of my dining experience in Paris, and at only €22, the meal was definitely a bargain. In spite of the cringe-inducing font choice of the restaurant banner, Christophe managed to impress me, and I cannot recommend it enough. Veal brains and duck liver wouldn't have come close to touching my plate twelve years ago, but if my travels through Europe taught me anything, it's that life is all about seeing and trying new things. Take the plunge and be adventurous, as life's too short not to be.
8 rue Descartes