Archive for the ‘paris’ Category

It appears I have “fans,” and these fans, if you will, have grown agree with me, disappointed, nonplussed.

Well, we can’t have that, can we?

I remember the feeling, when a certain friend of mine named James had quit writing in his always entertaining blog, I went through all, not some, of the 5 stages of grief. To review, they are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I have accepted that my friend James’s “career” has replaced his “blog” (indeed he did just help to elect our new president–an achievement that’s sheer awesomeness is ironic retort-proof, an achievement in its own right), but I cannot accept that mine (career) has replaced mine (blog). (It’s funny, I was complaining to my boyfriend how much David Foster Wallace’s () annoyed me, and yet...) Please loyal fans, go through but 4 stages of grief, rest on your depressive laurels and be ready for what I have to say next–I’m back and so too is my deep, serious hate of cilantro.

Perhaps an anecdote is in order.

Recently, in the blogless month of October, I took my first excursion abroad. I went to Paris, which is apparently the most touristed place in the world. Who knew? Apparently my friend’s father who was nice enough to share his apartment with us for a week, apparently he knew, pretty awesome.

What would stand out to many in Paris is how awesome the food is, and certainly this was not lost on me. Practically the entire purpose of my trip was to go to Paris, eat croissant and not check my email for 9 days. On all accounts, the trip was a success. But there is more to Paris than croissant of course–there are also macaroons (the best are at Pierre Herme), pan au chocolat, steak frites, everything in the world you could ever want with ham and cheese (omelet, croque monsieur, sandwich mixed, quiche, dear god it’s so good), and the list goes on. Of course there’s the cafe and the champagne and the wine and the wonderful fact that to imbibe is to live, to not hold your liquor a little is ok, and to not hold it a lot is just, well, it’s gauche, ok.

But it’s what Paris is not, of course, that makes it awesome. Paris is not a place one goes to feast on cilantro, though it disappointingly if not completely predictably is now present in the newer, nicer restaurants, the kind that are just like the newer nicer restaurants in New York except the menus are in French and the people are too. Since all the fancy New York places are run by chefs from France, well, it’s like buying Chanel shoes in Paris–sure you can, but what’s the fucking point? Which is to take nothing away from probably the best meal I’ve ever had and certainly the most expensive, the 12+ course affair at Pierre Gagnaire–Yummo! It was a pleasure to explain in broken French, oh who am I kidding, it was in English, when the waiter asked:

“Do you have any dietary restrictions, things you won’t eat, etc.?”
“Just hold the cilantro, please.”
“But you don’t have a problem with say foie gras, or frog legs or lightly poached oysters?”
“God know, what do I look like a freak?”
“Thank you madam, Chef will be most happy to prepare your meal sans cilantro”
“Merci monsieur.”

And so the meal was divine and, my friend Margaret did have a course featuring cilantro, while mine sported sorrel–cilantro haters really do win sometimes.

But it isn’t just the Michelin 3-stars that know how to cater to cilantro hate, it’s more importantly the bistros, the cafes, the brasseries (the real French food if you ask me) where you don’t even have to ask Chef to prepare you a special course, there simply isn’t any of the stuff in the house to begin with. So thank you Pierre, thank you nameless cafe and thank you Paris for nine days without an email, without a worry and without a trace of cilantro.

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