Le Relais de l’Entrecote is a Parisian institution that’s sort of a cross between an Outback Steakhouse and a Harvey House. (Like in the movie, “The Harvey Girls,” starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury, anyone, anyone??) If you want a table you have to go right at 7.

I had decided to skip it, but then last night I got lost and it started raining and I was hardcore relating to Eponine Thernardier when all of the sudden I peered up and there it was. And I looked at my watch and it was 6:53, and, well, if that isn’t divine intervention, then I don’t know what is.  

Here’s how it works: they ask you if you want an apertif and they ask you if you want wine. (Yes, and yes.) Then they ask you how you want your steak cooked, and if you’re lame and unadventurous and American you’ll say “bien cuit”. (I said “bien cuit”.)

And that’s all the choice you have. The restaurant only serves one thing, and that one thing is steak frites. But those steak frites are magic. 

After the first bite I instantly felt a thousand times better (actually maybe it was at the first sip of champagne) and halfway through my frites life was starting to look pretty rosy again. And I thought about poor Eponine, miserably wandering the streets by herself. If only she had been able to step in from the rain to eat a good steak and have a nice glass of wine! Then maybe she, by the fifth or sixth bite, would have come to the conclusion that there are worse fates in the world than being On Your Own in Paris.

Le Relais de l’Entrecote is a Parisian institution that’s sort of a cross between an Outback Steakhouse and a Harvey House. (Like in the movie, “The Harvey Girls,” starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury, anyone, anyone??) If you want a table you have to go right at 7.

I had decided to skip it, but then last night I got lost and it started raining and I was hardcore relating to Eponine Thernardier when all of the sudden I peered up and there it was. And I looked at my watch and it was 6:53, and, well, if that isn’t divine intervention, then I don’t know what is.

Here’s how it works: they ask you if you want an apertif and they ask you if you want wine. (Yes, and yes.) Then they ask you how you want your steak cooked, and if you’re lame and unadventurous and American you’ll say “bien cuit”. (I said “bien cuit”.)

And that’s all the choice you have. The restaurant only serves one thing, and that one thing is steak frites. But those steak frites are magic.

After the first bite I instantly felt a thousand times better (actually maybe it was at the first sip of champagne) and halfway through my frites life was starting to look pretty rosy again. And I thought about poor Eponine, miserably wandering the streets by herself. If only she had been able to step in from the rain to eat a good steak and have a nice glass of wine! Then maybe she, by the fifth or sixth bite, would have come to the conclusion that there are worse fates in the world than being On Your Own in Paris.

Do you know how much steak frites I could have been eating this week?!?!!

Do you know how much steak frites I could have been eating this week?!?!!

Tags: Paris

This morning I walked into the cafe where I’ve been having breakfast and I sat down and I took out my book.

But instead of coming to take my order the waitress just….brought it. My breakfast. 

And then at 8:50 the butcher made his way across the square in his apron and ordered a coffee and sat at his usual table on the terrace, and at 9:00 on the dot the fountain in the middle of the square turned on, and Paris felt like a small town rather than the mega-city that it is. 

It’s amazing how quickly one can establish a routine somewhere new, how quickly you can feel acclimated. And it’s a false feeling, of course: I’ll be gone by next week and no one here will miss me. 

But I’m very grateful to the waitress at the cafe for making me feel, however superficially, like a local.

This morning I walked into the cafe where I’ve been having breakfast and I sat down and I took out my book.

But instead of coming to take my order the waitress just….brought it. My breakfast.

And then at 8:50 the butcher made his way across the square in his apron and ordered a coffee and sat at his usual table on the terrace, and at 9:00 on the dot the fountain in the middle of the square turned on, and Paris felt like a small town rather than the mega-city that it is.

It’s amazing how quickly one can establish a routine somewhere new, how quickly you can feel acclimated. And it’s a false feeling, of course: I’ll be gone by next week and no one here will miss me.

But I’m very grateful to the waitress at the cafe for making me feel, however superficially, like a local.

Tags: paris travel

  • me: how's your french/did you manage
  • Aaron: have zero french
  • and i did not manage
  • i just stayed quiet.
  • me: omg
  • wait but
  • were you fine like
  • ordering, etc
  • Aaron: fine is not the word i would use.
  • me: my french is okay and i'm still nervous cause i'm scared of parisians
  • Aaron: oh yeah they are terrifying and gorgeous

Tags: Paris