Eating and Thinking at Les Philosophes
Paris. The weather has been amazing over the last few weeks, hot and sunny, and just breezy enough to force all the ladies’ gauzy skirts to float about flirtatiously. Then Saturday night the humidity finally broke with a dramatic crack of lightning and a torrent of water. Since then the weather has been more reminiscent of a foggy spring on Nantucket than a summer in Paris, which is fine by me. Now I can perform my favorite indoor activities without feeling guilty! My schedule of picnics and promenades has been temporarily replaced with restaurants and museum visits.
Initially I set off yesterday afternoon in hopes of finding a restaurant that had both foie gras and wifi, an admittedly odd combination. I might add that is was 3 pm, so most restaurants had already wrapped up their lunch service. With my options dwindling, I made the executive decision to sacrifice internet access in favor of goose liver. I walked by Les Philosophes and thought ugh, I always eat here and I’m always disappointed, but I’m starving and I can’t be bothered to keep looking. I plopped down comfortably in the best seat in the house: an isolated and roomy bench situated next to the kitchen with a commanding view of the entire restaurant. Not too shabby. I ordered just one tranche de foie gras (because two would have been too greedy even for me) and proceeded to wile away the afternoon reading and writing. I didn’t feel the least bit bored or anxious, which is sometimes the case when dining alone. It wasn’t just that I was eating a decent hunk of my new favorite food group or the fact that Les Philosophes has such an agreeable atmosphere, but that I could not get online! I couldn’t tap into the incessant prattle of twitter and facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely addicted to the internet and I make no apologies for it, but all that those social media and news sites do is remind me of how much information is out there and how dauntingly enormous the world is. Sitting quietly in my protected nook with my thoughts and a glass of white wine over the course of 3 hours gave me time to ruminate on things I have learned recently and not just senselessly regurgitate them. It was really calming. The lesson here? Be without the internet from time to time, or alternatively, eat more foie gras; it’s the new brain food!
Favorite dishes at Les Philosophes: The fresh fruit salad (7.50 €) on the dessert menu. Shockingly good mango and other fruit. I like to order this with a plate of jambon (8€) and systematically wrap a piece of ham around each piece of fruit. It usually attracts stares but it’s worth it. Least favorite: The french onion soup is saltless and sad.
Practical Info: Les Philosophes. 28 Rue Vieille du Temple Paris 4th. Suggestion du jour 3 course menu for 24€. One slice of foie gras mi cuit maison for 14€, two for 24€. For full menu and prices check out the restaurant’s site.