We started the day with the breakfast of Champions: Pain au chocolate and pain au raisin, from just across the street.
Fortified we walked in the heat ( It was in the 80’s again today) the short distance to the Palais de Tokyo, Contemporary Art Museum. It was a giant contrast to yesterday where we were immersed in the 18th century. My very sketchy research indicates that the building was constructed for a 1937 Exhibition and the name derives from the name of the street. I assumed, wrongly, that it was initially for the Japanese exhibition site. Humph. I must mention that the 20 something child at the ticket desk gave us the Senior discount without us even asking. I haven’t decided yet if I was happy about the 3 euro discount or upset about not being asked. He probably just looked at Arnie and gave us both a break.
My research indicated that there is 90,000 square feet of exhibition space. Even the windows here are covered in contemporary art. I especially liked this window. The top section is a commentary on Syria. The bottom right is a commentary on music. If you can’t read it, it says “The way of music: Pilaf (as in Edith)---Madonna---Lady Gaga. Yeah. They also have a Modern Art section which we missed because we couldn't find the entrance but I hope that we can get back to see it. As with yesterday, I’m not going to post all of the pictures but you can see them from this link.
At the stroke of 1:45 our tummys told us to go in search of food (the other reason we missed the modern art). You know that food choices are not left to chance. Before leaving the house I mapped out our route to lunch. We took the RER C train to the Latin Quarter in search of a restaurant recommended by Patricia Wells, Dorrie Greenspan and Le Fooding ( a French Foodie group).
The restaurant was in the trendy 6th district and we passed several packed restaurants at 2:15. I was getting nervous that we would not get into our choice. We didn’t have reservations for 2 reasons: I didn’t know when we would finish in the museum; and, most importantly, they did not take on-line reservations. I had back-ups just in case but I really wanted to try this one.
Semilla is Spanish for seed, no idea what the connection is to this restaurant. Chef Eric Trochon holds the coveted title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (One of the best chefs of France, decided in a competition; not anything like Iron Chef!) There is only a tasting menu at lunch. There was no choice for the first course, but you got 3 different things. We had, as you can see, 3 choices for the second course. Our young waitress was very helpful and not the least bit intimidated that we were the only English speakers in the restaurant.
But first the wine. The list was reasonable with low stuff and high stuff and lots of wines by the glass. We went in the middle.
The first course consisted of cream of cauliflower soup that tasted like it had a bit of potato added and there was a crunchy element that I just couldn’t figure out;
pissaladière which is a puff pastry topped with carmelized onion, olives and anchovies; and, perfect avocado with cilantro and tomato. Really, this was a delight. The flavors were so much more intense than yesterday, at a fraction of the cost.
My second course turned out to be 2 beautifully poached eggs with arugula and shaved parmesan cheese. If I read the menu more carefully, I would have seen “Mollet” which I did not know was a poached egg, and not misread it as “Mulet” a type of fish. So, I was expecting fish but was not overly distraught because...
Arnie ordered the fresh spring cod. It was served with a generous portion of aioli and lovely fresh peas, string beans, roasted tomatoes and fennel. Actually, it was way more moist than the fish yesterday. Yesterday's fish could have used some of this aioli. We ended up sharing both plates. I have such a good and generous husband, and smart.
I saw the chef chatting and sharing wine with the table behind us and at the end of their meal they had 2 desserts. I thought it was wise to order the same.
The first to share was described as an Aloe vera cream served with tropical fruit. It seemed like a regular creme anglaise to me. It was delicious.
The other dessert was a citrus fruit soup with a grapefruit sorbet. Just the perfect thing on a hot summer day.
Overall, for me, this was a much better lunch than yesterday and a lot less expensive. The staff was friendly, the chef was delightful (I spoke to him on the way out) and the flavors and textures were more complex and delicious.
So, we trundled home in the heat, stopped on Rue Cler for a bit of wine and a few more treats and came home to do laundry.
A Paris Perfect day.