Thursday, January 19, 2012

put an egg on it (aka: ‘le weekend, part II’)

Every Sunday, we scarf down a few breakfast pastries on our way to church.  These are mandatory indulgences, not because we are expending energy but because riding the metro is exhausting.  I kid.  Really though, the service lets out at lunchtime and our mid-morning goût (snack) tides us over nicely until we figure out where to go for brunch.  I love Sundays.

Annabelle lucked out when her Sunday school class made king’s crowns in honor of Epiphany.  She may not have found the fève in her galette this year but she still managed to don some seriously regal headgear.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her she looked more Old King Cole than Wise Man.  Maybe it’s the missing tooth?

a merry old soul was she

The walk home from church is fairly long but punctuated by deliberate detours as well as the unexpected.  Fueled by the aforementioned pastry consumption, we are primed to explore until the collective rumbling of our stomachs catches up with us.

Sunday before last, we stumbled upon an unofficial gathering of antique car aficionados.  There were several clusters of them near Les Invalides.  One group, dressed in head-to-toe fur, was having a champagne picnic in the grass.  My favorite was a jovial bunch donning tweed caps and rosy cheeks.  Their Crayola hued, toy-like automobiles made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I’m a sucker for curvy old cars.

DSC_6717 car talk: le paris edition

The absence of commerce on Sundays is still so odd to me.  It’s at times jarring the way otherwise recognizable locales are rendered altogether unfamiliar.  Point in case, I led Naud and Annabelle down a charming street I’d discovered only to find it completely void of the bustle of activity I’d witnessed during the week.  On the plus side, I peeked into the window of what appeared to be a vintage furniture boutique and promptly decided I should like to live there.

DSC_6727 let’s move in!there’s even a garden out back

Eventually, hunger came calling.  We unanimously decided it was time for something different.  We didn’t want anything too French or touristy or fussy and something affordable would be nice.  Asking for down-home was pushing it and we were running out of time.  Naud is the worst when it comes to hunger.  His blood-sugar plummets roundabout 12:05 pm, hence the pre-church fortification.

I had an idea.  I’d read about a place called Coco&Co. where everything on the menu is served with an egg.  That’s about as down-home as it gets.  Still, I had reservations and not the kind that get you a table… the kind that involve fretting.  Past experience gave me cause for concern as the French are notorious for undercooking eggs.  Truth be told, I could care less about salmonella.  What I was worried about was the quivering, gelatinous, egg white membrane sort of thing.  I can’t stomach that.  It might as well be mucous.  For whatever reason, the French egg is more often than not a pallid, oozy affair and that’s just not my cup of tea.

Egg qualms aside, we were hungry and Coco&Co. sounded like a brunchy nearby solution.  There was a brief moment of confusion when we arrived and the sign said, not Coco&Co. but Eggs&Co.  “This is the wrong place,” I panicked, proving Naud isn’t the only one with a lunch-o-meter.  My brief freakout was resolved when we discovered that it was indeed one and the same.  Coc0&Co. is Eggs&Co. and they have the four signs to prove it. 

DSC_6730 the restaurant (formerly?) known as coco & co.

The place was hopping.  Eggs were flying out of the kitchen and hopeful diners were crammed in the entry like sardines.  Naud and Annabelle waited outside while I squeezed in and put our names down for a table.  The wait was long but the interior so adorable that we (I) decided to weigh lay our hunger just a little longer.  While we waited, I managed to snap a photo of the kitschy wall art and some seriously burnt brownies.  Hey, at least they were brownies.  Never mind, I was there for eggs and from where I was standing, those looked mighty fine.

don’t order the brownies

We ordered the Eggs Benedict, which have a different name in France and that name now escapes me (Oeufs Benoît?).  There were many, many egg options to choose from with names that sounded charming yet entirely unfamiliar.  If only I knew what they were.  None of them sounded like scrambled, fried or over easy.  Our hip server, who looked eerily like Amy Winehouse, gave us the rundown in French but in my famished stupor, I lamely resorted to pointing and miming. 

it’s even more adorable upstairs

The eggs Benedict were a delicious choice, albeit runny in places.  Annabelle was less enthralled with her scrambled eggs which looked like they’d been pureed into smithereens.  On the plus side, buried under the scrambled eggs was a treasure trove of bacon and sautéed mushrooms.  Miam, miam (that’s French for yum yum).

DSC_6736 this is what we came for

The real gem of the day was the coffee.  According to our barista, there are only a handful of places in Paris with really good coffee, and Eggs and Co. happens to be one of them.  He wasn’t kidding.  It was the first time I’ve had Seattle-caliber coffee in six weeks.  Annabelle’s gem of the day was the egg shaped gummy they handed her on the way out.  Miam, miam!

amy winehouse lookalike, eggs&co. owner and my dashing dutchman

The owner of Eggs&Co. is quite possibly the nicest guy in Paris.  He doesn’t crack under pressure (har, har), makes a mean coffee and hands out candy.  Seriously, what’s not to love?  Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a Sunday brunch winner. 

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