It was Saturday afternoon, 4pm. RN had just stirred from a long afternoon nap and SS was on her way home from hanging out with her friends. They went to a movie in VO (English) set in 1930s America about an abused elephant and a pair of star crossed and frustrated lovers. Nothing very impressive, she reported. She just wanted to hang out with her friends.
The Italian was twiddling his thumbs, ‘We must profiter from the nice weather, let’s go out!’ he said impatiently. Where? Where? I asked. He furrowed his forehead and cupped his hand over it. This is the stance of the thinking Italian. ‘St Sulpice in St Germain.’ Well, I couldn’t pass up an offer to go to St Germain. I love this arrondissement in Paris with its funky retail shops and quiant bistros.
St Sulpice, constructed during the 13th century is dedicated to Sulpicious the Pious and is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. It is only slightly smaller than the Notre-Dame and the second largest church in The City Of Light. I had been on a tour recently and had learnt some very interesting facts about this église.
I just love it that I live in the city that houses the church surrounded by the controversy over the Meridian line, caused by the renaming of it to the Rose Line in Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”. The Meridian Line is a gnomon that charts the positions of the sun in the sky. There is even a placard to disclaim the existence of a made up sect – the Priory of Sion – which Dan Brown had created in his story. In fact, the P stands for Peter and the S stands for Sulpice.
Kawan kawan, I got carried away. I was going to tell you about the highlight of this outing. And that is the dinner we had at La Crêperie des Canettes on the Rue des Canettes. This little street was named after a frontispiece depicting some ducks set in a rural scene which sits rather obscurely above a particular door in the middle of the street. You’d have missed it if you didn’t have a guide to tell you to look up. Thank goodness for Paristours, run efficiently by a good kawan of mine.
I ordered the Galette Brise which consisted of a tuna salad atop a buckwheat crêpe. Look at this beauty:
The iceberg lettuce was sweet and crunchy on the bite and just parfait for warmer weather. What gave this simple salad the umami was the aioli (garlic mayonnaise) dressing that had been drizzled on the top. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover slivers of fresh raw garlic amongst the leaves of iceberg. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love garlic. The more the merrier, in my books. Garlic has so much medicinal properties like Vitamin C which wards off colds and flu, antioxidants that protect the body from harmful free radicals, thinking anti-aging kawan kawan. It is even lauded for being a broad spectrum antibiotic that the body does not grow resistant to. Garlic contains a substance called Allicin which has anti-bacterial properties akin to a mild penicillin. Daddy eats everything with garlic. Guess where I developed my love for this herb, kawan kawan? His guarded chilli recipe is infused with the stuff. He was known to have traveled extensively with a bottle of this magic chilli sauce all over the world, sharing it with friends and colleagues. Well, daddy has the cholesterol level of a 40 year old man and he just turned 80.
The Italian loved his Sicile being Italian afterall. Look at it:
Regardez the generous heaps of mushrooms, onions, olives, tomato slices and jambon. Yummy! Bagus!
The girls both had a simple pancake, one with only jambon and the other, jambon and eggs. Both were very tasty. RN was thrilled that she could eat her dinner independently, slicing up the thin crêpe toute seule. SS liked hers cos it reminded her of fried eggs and ham.
The Galette is a buckwheat pancake that originated in Bretagne. It is considered a type of fast food or food on the go, easy to order for emporter at a crêperie. One can have a crêpe whilst walking home from work or window shopping along the Rue Faubourg St Honore. There are many recettes for the galette. One can eat it stuffed like the girls or with the ingredients sitting atop the pancake.
This has brought to mind a trip the family made to Vietnam one year. It was a family reunion for the Wongs, with the sister from Arizona and her ang moh husband and the sister from Singapore traveling sans enfants and mari. That was a true sign of independence for this sister. The parents came in tow too.
The sister from Arizona had a craving for Bahn Xeo, a Vietnamese crêpe like pancake made from rice flour stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimps and bean sprouts. It is usually eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves with mint and dipped in a sauce made of lime, sugar, garlic and chillies in a base of fish sauce – Nuoc Mâm. Truly sedap!
Look at this picture I found on the internet:
La grande famille tracked all the way to a famous restaurant tucked in a very narrow alley where 2 Vietnamese women sat on low stools making these savoury pancakes. It was indeed a fabulous eating experience. Well worth the trip that entailed dragging along a 2 and half year in a poussette and a stroppy soon to be teenager, hot from the equator sun and hungry from a morning of sight seeing.
Being in a crêperie meant that dessert would be….crêpes. The sweet ones are usually made from froment (wheat). I had mine with caramel buerre salé. It was really yummy! I discovered this sweet/savoury mixture in Paris, never having had it before. I like the combination of sweet and salty. But look at what SS ordered:
The Italian ordered one that came with calvados, an apple brandy from the region of Basse-Normandie. It was specially served with a flame on top – flambée:
Kawan kawan, whenever you find yourself at the St Sulpice near makan time, you can walk over to La Crêperie Des Canettes, 10 rue des Canettes 75006, Tél: 01 43 26 27 65. Remember though, they are closed on Sundays so the chef can return on Mondays, rested and refreshed to make us more wonderful pancakes.