After Notre Dame we grabbed a nutella crepe and walked to the rive droite (right bank) of the Seine via the Île Saint-Louis. Stephanie bought a calling card and got in touch with her mom, and then we walked towards the Centre Pompidou.
Museums are not the most exciting destination for weary travelers (it’s still Sunday in blogtime, the day we arrived), and it was getting late and cold, but we did stop inside to warm up and plan our metro trip back to the hotel.
It occured to me that we could try to get to Pain, Vin, Fromage for dinner—the restaurant we were supposed to eat at with Katie Melville, my friend from undergrad, had her trip from London not been canceled—it being the one place we had a bonafide recommendation to visit. However jetlag tiredness and comfort back at the hotel were quickly setting in.
But this is vacation! We must sacrifice the body! Or somesuch… The hotel front desk person Googled the address for us (just our luck it was in the 3rd arrondisement—right next to the Pompidou, but it was open till 11:30pm).
Back out we went, wearing extra layers, first a call to connect with Stephanie’s friend Servane, and then onto PVF. It’s a small place on a narrow street with little else around. Probably had less than 10 tables, and only seemed to be staffed by 2 people. Fondue was their speciality, which sounded pretty good to me, but Stephanie spied “raclette” on the menu, something she’d tried to explain to me a few weeks before, so we agreed on that.
The woman plugged in a small device about the size of a thick hardcover book at our table. It had two parallel heating surfaces, one on top that looked kind of like a ribbed grill pan, and one beneath that had room for two small square trays with handles.
Next she brought out a bowl of boiled small potatoes in a little water and set it on top of the device. Finally she brought out three plates, one with square slices of white cow’s milk raclette cheese, and two plates for each of us with thinly sliced charcuterie, including saucisson, prosciutto, viande des grisons, and jambon along with a small bowl of cornichon pickles and pearl onions.
Stephanie showed me how she’d learned to eat raclette (which she hopes is the right way). First, put a slice of cheese on the small tray and set it inside the device to warm. Next, slice a potato on a plate and put some pieces of meat on top. Once the cheese has melted and is a little bubbly, use a small wooden spatula to scrap the cheese onto the meat on top of the potato slices. Step 4: eat and enjoy.
It was different, a little challenging to keep a bit of potato, meat, and cheese on the fork at the same time, but I’m always a fan of hands-on, tactile eating experiences. Once we get back home, I’ll be on the look out for a raclette warmer that accepts 110V current. So expect a raclette+DDR party in the near future.