I aim to keep this blog as focused as possible on what I set out to do - create recipes that are not only easy for people to make for themselves but which also remind us all of how important it is to eat and live well. However, it is inevitable that I might stray a little. And last night I strayed to a bar which was recently credited as one of the Best Bars in the World by Food & Wine, an article co-written by my sister, Yasmin Fahr. I couldn't resist checking out Curio Parlor in Paris and reporting what I found; I was very intrigued and curious - is this presumed world-class bar worthy of the high praise it received?
I set out on a Wednesday evening toward my destination in the 5th arrondissement; as I embarked upon Rue des Bernardins I couldn't help but double check the address to make sure I was in the right place; with low street lighting and no glaring sign above its front door, I had the impression that this was either a subdued residential area or a student neighborhood which had seen its most crowded moments during daylight hours. However, I continued down Rue des Bernardins from Boulevard Saint-Germain towards the Seine, and finally I spotted a tiny gold plaque with elegant cursive writing confirming that this was in fact the right
I hopped onto a stool at the bar and observed the odd sights around me: stuffed animals, from wolves to peacocks, adorned the walls and counters of this bar. Combined with the ornate glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling the choice of decoration felt at once bizarre and clever. I was handed a menu and decided to go with a cool cucumber cocktail, and as soon as I put my order in, the bartender went to work; with determined arms flying in each direction, grabbing with precision all of the necessary ingredients, he vigorously whisked up in minutes a combination of fresh herbs, vegetable, liquor and syrup which fit perfectly into a well-chilled cocktail glass. My first drink reminded me that the deep satisfaction I find in food exists in liquid form as well. Tant mieux.
Although I loved this cocktail and would have happily stopped there, I was intrigued when the hostess mentioned their most-famous Strawberry Fields concoction, which I instantly remembered reading about in my sister's review. Ahh yes, I will definitely take one of those please! I couldn't have been happier with my decision; although Emily's Curio Special was refreshing and satisfying, this bubbly mixture of champagne, fresh strawberries, mint, vodka, and syrup was on another plane. I could easily have consumed 5 of these, and I noticed in fact that was exactly the decision another patron had made - he sauntered up to the bar and requested rudely "for another one of those pink things" in French.
Overall, I'd say the cocktails I tried embody creativity at its finest - just as with food, the combination of ingenuity and fresh ingredients makes for a wonderful and unique experience. I am confident that if you go you will not be disappointed - but please ask nicely for a Stawberry Fields.