Friday, July 4, 2008

Goodbye, Blue Sky

So the new direction isn't quite working out. As you know, I am looking to make this blog marketable in some way. In order to do that, I have to have a niche. Naturally, travel seemed like the perfect match for me. It's not.

Dude, I must have spent two hours trying to come up with a new Travel related post today. On top of that, the last one sucked. I was going to write about hostels, and how to survive in them, but really it's all common sense and anything that I have to say would only seem patronizing. I could write about certain sights in certain cities, but there's only so much information that's available inside of my clouded noggin. Yeah, go to Montmartre. Go to the Blue Sky Cafe and have a croque madame et un petit cafe...

It was one of those usual beautiful Parisian days. Sunshine that just warms the skin. These were the sort of days that got my creative juices flowing and inspired me to partake in that most cherished of Parisian traditions: outdoor cafe seating. Leaving my humble apartment on Rue Lepic, near the Moulin Rouge, I head east down Rue Abbesses toward my favorite spot: Blue Sky. That's the actual name. I am not translating it. It's right off the Place des Abbesses, down a winding road dominated on one side by what was once a piano factory but now houses a series of quaint restaurants and art spaces. Making my way past the Tyrolean restaurant with the little dog that scared the crap out of me nearly daily, and past the vintage dress shop, I turn the corner and there it is. Blue Sky is on the corner, and once you reach said corner, you can hear the Cuban music coming from inside. That's a good sign. I'm convinced Hemingway would have eaten here. That's an even better sign.

With a Gene Kelly-like bounce, I tread up the brick steps and walk inside. The place is small, with a little cooking area in the back and mismatched chairs and tables up front. This is not a high-volume operation. This is a gem.

Since I came here every other day or so, the owner and I have a pleasant relationship. I bring my friends with me for late night carafes of some of France's finest and he tosses us some fromage to munch on for free. You will not find that anywhere else in Paris, and I can nearly gurantee that. He values our patronage! What an outlandish proposition.
The owner is a short little bald guy from Madagascar, about 30 years old or so. He speaks English quite well, laughs in falsetto, and is kind enough to humor me when I was looking to practice my deplorable French. He came here to study law, but ran out of money... so he opened a cafe. I'm not sure how that works out, but it wasn't my place to inquire further. What's also great about him is that he knew what I liked. Nothing is more inviting than to have an owner recognize you and ask "the usual"? I love it when that happens, and go out of my way to make sure it does.

The Usual: Croque Madame. A simple French dish that is about the closest one can come to American style breakfast food, though it is not considered exclusively for breakfast here. The dish consists of a piece or two of battered bread, stacked, with a layer of melted cheese and thinly sliced ham in between with a single egg cracked on top. Residual heat from the toast cooks the egg while allowing enough of the runny yummies to spill onto the bread underneath. Salmonella is not spoken of, nor thought of. Cut inside, let the egg run and let the bread soak it up. A wonderful way to start the day... and cheap too! About 6.50EUR.
Give me an expresso with a cube of sugar and I'm all set.

With my meal in front of me, I would usually whip a few pieces of paper out from my ubiquitous man-bag and start writing. Of course, I am using my fountain pen. I'm convinced that the only reason I started writing was because I like my own handwriting and the feel of the smoothness of the flowing ink. It makes me feel colonial in some way. I even added flair to my signature, a la John Hancock. I digress...

Well, actually, this entire post is a digression. But, it serves a purpose: I could write about food! Natalie once told me that I live my days according to the next meal. Why not capitalize on it! I've give it a trial run tomorrow and see what happens.

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