Catching Ups and Downs: Part 1

Life is tough enough, do we really need Google to make it so difficult to access one's blog that was created before Google ruled the world?  Ok, cool man, or as the tax man really did say to me the other day: 'Zen.'  Wow, it's been a while and I blame my respite entirely on my day job.  So, if you're wondering where I've been, in this installment, I offer you 180 degrees (part 1) of a 360 degree recap, starting with some good old fashioned mama's home cooking:  NOT.

Mama Shelter

Way back around early November, I finally got the urge to check out the trendy Mama Shelter restaurant, situated on the ground floor of the trendy Mama Shelter hotel on rue de Bagnolet in the 20th and just across the street from one of my go-to venues for live music, La Fleche d'Or.  Mama's has long acquired Paris renown for its funky interior spaces, lively bar, pizza corner, and hip restaurant.  'Check' on funky interior decor, 'check' on lively bar, 'check' on pizza corner, but a decidedly 'thumbs down' on hip restaurant.  As for the funky decors, check out my photos.

Funky Mama Shelter decor 1

Funky Mama Shelter decor 2

Funky Mama Shelter decor 3

Funky Mama Shelter decor 4

Yes, the dark ceiling has a number of adages scrawled in chalk, including such deep musings as the following:

 Power is standing on a street corner without waiting for someone.
           Get out of my cloud.
Deep, huh?  About as deep as big Mama''s aspirations in the kitchen.
For a place that aspires to be so ostensibly cool, the menu offerings were decidedly dull on the evening that Co. and I made our visit (and probably all the other nights when we didn't, as well).
Below, the carte, followed by some food photos.

Mama Shelter's menu, Nov. 2013 (click to enlarge)

Burratta Tomates Cerises entree (14€)

The burratta was forgettable - not that anyone's could compare to that served at Aux Deux Amis, which I revisited a couple of weeks ago with the Moose.  The cerises were memorable - with so many, how could one forget?  Meanwhile, Co. was uninspired by her poele de champignon (13€).

Salmon snacke main dish (19€)

This actually looks pretty good, but to tell you the truth, I can't remember if this was my dish or Co's, and neither can she.  So it may have been good, but who the hell knows?

Plat du jour - some kind of fish and vegetables, take your pick (17€)

I know, I know, these photos suck, but then, so did the food.  (Actually, the place is so dark, you'll have trouble impressing your partner at the bar with all your stored selfies.)  Zen, man, zen.  Okay, the food wasn't that bad, but when it comes to Mama Shelter, you go for the decor, the lively bar action, and if you and your buds are up for group gourging on pizza, there's a special room set aside for that sort of happiness.  We downed our decent Pinot noir vieilees vignes (34€) and zenned back out into the Paris night without dessert or cafe at 97€.  Next question?

Address: 109 Rue de Bagnolet, 75020 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 43 48 48 48

Le Boudoir

This was a decidedly strange one.  The Moose, fully inspired by an earlier visit, suggested we check out Le Boudoir, a short block or two off the insanely crowded Champs Elysee.  I must admit, I was intrigued by the online carte, but nervous that it was in English, I guess a nod and blink to the hordes of tourists swarming around the fashionably ostentatious Champs Elysee shops.  By the time we arrived for dinner, only a few tables were taken, and we were seated next to a foursome of lovely young ladies finishing up what appeared to be a rollicking enjoyable early evening meal.  By the time we left, the place was filled with button-down male suits, hardly the touristy types, seriously huddled around their tables as if mapping out their strategies for their visits to a decidedly other kind of boudoir later that night.  My mind wanders, as it did at Le Boudoir, no doubt partly a function of the whiskeys I downed at a bar along the way.

The new seasonal Le Boudoir carte (click to enlarge)

I don't know what it is about the Moose, but he is the most gregarious person I know.  When we arrived at Le Boudoir, he asked for Stefan (manager?  owner?) and they greeted each other like lifelong pals.  Stefan spent some time at our table, just glowing about how the evening of our visit they were launching their fall/winter menu, which was why half of the items weren't available.  Don't worry, I didn't get it either.  The meal's a blur, but I remember ordering 'The famous poultry pie with duck foie gras - onion confit and foliage emulsion' because I wanted to find out what was so famous about it.  Stefan explained it is famous because care is taken to use only the freshest, most natural ingredients, which is fine by me.  I was less impressed by my dessert, the 'Black chocolate cream,' that would have worked a lot better without the bananas and with black chocolate cream.  Everything in-between is but a distant memory, but check out the photos below.  I do remember being surprisingly satisfied by the meal, however, although I'm not sure that I will return.  Still, if you're hanging out on the grand old C-E one evening and you want to check out something a bit off the beaten path (literally and figuratively) at fairly reasonable prices, you probably could do worse.

The famous poultry pie

Lightly browned scallops, risotto, red squash - fresh and succulent, no kidding

The Moose's choice: Quail stuffed with dried fruits and foie gras

Black chocolate cream - this one didn't work

Not to be forgotten, Le Boudoir includes the railroad car dining space, some more intimate private rooms upstairs (no, not those sort of rooms), as well as a 'cigars smoking room' 8-seater.  Now you've got the idea.

Restaurant & Wine Bar
Address:  25 rue du Colisée, 75008 Paris - France
Telephone:  01 43 59 25 29

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