We had recommendation to go to a restaurant in a posh little shopping area by the Bastille. The restaurant was Ma Bourgogne and specializes in steak tartare and other traditional French dishes. Matt had always wanted to try steak tartare at a place that would do it right and not kill him. Wikipedia says it’s not a dish for “those with a weak immune system.” If you didn’t click the link, steak tartare is raw beef, ground, spiced with capers, onions, Worchestershire sauce and served with either a raw egg or tarter sauce and fries.
What should be noted is that the person who recommended this place to us, said he personally couldn’t order the “dog food” even though every single Parisian around him had ordered it. Apparently they did the dish well and with honor, but that couldn’t convince Dr. Walter Lamar to eat the stuff. We saw this to be true – everyone around us was ordering the tartare, so that clearly got Matt excited as we perused the menu.
Our waiter was a little snobby. It was almost exciting that after a week of France, we had yet to run into a snobby Frenchman! They are truly nice people who are often misunderstood (maybe stuff for another blog) but this waiter – oh, he loathed us. From the time we sat down and promptly ordered fries to eat with our wine (okay, that was a little tourist, but we thought we’d be good since our French-speaking friend was the one who ordered! Not always a magic trick) he made it his mission to make sure we knew we were idiotic, not first on his list to serve, and clearly American. Because we needed that reminder.
So, Matt orders the tartare, Angela orders some pretty sausage and potato dish
(lucky) and I, deciding to be bold, order the Andouiette – intestine sausage. Hey, all sausage is made with scraps, right? Everyone loves sausage and chorizo is probably the grossest and yet most tasty! So I figured this wouldn’t be much different. I’m not one to scoff at something I’ve seen on virtually every menu in Paris. I’m generally of the mindset that if the locals like it, hey, maybe I will, too. You never know if you’re one step away from your new favorite dish. And I firmly believe that if you always order what’s familiar to you, you will never truly embrace another culture, as food is the life-line that nearly every culture holds in highest respect.
So I order the Andouiette. The waiter literally says, “Do you know what eet eees?” “Yes” (raises an eyebrow as he walks away)
I still believe that this sausage has every potential of being awesome. This didn’t happen to be this sausage’s day. From the moment he sat it in front of me, it gave off a whiff of…sour metallic wet dog? Oh but you bet your sweet hiney I tried it. Twice. And so did Angela and Matt. We all stomached a bite (accompanied by a fry) and all determined that something had indeed gone wrong with Mr. Andouiette. It was just…off. I was defeated. The snobby waiter was right – I didn’t know what I had ordered. I expressed my distress and Angela whispered, “Cut it all up – I’ll put it in my purse and we can surely find a stray dog – they’re everywhere!”
See all the pretty folds of the intestine?
So we left enough on my plate to be believable. That yes, the American had eaten most of the bile-soaked sausage, but no, she didn’t finish it. It was far too big of a portion for an American anyway! 🙂 I still love Angela to pieces for the look of sheer glee on her face as she stealthily grabbed the sausage with her napkin and shoved it in her purse once our waiter was out of sight. We paid our too high tab (or maybe it wasn’t too high since Matt didn’t develop E.Coli from his tartare, which, by the way, was like a nice dipping paste for the fries – I know you all just threw up in your mouths a little.)
On our way out to go find a dog, we saw these handsome men playing for change. They were fabulous.
And since I hadn’t eaten much lunch at all, we stopped at a little cafe for coffee and sugar in various forms:
happy now that I have sugar. And look, that’s the pretty scarf I got that morning!
We munched on our Opera cake, pistachio brownie-thing and chocolate sable cookies for a while and suddenly, Matt shouts, “look, there’s a dog!” Angela and I SPRING to action – she grabs the sausage, I am there, crouched by this handsome pup with my camera, ready for action.
Look, doggie! Nice sausage! Already smells like dog food so you should be elated!
He smells the first piece…
He smells the second piece…
tries out the third…
looks completely depressed…
And then looks at me like, “vous plaisantez, non?” (you’re joking, right?)
NOT EVEN THE DOG WANTED MY LUNCH! A French dog at that! We looked back, mortified to see this dog’s owner, a very well-kept looking older lady coming up behind us. Angela explained the situation to which the lady laughed and said, “Ah, he’s just a picky eater” Riiiiight. I don’t know what was more funny, the fact that the dog refused the refuse, or that Angela picked the dirty things back up off the ground to try and find another dog. We did eventually find a drooling beast that very nearly knocked Angela over when she approached because he was smelling her purse. Those sausages weren’t on the ground for more than two seconds before that dog had them gone.
This is the brute that scarfed down the intestines for me. Thanks, chien gentil. I owe you one…