Sunday, January 13, 2008

Raymond K. Hessel

I'm in what's arguably the culinary capital of the world, and I skipped dinner.

Sure, there are a dozen places I could eat just within spitting distance of my hotel. Sure, even the cheapo traiteurs littering the side streets here are probably better than more expensive joints at home. And sure, I could probably even expense it. But I was too tired and - dare I say it - not that hungry.

Here I am surrounded by a nearly unlimited supply of foie gras, saucissons, entrecôte, moules, baguettes, and dodgy-but-delicious doner kebabs. And I opted out of it all.

So it was no surprise that I woke up this morning completely ravenous. I went to sleep last night dreaming of all of the above, salivating over fatty foods, fresh ingredients, and maybe a little bit over über-hottie Louise Monot. And thus, my complimentary hotel breakfast was fabulous.

Now I wouldn't go quoting Fight Club and say that this breakfast was "better than any meal you and I have ever tasted." I merely passed a night skipping a meal, not having a gun held to my head behind a liquor store. I didn't have a life-changing experience. Tyler Durden didn't convince me to continue my veterinary studies. But just my yogurt alone was worth the long flight over. The fact that I was sipping coffee and buttering my demi-baguette while looking out at a quaint little Parisian sidewalk made it more than worth waking up. Each sip and every bite was punctuated by a little taste of - okay, overbearing cliché time - life. And I haven't even set foot outside the hotel for 15 hours.

I've been a glutton on my travels. And I still think that eating and drinking a country dry is the way to go. But by scaling back my sensory indulgence, I think I'm going to get a whole new angle. Maybe.

Now to decide where I'll go for a walk today. No tourist sites. No crowds. I just want to walk.

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