Sunday, August 17, 2008


I just had Indian food for the third time in a week.

For the last week or so, I've been fully appreciating our new (temporary) digs on rue du Faubourg de Saint-Denis on the southwestern edge of the 10th arrondisement. It's just up the block from the rue Saint-Denis, the derelict street full of sex shops and aging hookers about whom I'd mused recently. In honor of that, I've nicknamed our apartment the real estate shorthand for "Two steps from the old prostitutes." The tiny flat is also mere steps from the Passage Brady, so reasonably priced Indian food is plentiful. And less likely to result in a trip to the clinic.

Overall, it's just so nice to be back in civilization. The tiny flat (ours for the rest of August) is on a relatively quiet courtyard - miles and miles from the speedway that was boulevard Péreire - where the only annoyance is the hunger I feel from the savory smells of the kebab shop below. That and the six-story climb up, but I'm getting over it.

The neighborhood is certainly interesting. "Colorful," most people would probably euphemize. Other than London-Heathrow airport, I don't think I've ever been in one place where I've heard so many languages from East Asia, the Asian subcontinent, Subsaharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East at the same time. The melange of cultures sometimes leads to very loud misunderstandings, but more so to crazy good smells.

Turkish kebab shops share the same air with Pakistani takeouts, Kurdish sandwich shops, Indian buffets, and my favorite Middle Eastern street food - corn on the cob roasted over coals in misappropriated shopping carts. If not for those five flights of stairs, I'd be a lard-ass by now.

Of course, all the delicious food is offset by the fact that the main street surface in this neighborhood is not made of cobblestone, but cigarette butts and pigeon feathers. It's all very filthy, nothing like the cloistered, lawyer/accountant/consultant-inhabited streets of the stodgy 17th.

I highly recommend it.


  1. I'm fighting the urge to be a foodie again.

    Amazing post, as usual.

  2. Aww, fanx Keane. I think I would've done a much better job if I didn't have massive food coma and curry burps...