Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back to Paris, Jeudi and a Fantastic Dinner at Izakaya Issé

As we left Chinon this morning and the Hôtel Diderot after another wonder breakfast, I'm left with one lingering thought passed to us as we left..."Paris is not France."  To me, what that expresses, is that France is so much more than just Paris.  It is the charming small towns, the lovely countryside, the winding roads, the fresh air, the peaceful enjoyment of life, and the deliberate living of it.  We have enjoyed that part of our trip immensely. 

The drive to Paris was about three and a half hours and by the time we checked into our hotel and Chris returned the rental car, all we wanted to do was relax in our rooms.  The traffic, once in Paris, was crazy and once again, we could not be more thankful for the navigation system in the car.  It alerted us of a broken down car on the motorway, slowed traffic and course adjustments as a result and lane closures.  We must not have bought a car with that kind fancy bells and whistles in some time.  

With the four of us, the hotel would not let us share one room and so we were forced to book two rooms.  The girls' room has two queen beds in it and we would have happily suffered in silence as there was room enough for all of us.  But, in the end, we were happy we were forced to have our own room with our huge bed, faux fireplace, a grand chandelier, and plenty of space to relax.  

We did not leave the hotel until dinner time.  We went for an early dinner, the first seating, at Izakaya Issé, a Japanese tapas style restaurant.  This is the restaurant we had tried to go to on Chris' birthday, but could not get a table.  It is a fairly small restaurant with seating for maybe 16-20 inside.   We arrived at 7:30 and were the only ones there for a while, but we were in heaven.  For most of our adult lives, we thought ourselves huge fans of French food.  I don't know what happened, but we were all dying for something other than French.  We have been, in general, underwhelmed with the prepared food we've had.  There have been some hits here and there, and the classic baguettes, croissants, ham, etc have been fabulous.   Have we been completely unlucky in our restaurant choices?  Perhaps we are not spending enough money to get a good meal.  Perhaps our tastes have shifted and we have been spoiled with variety, which is something we have not had here.  There is a huge variety of excellent foods in Seattle and so much innovation has occurred there of late.  Whatever the reason, tonight, we were like kids on Christmas morning.  Thank you Izakaya Issé!



 Eggplant with bonito flakes.
 Octopus, seaweed and cucumber salad
 Fried softshell crab in a sweet and sour type sauce
Seared tuna 
 Endamame
 Braised pork belly
Beef teriyaki

We left the restaurant and walked straight back to the hotel to relax with our happy bellies and ready ourselves for our last day in France.

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