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Wonderful World 11/April in Paris 3
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Restaurants are everywhere in Paris . Whatever area of the city you find yourself in, nearby will be a brasserie, patisserie, bistro, café, wine bar (they serve the French version of fast food) or a tea salon. In addition there are also the famed hotel dining rooms such as Le George Cinq, The Ritz and The Meurice. For Parisians eating out is a regular occurrence and they tend to frequent the same eating places almost as if they were clubs. They know the waiters and the waiters know them. Waiters remain at their chosen place of employment for years never changing to another and the same is true of chefs. (Once hired, the laws of France are such that an employee cannot be fired excepting under the most unusual circumstances. The job is theirs for their entire working life —unless the business closes down.) The boxes below are styled after the famous Guy Buffet paintings that you can see in our Wine Seller segments but commemorate the waiters and chefs of Paris.
A. The Chef Matchbox. Clutching a duck he is about to start the preparation of a cassoulet, a mouth watering stew of tomatoes, sausage, beans and duck. If you run your fingers over the face of this box you will find that the central characters, the duck and the chef, are painted in relief. Notice the rather rotund shape of the chef -- he enjoys his own cooking. Inside, a paring knife, drawn. The clasp is unrelated to the subject matter of the box. Retail: About $185.00. Our price: $166.90.
B. The Waiter and The Coq Box. He is explaining that they only serve Free Range Chicken. Not that it matters a great deal because their best chicken entrée is Coq au Vin. I had my first Coq au Vin in Quebec, many, many years ago, and it was so good that we went back to the same restaurant for three nights running and I ate Coq au Vin each night. This box comes with an easel because it is a painting. Inside, the Free Range Chicken explanation and the clasp in unimportant to the box. Retail: About $185.00. Our price: $166.90.
C. Our French Cook Book Box. It is open to the Coq au Vin recipe with an illustration of some of the ingredients, a mixing spoon resting on it, dimensional, and the clasp is a serving spoon. Retail: About $155.00. Our price: $139.90.
D. The Bistro Garçon Box. Elegant is the word for this mustachioed fellow. He’s been at this café for years and has his favorite customers. They’ve just been seated and he is about to serve them their favorite wine, see the stemmed glasses in his right hand and the wine bottle in his left. He’s carrying one other thing -- a rose -- between his teeth. Inside, a drawing of a wine glass and the clasp is a serving spoon. Retail: About $205.00. Our price: $184.90.
E. The Can Can Box. At the turn of the twentieth century Maxime’s was the most elegant dining establishment in Paris. It was frequented by the wealthiest Parisians and the men in Paris who chose not be married took their current loves there to see and be seen. The entertanment was the Can Can troupe of Mlle. Eglantine and the ladies of the troupe showed their legs and their derrièr when they did the Can Can. It was considered very risqué in those days even though both their legs and their derrière’s were completely covered. Their costumes, as seen on the box, were heavily ruffled including the derrièr area and there was nothing that could really be seen but in those days it was the very height of daring to do anything like that. Retail: About $95.00. Our price: $85.90.
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