Cure for the Lonely Heart: Le Danton

I have an embarrassing confession to make. It’s really embarrassing, but here I go. Despite the fact that I’m in Paris, perhaps the most exciting city in the world, I managed to spend most of the day in bed, sleeping and being lazy. Yes, I had wasted away a full day of my precious vacation in a tiny hotel room, watching a video game-loving (and very lovable) teenager “make” himself into a Tae Kwon Do master in French-dubbed version of MTV’s Made! It was a lethal combination of fatigue, jet-lag, and loneliness that kicked me to the bottom of this sloth. It was also a double-edge sword because the more I felt terrible about myself, the more I wanted to stay in bed and do nothing.  I missed my boyfriend and my family back home, and thinking about all the work I left behind made me want to hide under the sheet and cry.

Then it hit me that I am on vacation, which meant that I can do whatever I wanted to do, however I wanted to do it, without any guilt. If sleeping and being lazy was what my body and mind needed, then that’s what I’m supposed to do, despite the fact that I’m 6,000 miles away from home. And work will always be there, whether I stress over it or not so why bother. After I made peace with myself, I felt so much better, like a ton of weight had lifted off my shoulder. That’s when I decided to peel myself off the bed, take a hot shower, and go out for dinner – my first meal of the day.

David Lebovitz, an American cookbook author and a pastry chef who now lives in Paris, said in his book, The Sweet Life in Paris, that the moment he shaved and put on a nicely ironed shirt just to go a few steps from his door to the dumpster to throw away trash, he knew he had become a Parisian. Although I’m no close to calling myself a local, I know exactly what he meant. Just to go across the street to a neighborhood brasserie for quick dinner, I too took a long shower, put on a full make-up, did my hair, and wore my favorite black sweater that I bought just for this trip!

I had walked by this restaurant, La Danton, a several times yesterday and was very curious to try it. It was very well-lit and lively, with solo diners and large parties sharing good meals and good time. The menu outside also showed promise for some delicious eats, so I walked right in! I sat in the small table facing the glass window, overlooking the busy intersection. I love people watching. When Briana and I were in Paris last time, we would sit for hours to watch people go by and make up funny stories about them. Several things that I noticed tonight – that Parisians love black pea coats, and many of them still smoke cigarettes! All restaurants now prohibit indoor smoking but there are still lots of smokers outside.

I was in the mood to try heavy dishes tonight but knowing that this was my first meal of the day, I settled on something light. Yes, I ordered a Salad Nicoise (surprise, surprise).  It was perfect because it was light enough not to upset my still-sleeping stomach, while still providing some flavor and substance along the way.

I must say that the salad here was much better than the one I had at Le Mondrian last night. The dressing was much more flavorful, and I loved that it came with a bed of boiled potatoes and some olives. Although the anchovies weren’t as tangy as the other ones, I was very satisfied with the overall dish.

The wait staff who took care of my table was really sweet and attentive, making sure that I had enough baguettes at all times. In total, I probably ate an entire loaf of the French bread because it was so delicious! I was pleasantly surprised how delicious Boudeaux wine was since I remembered not liking it much in the past. I ordered 25 ml of the red wine which was about two glasses. A nice couple sitting next to me offered some wine of theirs. They said that they couldn’t finish it and wanted to share it with me! Score!

For dessert, I had the luscious homemade pear tart with fig ice cream which made me melt! I washed them all down with a rich cup of café latte.

This meal was exactly what I needed tonight. And thanks to the curiously strong espresso, coupled with 20 hours of sleep, I ended up staying awake all night. I have no idea how my body will react after literally no rest.  Please wish me luck as I have a lot planned to the day, to make up for the lost time.

Two more days until my best Maya arrives in Paris!  I can’t wait!

Le Danton
103 Boulevard Saint-Germain 75006 Paris
Metro: Odeon