Monday, September 11, 2006

When is a museum not a museum?

Answer: When it serves FABULOUS food. Then it's a restroseum. This weekend, dear reader, Signor G. and I decided to take our lives in our hands two metros and a bus out to the Parisian suburb of Vitry-sur-Seine to check out the MAC/VAL, a new contemporary art museum that opened at the beginning of the year. After an epic trek, involving fights with dragons, pastry terrorists* and other magical creatures, we arrived, dust-spattered and parched, at our destination. Leaving our guide and bearers at reception, I crawled over to the desk and croaked (in my best French) :"Errm, do you have a restaurant?" Little did we suspect what a garden of earthly delights awaited us. A 12-month old Comté cheese that took the roof of your mouth, spicy Spanish chorizo, buffalo mozzarella, an oriental seaweed salad, a tasty purée of courgettes and rosemary, all served outside on a beautifully sunny afternoon atop primary-coloured tables. Faultless. And the best was yet to come. Signor G. chose a chocolate mousse that was quite possibly the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. Sex on a spoon. In fact, I managed to scoff quite a lot of it myself when he wasn't looking, as well as my own sticky choccy cake. Before we knew it, two and a half hours had flown past, and we still hadn't seen any art. After lunch, the collection could have proved disappointing, but NO, not a bit of it. From the spaghetti forest to the old children's elephant costume, the whole thing was gorgeous, accessible and - above all - FUN!! Fantabulous. For a taster of what's on offer, click on the pics. As if that wasn't enough epicurean activity for one day, in the evening I went with a group of friends to celebrate Cath's birthday here. My protestations that I wasn't "really hungry, I had a massive lunch" were exposed as a blatant lie as I polished off my curried salmon in banana leaves in record time, and STILL found room for green tea and coconut ice-cream. And to round off the evening, pink champagne in St. Germain-des-Pres. Needless to say - apart from some chocolate fingers chez les LOGs Sunday afternoon - I'm now back on my tried 'n' tested (my italics) NSTC** diet.
*Two young men, carrying two ominous-looking buckets and what looked like a jerrycan of petrol got on the bus. Signor G. and I exchanged nervous glances and even the driver tried to stop them boarding. Then I noticed that one of them was carrying a large fruit crumble - an unlikely terrorist accessory, I think you'll agree - and then that the buckets, in fact, contained butter and the "petrol" was peanut oil. Hence, pastry terrorists. Stay safe.
**No Solids Till Christmas

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