This weekend kicked off with Friday lunch near the clinic at a restaurant called Le Marceau. Not only was it an opportunity to reunite with friends from the States, but also proved to be a dry run (well, not completely dry; we downed a bottle of Champagne) for our forthcoming visit to New York City and destinations beyond. I'll be in a wheelchair and town cars for that vacation; I wanted to assess my stamina.
Our Los Angeles-based pals Des and Mike joined us, along with their handsome three-year-old Leo. Leo was cool. He brought dinosaurs. And Wheaties®! Props to General Mills, America's leading cereal killer.
Our dear friend Linda came along too. She's from Worcester ("Woostah"), Mass. When she told me she'd be available to join us in NYC on July 5, I added her to the V.I.P. guest list for the Mr. Phil - Still Rollin' private party and acoustic throw down.
I was so thrilled to be out and about again. A beautiful afternoon. I celebrated with a rhubarb tart and vanilla ice cream after my steak. Most of the others in our party went the Café Gourmand route. Which, as you can see, was very generous.
I had so much fun at lunch Friday that the following afternoon I said "Let's play two!" We went to a longtime favorite just nearby: Noura Lebanese restaurant.
Sporting my new Indian Motorcycles vest. I don't ride, but I'm proud of the fact that like me Indian bikes -- along with Milton Bradley games, Merriam Webster dictionaries, the sport of basketball and the Springfield Rifle -- all originated in the "Silicon Valley of the Industrial Revolution": Springfield, Mass.
My bride was happy to roll me out to another great restaurant. The Lebanese-French people who run Noura and its satellite restos, bakeries and catering operation are always warm and welcoming. They accommodated me in my chair with aplomb.
We shared the spinach and pine nut-filled pastry called fatayer -- Popeye's favorite!
Marti's main was a medley platter of moutabal (baba ghanouj), hommos, fatayer, taboulé, loubié bel zeit (flat green beans and tomatoes) and falafel.
Habra nayé (lamb tartare). I assembled it in a quarter of pita bread with a creamy white garlic sauce, fresh mint leaves, onion, cucumber and tomato. You eat it as if it were a soft taco. Deeeeeelish!!!
Marti's dessert was three flavors of homemade sorbet: rose, fig and pistachio.
For me: Mafrouké. Ground Angel Hair, cream, pistachio chips and orange-flavored simple syrup.
In the late afternoon Marti called a car to take her to the Café Laurent, where our dear pal Christian Brenner was playing his regular solo piano apéro sets. His Brazilian girlfriend Glaucia had already commandeered prime seats.
At eight p.m. Glaucia, Christian, Marti and bassist Gilles Natural went to quick dinner at Xin Gainian, everyone's favorite Asian fusion restaurant down the street from the venue.
Our Massachusetts bud Linda came to the main gig later. Here she is with Glaucia and Christian at setbreak.
The quartet: Gilles Naturel (bass), Jean Yves Roucan (drums), Christian Brenner (piano) and Fabien Mary (trumpet). I've gotta see if I can bust out of this clinic to catch one of these sets sometime soon!
Tenor saxophonist extraordinaire Eric Breton jumped in on the late set. We've seen him before. Very tasty!