You know those occasions where you end up with a very strong memory of a place that it intrinsically attached to the food you ate at the time? Its nothing extravagant or expensive. Its just that the events, the company and the food come together so seamlessly to gie you a lasting memory. In my life so far I have been lucky to have a few, and this is definitely one of those.
There were many things that were unusual about this meal. For starters, we weren’t expecting it to happen. Sad and trapped in my the blizzard, we were put up in a hotel at Port de Clichy, which if you see the map of Paris, is on the northern outskirts. To cheer ourselves up and to get something in our stomach, we decided to take a walk around the place. From what I remember, there was only one burger joint and two cafes in the area. We picked one called L’ Industrie and were glad to find that they had two things on their menu that we hadn’t managed to eat yet. Escago (that thing with the snails?) and Onion Soup.
Now my previous experience with Onion Soup has been very lukewarm to say the least. Its always been this watery, tasteless thing that I somehow never took to. So I was a bit uncertain when we ordered it. The place looked nice and all that (lovely old factory kind of interior) but I seriously doubted the quality of food.
Of course, I was proved wrong. Soon I would taste the most brilliant Onion Soup I ever have in my life (and I doubt I will ever again). It was just one of those things. Like destiny. It was this luscious deep brown thing that tingled on your tongue and warmed your soul. It is very hard to describe the feeling I had with that first spoon. It was an epiphany of sorts. That one spoon salvaged the disaster that this trip had become.
And I cant say enough about the bread in the soup. People forget how important the bread really is. And its forever treated like some irrelevant sidekick. But this was different. The bread had dignity. Even better, it had a character of its own. Fresh, laden with cheese, not too hard and not too soggy, it was like the ideal jugalbandi.
That Onion Soup will go down as one of the single most amazing things that happened to me on this trip. Its one of those things that will never repeat themselves, simply because I will never be able to replicate the circumstances that surrounded it. And it will remain with me till the end of my life, I can guarantee it.
Apart from the soup (but not as great) we tried other things there as well. Like this Farm-style Chicken in Rosemary Sauce with Mashed Potato…
…And this pan-roasted Goat’s Cheese Salad…
…After which we aptly ended with Chocolate Mouse and Gooseberry Tart. Yum.
So whats your strongest food memory?