[Pink Pig Time Machine by Wilfrid: December 19, 2016]
I was mixing it up with old French writers and visiting familiar dining haunts, this week ten years ago.
Émile Gaboriau and the stunningly over-named Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly were contemporaries--although Gaboriau was younger and died earlier. Very different reads, though.
Gaboriau churned out popular pot-boilers at an astonishing rate throughout his brief career. He was one of the most read writers in France for a time. He was certainly read too, outside France, by Arthur Conan Doyle. Almost inadvertently, he created the full-length detective novel, complete with wise police detective (Inspector Lecoq), and a full panoply of familiar devices like the impossible locked-room murder. The way he has Lecoq examine a crime scene and question suspects set an enduring pattern for the genre.
Like Conan Doyle, he had difficulty in sustaining the detective element for the full-length of a novel (and he solves the problem the same way, using extensive flashbacks), but he made major advances on Poe's short mystery tales.
But in between deep dives into L'Affaire Lerouge, I was dipping into a much shorter work, Barbey's Du dandysme et de George Brummell, a treatise on the rarified air inhabited by the dandy, written almost twenty years ahead of Baudelaire's definitive comments on the subjects in The Painter of Modern Life.
But even dandies must occasionally eat. Off to Tides, then, for oysters, mussel soup with chorizo, fried tilapia and cheesecake, paired with a celebratory bottle of Pol Roger.
Just a few steps from Tides was WD 50, which I visited on another evening for the lengthy tasting menu: highlights from my journal, the pine kernel and oyster cassoulet, a chestnut malt soup with dried salmon, and the bottle of '94 Campo Viejo GR which accompanied it.
There was a casual lunch at Lupa: the testa
Lupa lunch: the testa followed by pennette with tripe. At home, I made the English classic shepherd's pie. And the final blow-out of the week, was the great-value tasting at Devi.
Salmon-crab cake, spicy aïoli
Grilled scallop, Manchurian cauliflower
Bruschetti of liver and brains, quail's egg
Tandoori lamb chop
Emile Beyer Gewürztraminer 2004