Monday, October 4, 2010


Many years ago (don't ask) I enjoyed a number of light meals at Au Pied Cochon in the old Les Halles area of Paris. They were famous for their delicious ONION SOUP AU GRATIN, served hot enough to scorch, in generous pottery bowls. Rich with long-simmered beef broth and huge amounts of thinly sliced onions, it was topped with a thick layer of melted cheese which ran down the sides of the bowl in crunchy dribbles.
Today, I tried to stroll down memory lane. The casual atmosphere of the old days has been tarted up big time with tuxedo'd waiters, extravagant frosted glass centerpieces (three voluminous layers of fruits and stuff), and - oh, joy! - still the large bowls of french onion soup with a deep layer of cheese bubbling atop. It was fun to crack the broiled cheese and find the bread swimming amidst onions and broth. The broth, a scrumptious brown, was fragrant, the steam caressed my face like an old friend. I dipped the humongous, heavy silver soup spoon into the broth...
And the fantasy ended.
The  thin broth was ridiculously salty and could have been tastier. The cheese was great, but below it lay a pool of disappointment. It was, at best, mediocre, over-salted tourist food.
And the recommended wine - the waiter said it was dry - was flowery and almost sweet, and he served us  extra-large glasses instead of the medium ones we ordered.
Things change, sure, but why do they rarely change for the better? How difficult is it to combine onions, beef broth and cheese? Next Paris visit, when I yearn for authentic french onion soup, I will have to find a new place: Au Pied du Cochon is, regrettably, off my list.


  1. Great to see you here, Lee! I've always looked forward to your adventures - this is a great way to organize your witty accounts. Keep them coming!

  2. Hi Lee! It is nice to see you on yet another grand adventure. If you can, could you post a few photos with each experience/dinner/whatever, I would love to see what the food/atmosphere looks like. Cheers, Keith


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