It was so gorgeous out last Saturday that we seized the opportunity to hang out at Canal St Martin. After all, it could very well be the last warm weekend this year!
4.5 kilometres in length, the Canal St Martin connects to the River Seine through a series of locks. Though it was made famous by the movie Amélie (remember the rock skipping scene?), it remains relatively un-touristed, visited instead by Parisians for a sunny day by the water.
We fueled up at Le Verre Volé before commencing our stroll. The stolen glass, as it is called in English, is a cave-à-manger, and one of the better known of the winebar-restaurant genre in Paris. Reservations are essential in the evenings, but the servers managed to jam us that sunny afternoon into a tiny table in the packed, ramshackled looking dining room. The front walls were lined with bottles of natural wines while the backroom walls were mirrored surfaces on which the day’s wines and food specials are scribbled. After browsing through the short, seasonal menu, we decided to just go with the grill section, loaded with hearty ham and sausages, washed down with some natural reds.
P’s saucisse au couteau came straight off the grill, the plump sausage – with a hand-chopped versus machine-minced filling – bursting with fatty juices that further seasoned the already rich mashed potatoes. Thank goodness for the side of bitter greens!
My brown slab that resembles a brownie in the photo above is in fact a free-form deconstructed boudin noir, ridden of the usual sausage casing. The blood sausage is not grilled but baked, such that each mouthful was a blend of crisped edges and spongy interiors. The strong taste took some getting used to, but after a while, I became a convert of the rich, meaty flavor accentuated whenever I bite into the concealed bits of chopped fat.
After lunch, we continued our ramble up the canal, taking pictures and observing a Premier League game of pétanque until our friend the sketchy economist found us along Quai de la Seine, where several barges were docked. We boarded the péniche Antipode, a floating multi-purpose entertainment center, boasting a theatre for adults and children alike, as well as a popular bar with plentiful outdoor seating on the deck. Food and drinks were also very affordable, and our 2 Euro coffee, tea and wine were pretty decent. On top of that, both the people manning the place and the customers were super chill. How’s that for a serendipitous find!
Ah Canal St Martin, how I’ll miss you and the sunny Saturday we spent together when winter comes!
Le Verre Volé – 67 Rue de Lancry 75010 Paris, http://www.leverrevole.fr/
Péniche Antipode – 55 Quai de la Seine 75019 Paris, http://www.abricadabra.fr/