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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Head Chef has the Real Scoop on the Arc

-written by Deborah
Last week, as you know, my sweetie and I attended the ARC in Paris. There has been plenty of talk about racing and horses, and blah, blah, blah, but I know what you really want to hear about is what everybody wore and what we ate, so here it is!

Taking the metro to The Arc
All dressed up and on our way. Doesn't he look cute? The nervous expression is him practicing to say in French :"Ten Euros on the 4 to win in the 5th ." s'il vous plaît.

It's all about the hats
As soon as we arrived I knew we were in for a treat. No they are not brides.
Oh, how impossibly chic!! I live for this stuff.
This hat is entirely covered in black feathers. There were oh so many fantastical feathered chapeaux to be seen.
It wasn't just about the woman, the men were looking very dapper too.

Très beau!

Even the marching band looked impossibly spiffy. Those hats they have on are so Charles de Gaulle.

Black hats seemed to rule the day.
But not everyone played by the rules. These two cuties sat right near us. Notice the tiny red top hat on the left, set at a jaunty angle. The hat on the right was handmade from leaves and flowers. It began to fall apart by the end of the afternoon, but had managed to make a great impression for most of the day.
OK on to the food:
A four course meal that tasted pretty good and looked très élégant.
This is where we sat to eat. Notice the unobstructed view of the paddock. Nice! That didn't last long once the crowds filled in every available space, but still!

The event felt like we were at a fancy wedding, dressed in our slightly uncomfortable fancy clothes sitting at a table with a lot of people we did not know, drinking a lot of wine and eating a meal that we had no choice about, which was presented in a fancy manor by lots of waiters. I had fun!
The first course was a scallop dish with morel mushrooms in a creamy sauce garnished with a dash of orange zest.
Pas mauvais!

The second course was veal with endive and some très délicieux lima beans and more mushrooms.
The third course: Oops, forgot to take a picture of the cheese course before I ate it. The cheese itself was a lackluster chèvre, but the fresh herbs surrounding it were heaven!

Forget about a picture of dessert. We were long gone on paying attention by that point. It was a lovely little morsel of a fig tart with some ice cream on the side. Devoured in an instant.

What an unbelievable day! Our host Gina was so gracious and kind and made us feel incredibly welcome. I had joked with my daughter while packing for this trip about bringing my glue gun to Paris to make a hat for the Arc. Well, no joke, I know what to do next year. Got to find some black feathers.
au revoir!


Anonymous said...

Wow, very cool. Now it really would have been cool if you had gone in a horse drawn carriage to, maybe, run into the cast of Gigi.

steve in nc said...

Not that I would turn food like that away, but it is hard to imagine serious handicapping and horseplaying with such wonderful distractions. This looks like the place for owners, visitors & tourists.

For me, the ideal day at the track would be spent going between the grandstand and the paddock, hitting a nice superfecta, and then blowing some of it on good food and wine.

Figless said...

Great job Deb, thanks for filling us in on the finer aspects of Longchamps.

I maintain that BIG race days, the Derby, Belmont, Travers, Arc (if I am ever so lucky) are more about the experience rather than the gambling. Do your homework and make your bets early, then soak in the atmosphere. Stop and smell the roses.

Breeders Cups attended live are unique, almost entirely knowledgable fans and industry participants, totally different vibe. Serious racing and serious gambling comfortably comingled, nothing like it.

And then there is the Big A.

Luckily for me I am comfortable in each environment.

Figless said...

PS - I am strangely looking forward to Opening Day at the Big A this Christmas morning, hope they did something, anything, to improve the racing side.

Figless said...

My favorite Big Race Day story, Go For Gin's Derby.

Me and about ten buddies go to the Derby, no seats, infield mudfest. Most of my friends are content to enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere, I handicapped and wagered early, tried to pay attention as the races were run, had a great time despite losing.

But I had one friend who treated it like a Wednesday at Belmont. Showed up with his lawn chair, cooler and a DRF and tried to seriously handicap.

All day he whined about the long lines, got shut out a few times early, learned his leasson and basically spent the rest of the day on line (not on-line) handicapping as he waited. Only time I saw him was when I passed the windows on the way to the grandstand.

We finally hook up before the big race, and sure enough he nails Go For Gin big!! I told you so blah blah blah, big laugh, dinners on me etc.

He gets on line to collect, reaches into his pocket only to pull out a piece of soaked through illegible paper that was at one time a winning ticket.

Spent the rest of the card trying to track down supervisors (on Derb Day) to cash the thing but the serial number could not be read and they declared it void. He laughs about it now but was steaming at the time.

Lesson, enjoy the day.

Paul said...

Yea, Now That's what's important,to report on an event like the Arc; Hot french Chix, food and booze. Looked like a PARTY. That's rounding out some great reporting on the Arc. You guys make a great counterpoint team, Hope to see you again in delmar, Paul