Around La Rentrée I managed to have Twitter up (as I’m not permanently plugged in) when a tweet popped up from Lost in Cheeseland, otherwise known as Lindsey Tramuta. Meet-up … Foodspotting… Food and drink. Le Pearl. Click on link, click on will be participating and that’s how I came to walk into Le Pearl, a chic and bijou restaurant on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud the other week.
It was one of those things, do you do fashionably late (my usual form) or get there from the go. I went for not on the dot of 7 but not long after, once I figured out which direction was up to the Pearl from the Oberkampf metro station. (Even with Google maps you still have to know left from right when the street you want runs across the one you want.)
I recognised Lindsey immediately, not only because she has a hugely successful I-want-one-of-those inimitable kinds of blogs about her life in Paris, but because she wasted no time in coming over to say hello. Co-organiser Amy Cao from Foodspotting in New York unfortunately had to stay in New York.
Lindsey introduced me to Sion Dayson, writer by day and blogger by night, to whom she had entrusted the brief to write up the evening for Girl’s Guide to Paris. I knew that Sion writes the blog Paris Imperfect and was surprised she was surprised I knew. (I also pretty much recognized her from her photo on the will be attending list.)
The aim of the event was to introduce Paris to Foodspotting, which could be seen on a laptop on one of the tables.
Foodspotting is a restaurant review app and website where you let the food do the talking. Snap what you chose at dinner, or lunch, breakfast and share. It has social network leanings so you can also follow people with the same tastes in food as you,or that have good taste in food, plus foods you like and places. Plus pretty amazing localization powers, bringing up dishes spotted at the restaurant on a corner a stone’s throw from my street when I got it going.
I’d downloaded the app on my wannabe iPhone but hadn’t familiarized myself too much with it (I never could understand why people would pay bundles for an iPod Touch with such a small amount of memory until I realized that you could write on it. But mine doesn’t have a camera which makes using Foodspotting a bit more complicated. Counting down to the next iPhone…).
It was a drift in, drift out kind of evening which wrapped up around 11 pm. Those who got there in the earlier part had their €9.50 plateau dégustation of mini hamburger plus cheese and fruit served in verrines, which disappeared later, with the elements served ‘en vrac’. As I don’t eat meat they kindly obliged with a mini tuna steak. It certainly gave you a taste of what the restaurant serves up usually. I’ll be back…
The pocket-handkerchief-sized restaurant must normally cater about 20-30 covers which shows that with a rolling service, improvisation was key. Glasses for wine and cocktails also went from glass to plastic. It also means the turnout must have been on a par with that indicated on the RSVP at about 45+.
For me not knowing anyone and being the almost only Brit (I did hear one guy with a matching accent as the evening was breaking up and he was leaving) it was fine. Perhaps if I had gone with people we might have just stayed in our corner and not spoken to anyone. The mingling idea of the evening certainly worked and other Paris bloggers I met included Kasia Dietz of the (must have) bags named after her, Stephanie who writes at La Belle in France and has managed to get back to Paris to study, and Jennifer of Jennyphoria.
I was supposed to introduce myself to Cat Beurnier, the Paris-based cupcake baker behind Sugar Daze cupcakes who organizes the Paris Cupcake Camp (No. 2 coming up on October 2). I’d been drooling over her cupcakes from my desk all summer… But one minute she was there, the next she’d disappeared.
I’ll definitely get back to Le Pearl sooner than later as the Canard au Miel (honey duck) caught my eye and the Trés Café Gourmand (coffee with possibly lots of miniature desserts). And you definitely have to go to see the tug-on-a-rope hand-operated “elevator” used by staff to descend to the basement.
Look out for that and whatever else I come across at GourmandeAbroad on Foodspotting.com or the Foodspotting app.
46, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud
01 48 07 48 98