Brisk Friday night in Paris with woodsmoke in the air–Karen was on time, Barbara took the bus, Pat and Ana snaked thru 3 metro transfers to get to La Ferrandaise , just a few hops from the Sorbonne on the left bank. Absinthe on our minds. We’d been fantasizing all day, recalling the collective artistic madness this so-called Green Fairy spawned in the 19th and early 20th century. I said, “I’ll order soup so I can put this on my blog.” Fine, they said, now let’s order the Absinthe. So there you have it: a picture of the soup and a picture of the elaborate Absinthe apparatus.
What about La Ferrandaise (8 rue Vaugirard, former home of controversial author Knut Hamson)? Beef specialities from the Auvergne region of France. Nice atmosphere but a cranky staff and a menu with ups and downs, not as exciting as it was when Ana and Barbara first stumbled on it and its absinthe connection last year. The absinthe turned out to be a big glass of liquid licorice, pleasant–though no green fairies actually tapped us on our shoulders. Much stranger than the absinthe was the soup, Velouté de coco, julienne de concombre acidulée (take a breath), crouton au raifort. “It’s a cold soup,” the waitress said, clearly warning me off it. “I love cold soup,” I said. “Bring it on.” And she did…but it was hot. Imagine ceremonially pouring hot and creamy white bean soup over a bouquet of icy, marinated cucumber strips at table–and topping it with a crouton strip dabbed with horseradish.
Well, you know, here we are, four women all pooped out on a Friday night after an intense work week, being rushed through our decadent glasses of absinthe. I let it pass. But when the course was cleared, I asked why that cold soup was served hot. “The manager thought you’d like it better hot,” she said. “He was wrong.” I said. “I was disappointed.” No comment.
So no recipe for this one. Maybe it would have been quite nice cold. We’ll never know. But I can highly recommend a hot French white bean soup that I think you’d like, brought to you straight from Ernest Hemingway gallivanting through the Pyrenees, with or without his fave absinthe: Hemingway White Bean Soup.