Exasperdating | Metro Boy

Exasperdating Logo

Exasperdating | Metro Boy

Age: 28
Height: 5’7
Build: Slim
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Sandy-brown
Job: Town planner

I remember being gutted when I had to add this guy to my list of dating disasters. Reason being, I really, really liked him. It all took place when I was living in Paris. We met due to some fast – okay, sneaky – thinking on my part.  I first clocked him having a cigarette outside a metro station. I wondered how I could instigate a conversation so I made out that I needed some help navigating the metro. In a BAFTA-worthy performance, I pulled out some choice lines in broken French à la Officer Crabtree in Allo Allo.

 
Metro
 

Sure enough, my little ruse worked and it wasn’t long before we were sharing a bottle of vin blanc in a nearby café. A string of dates followed, although from the off it wasn’t plain sailing. The first time we were due to meet up he cancelled on the day – apparently he had to go and give his friend some moral support post a break-up. He made good though and engineered a spontaneous date later in the week.
 
Another ‘moral support’ episode followed – this time half an hour before our rendezvous. After that I asked him outright, ‘are you interested or not, because I’m getting some very mixed messages here’. To which he replied, ‘oh yes, but I know you won’t be here for that much longer so am spacing out our time together’. Which I kind of understood.
 
A third and final date took place at his pad. I’d forgotten that the majority of Parisians live in matchboxes. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself – except if you’re a hoarder. You couldn’t see the floor of his room for books, clothes, magazines and… pots of Nutella. Honest to God, pots of Nutella. Apparently he ate a jar a week. But my OCDs melted away into this sea of mess the moment he flashed me his cheeky smile.
 
After that encounter, I decided I’d treat him to a surprise date that would include a bottle of bubbly and three mystery envelopes – the idea being each envelope would contain a romantic Parisian spot where we’d glug the fizz. But my grand gesture was wasted. He texted me to say that he was too busy and tired to meet up and would call me ‘soon’. And, much as I didn’t like to admit it, I knew that ‘soon’ was dating code for ‘never’. C’est la vie.
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My Gay Paree Travel Tips… La Brigout Restaurant

I used to live in Paris and, a Frenchman aside, I picked up a thing or two about the City of Lights during my time there. Here’s one of my favourite restaurants…

La Brigout – 54 rue d’Argout, Paris

Culinary culture clash

It wasn’t the horsemeat. It wasn’t the snails. It wasn’t even the frogs’ legs. No, when it came to French mealtime shockers, it was the discovery that our Continental cousins are in love with Maccy D’s – or McDo as they call it.

Shame on you, France!

In fact, La France is McDonald’s most profitable market outside the USA. But I suppose it kind of makes sense when you think about it – thin-cut fries and a slab of beef isn’t that far removed from a steak haché with frites. Kind of.

The Hambourgeois

The Hambourgeois

Le Big Mac vs the Hambourgeois

What I can’t fathom is why the Frenchies go gaga for Le Big Mac when clearly the world’s best burger is right under their big, wine-sniffing noses. The aptly-named Hambourgeois is a home-grown delight à la française and is, without exception, the tastiest beef’n’bun combo I’ve ever scoffed. Honestly, it’s a death-row meal contender.

To-die-for delicious

So what makes it so God-damn delish? Well, it’s smothered in a gloopy-gorgeous layer of melted Reblochon cheese, not to mention a good helping of caramelised onions and a dollop of mustard-mayo. Topping things off – quite literally – are strips of thin, air-dried beef (because 150 grams of pure minced beef just isn’t enough cow). A monster portion of homemade chunky chips completes this culinary feast-cum-coronary on a plate.

La Brigout Restaurant

The Hambourgeois is the star of the menu at La Brigout – one of my fave restaurants in Paris. You’ll find this dinky little eatery tucked away on rue d’Argout, just a stone’s throw from the hipster hangout that is rue Montorgueil.

Parisian Cute

Parisian Cute

La Brigout

La Brigout

Oh-so French bistro

The place itself is everything a Parisian bistro should be, right down to the cabaret chairs and the intimate candle-lit tables. The whole place reeks of France (in a good way) – much like the baked Camembert which takes pride of place on the list of entrées alongside treats like crab tartare and foie gras.

Ze Menu

Ze Menu

Trad-cool cuisine

Run your finger down the menu and you’ll find more in the way of French fare like pot au feu (a rustic, peasant-y stew) and poulet Basquaise (moist chicken breast with a tomato and red pepper ratatouille). The great thing about the menu is that it’s seasonal so you’ll see things come in and out. If you’re here in the winter, try the wine-rich boeuf bourguignon. For something summery and light, give the pan-fried sea bass a whirl.

Poulet Basquaise

Poulet Basquaise

Puddings and plonk

La Brigout does a mean line in desserts, too. The éclair Paris Brest is airy yet wonderfully creamy while the moelleux au chocolat, with its gooey caramel centre, envelops the tongue faster than it trips off it – try saying moelleux after a couple of glasses of vin rouge. Talking of which, the wine list ticks off everything from Sauvignon through to Sancerre and doesn’t break the bank, with most tipples coming in at the 25-euro mark.

Paris Brest

Paris Brest

Vin Rouge

Vin Rouge

Friendly fellas

No mention of La Brigout would be complete without a word or two about Guillaume and Nicolas – the handsome duo who run this place. Unlike some Parisian establishments, you’ll find no bof shoulder-shrugging attitude here. Instead, these garçons lead a charm offensive, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Maurice Chevalier thanked heaven for little girls.

Brunch-tastic

One last thing. La Brigout has started serving brunch now. Along with eggs and smoked salmon, you’ll find the ultimate hangover cure – yep, you’ve guessed it, the Hambourgeois. Beats a Big Mac any day. Bon appétit folks.

http://labrigout.fr/