Amy and I share the same feeling of being both blessed and cursed to have such strong affinities for New York and Paris. On the one hand, spoiled for riches to have intimate true love and knowledge of two incredible cities. On the other, heartache, because we’re forever torn between the two.
Amy moved back to New York in January and believes the decision the right one. She also said the adjustment has been difficult. From what I’ve heard, repatriation can be even more of a shock than first moving to a foreign country.
What did Thomas Wolfe say? You can’t go home again.
Well, you can, but you are different. Home feels different. Once an expat, the very notion of home becomes complicated. It’s no longer just a fixed location, but an evolving, fluid concept, one that changes how you interact with the world. It reaches right down to your very identity.
The lovely Erica seems to have figured out the whole juggling of multiple geographical loves. She runs the busy Haven in Paris apartment rental service and probably the most gorgeous group blog about Paris.
I hadn’t seen her in months, either, because she’s often between France, Italy, Brooklyn, and Maine. She skipped out on the gloomy Parisian winter for vistas further abroad.
We went to Aux Deux Amis on Oberkampf in the 11th and were a bit surprised by what we found. The place was packed with all sorts of hip types, the ambiance warm and divey. Everyone seemed to be a regular, the servers at complete ease. While I was waiting, several people waltzed back to wish someone in the kitchen happy birthday and our waiter was brought some cake by a client, just cuz.
There was no menu. Nothing written on a chalkboard, either. Our smiling waiter – all gap-toothed and charming lisp – came over with his small notepad, where the selections for the day were written. Many were already crossed out by 8:30.
It wasn’t the widest of choices, especially with some vegetarian palates to please. What we seem to have stumbled on was a place with French tapas – not something we’d run into before.
Well, ok, it wasn’t all French, as we ended up with tortillas and burrata, too, but the small plates were unexpected.
Though limited, the food was good. Tortillas (my fave of the bunch), pickled peppers, brandade, fresh sardines. As always with tapas, however, I was hungry again just an hour later.
Oh well. Next time we’ll order more.
Aux Deux Amis it was for the experience. I had a great catch-up with deux amies – good friends the most important aspect for me of making any place home.
Aux Deux Amis
45, r. Oberkampf, 75011
Tel: 01 58 30 38 13
(P.S. According to this review by Meg Zimbeck, Paris foodie expert, Aux Deux Amis is not always based around tapas; only when the chef is gone.)