Edward Hopper and Le Foodist dinner for 12 on the Seine by the Notre Dame

Most people know at least a few of Edward Hopper’s iconic images, the most popular being Nighthawks as the Diner. But given that this show was at the Grand Palais, we knew we were in for a big show.

Found this shot online. Wish the Grand Palais was like this when we were there. It was a popular show, and it was full, even on a Monday.

It was a blockbuster show, about 160 pieces from early sketches in his youth to paintings completed just before he died in 1967. The Parisian angle was that during the 1910s he made three trips to Paris to paint and study. One has the feeling that the French like the notion that anyone wanting to be a real artist has to come to France first, more specifically Paris.

After the show, we made a quick pit stop at the apartment, and headed out for the dinner we had reserved on the pénuche (flat-bottom barge), Bateau Daphné, on the Quai Montebello, which is right at the Notre Dame (around the corner from the apartment we had in 2012).

Looking in at the table setting, Notre Dame reflections in the glass.

The table is set, waiting for the guests.

This “Once Upon a Table” communal dinner for 12 was one of a series run by Le Foodist, on Monday nights. It would be a 5-course dinner with accompanying wine along with a little education and history about the regions of both the food and wine.

For me, this kind of a meal is sort of an idyllic notion – a dozen self-selected people with the same interests all in Paris together. Need more of that in other cities.

Stéphane, one of the hosts and sommelier was not only knowledgeable but very funny too. He knew how to work a room.

We were the first to arrive. After a warm greeting by Fred and Stéphane, we quickly had a glass of champagne in hand and could admire the location. The Notre Dame loomed across the river. Paris was lit up as usual.

Soon the other guests arrived and the meal started. Stéphane was the perfect host and lead most of the discussions about the food and wine. We had a competition during the dinner. Divided into teams, we had to identify smells from little bottles of concentrate (vanilla!), and answer questions about the pairings of wine and food. The score was being kept. Very serious business, indeed!

So? What does it smell like? Learning to develop "a nose".

Each course came paired with wine. You had to keep up.

Stéphane pours, we salute.

The wine part of the menu...

The rest of the wine menu.

On the left is Thomas from Berlin. His son studied in Montreal and now works there. On the right is Michel, my team mate. Between them is the map of France with wine regions. Handy!

The chef is a "star-trained" chef from a Parisian restaurant. That's why these dinners are held on Monday nights - chef's night off. Dinner was delicious.

Chef made pear and ginger ice cream dessert. Perfect!

Anyway, our team, Team Grand Prix, won the competition, and given that it was my birthday, I had the honour of sabering a bottle of champagne. One of the other guests was also chosen and she went first. Having watched her, when it was my turn, it went flawlessly – both the top of the bottle and the cork went flying overboard into the Seine. What an experience!

Stéphane who has sabred a few bottles in his life, shows the rookie how to hold the bottle and how to slide the sabre along the bottle.

Success! A clean break. Champagne all around!

Bateaux mouche traffic on the Seine. The Notre Dame watches over us.

Happily full, with 5 glasses of wine and 2 glasses of champagne, we split a taxi with another guest, Charlotte an American living in Paris food blogger, caterer and food guide. She lived right around the corner from our apartment.

Another birthday, two unforgettable meals. And uh, about 11 glasses of wine, I guess. What a wonderful day!

Here’s the Le Foodist schedule in case you’re interested. Highly recommended.

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Comments: 2

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  • Hello Andy, hello Marlene,

    it is great to see you had such a fabulous time in Paris, and thanks so much for sharing your experience at Le Foodist. Hopefully we will see you again for your next anniversary visit to Paris 🙂

    • Fred, we expect to be in Paris this fall. Will you be open?