Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 26 - Vive Le Vin!

Leave it to France to find an elegant way to improve their economic troubles.

The famous French auction house Drouot announced it will be selling off about 10% of the presidential wine stash from the cellars of Elysee Palace, the official residence of the President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande.

"All these wines were served at the table of the President of the Republic and, for some, accompanied great moments in the history of the Fifth Republic," Drouot said in a press release. 

Burgundies and Bordeaux are among the many offerings with the most expensive bottles expected to fetch around $3,000. More modest vintages will be available for as little as $20, but Drouot expects the average price to be around $130. Here's hoping there are some generous oenophiles around when the bottles go up for sale as profits will be used to help bolster the state budget.

The story reminded me of something our sommelier told us at La Tour D'Argent about fifteen years ago. The hubs and I were in Paris for our honeymoon - and, as it happens, my 35th birthday. (This is btw, one one of the few nights I've seen the hubs get really drunk ...)

The morning of my birthday dawned and we still didn't have dinner plans so I popped the question: "Well, why not La Tour D'Argent?"  I have no idea how a poor girl from a broken home in a northern mining town had any idea about a schmancy place like La Tour D'Argent, but my guess is it was probably from a Judith Krantz novel.

We were staying at the Hotel Montalembert on the Left Bank (gasp! what an incredible place! highly recommend!) and asked the concierge if he could get reservations for that night. Our hopes were low, but as it happens, there was a table left.

I'll never forget being greeting by at least five different people as we were ushered up into an elevator to a stunning room overlooking Notre Dame Cathedral and the Seine.

The wine list was about the size of the Bible. The sommelier - probably sensing we were not aristocrats - was very discreet, pointing out both expensive and reasonable bottles to accompany our meals. (I had pigeon, if you can believe it! Though it sounds - and tastes - must better in French!) He also told us that some of the reserves from the restaurant's famous wine cellar had been handed down from Napoleon himself. Though I can't seem to find confirmation of this particular story, there are imperial and royal connections for sure.

Anyway, after spending waaaay too much money and drinking waaaay too much wine, we tottered down the banks of the Seine and ended up at an old jazz club Le Caveau De La Huchette, housed in a cavern-like building from the 16th Century.

What a night ... :)

I thought I had written about this before, so I did a search and it turns out I did - on the very first cleanse I blogged back in August of 2010.  I scanned the post and was surprised to read what a hard time I had on the first weekend of that cleanse.  I've done six 28-day cleanses since then and if I only suspected they get easier, now I know for sure.

If you're on a cleanse and not having a thrilling time of it, here's an excerpt from that post - just to let you know you're not alone and going crazy:

... the hardest part of any cleanse is the first weekend. I'll be honest. I'd love to say: "Yippy! A Friday and Saturday night with nothing but tea and O.J.! Wow! Sign me up!" Nope. That first weekend is actually kind of boring. Friday night was uneventful. I was in bed before midnight, absolutely zonked and unable to keep my eyes open.

Saturday was almost as hard. We usually go for dim sum for lunch, a meal I don't have with wine anyway, so that's not a problem. But even all the carbs and calories of har gow and noodles could not give me that extra boost of energy I needed so badly. It seemed as if my brain had been soaked in Ambien, wrapped in cotton batting, then packed in a shipping crate for an overseas flight. Zzzzzz. My advice is to just go with it. Sink into the lack of energy. Sink into the lethargy. Sink into the pointlessness of it. It won't last forever - like I said, that first weekend is the worst.

By the way, there's a physiological reason for why you might feel more tired beginning a cleanse. Heavy drinkers (people who consume more than 8 drinks a week - and I'll just assume if you're reading this blog, you're probably not a teetotaler) actually get more of a buzz from alcohol because it increases the levels of acetate in our brains, which gives us a boost of energy. Remove the alcohol and you decrease your energy level. 

But don't worry. If you're suffering from low energy, I've got hints about how to get through it. Besides, these reactions really do ease up as you get more accustomed to living without alcohol on a regular basis.

And anyway, a few early nights when you start cleansing still seem a lot better than early nights - for the rest of your life. ;) And I'm pretty sure that's what I would've been looking at if I ended up in rehab or A.A.

Here's more information about acetate uptake and energy levels in drinkers. And if you're interested, the whole post from that first cleanse I blogged: Day 7 - First Weekend Down. 

Only two days - and one weekend - left to go!! :)