On my only Saturday night in Paris I was going to hook up with my friend Magazino, Mr. TruffleTruck himself, who was i n town with his lovely wife. I waited for them while browsing at Spring Boutique on Rue L'Arbre Sec. Poking about, I was disappointed to see that the boutique was not this perfect little food find as advertised on blogs throughout France, but more of a caviste (decent) and also stocked some products, like common tapenade I can get around the corner from home, at the local Met supermarket. Given that the wine bar/caviste Le Garde-Robe is just across the street, their competition is fierce. "I want fries," Magazino said immediately upon arrival. "I don't care where we eat as long as we have fries." I repeat, this was Saturday night in Paris with no reservations and were on a mission to find good fries and great wine. As far as I could see, Mike Steinberger's Au Revoir to All of That, was true; food no longer existed in France. All of my wine bar standbys were booked. We were looking into the mouth of an epicurean disaster. We enlisted Josh to help brainstorm a restaurant. Josh was pinched from San Francisco to run the Rue L'Arbre Sec store. Nice guy. During the heated back and forth, a man who looked no older than a bar mitzvah boy walked in as if he owned the place. Turns out he did. Dan Rose, is the American ex-pat touted as one of the hottest chefs in Paris. He's on all of the top ten lists here and across the pond. He's a media magnet. A darling. He has groupies. Fans. Women probably send him their netherware during their second course. After awhile, eavesdropping but not joining in Dan offered his point of view on the miserable state of food in the city. "There's no place to eat in Paris except my restaurants. When my new restaurant opens it's going to be great." His restaurants being Spring--now closed and slotted to reopen sometime in a slightly larger version which will include a subterranean wine bar, as well as Table 28, a rotisserie-based restaurant in the OLD Spring location. I can't remember how it came up but at some point he was offended being called a chef, and said, I'm not a chef. Okay, you're not a chef. What shall I call you, a restaurateur? That was worse. I thought, you think you're difficult? You never met Ronny. I cut my teeth on difficult. My teeth are rough, they were so cut. So, I made excuses for him. Okay, okay, even though he's American maybe we've a language problem or maybe he just doesn't like redheads. Or blonds. Or maybe he feels competitive with Magazino? Like who's food knowledge was greater kind of thing? Or perhaps he had hormonal fluctuations or his girlfriend just broke up with him or he was in love with a guy who ignored him? Who the hell knows but it just seemed off. Maybe he just didn't like people. I can understand. And maybe he really is the best in Paris. I couldn't tell from the store which was nice to have in the neighborhood, a nice little service, but if he really is a creative genius, I'll put his rudeness in greater context. Never the less, Im not sure why we stayed on, perhaps because we didn't know where we were going. He kindly didn't kick us out. I asked about the new Spring restaurant, the one all of Paris was waiting for--it's been in construction for almost two years. The new place would have about twenty places. "One thing I love about Europe?" i said. "One can make money off of 20 seats. "Who's going to make money?' he asked. That's when I got pissed. "I didn't say rich, did I? If you need to do something you love, money means sustaining that, not having a private jet. I don't know what your idea of making money is, but I live in a five-floor walk up with a tub in the kitchen. You don't have to have a leather seated Mercedes to make a living, do you? I think you and I have different barometers about money." For some reason he softened, like couscous reacting to boiling water. Or maybe he softened because somewhere in that conversation I mentioned I had pitched a story to him to my editor at Departures. When Dan offered a tour of the little new Spring, still a hard hat zone, he talked about how hard it is to write an interesting wine list. "All the lists in Paris are the same," he said. The point that all vin nature wine lists are similar is quite true. Dan assured me that HIS wine list was going to be different. To make sure his list was great, he, (mind you he told me he had no investors nor did he make money) bought an old cellar of about 2,000 bottles. Two bottles of 1947 Petrus are in the stash. I can't remember what he was going to charge but it was way below retail. This struck me as very odd. And while I'm in favor of affordable wine lists, this seemed out of the park illogical. Are you nuts? I thought. I rest my case. John, Beth and I talked about it all night. We went to two of the places he suggested and walked out. We hopped to Chez Paul (booked). La Muse Vin (booked). Ended up near Oberkampf. No fries. The evening was saved by the wine of the week for me, the only wine that took the edge off of losing the Ploussard. Long live Allemand!