We are at the intimate bar across the street, itself still stories tall, each level of the house empty save for chairs and tables, perfect for our group of eight turned double with the inclusion of Sara, Mauro, Marianne, Fabio and David–a Mexican living in Paris with whom I drool over the thought of veritable, true blue Mexican cuisine, the likes of which Europe has yet to really know, it seems.
And, at this bar, Marek pulls out the big guns, a present he totes all the way from Poland–the vodka.
Complete with Polish accompaniments, lemon and salty pickles to cut the fire, the Polish equivalent to tequila and lime and salt, which, David tells me, is an abomination of how the agave liquor should be deguster, itself a fine flavor to savor, not shoot.
Unless it’s José, in which case, sorry, friends, it’s shit and might as well down that sucker as fast as you can muster.
So, here we are, adolescents again, armed with coca colas and juices, the bottle under the table, passing it ’round and ’round again, shushing and hustling about when the bar man comes to collect our empties and inquire about our wishes, clearly obvious we are up to no good.
And, it is most definitely no good, at least, judging by my companions’ faces, for the vodka goes down silvery smooth–likely the best vodka shooter I’ve ever downed–but, damn, the salty pickle pricks the nostril and the tongue with its delivery of saltwater crunch, something I actually find quasi-pleasant and interesting, but I think, other than Marek, we are most desperately alone, for our Portuguese and Mexican friends find it utterly disgusting.
I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen people contort their faces the way this group manages to wrestle nose up to eyeballs, mouth round to the ears, and before long, the vodka is gone but the pickles remain, a little snack for Marek to munch on as we part ways, each of us headed to our various arrondissements as the bar closes up shop at a little over 02:00, insisting, dear patrons, that we please leave.
Bonne nuit, les amis, et a bientot! C’était genial!