Most days of the year, I am a hole-in-the-wall kind of girl. If I'm not cooking at home, I like going to weird little restaurants or snack stands - the smaller, the better - and fancy or luxe food isn't really my cup of tea. But Champagne is my very favorite thing to drink in the whole world. You all can keep your well-shaken martinis and Hefeweizens and full-bodied reds and Cosmopolitans. Give me a glass of Champagne (flute, coupe, whatever) any day and I will be a happy woman.
The thing is, I don't get to drink it half as much as I'd like. It's hard to get people to see Champagne as a regular, everyday drink (I'm working on it, though!). So the other day, when my mother and I had a little something to celebrate, we met up at the oyster bar on the 6th floor of KaDeWe for a festive lunch: Champagne (Roederer for me, which was amazing; Veuve Clicquot for her) and oysters.
It's such a fun thing to do. You're in the hustly-bustly food department - there are people everywhere shopping for their fish and wine and good bread and French cheese. There are folks across the aisle buying crusty, salty Fischbrötchen and white-clad men shucking oysters and working quickly at the stove. They work with a serious expression on their faces, but catch them at the right moment and you might get a sweet smile or a little wink. You eat at a tall bar table with stools and there are people's coats everywhere. It's a little cramped, it's true, but before you know it you're sharing bread with the people at the table next to yours. It's warm and brisk and a little incongruous - but most importantly, the oysters are very, very good and the Champagne is cold, dry and delicious.
We each had a plate of mixed oysters, six apiece. Four from France, one from Ireland and one from Scotland. They were impeccably fresh and pristine. Tasted almost sweet and more like the sea than the sea itself. I could have eaten two whole plates, in truth. You can have them served with mignonette or Tabasco, but I like nothing more than a few drops of lemon juice so I can really taste the clean, faintly briney liquor.
Though the oyster bar is always crammed, it still feels like a little bit of a secret place. I loved celebrating there - it felt down-to-earth and special at once. And now I can't wait for Paris over New Year's, and Huitrerie Régis.