It is amazing how spontaneity can breed such opportunity – opportunity which with the right mix of timing, company and activity can breathe life into even the most boring of days.
And every once in a while, an impromptu session can metamorphose into a night of sheer brilliance.
Three friends, sparked by a single SMS and a little coaxing, had a wonderful night out in Paris.
We all got lost on our own accounts looking for a very small restaurant in a back street of the 16th arrondissement near the Arc de Triumph.
It is an inconspicuous establishment, which hides its wonderful owner chef Hideo.
Finally, a real Japanese Restaurant, and with only 20 seats – it is perfect in every sense of my favourite Japanese restaurants.
Wada means Peace
Need I say more!
As you enter you feel something different; Hideo might be very reserved at first, but by the time we left he gave us a huge smile.
Working only with fish, cooked or raw, his sushis, sashimis and maki are amazing … not to talk about his fresh entrées.
His food is a blessing and his exquisite delicate tastes are quite rare to find. It is all about a profound love for food.
He embodies the Japanese spirit – he is at all times at peace, respectful, serious.
He cooks, he washes, he serves – it is a one master show and this is where the magic happens, a small kitchen in the back.
He is proud of his traditions and all this comes across in the quality of the produce, the way it is prepared and the final presentation.
We were the only table there on a Monday Night for most of the meal, but I know that even when full he would approach each meal and each customer in the same way.
He was proud, he was a gentle presence and the experience was only enhanced by the calming Japanese music which flowed in the background.
Thé Otcha was made from organic new leaves and was served in large cups in the traditional way of a Japanese Tea Ceremony and started off our wonderful evening.
White miso sauce served over sashimi salmon and simply prepared blanched vegetables with sesame seeds.
Next was my simple plate of Sushi with fresh wasabi and ginger. He showed me how to properly eat the sushi, by tenderly turning the nigiri rice side up and quickly dragging just the tail of the raw fish through the soy and wasabi mix; luckily I already knew, but it shows just how much he cares. For my company, they were served Spicy Tuna Maki and Simply Grilled Salmon with sweet pickle of burdock and root vegetables.
The art of Japanese food suggests that we eat with our eyes, so it is just as important how it looks as how it tastes.
Well, all our senses appreciated the entire experience.
The miso soup was actually handmade and served to finish our meal.
And finally before leaving he schooled us in the world of green tea, the Japanese having unique names for the different qualities and styles of Green Tea.
Saying goodbye was a very warm affair with him shaking each of our hands and saying goodbye.
Next we headed towards Canal St Martin in the 10th Arrondissement for drinks at the famed Hotel du Nord.
Passing over Canal St Martin was new for me and it was so serene at night!
The full moon was bright in the midnight blue sky and somehow with all the lighting under the trees the scene seemed to glow!
After a couple of great cocktails we decided it was the perfect night to walk home, for an hour and a half that is…
I am realising more and more that Paris is its most beautiful at 2am when the streets are quiet and you can seemingly have her all to yourself.
Sauntering, for me, means to walk leisurely and absorb what is around you then reflecting on how it makes you feel, 2am in Paris is PERFECTION for SAUNTERING!
We walked for a long time around 1 hour or more, passing some of my favourite areas in Paris including the Place du Vosges.
And finally towards my destination, Rue Pavee in the Marais which too glowed under the Full Moon!