I was out for drinks with friends last weekend. As often happens on a Friday night, what started out as after-work drinks turned into several hours in the pub putting the world to rights and next thing we knew it was nearly ten o'clock and we still hadn't had dinner.
As we were a large group, our options for eating were a bit limited. We were about to go for a 15 euro tourist menu in at St Michel when someone suggested we try Au Pied du Cochon instead.
Au Pied du Cochon is an enormous brasserie next to the Les Halles shopping centre and one of its big advantages is that it's open until 5am and you can turn up with a group of ten people and they won't bat an eyelid. It also has very nice decor and comfy seats. And another one of its selling points is that you can actually eat pigs feet there.
I personally wasn't up for trying this particular delicacy at 11 o'clock at night, and had some very nice onion soup instead but my friend did, and was presented with a magnificent plate of chips, vegetables and, resting in pride of place, an enormous pig's trotter.
Unfortunately, I don't think my friend enjoyed his dinner as much as he had hoped. According to the one genuine Frenchman of the group, the only way to appreciate its finer flavours is to bite directly into the marrow and suck out the juice, so maybe he just wasn't quite brave enough. For those of us who were too cowardly to join him in his gastronomic escapades, there were small meringue pigs served with the coffee at the end of the meal and, to be honest, that was enough for me.
Apart from that, we mostly enjoyed our food and our one major criticism of the place was our first waiter who, when asked for a recommendation for wine from the genuine Frenchman, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Drink what you like." Now everybody knows that no Parisian dining experience is complete without a certain degree of disrespect for the customer but disrespect for the wine? That's pretty shocking.