I was walking down the streets of Paris with Hit Man Howie Z when I heard a woman’s voice calling my name. Which was weird, because it was my first time in Paris. I didn’t know anybody there. Who the hell could it be?
I turned around and was staring at two of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. One I knew.
Her name was Barbie, and she used to be a cocktail waitress at a club that Howie and I used to play in Baltimore, a place called Girard’s.
The other gal I didn’t know. Barbie introduced us to her friend. When I asked Barbie what she was doing in Paris, she told me she was doing some modeling for Vogue magazine. She told me her friend had just been on the cover of the Italian Vogue.
I invited them to dinner that night. It would probably cost every penny I had, but how many times are you gonna have an opportunity like this? Paris? Supermodels?
When Barbie asked me what Howie and I were doing in Paris, I told to her that we were in London, trying to get something going with our band, BootCamp, and had decided to come to Paris to meet my cousin, Mindy, who was having her art exhibited at a gallery.
That’s what we told them, which was all true, but not the whole truth. The whole truth?
We had rented a cheap flat in London for a week or so. It was me, Howie (drums), Bob (guitar) and a crazy friend of ours named Mac. We were struggling musicians, except for Mac. He wasn’t a musician. Therefore, he had some dough. The rest of us were on a real tight budget.
One evening we went to a pub and had some drinks. We were having a good ol’ time. And then Mac bought some hash from a Jamaican guy. I didn’t have a clue as to what was going down. As soon as the transaction took place, the Jamaican guy screamed…
About 5 British policemen came running around the corner, blowing their whistles. We took off running. We exploded out of that pub. We ran through yards, gardens. We sprinted down alleys, leaping over cars. We jumped fences. It’s amazing how fast you move when cops are chasing you. Not that it happens to me very often…
We made it back to the flat. How, I don’t know. We got there, and I wasn’t too happy about the situation. I was pissed off. It seemed like a good time to get out of London town.
So Howie and I took off for Paris. We got on a Hovercraft to cross the English Channel. A Hovercraft is a huge boat. Massive. It sits on what looks like an immense flat tire. You board the boat, and they inflate the tire. So you start rising and rising into the air.
Then they turn on these gigantic fans on the back of the boat, and it blows you across the water, like you’re on a huge inner tube. The Channel was real choppy. It was a real rough ride. And Howie was a little hungover from the night before.
He laid down on a row of seats behind me. Every few minutes, he’d poke his head up, and each time he did, he was a different shade of green. He looked like he was gonna die. We finally made it across the Channel, and we caught a train to Paris.
My cousin picked us up and gave us a ride to the apartment where she was staying with a friend.
The guy’s name was Jaime, and he was quite a character. He was an artist as well, and did very surreal paintings, kind of like Salvador Dali. He had a goatee and long brown hair, and wore fedoras with feathers, and black crushed velvet smoking jackets and ascots.
A few days into our trip, we met the Vogue supermodels on the street. So we invited them to dinner. Why I later invited my cousin and Jaime I don’t know.
A few hours later, we’re in a swanky restaurant in Paris called Chez Georges—all six of us—and it was intoxicating. The Russian chef guy came over to the table. If I were the chef, I would have come over to our table, too. Those girls were that gorgeous.
Chef dude started talking to us, reciting some of the stuff on the menu. I didn’t understand a word he said, and I took six years of French while in the penitentiary. My cousin ordered for us. Dinner was lovely. One of the many wonderful things about Europe is the way they take their time when they dine out.
At the end of the dinner, Russian chef guy came back with a bottle of vodka. No label, just an old, clear bottle. It had all sorts of stuff settled in the bottom—black peppercorns, red peppers, green pepperoncini—that looked like birdseed.
He placed a big metal shot glass in front of Howie and poured it full. He shouted something in Russian and motioned for Howie to drink. The table got real quiet. Howie drank…
After he swallowed, his eyes started to tear up. His face turned red. He started sweating. Then the mad Russian turned to me…He poured me a shot in the same metal glass. I looked around the table. He shouted again and I picked up the glass and drank.
It was like swallowing a red-hot charcoal briquette. My throat was on fire. What a way to end a nice meal. After the dinner, we went back to the apartment.
Some guys lose their minds when they get around pretty women. Toss in a couple bottles of wine, and a couple shots of vodka, and things can get crazy. And Jaime lost his mind that night when we got back to his place with the beautiful babes. Jaime turned into Pepe LePew. He started chasing those girls around the apartment.
If they had leapt from the balcony I wouldn’t have blamed them.
Howie and I tried to get things settled down. But the vibe was gone. The magic was lost. We put them in a cab. We stood there on the curb as we watched the two supermodels speed down the streets of Paris in the cool, blue night.
I never saw them again. Sometimes, I fantasize…what would it have been like to marry a supermodel? Would it have been fun? It would probably have been expensive. Those gals…they have exotic tastes.
“Can you get me a pillow? I need one that’s made from buff-bellied hummingbird feathers. And a bathrobe, too? One that’s made with 5,000 count Turkish hand-spun organic free range cotton? And bring me some tea…with hibiscus flowers and organic Canadian honey.”
Supermodels are probably used to people waiting on them manicured hand and pedicured foot. All the other wives would surely be jealous at parties. And you’d have to worry about all the guys coming on to them all the time.
But wow…they were really beautiful.
Potato Leek Soup
The French call this vichyssoise…
This soup is so quick, so easy, so inexpensive to make, and so versatile, I can’t believe I don’t make it more often.
You can serve it hot. You can serve it chilled. You can serve it room temperature. You can serve it chunky. Or you can put it in a blender and serve it smooth. It’s delicious. Which is the most important thing.
Most women folk don’t like fried food. But the last time I made this soup, I thought it needed a little crunch on top. So I cut a leek into matchstick-size pieces, dusted them with flour that I had salted and peppered, and fried them for about a minute.
When I served the soup, I stuck the slivers into the soup so it looked like a little teepee in the center of the bowl. My Dad would have smacked me on the back of the head and given me grief over that.
But they tasted great, and it looked cool. But…You can do the soup with or without the fried leek garnish.
You’ll need 4 leeks for the soup.
Cut off about an inch of the white root at the bottom, and cut off most of the green upper part of the stalks. You’ll have about 6 or7 inches or so of stalk left. RINSE WELL, especially in between the leaves.
Peel off the outer leaf of each leek. You’ll use these for the garnish. You’ll also see just how dirty leeks can be. You gotta clean ‘em good!
Chop up 4 of the stalks, into chunky pieces, which should give you 4 cups. Slice the leek leaves you pulled off into matchstick size slivers—you’ll fry these for the garnish.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SOUP
4 Tablespoons of butter
4 cups of chopped leeks
4 cups of chopped potatoes
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and pepper
2 large handfuls of leek leaves, cut into matchstick-size slivers
1/4 cup of flour
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Here we go…let’s do the soup first.
Put the butter in the bottom of a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the 4 cups of chopped potatoes, and the 4 cups of chopped leeks.
Cook for 10 minutes, stir often.
Add the broth—vegetable or chicken—and put the heat on high. When the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, add salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and cook for 30 minutes.
While the soup cooks, let’s fry our leeks.
Get a frying pan, put the olive oil in the bottom, and turn the heat to medium-high.
Put the flour on a plate and add salt and pepper.
Put the leek slivers in the flour, roll ‘em around, shake off the excess, and place in the pan.
Cook for about 30 seconds to one minute, then turn them over and cook for another 30 seconds to one minute.
Remove them from the pan and place them on paper towels.
Now back to the soup…
When the soup has cooked for 30 minutes, it should be done. Stick a fork in a piece of potato to make sure.
At this point, you’ve got a decision to make…smooth or chunky. In cold weather, I like it chunky and hot—just like my women. In hot weather, I like it smooth and room temperature. You can also serve it chilled.
If you want it chunky, take a slotted spoon, or a masher, and mash the potatoes and leeks, right there in the pot.
If you want it smooth, put the soup in a blender and give it a couple of pulses. If you want it chilled, stick it in the fridg for a little while.
Put some soup in a bowl. Garnish with the fried leeks. Serve it with some hot and crusty bread to your hot and crusty friends and…MANGIAMO!!!!!!!!!!