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French Afternoon II: Heure Heureuse at Café Chloe

The wife of the French President is singing “I am sexy” on the sound system. Carla Bruni. She sounds très sexy, too.

Nicolae the bar guy says it’s a song called “Raphael.”

So I’m hearing this ’cause it’s about five in the evening, and I’ve jes’ got off the trolley at Park (12th) and Market, and started heading west towards the setting sun. That’s when I happened on Café Chloe (721 9th Street at G, 619-232-3242). Talk about French. Lightning strikes twice!

Image

Image

Little tropical sidewalk sit-out area

Not only that, but Nicolae, who I met once before, says it’s happy hour.

Dang. French Resistance? I ain’t got none. Mainly because as it happens, Huey – the sun – has found a gap between buildings and is flooding golden light onto their sidewalk tables.

I come inside, just to see if they have any Happy Hour thing I could afford. Ten bucks, I say to myself, that’s it. And I mean it ’cause that’s about all I’ve got.

Image

Inside, looking out

“What’s ‘happy hour’ in French?” I ask Nicolae.

We work out it must be “heure heureuse.” Sounds cool if you can make it sound like more than “Er, er, hers.”

The HH choices for food and drink fall into $4, $5, and $6 deals. Hmm. Looking for le biggest bang for le buck here. Pity, because they have a “charcuterie” plate for $6, and “tarte flambée – with bacon, caramelized onions and “crème fraiche” for $5.

The $4 choices are petite house salad , warm olive selection, cheese with walnut bread, or “pommes frîtes,” yes, real French fries, with three dips.

Four-buck drinkies are a German white, a French red, or a San Diego amber ale from Mission Brewery, jes’ down the road.

I almost go for that, but then fall for the name on the red. “Grand Cres Cuvée Classique 2010 (Languedoc).” Wonder if they mean “Grand Crue”?

Am I turning into a snob? Hey, I see a book: “How to be a Snob on $10 a meal.” The book tour! The signings…

“Decided?” says Nicolae, like he really wants to say “Happy Hour doesn’t last forever, mon brave.

“Yes. The olives and bread and the Grand Cres Cuvée…”

“The $4 red?”

“Uh, oui.”

Image

Nicolae

It’s all good. Get out into that sidewalk corner patio, with sloping sun, scrunching on the French bread, a ton of olives, green, black, swimming in a lake of olive oil that you can dip your bread into, plus cloves of raw garlic and marinated onion…

Image

Image

And the Grand… the $4 red ain’t half bad either. Guess 2010 must’ve been a good year in Languedoc.

Image

Sloping sun...

Image

Art glasses?

All told, I get out of there $9.75 poorer. Oh, and had to leave a couple of bucks – the last – for Nicolae, for putting up with me.

And here’s the thing. They definitely have created a little piece of Parisian paradise here.

The rest of the menu? Up there. But the Er-er-euse can be a pretty happy place.

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“I forget what day of the week it is sometimes”

The wife of the French President is singing “I am sexy” on the sound system. Carla Bruni. She sounds très sexy, too.

Nicolae the bar guy says it’s a song called “Raphael.”

So I’m hearing this ’cause it’s about five in the evening, and I’ve jes’ got off the trolley at Park (12th) and Market, and started heading west towards the setting sun. That’s when I happened on Café Chloe (721 9th Street at G, 619-232-3242). Talk about French. Lightning strikes twice!

Image

Image

Little tropical sidewalk sit-out area

Not only that, but Nicolae, who I met once before, says it’s happy hour.

Dang. French Resistance? I ain’t got none. Mainly because as it happens, Huey – the sun – has found a gap between buildings and is flooding golden light onto their sidewalk tables.

I come inside, just to see if they have any Happy Hour thing I could afford. Ten bucks, I say to myself, that’s it. And I mean it ’cause that’s about all I’ve got.

Image

Inside, looking out

“What’s ‘happy hour’ in French?” I ask Nicolae.

We work out it must be “heure heureuse.” Sounds cool if you can make it sound like more than “Er, er, hers.”

The HH choices for food and drink fall into $4, $5, and $6 deals. Hmm. Looking for le biggest bang for le buck here. Pity, because they have a “charcuterie” plate for $6, and “tarte flambée – with bacon, caramelized onions and “crème fraiche” for $5.

The $4 choices are petite house salad , warm olive selection, cheese with walnut bread, or “pommes frîtes,” yes, real French fries, with three dips.

Four-buck drinkies are a German white, a French red, or a San Diego amber ale from Mission Brewery, jes’ down the road.

I almost go for that, but then fall for the name on the red. “Grand Cres Cuvée Classique 2010 (Languedoc).” Wonder if they mean “Grand Crue”?

Am I turning into a snob? Hey, I see a book: “How to be a Snob on $10 a meal.” The book tour! The signings…

“Decided?” says Nicolae, like he really wants to say “Happy Hour doesn’t last forever, mon brave.

“Yes. The olives and bread and the Grand Cres Cuvée…”

“The $4 red?”

“Uh, oui.”

Image

Nicolae

It’s all good. Get out into that sidewalk corner patio, with sloping sun, scrunching on the French bread, a ton of olives, green, black, swimming in a lake of olive oil that you can dip your bread into, plus cloves of raw garlic and marinated onion…

Image

Image

And the Grand… the $4 red ain’t half bad either. Guess 2010 must’ve been a good year in Languedoc.

Image

Sloping sun...

Image

Art glasses?

All told, I get out of there $9.75 poorer. Oh, and had to leave a couple of bucks – the last – for Nicolae, for putting up with me.

And here’s the thing. They definitely have created a little piece of Parisian paradise here.

The rest of the menu? Up there. But the Er-er-euse can be a pretty happy place.

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Comments
2

Love your blog - I can almost feel the vibe in that little cafe! Just one point - you say 2010 must have been a good year for wine in Languedoc - EVERY year is a good year for wine from Languedoc. If you ever get the opportunity to visit you'll be able to taste many great wines and much more - here's my piece on it http://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/the-regions-of-france-languedoc-roussilon/

Look forward to your next blog, a bientôt, Janine

March 16, 2012

Hi Janine: Thanks! I can see I've got a lot to learn. I tried going to your site, but it only brought up the welcome page, not the specific Languedoc piece. Can you make sure of the address? Must say, that glass was a total pleasure. Tho the height of my wine education so far has been "Sideways."

March 16, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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