Il Brigante – Paris

Il Brigante - Paris

It was so. On a rainy day, I ended up meeting a friend at a pizzeria near his house on 18eme, on the Lamarck-Caulaincourt metro. It was a tiny pizzeria, which I always passed by and was always crowded with people. And as for food I am total Maria goes with the others, when I see a crowded place I-need-to-eat-there-too. People, it never fails: if it’s crowded, it’s good (it’s… usually…).
Well, we agreed to get there early, because nobody ever remembers calling anywhere to make a reservation. That toró was in Paris. I went down the stairs at Lamarck and went inside suddenly, soaked and disheveled in the mini-pizzeria. The chef, two pizzaiolos and a bartender were in a wheel with a tray of shots of some booze and at the same moment looked at me. I made that “sorry to interrupt” face, but at the time they welcomed me and offered me one of the shots on the tray. Everyone said “Santé”, “Salut”, “Tchim”, and I, to give a touch of “exoticism” in the toast I said “Cheers!”. Of course, at the time, it was that commotion “BRASILEEEEEEEEIRA!”. It turns out it’s cool to be Brazilian in Paris.
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For a change, the pizzeria was packed, all of its 20 reserved places, but as I am brasileeeeeeeeira, I gave that smile and made a pity face of “oh boy, but I have come here 3 times and it’s raining outside… no me put it on the street in the rain… ”, and got me two seats at the end of someone’s table (!).
Like mine, I’m from São Paulo. And sorry, São Paulo knows pizza. Paulista knows a lot, but pizza is ours “Truc”, as they say here. And finding a decent pizza here in Paris is not for the weak. French is so French, they only know overcooked pasta, risotto with sour cream (traumatizing) and frozen pizza. Italian restaurant is a big deal here. Not that I miss them, after all, good stuff to eat here is no problem. But I’m still from São Paulo, man. And I want my Friday night pizza.
My friend was late, for a change. So I sat down and watched the environment a little, Italian par excellence. The chief, a Carcaman from Calabria, who also got his hands dirty, greeted everyone who arrived at the door with a huge smile and a “Buonasera!” and insisted on shaking people’s hands, his own, all floured. And I would make pizza again. In the face of Parisians, that disgust and strangeness with such an open smile. The place is small, the kitchen is open and there is no glass separating the pizzaiolos from the diners, as we are used to seeing in Sampa. Like, they sing, scream and throw flour everywhere. The waitresses are two impatient Italians, who speak very loudly, with their hands (pleonasm, pleonasm, pleonasm) and with a very accent. The noise in that space was maddening. And I think everything is beautiful and poetic.
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The friend arrives, drenched, disheveled and suddenly, ignores the boss and his floured hand, and sends me “Why do we have to sit here at the end of the table?”. That ordinary Parisian moodiness. The waitress brings the menu: a crushed and wine-stained sulphite sheet (I laugh), we ordered the Roma pizza, and a glass of house wine. Quick note: the “house wine” here is always a bit of a doubtful choice: it can be very good, it can be bottled wine. The truth is that nobody cares, it’s wine. Score. And here it is served in a ping pong cup (it’s a lot of love!).
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The pizzas are all individual and huge and the friend was very friendly to help me and order another pizza for me to write about here for you. Copião, envious! I gave that hateful look to him, but he just despised me and reaffirmed his choice. I can never stand to eat my whole pizza alone, but okay, at most I would ask to pack it up and take it home.
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And now, poetry: Roma pizza had mozzarella, but not that doggy mozzarella, it was “A” mozzarella. Ham, but not a ham: cured ham. Artichoke, huge, tender. And a hyper soft gorgonzola, which did not dominate the scene, simply completed it. And all of this together had a taste of paradise, childhood, good food, homesickness. There were so many feelings with each bite that a tearful little eye rolled over. And the dough is so thin, but so thin that … Ai ai ai … I ate a pizza (like, a big one, normal, from São Paulo), alone, whole and I kept an eye on the friend’s to see if he would eat everything alone, to try to steal. When it was over, I had that kind of faint smile on my face, from someone who had gone to Móoca or Bixiga, given a “Hi” to friends, and returned.
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When dessert time came, I ordered a Pannacotta with salted caramel sauce, in honor of Dani (who is a confessed fan of pannacottas), because 18eme was her neighborhood.
“And for the monsieur?”
“I will also want a panna …”
Talitta: “Monsieur will want a tiramisù, s’il vous plaît”.
A new look of contempt. But this time I won. And we sent it very well, because Pannacota and Tiramisù were delicious, and they came in GGG size, the type you eat, okay, that’s very good, you are satisfied, eat some more and only for when you feel angry with yourself . After the crisis of conscience, there is still that little smile of satisfaction and nostalgia and that desire to give another scratch on the plate to see if it comes out a little more.
At the exit, the boss goes to the door to say goodbye, saying “Grazie mille! Take care, bella! ”.
And I, very moved by the whole experience, answered “Eeerrrr … Muchas gracias!”.
“En espagnol, Talitta? More, vraiment?”. (In Spanish? Really?).
Oh, sorry … it was the emotion.
Ah, the mythical pizzeria is as follows:
Il Brigante
14 Rue de Ruisseau
75018, Paris
Tel: 0144927215 (for those who want to challenge the waitresses to answer the phone …).

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