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May 20

My French friend Monsieur P. and I are carnivores. We favor côte de boeuf at a little place in the 5th, Au Moulin à Vent, served with terrific cube-shaped frites, which are OK to eat with your fingers, he says. He also says it is OK to eat asparagus with your fingers, but who knows?

As an entrée, two can split coquilles St. Jacques and there's a red house wine that isn't too expensive. We order the meat saignant, which means very red and a little cool inside.Thus inspired, I went in search of a barbecue to put on my terrace. I'm thinking of throwing a party starting with margaritas and guacamole, followed by steak and baked potatoes, then brownies or key lime pie.

I tried Habitat, near the Pont Neuf, and BHV, near the Hôtel de Ville, with its marvelous basement hardware department. But I couldn't find anything right for my terrace that was charcoal burning. Lots of gas and electric, but who needs that?

Then I checked Ikea and 3 Suisses online, without result. Finally, I bought a little Weber Smokey Joe from for about $30. But they can't send it outside the U.S. So it's going to my office in downtown L.A., where I'll pick it up the next time I'm in town. That will be way past prime Paris barbecue season, which may be a figment of my imagination.

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