Bon jour and Joyeux vendredi!
Although this was earlier this week I am still floating! Mon mari adoring surprised me with the ultimate experience that has kept a smile on my face since we stepped foot in the quaint little French restaurant in the historical district near downtown.
I have challenged myself to learn the French language and be able to speak or at least order fluently by the end of the year. 5 months in and it is a challenge, however I am learning so many new and exciting things about the French culture. I have French ancestors and this is how my interest was piqued. I studied Spanish in high school, enough for textbook communication but since I did not continue in it–I noticed that you lose it if you don’t keep at it. I am delving into the history, studying the language, diving completely in it with the hopes that I can become somewhat of a femme française. There is a beautiful simplicity about theeffortless-ness of it all.
Well, a typical regular weeknight my husband decided to take me to a restaurant that embodies the beauty, simplicity, and allure of French dining. We were greeted by a maître’ d with the most gracious demeanor to engage. He spoke with the most beautifully calm French accent, which prompted me to realize that this was not going to be an ordinary date night. “Bon jour Madame”….ahhhh he seemed to sing it as if they were expecting me! I, politely, responded “bon jour Monsieur”. Astonished, a bit overwhelmed, I had seeed to have lost everything that I had learned to converse beyond bon jour, and merci. I forgot to ask how he was doing–simple niceties as we waited to be seated, you know small talk. If I can’t try my chops out at a swanky establishment as this–where else was I going to get to practice…and not to mention with another French speaker nonetheless! My husband was taking me to Paris without me leaving the country. What was happening? Servers were apporoaching ever so quickly and I suddenly became….BASHFUL! I pride myself in being a diligent étudiante! I wanted a do-over…too late.
We were presented with le menu, by this I mean, a large easel chalkboard was carried to our table and proudly shared their evening offerings visually. My brain and eyes are stimulated so much that I am sure you could see colors floating off of the top of my head. While I decided what I was planning to enjoy–aside from my conversation with the BFFL, I could not help but take in the glory of the petit pittoresque and charming loveliness of it all, the rustic wooden beams in the ceiling, small intimate corners created in an open space, customized to seat about 60 people comfortably. There were about 15 cozy tables draped with pure white freshly pressed linen cloths while a few tables that were paired with long wooden benches that made an L-shape along the wall. Simply glorious! Chic vintage portraits graced the wall, not too much, but just enough to focus on each at a time and not drown out the beauty of the others. The kitchen could be seen at any view, large enough to turn around in and small enough to be tucked away from the dining area. Copper pots hanging atop for display, awaiting to be used for what they were created, eagerly anticipating the chef’s artisctic culinary masterpiece into a manifestation only to be adored and then consumed with delicate delight. This is not the type of place you want to be in any hurry. There were sparkling clear diamond like glasses standing at attention waiting to be commanded to serve any desirous lips that dared to dance upone them and quench any thirst.
I glance through the french doors behind me and there stood a miniature Eiffel tower adorned in lights on the back patio illuminating with such grandeur in the utmost of simplicities without ever appearing to be braggadocios or bourgeois. Oui! C’est la vie.
Ok, back to deciding what I was to indulge-I opted to partake in the red snapper over risotto, English peas and seasonal vegetables accessorized with button mushrooms that were happy to be consumed, as long as it was with French flair and pure enjoyment–not gobbled. Everything about this moment was pièce de résistance–I felt like I had not yet earned such a moment due to my choppy style of learning the language. I wanted to celebrate once I learnedhow to order in fluent French. Needless to say, it motivated me even more to delve into every aspect because I will return (can you picture my index finger in the air as I proclaim this?) Good, because it was 🙂
I selected a 2006 vin rouge lisse that was clean for a rouge, yet it yielded a fruitful weight. I bashfully bowed my head after attempting to speak as best I could, which the staff was graciously patient with me and beyond legendary! I noticed that my husband adored every minute of it. Days later I am still smiling. I purposely left my cell phone in my wristlet once we arrived because I wanted to enjoy every millisecond. Statistics have proven that taking pictures while in the moment causes you to forget and not retain. It is not as meaningful. I can attest and confirm. I didn’t take my phone out once and I ve been known to want to capture everything, when I can. Which may prove why I seem to not remember EXACTLY when I look at the pictures much later.
My BFFL snapped 3 inconspicuous shots just to keep a visual memory for moi and I am grateful that he did! I remember every moment of that evening with clarity as if I am still there. This has taught me more than 1 thing, especially when it comes to living and being in the moment…even if you would love the shot. Some things are best remembered without a visual. Whatever did we do before fancy schmancy “smart” phones that seem to dull us with each passing day?
Well,…jusqu’à la prochaine fois