"Wake up and smell the bok choy!" I was told by a long-time friend to great hilarity on my part.
Could there be a better synopsis of a three course lunch than my friend's call to acknowledge certain things while we lingered at Amour?
It's Friday so we planned a late lunch, sliding into the front table with a view of Carytown just as the last big table was finishing up their boisterous lunch.
We began with Kir Royales and my friend telling me a story about ordinariness (apparently a legal term) and how great my Vienna tights look.
That's easy for him to say; he's the one who got them for me.
Succumbing to the allure of a three course menu (because why do two courses when three are available?), we settled in for the long haul.
While Jimmy Durante sang "Young at Heart" we ordered more food than anyone should need for lunch, even on a sunny Friday.
I chose the bistro salad (Manakintowne greens, grape tomatoes, Parmesan, toasted almonds, with a honey balsamic vinaigrette), the steak grilles aux legumes (Chef's blend seasoning seared sirloin with red onion relish, parsley and chive salad vinaigrette and, wait, was that bok choy?), topped off with the chocolate creme brulee with sea salt.
My friend, not to be outdone, had a crab cake followed by rare duck breast and then the tart tatin.
And while he had to be somewhat good because he at least intended to go back to work for a while (after a Kir Royale, it should be noted), all bets were off with me, so I also chose the wine pairings.
My steak called for a Bordeaux, and the Chateau Garat Bel Air gave me the black currant weight to stand up to it.
For the dessert course, I savored a Muscat de Rivesalt Ambre, aged for at least two years I was told and a worthy partner for the dark chocolate of my creme brulee.
I then enjoyed an Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Blanc de Blanc, basically a champagne from a few miles outside of Champagne.
As I drank my bubbles, my friend crowed about his tart tatin and Calvados pairing, a combination of which he is inordinately fond.
When he got near the end of this classic close to a meal, he suggested I have a bite,
"I can't," I protested. "I'm too full!"
"What?" he said, dramatically putting a hand to his ear. "What words did I just hear you utter?"
Okay, maybe not so full I couldn't appreciate the classic pairing of apples and apple brandy.
I'm at least wise enough to realize that there is a reason the French have been savoring this pairing for centuries.
By the time we broke camp and headed out into the late afternoon Carytown madness, we'd covered his hair shirt moments (not to divulge too much, but butter was involved), travel companions who are different than girlfriends and the appeal of an absinthe drip.
"Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder," he noted dryly.
That all depends on with whom you choose to drink absinthe.
On Jimmy Durante's advice, I plan to limit my absinthe sharing to those who are young at heart.
Besides, for a lunch as good as today's, absinthe would have been superfluous.
Never let it be said that I can't wake up and smell the bok choy.