Thursday, May 10, 2012

Old Monkey Lunch

Sometimes it's a friend's job to correct a glaring omission.

So when a friend suggests lunch and I know he's been to France four times, I instinctively suggest La Parisienne, sure it will please him.

And when I am a few minutes late arriving, I find him already ensconced at the bar, a glass of Rose in hand.

Pleasure is written all over his face.

His first statement is all-encompassing. "I'm glad to see you so happy."

When I thank him for noticing, he tells me he wasn't even trying to notice, but that it was obvious.

This is what we call a very good and observant friend.

After intense discussion, we settle on a buckwheat crepe aux champignons roughly the size of the plate and oozing with wild mushroom duxelle with a fried egg on top.

Friend had actually asked for a raw egg, Parisian style, but we all know that Virginia's nanny state would never allow such a dangerous thing.

Cooked egg aside, my friend is immediately transported to France with the first bite and is rapturous.

He continues the egg theme with a Croque Madame and I opt for the shrimp-stuffed avocado over greens.

When our plates are delivered, owner Ali is suddenly in front of me.

"You should be drinking wine with that," he instructs with a smile. How can I not concede to a Frenchman's greater gustatory sensibility?

A glass of Sancerre does indeed complete my simple French lunch.

Ali introduces us to his mother visiting from Paris. The stylish woman knows no English but gives our repast an approving mother look.

When her meal is finished, she heads out for a proper after-meal stroll. Ali rolls his eyes, but I point out that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

"In French, that saying translates as you can't teach an old monkey to make new faces," he laughs.

I like their way better.

We finish with housemade truffles and Friend has an espresso as we discuss European coffee preferences with my favorite server.

Not ever having been a coffee drinker, I take his word that Illy is unacceptable while he marvels that I've lived a full life without daily caffeine.

Who needs coffee when I'm busy proving that you can teach an old monkey to make new faces?

Mine is apparently obviously and ridiculously happy looking.

Even without the Sancerre.

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