Tonight I had the pleasure of joining my best friend Lilia's dad, Yvon, for dinner! Lilia and I have been best friends since we were about 8 months old, thus I've known her Dad for just as long. Yvon was in Paris only for the night, so we got together for a traditional French Dinner.
By traditional, I mean everything from the food, to the length, to the number of courses, to the waiter.
We had appetizers (in French, they call this the Entrée) of thin slices of salmon and beef with olive oil and parmesan for the beef, and Creme Fraîche for the Salmon. Mine (the beef) was delicious, and the salmon for Yvon looked great as well!
We each had a Plat (what Americans know as the Entrée.. I know, confusing) of duck and spiced potatoes. I had to choose the duck because I'm in France and had yet to have canard! It was delicious, and surprisingly well-portioned. We paired our dishes with a great glass of red wine, and the French surely know how to pair their wine with food. It's truly an art here.
We shared a dessert of traditional Creme Brulée - best I've ever had! It was so so delicious. By this time I was extremely satisfied and absolutely spoiled with a delicious dinner.
Now, I mentioned earlier that part of the whole French dining experience was the waiter. Well, to give you an idea of what French service is like, take this episode as an example -
My friend Lilia asked that Yvon and I take a picture while we're together, as proof that we actually met up. So Yvon (the French-speaking Canadian) asked the waiter (in French) if he could take our picture. I figured this was customary and wouldn't be a problem, but no.. the waiter responded with "Sure I will... once I find the time," and he scurried off about his business. I was a bit surprised, but sure enough, he came around about 20 minutes later and took our picture.
Then, as he was serving our dessert, he asked where we were from. Yvon said Canada, and I said "I'm from the United States." The waiter looked at me with a very French smirk and responded with, "Well, I guess not all of us can be perfect!" And we broke up into laughter and he again scurried off.
It was just so French! The food was absolutely divine, and we were left alone at our table for about 2 hours. In the states, the waiters would have been tapping their toes and hurrying us in order to bring in the next customer. Not in France. It is customary to take at least 2 hours for a dinner out, if not more. Also, it's never just one course. I think I could get used to the French way of dining, as long as I keep my sense of humor about being American.
All in all, it was a great evening and I was really happy to see a familiar face. Thanks Yvon, for such a great dinner and company!