Granted, this post is LLLOOONNNGGGG overdue, but it has been a bit crazy lately. My birthday was on the 29th of July. Hey! At least I got around to posting about it!
When I woke up, there were random sticky notes with sweet little scribbles all over the house. (A very Geep move. So cute!) My favorite? The one placed on the bathroom mirror: “Oh look, it’s a birthday Purrito!”
After washing my face, I made my way into the living room. There were ballooooooons! On the walls, on the shelves, on the cats. Okay, not really on the cats, but Red was being chased by one due to his static cling issue. There was also a French ‘Happy Birthday’ sign above the couch. It was a sweet little surprise.
We went to dinner that night at a place I had heard about called Cafe Constant on Rue Saint Dominique. It was apparently reasonably priced and very, very good. It did NOT disappoint.
We were sat at a tiny little table, in a tiny little corner, of the tiny little restaurant. Geep’s chair was almost hanging out of the door behind him. The only thing that was not little in that restaurant was the attitude of the wealthy New Yorkers at the next table. They were LOUD. Obnoxious does not really cover their behavior. We have noticed that the French tend to talk at a lower volume than most Americans. We have tried to follow suit since being here and have done a pretty good job learning to follow their etiquette. This family was not willing to shed their Loud New-York-ness for the quiet little place they were in. Not only that, but they were making insane requests of the food and the poor waiter. They also seemed to have forgotten regular table manners. The one daughter was picking the skin off the cheese with her fingers and rubbing them on the edges of the plates. *sigh* Anyways…
Thanks to them, we had plenty of time to go over the menu and make up our minds. When the waiter came to the table, we gave him our order and an apologetic smile for our loud neighbors. He seemed to like us a bit more than them. He smiled and joked with us a bit, as well as tended to whatever we needed.
We had decided to have a bottle of white wine and to try some of their starters. Geep chose the Salade de cœurs d’artichaut et champignons de Paris, tout simplement en vinaigrette, an artichoke heart salad with mushrooms and a simple vinaigrette dressing. I decided to go for the Terrine de foie gras de canard maison, pain de mie toasté, toast and house made foie gras terrine.
I must tell you now, that the Geep is not a “foodie”. He eats to survive and to keep his sugar levels up. Period. Of course, he has a few favorites, but he could literally eat chicken and broccoli every day without anything on them. Just cooked. I know when I have done well cooking dinner, if he tells me “This is good”, without me asking what he thinks. Those words are a triumph! (And rare!) That said, I have never seen him roll his eyes back in his head at a forkful of food. The minute the delicately cooked mushroom with a bit of artichoke hit his lips, his eyes lit up and chewed as SLOWLY as he could. I don’t think he has EVER enjoyed food, truly, up until this point. He even tried my foie gras and found he liked it just as much, if not more than his little salad.
After drooling over our small plates, we waited eagerly for the main course. Pavé de cabillaud cuit au court-bouillon, quelques légumes en aioli, Poached cod served with seasonal vegetables, garlic mayonnaise for Geep. Filet de daurade royale au pistou grillé à la plancha, beignets de légumes croustillants, Fillet of sea bream with pesto, grilled on the plancha, crispy vegetables fritters for me. The entrees were even better than the starters. The fish was cooked just enough and the seasoning was delicate. The vegetable fritters are the best thing I have ever had in my life, Geep agreed whole heartedly with my assessment. We sat there in this little charming café, feeding each other morsels of food and sipping our wine. This is a restaurant that makes it easy to understand the frenchie’s love of PDA. You tend to talk a little quieter, share your food and smile, laugh a bit, and dote on each other lovingly. Food can truly be the way to someone’s heart, even non-foodie Geeps.
The desserts were just as delicious. An apple tart prepared in house and vanilla ice cream filled profiteroles with fresh made hot chocolate sauce. Not too sweet. A perfect end to such a great meal.
After dinner, we floated back down the streets headed toward home. When you go out to eat in the US, you rarely leave feeling light and airy. You typically feel weighted down and full of resentment (did I really just eat ALL of that?). Here, a good meal leaves you feeling satisfied, not over stuffed. The portions are smaller, but the flavors are better. You don’t need massive amounts to be satiated.
Basking in our after-dinner glow, we wandered home as the sun was dropping over the Eiffel. Back to our little flat, on our little street, in our little Paris. I may be getting older (goodbye twenties in just a few years!), but if every year was celebrated like this, I would not wish a single one to never come.
Thank you Geep, for always giving me the best birthdays and keeping them simple and sweet.