The other night my sisters took me out for dinner to a charming little French bistro in Edmonds for a belated birthday celebration. Yes, that is a little glimpse of the sun that has been hiding for days here in western Washington! Can you see the Olympic mountains peaking over the clouds? Perhaps spring is just around the corner!
Having just returned from our vacation to a Club Med resort in the Caribbean filled with guests from Paris and Montreal, I almost felt at home as we sat listening to the french cafe music. The Cafe de Paris is a charming little place with a waitress (who looked like she could be french) and one chef...who actually came out of the kitchen once wearing the quintessential chef's hat and coat!
Many years ago I visited Paris for the first time, tagging along with teacher friends who were leading a group of their French and Spanish students on a short European tour. In preparation for the trip, these teachers held several meetings for the students to review the itinerary for the trip, a brief history of the places we would visit, and go over the guidelines (sounds much nicer than rules, right?!) for student behavior. One of the things the teachers cautioned all of us over and over was to let go of stereotypes we might hold of the countries we would visit. You've probably heard them too...things like, "The french are rude to Americans."
Arriving in Paris, walking around the city and down the avenue de Champs-Elysees, the locals we met as we ate in cafes and asked directions from when we got lost, were for the most part friendly and helpful. Yes, they even laughed with us at our bad french language attempts! The only two places that I remember any rudeness was from a bathroom attendant in the Louvre and the store clerks in the Hermes shop (Oprah called them out for this several years later on her show and they apologized). A summer of tourists could probably put anyone over the edge though...especially loud american teenagers. Our teacher guides were right...throw those stereotypes out the window!
One of the best things about Paris, in addition to the art and beautiful architecture, was the food! The flaky croissants with coffee each morning, the freshly baked baguettes with wonderful cheeses and roasted vegetables for lunch, and melt in your mouth meat dishes in the evening. My favorite place on Champs-Elysees was a restaurant called Chez Clement, so charming with it's copper kettles hung around the room. I remember I ordered a delicious chicken crepe and the flavors were wonderful....sigh.
As I looked at the menu at Cafe de Paris, my eye focused on the crepes and soon we all ended up ordering crepes, the vegetarian for Naomi, the chicken for Vangie, and the beef bourguignon for me. My crepe was so yummy and the fresh vegetables were perfectly prepared. My sisters claimed theirs were tasty as well. The waitress was charming and efficient and we enjoyed chatting with several other patrons at another table that were also there to celebrate a birthday. Our shared dessert of ice cream with pear and chocolate ganache (so rich and good!) came with a lit birthday candle...such a thoughtful little touch.
Some of the art work in the restaurant....
As I listened to the music playing softly, I was transported back to France for a brief moment. La Vie en Rose, one of the few french songs I recognized by name, was one of the songs we heard as we chatted and caught up on life. Here is a lovely rendition of the song I found...
So, if you're looking for a fun evening out or a day of shopping and browsing in downtown Edmonds, I recommend a little taste of France at Cafe de Paris. Do any of you have a favorite French restaurant to recommend? Would love to hear about it! Warmly, Gracia