…well, if I eat another baguette, I’ll be happy. That’s why they serve bread without butter/oil/vinegar at restaurants. Because it doesn’t need anything else. To somebody as gastronomically challenged as I am, this excursion into the world of wine, cheese, bread and Entrecote was a definite plus. They might be proud, but they have a right to be, on the basis of the culture alone, if not more.
I’ll lay it down now: I don’t speak French. And, after a very nice tour of the countrysides in southern France, I now found myself in Paris on my own. Yes, it’s a global city, but do I look like a person who wants to stand out? (Stupid question, really: I only have to remember the waiter who asked me puzzlingly at L’Alsace on the Champs-Elysees: “Do you want the English menu? —French? —Japanese…?” What, you can’t tell who I am instantly? A Chinese person from America with anglophilic tendencies, trying desperately to be as white as possible, while speaking bad French?)
Anyway, I can sort of order food:
—Me: “Je voudrais une entrecote avec la soupe aux lentilles, s’il vous plait.”
—Waiter: “Oui, merci.”
—(I smile satisfactorily and close the conversation, pretending to do something with my napkin)
—Waiter: “[something there is no way I will understand without another year of learning French, phrased as a question]?”
—Me: (hoping desperately that I can pull this off) “………Oui?”
—(Waiter looks distraught.)
—Waiter: Umm…………….how did you want the steak cooked?
Of course, usually the waiter skips to this step as soon as I open my mouth, because it isn’t that hard to tell that I have no idea what I’m talking about. By the way, the answer is supposed to be “as raw as possible” which is a problem for me, because I usually eat well-done. But in France I’ve had a couple mildly-rare steaks. And it’s not bad after all.
By the way, the photo is of me in Vieux Lyon, on the hill somewhat near the Basicilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere. These are very old ruins. Sorry I can’t explain further, I’m not a history buff. This is my Facebook profile picture, and the caption is: “See I can be emo anywhere!” ’nuff said.