Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Last Night Dinner at Chez Michel

Ah, at last, my blog is a true reflection of my life, which is now one day behind the real world. I actually did the laundry (Monday's posting) over the weekend, and today's post is about dinner last night with Eric, a kind and patient French gentleman. Sometimes I wonder how am I so lucky to meet such wonderful people?

Yesterday afternoon, his text appears on my phone:
"Hi Florence. I've booked seating for 9:30. I'll take you at Lutece."

I understand, he will meet me after my French Lessons at the Language School end at 9Pm, for 9:30 dinner reservations.

Our class runs slightly overtime, as another student and I rush out the front door of the school, we're both surprised by the evening rain. I'm not sure why it made us laugh at the same time, as we went our separate ways, but Eric was waiting there as promised.

We greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and began to walk. "How was your day?" I asked. "Oh, my work is complicated and technical. I don't want to talk about my work." he replied with an anguished look on his face.
I love the nuances of French culture that I must adjust to sometimes. I immediately think of Pierre telling me, "If I want you to know how my day is, I will tell you. But don't ask me what I do."

I wonder if all French men are so complex. Eric is much kinder than Pierre.

"Is the restaurant far?" I ask changing the subject.

We took the metro to Gare du Nord, for a wonderful evening at the Restaurant Chez Michel.

Chez Michel is the restaurant creation of Chef Thierry Breton, along with Chez Casimir right next door.
The restaurant is known for serving generous portions of well-prepared Breton dishes. Eric is also from Brittany France.

So far, there has been no better place for enjoying perfect, excellent, delicious French comfort food! This truly felt like a French restaurant where the French people go (no tourist in sight) for real French food. Answering my original question and the reason Eric and I experience wonderful French dinners together.

I am so grateful that he takes the time to walk me through these experiences with kindness and laughter.

"What did you learn in class tonight?" Eric wants to know over dinner.
I pull out a few of our lessons and he begins to explain the phrases I did not understand in class:

On se sent vraiment bien, ici. (It feels really good, here.)
How appropriate, that he explains a phrase I could use at that moment.

We laugh, talk, and enjoy a fabulous French meal, ending a great evening with more laughter as I point to a jar on the restaurant shelf and tell Eric, I thought the jar of crooked green beans were frog legs.
"They are not frog legs." Eric explains, "They are beans."
"But they are green." I protest. "They must be frog legs."
"Frog legs are not green when you eat them." Eric explains.

I don't know why that was the funniest statement, but who knew, "Frog legs are not green when you eat them."? (I don't eat them.)
We laughed as we left the restaurant.

Walking past Gard du Nord, "Wait, I have to take a picture!"

Fish Soup Starter

"Pour the Fish Soup from the big bowl into the small bowl." Eric explains just before I start to eat from the big bowl.
I pick up the ladle in the large bowl and pour a spoonful into the smaller bowl, half overflowing onto the table.
"Uh, I said into the small bowl." Eric reminds me with a smile.

Cheese tray after dinner. Dinner and conversation was so good I 'forgot' to take a photo of the main dish. (Delicious, fish and potatoes and salad. )

The restaurant feels Cozy, like having dinner in your French grandmother's kitchen.

A French Restaurant not filled with Tourist.

Dessert! Just out of the oven, Gingerbread, caramelized banana and cream.

A wonderful dinner at Chez Michel.


  1. What a lovely post. I found your blog through a Google Alert, and I am so happy that I did. I used to live in France, my husband is French and we got back to Paris 1-2 a year. We just got back from our latest trip last week and are always looking for neighborhood (non-tourist) places where we can enjoy French food that is more like home-cooked! Happy to have found you and look forward to reading more!

  2. Florence, I'm taking notes of all these restaurants to visit when I get to Paris. It's so lovely to see you enjoying yourself in Paris.

  3. Thank you Andi adn Sandra for your comments. Its nice to know what others think of my blog. Especially the nice comments. You will enjoy this no-nonsense, not all fancy for tourist, cozy restaurant. Thanks again for your comments and Thanks for following me...