French Dining

This item appears on page 51 of the November 2010 issue.
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Tell ITN about the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. The ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.

This month’s winner is RAY JONES of Bend, Oregon:

While on our first visit to Paris with an Untours apartment a dozen years ago, my late wife, Laurie, and I spent a morning visiting Montemarte. Quickly tiring of the carnival atmosphere and souvenir shops, we decided to descend the hill and find a place for an early lunch. We saw a restaurant that looked decidedly nontouristy and went in.

There was only one patron: a well-dressed man, who appeared to be a businessman, having coffee and a pastry. Seated on a long bench that ran the length of the wall and which had small tables spaced along it, he dipped his oversized French newspaper and sized us up, then disappeared once more behind his paper.

Laurie and I each took a seat several tables down the bench from him, and the waiter brought menus and took our drink orders.

After studying the menu, Laurie said, “Look, they have escargots!”

I replied, “Don’t you remember the last time you tried snails, at that super-fancy restaurant on our honeymoon? The first one came back up as fast as it went down, and you had to retreat to the ladies’ room in great embarrassment.”

“Yes,” she said, “but it’s like my riding days. I need to get back on the horse that threw me. Besides, they may cook them differently here in France — plus we’re practically alone.”

When the waiter returned with our drinks and his order pad, I said, “I’ll have the tournedos, and madame would like the escargots.”

“Oh, madame, pardon,” said the waiter, “but the escargot is not in season.”

“Thank goodness!” cried my wife — and from down the bench the newspaper fell amid a loud Gallic guffaw.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Tell ITN about the funniest thing that ever happened to you while traveling in a foreign country. (ITN prints no info on destinations in the United States.) There are no restrictions on length. The ITN staff will choose each month’s winner, who will receive a free one-year subscription to ITN. Entries not chosen cannot be acknowledged.

This month’s winner is RAY JONES of Bend, Oregon:

While on our first visit to Paris with an Untours apartment a dozen years ago, my late wife, Laurie, and I spent a morning visiting Montemarte. Quickly tiring of the carnival atmosphere and souvenir shops, we decided to descend the hill and find a place for an early lunch. We saw a restaurant that looked decidedly nontouristy and went in.

There was only one patron: a well-dressed man, who appeared to be a businessman, having coffee and a pastry. Seated on a long bench that ran the length of the wall and which had small tables spaced along it, he dipped his oversized French newspaper and sized us up, then disappeared once more behind his paper.

Laurie and I each took a seat several tables down the bench from him, and the waiter brought menus and took our drink orders.

After studying the menu, Laurie said, “Look, they have escargots!”

I replied, “Don’t you remember the last time you tried snails, at that super-fancy restaurant on our honeymoon? The first one came back up as fast as it went down, and you had to retreat to the ladies’ room in great embarrassment.”

“Yes,” she said, “but it’s like my riding days. I need to get back on the horse that threw me. Besides, they may cook them differently here in France — plus we’re practically alone.”

When the waiter returned with our drinks and his order pad, I said, “I’ll have the tournedos, and madame would like the escargots.”

“Oh, madame, pardon,” said the waiter, “but the escargot is not in season.”

“Thank goodness!” cried my wife — and from down the bench the newspaper fell amid a loud Gallic guffaw.