My knowledge of French food was limited to croissants and chocolate mousse until Jean-Jacques opened up... still, it's hardly an authentically French café. It was only when I surprised Marie with a 3-week visit to France that I was really introduced to French wines, cheeses, desserts, breads, and pastries.
Meals too. Marie's mom made a list of classic Parisian dishes and served us a different one each night. When we spent a weekend on the French Riviera, her aunt did the same thing so that we could also get a taste for Southern French cooking as well. I know, I know... they were incredible hosts. I ate so well.
During that first visit, I also picked up on a few French habits: buying fresh bread every other day, planning meals around market vegetables, drinking a glass of wine with lunch and dinner, preparing meals simply from whole ingredients, and serving them in at least three courses (a.k.a. dessert twice a day).My dad doesn't seem to share the same affection for French food as I do. As much as he insists on eating the highest quality, he also demands big portions, and plates at French restaurants are most often reasonably sized. But because he loves me so, he agreed to take me to Le Bistro D'á Côté on a recent lunch date of ours.
We each had the prix-fixe lunch. To drink, I had a glass of red wine; he had a beer. To start, I had a green salad; he had a lentil soup. For an entrée, I ordered the Grilled Salmon served with sautéed spinach, French lentils & lemon caper butter; he ordered the Grilled Chicken Paillard served with baby greens & French fries. When it was time for dessert, I opted for chocolate gelato, while he chose vanilla. We both agreed that the meal, (the entire dining experience, actually), was incredible though. I think the French just may have won him over...