Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dreaming Big

In order to work on my storytelling skills, figure out my goals for life, and entertain you, I will also have an occasional series exploring my dream futures – dream jobs, dream houses, dream lifestyles. Please keep in mind that I’m trying to work on fiction skills.

Restaurant Owner in France

I may or may not be basing this entire fantasy future on the films Ratatouille and Julie & Julia (but only the parts with Meryl Streep). I love cooking (and eating), though unfortunately I have yet to develop the instincts or skills to get more creative than just following recipes. Even more unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I can’t start a restaurant with a menu based entirely on my mom’s specialties, the Real Simple cookbook I got for Christmas, and Nevertheless! One of my ideal futures is to own a small restaurant on a quiet street in France.

Last summer, I lived in Nantes, a city two hours west of Paris. They had a wonderful restaurant district, here dozens of little cafés opened onto a pedestrian street. Each café also seemed to have a clever, very French name: Pour Ce Qui Savent…, Les Enfants Terribles, Le Petit Bacchus. I would love to run one of those cafés, serving light meals – let’s be serious, I’m talking about France, so it will probably be crêpes– with fancy drinks. It will be decorated simply, in black, white, red and light blue, and the patio will have small square tables with black iron chairs that have swirls on their backs. After meals, my restaurant will turn into a classy bar, where patrons order drinks of various colors in snazzy glasses and sit around laughing and discussing French literature or politics or Tin Tin. It will be a place to gather with friends, sip interesting cocktails, and gaze out at the people passing on the street as the stars glitter overhead.

I have some inspiration for this:

Top: Colored liquors at a bar in Athens, Greece

Bottom: Pour Ce Qui Savent..., Nantes

The drinks are two kirs (white wine and creme de cassis)

and a demi-peche (peach-flavored beer)

When I’m done playing hostess each night, have closed my kitchen, sent my maitre d’ Gaspard off into the night and packed up my leftover cream puffs (oh yes, there will be pastries), I will walk home to my well-decorated apartment, where my boyfriend and our adorable puppies will be waiting for me. I’ll make a warm cup of cocoa, lure my boyfriend to our balcony with the cream puffs, and then relax and gaze out over our street. If by this point I’ve turned semi-nocturnal, I’ll watch the people along the street as they begin their day, opening windows, heading off to work, walking down to the boulangerie for a morning croissant or baguette. After falling asleep in a bed full of pillows (and puppies!) I will wake up to spend my late morning dealing with the business side of the restaurant and coming up with new and amazing recipes.

So that you don’t find this total indulgence…

1. Nantes is not a huge city, but it is worth a visit if you’re in the Pays-de-la-Loire/Bretagne area. I love the Bouffay, their chateau is very pretty, and it’s just a beautiful place overall.

2. French food doesn’t have to be really hard to make. This recipe for Quiche Lorraine crepes has turned out well for me in the past. Okay, fine, it’s from the Food Network and not France, but they measure things in grams over there! You’d be annoyed if I posted a real French recipe!

3. Yes, Ratatouille is a Disney/Pixar film that involves a rat cooking. It’s still worth watching if you consider yourself an adult, and yes, it will make you crave delicious food.

Feel free to send me suggestions for your favorite French restaurants, creme puff recipes, your dream jobs, places you would like to live, or anything else!

1 comment:

  1. foodies, unite!! you do make delicious crepes! I can relate to this desire to open an eating establishment. Michelin yet evades me...but hey, good food and good atmosphere will draw good people, right?

    and of course, Tin Tin!! Que j'aime! :) have you heard about the live action film in production? I'm a little bit excited...