June 27, 2012

[25 before 25] On Eating [in a fancy restaurant] Alone.

La Petite Idee - Grenoble, France.

"Go to a fancy restaurant—alone…keep cell phone in purse the whole time."

I put item No. 2 on my [25 before 25] list, because I knew I probably wouldn't do it without some sort of motivation. As a kid, my dad would tell me about the cool restaurants he would go eat at while away at conferences. (I mentioned this in a post about solitude in early 2011.) I'd be appalled that he would go out to eat alone. I guess I imagined that he would just pick up some sandwich-type-foods at a grocery store and eat in his room...or at least make friends with other conference-goers, to brave the fancy restaurants together.

I even put a caveat on this list item, restricting cell phone use during said meal. I knew that if I had an "escape," I would use it.

At the time of writing this list, I had no idea I'd be living in France for the summer. You can't get much more "fancy" than French, and since fewer people than there are fingers on my hands have my French cell phone number, the phone was not an issue or temptation.

I sat on the patio of this super cute little restaurant. The waiter spoke a little English and we labored through the "specials" together, but I essentially ended up telling him to bring me what he considered to be the best.

I ATE DUCK! (Well, the waiter said I think it was duck. At least I know it wasn't horse, the bones were too small.) It was phenomenal. It was moist and juicy and fell off the bone.

Two young men walked by and wished me "bon appetit." (Side note: People here are always asking me how to say this in English. The closest equivalent I can think of would be a waiter at a restaurant saying, "Have a good meal," but we don't really have anything that we use the same way the French use "bon appetit.)

The potatoes tasted as though they'd been marinating in butter all day. I used the bread to soak up all the delicious juices that seeped out of the duck and potatoes and vegetables. (I'm trying to learn to eat with both hands actively engaged. This is difficult.)

The apricot crumble was hot and gooey, with the perfect amount of "crunch-factor."

I found myself having to intentional keep from rushing through the meal--not because I wanted it to be over, but because it was so delectable. I told myself to savor every bite, to enjoy the ambiance of the surroundings.

The best part of the experience (ok, second best after the food) was finding out that eating alone in a fancy restaurant isn't scary at all. I'd totally do it again, without hesitation. Obviously, I love being in the company of people, but enjoying a treat like this alone wasn't even close to horrible.

Probably because it made me feel a lot like a secret agent on a classified mission, doing my spy-thing in a foreign country. 

What are your thoughts on solo dining?
What item should be my next goal on my [25 before 25] list?
Would you eat horse meat if presented with the opportunity?


  1. I loved your descriptions of your meal! They made my mouth water. I need that apricot crumble in my life. Doing things outside of my normal comfort zone is a lot easier for me in foreign countries. I guess because I already stick out there, so why not stick out a little bit more? Proud of you and your missional adventures!

    1. I definitely agree on the "doing things outside of my normal comfort zone is a lot easier in foreign countries," idea. It's like...I'm already awkward (don't speak the language, don't act French, don't smell French, etc.) so I might as well go for it, and do what I want. :) People say that French people are rude, but they have been more than kind to me in my awkwardness. :) Miss you and Zumba! (Though I did see a Zumba workout kit at Carrefour--French Walmart--the other day!)