26 November 2010

My Thanksgiving Feast

So I may not have had turkey or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year, but I did have a great French meal, good company, and snow! After a long day of work, I met up with my friend at Cafe Oz, the Australian bar in Vieux Lille. I felt terrible for being a half an hour late but I had needed to stop at home to put on extra layers, the bus was slower than usual, and I accidentally took a very non-direct route to get there... But after chatting for a while, we ventured back into the cold and stumbled upon a tucked in little estaminet called Au Vieux de la Vieille. The cozy atmosphere was perfect to warm us right up. There were several things on the menu that looked enticing. Though I do like boudin noir (Sylvia and I were talking about how we both love it today and she invited me over to her house to have it sometime), I was too chicken to order it. 

After wavering back and forth between a few different things, I chose "La célèbre Fricandelle et sa sauce piccalilli accompagnées de purée de pomme de terre maison & salade". The only additional information that th English menu gave was that it was a local sausage. The deciding factor for me was the bold print underneath the description of the dish... "Merci de ne pas torturer les serveurs pour en découvrir la mystérieuse recette, y n'in savtent rin...". For dessert, of course I couldn't decide... If I wasn't having pumpkin pie, I wanted something pretty damn good! Should I get crème brûlée or ice cream or crêpes with rhubarb jam? Finally I asked the waitress for her recommendation and she didn't hesitate to say Mousse au Speculoos. I was sold. It was like gingerbread mousse... and definitely worth the indulgence.

At dinner, we'd ordered a carafe of muscadet wine. But when she brought out dessert, she offered us a free white beer that she had incorrectly thought another table had ordered. I actually thought it was really good. (Yes, Dad, your daughter found a beer that she liked...) Upon leaving the restaurant, the snow was coming down quickly in big flakes. I was thrilled for the snow, but my Australian friend Jim was even more so, as it was his first time seeing snow. We walked back over to Café Oz as we'd told the bartender we would. This bartender was really cool. Nadick was Polish and when he asked me where I was from, his face lit up when I said I was from Seattle. His response was "Yeah! Seattle Supersonics! What a shame... I used to love Gary Payton!" (I had a Gary Payton #20 jersey as a kid.) So, we ordered two "Femantle Doctors" - vodka, cranberry, and grapefruit. Then Nadick accidentally made a Femantle Doctor for someone who'd ordered a different drink, so he gave it to us. If you're keeping score, that's free drink number two. 

As we're sitting and chatting, I was unable to stop Jim from ordering two shots of Jager. (I don't take shots...) Nadick brings out three shot glasses and took a shot with us. When Jim handed him some money, he said they were on the house because he liked us. So that makes free drinks three and four... How does that happen without having connections? After that I called it a night and hopped on a bus back home. In total, it was a very memorable Thanksgiving spent in good company and remembering all that I'm thankful for. First Thanksgiving away from home, first snow, first beer that I enjoyed... I am content and plenty thankful. And now I need to get ready to meet Jim to check out a museum in town! 

boudin noir - blood sausage (vervivorst in Estonian [how's that for random vocabulary?])
"La célèbre Fricandelle et sa sauce piccalilli accompagnées de purée de pomme de terre maison & salade" - "The famous Fricandelle with piccalilli sauce accompanied by house made mashed potatoes and salad"
"Merci de ne pas torturer les serveurs pour en découvrir la mystérieuse recette, y n'in savtent rin" - Thank you for not torturing the servers for the mystery recipe, they know nothing. 


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  2. Actually we have two different meals.
    boudin noir (black pudding) sounds like 'verikäkk' (we didn't had it while you were here) and then blood sausage - verivorst:)
    I'll show you the difference! ;)

  3. Pictures Kelsey. It sounds like you had a great evening and enjoyed your company! Gotta run, I have Christmas shopping to do. Love you.