He had me at "Lunch?" Talk about reading my mind... And raising my wilted spirits, boosting my morale -- all that jazz... The way to a woman's heart is apparently through her stomach as well, at least in my case anyway!
When the phone rang at my desk around 12:30, I picked it up expectantly, recognizing my boyfriend's cell phone number on the raised screen. Perfect timing. It was so nice to hear from him, and even though most of our calls and exchanges throughout the day are completely mundane and inconsequential, this one bode well: he wanted to know if I would like to join him for lunch. After a dentist's appointment in the morning, he had decided to stay in the city a bit longer before taking his time getting back to our apartment in the western suburbs. He had a day off for once, a rarity, and it felt like a real luxury for us to share this time together. We hardly ever go to lunch together, as our lunch hours never coincide and I have to take the métro or bus to get to him anyway, but this time was an exception. Plus, most days I bring some leftovers from home, easier to warm up in our office kitchen and enjoy quietly with a book or with a few colleagues (plus, far more economical, of course!).
We felt like naughty schoolchildren -- or at least I did... When he suggested the brasserie, I couldn't help but say, "Is that really reasonable?" I knew it was exceptional, but it still felt forbidden somehow... But really, how often do we do this? We've been trying to pay attention to our budget, but some days just call for a treat. Today was definitely one of them. After grumbling into work this morning, fighting the crowds at St. Lazare along with hundreds of thousands of other commuters, I definitely needed something to cheer me up. Le Diplomate fit the bill, as it has a couple other times in the past (I'll never forget the time the waitress managed to save me a slice of rapidly-disappearing strawberry tart -- she will forever remain a favorite in my heart! And she still remembers it too...).
We first shared a foie gras aux figues -- heavenly! Really excellent, the best foie gras I've had in a long time. And then on to a fricassée de faisan avec jardinière de légumes... We enjoyed the meal with a glass of red wine, St. Emilion for me and St. Amour for him (I only opted out of the St. Amour because it was served chilled; I just don't like cool red wine! Otherwise, the romantic name is tempting, trust me. OK, you can call me cheesy, I don't care!). And then we shared a fondant au chocolat for dessert. So we managed to make the meal a bit more reasonable by sharing both the entrée and dessert. Still, it was far more expensive than anything we'd usually spend, with a hefty pricetag. But the meal was a nice moment of calm and happiness in the middle of an otherwise hectic period for me right now. So I honestly don't regret one second of it... On the contrary, it brought a broad smile to my face, and put me on a high that I'm sure will last...
At least until I make it back to the Gare St. Lazare to fight my way to the train back home tonight!
** On a sidenote, I managed to get a train around 7:00 last night, and even snagged a seat, which was darn near miraculous... But the only little bémol (I love this expression!) was that as I maneuvered my way down the train's stairs to get off at my station 20 minutes later, I only then realized that I had forgotten my umbrella under my seat (what was I thinking?!). Argh, another umbrella shot to the wind! But it's not as if it was one that I had attached any sentimental value to... I picked it up at Target in the U.S. last year, but it was super-practical in my bag and easy to use. What made me smile once again was when my boyfriend said, "Just think that someone who probably really needed that umbrella figured it was their lucky day." Isn't that a nice way to look at things?!