Wednesday, January 20, 2010

France - French food, the Theater and a Lost Car

I think the reason why France is set apart for its cuisine is because it has food integrity. French chefs are bold and creative and the French people love to eat. This is why people who genuinely love food, love French food. It’s also why I like taking my kids to French restaurants. By exposing my children to French cuisine I’m hoping that an appreciation for food will rub off on them, they’ll understand that eating isn’t always just about supplying your body with nourishment.

For our French meal John, Julia and I went to a restaurant called Marcels in Toronto. The restaurant described itself as unpretentious, and it was. It was rather small but packed full and lively and our waitress made a fuss over the children (This experience was entirely different than what we had in Montreal last year when we showed up at a well known French restaurant with our kids and the waiter was horrified – I think he would have been happier if we had brought our dog. We were told that no children were allowed in their establishment and we were banished to the outside seating area to eat our meal). Our waitress, at Marcel’s was, however, surprised by my children’s appetite and their adventurous tastes, being, likely, accustomed to most North American children. For our meal, we had veal, escargot and mussels, which John and Julia devoured happily.

After our scrumptious dinner we went to the theater to see “Fiddler on the Roof.” It was a night of high culture and I was very proud of myself for exposing my children to such worldly experiences. We were all enjoying the show until I suddenly realized that I forgot where I parked. I had driven into the city with Kevin’s company car and we were running late for our dinner reservations and I was having a hard time finding a parking spot. With running late and the traffic and not knowing where I was going I got flustered and a bit turned around. When I finally found a parking lot I pulled in and we quickly jumped out of the car and we ran to the restaurant. Forgetting where I parked is so me. I once picked Kevin up at an airport in a rented car and I forgot where I parked and what I rented. Christa told me about a tracking device for cars. I think I’ll have to look into getting one.

After the show, we spent the next hour walking around downtown Toronto trying to locate our car. It must have been a pathetic scene, a mother and her children wandering the streets on a late and cold December night. As worry and agitation grew I still stubbornly held on to the belief that we would find our vehicle. The last thing I wanted to do was call Kevin and tell him that I lost his company car somewhere in Toronto. Believe me, that would not have gone over well.

We finally found the car, much to our relief. Our evening of sophistication ended with my air-headedness. But I felt satisfied that my children had been properly exposed to the finer things in life and learned a valuable lesson of paying attention to where you are.

FOOD FACT: The French consume approximately 700 million snails a year, making them the biggest snail consumers in the world.


  1. I'm from Montreal and I'm astonished to learn that you have been treated that way in a restaurant. Usually, kids are welcome in even the most upscale restaurants. Would you mind sharing the name of the restaurant so that I can make sure I do not go there - and possibly tell the local medias about it?

  2. We have been to Montreal twice and went to several restaurants there and didn't have any other negative experiences. I believe the restaurant was the Boris Bistro. The kids were embarrassed by the incident but my husband and I took in stride. Unfortunately, this was the very first restaurant in Montreal that we went to and we weren't sure if this was "normal." We've learned, of course, that it's not. The evening was a bit cold and we preferred to sit inside, but they do have a lovely terrace. I also have to mention that their food was excellent.

    I certainly did not mean to give the wrong impression of Montreal. We loved it and I'm sure we'll be going back again this summer.