>> So where were we? Ah, yes, steak tartare...to be or not to be. I was getting pretty serious with the whole raw beef delicacy idea (I like to be daring with my palate), when in swoops my boyfriend, fresh back from the hair molesting experience. I ask him his opinion on the uncooked delight, and before the words are out of my mouth, he retorts: "What, do you want mad cow disease?" I ponder this for a moment -- the thought never crossed my mind -- I don't want my brain to end up looking like a plate of steak tartare. So I take a second look at the menu -- I'm already mad cow enough as it is. (Note: Yes, I do realize the risk for mad cow disease is not taken away by cooking the beef, but just by my boyfriend mentioning it, it freaked me out a little).
Now I love surprises, so one of my favorite things to do in a foreign country is pick the one thing off the menu that I have no idea what it is and order it. My French menu-reading skills are pretty good, but I'm no gourmand, so I can't say the same about Italian dishes. So it was settled -- I was ordering carpaccio, ready or not. "Bon choix" (Good choice) said the waiter in response, so I figured I hadn't made too big of a mistake.
To my surprise, however, carpaccio was not what I expected. I can't say what I expected, since I really had no idea what I had ordered, but I can say that when a plate of thinly-sliced raw beef was placed in front of me, I was slightly confused. All I know is that raw beef + me = meant to be that night. I really should have just gone with the steak tartare, in retrospect, but the carpaccio was exquisite. Leave it to those Europeans with a knack for cooking to make raw meat taste good. In fact, if you asked me eat it again, I would.
While I was digging in, our lovely waiter came to check on us. There was a flourish of his hands, a stream of TGV-speed French that poured out of the waiter's mouth, leaving a puzzled look plastered on my face. After a long pause of silence and dumbfounded looks, the waiter attempted the English: "I have dropped my fires in your sac." Still frozen with what must have been an embarrassingly stupid look on my face, it took me a minute to realize that the waiter had just spoken English. I cuted all over the waiter, not only for calling his matches "fires," and my purse a "sac" (the French word), but because it made me feel better about bumbling through French. It was a lovely lovely reality check, and just what I needed -- because half the time when I'm speaking French, I know what to say, but I get so flustered I forget how to say it. So it was nice to see the reciprocal in a Frenchie.