Arriving at La Petit Toque the following day for lunch, we discovered it was unexpectedly closed. Fortunately, there was a restaurant next door with an outdoor table situated underneath a large chestnut tree in the center of the square. There was a warm and gentle breeze and Dave ordered a bottle of Cote de Rhone red wine while I perused the menu. Being in an adventurous mood I ordered the prix fix menu for the day: the appetizer was, salade avec les gesiers de canard.
“Are you sure you want to start with that?” he inquired quizzically.
“Sure, I’ll give it a try. I know it’s a salad with something to do with duck.”
“Ok, but remember the last time you ordered something you weren’t that sure about?” questioned Dave.
“Ah, yes,” remembering the time I ordered veal liver covered with onions and garlic and topped with a poached egg. “Not so great, but hey, what’s a meal in Paris without a touch of adventure?”
Unbeknownst to me, les gesiers de canard was duck gizzard. It had a hearty, gamey flavor, with an interestingly textured crunch. This was accompanied by a crisp butter lettuce salad tossed with a tasty dressing of olive oil, vinegar, tarragon and sage. Unable to finish off all the gizzard parts, it took a while before the waiter came to remove my plate.
I winked at Dave, “I so know you want to laugh right now.”
“Absolutely,” and with a loud, rollicking guffaw while raising his glass, “Here’s to your menu misfortunes!”
Fortunately for me, my main course of pave du saumon avec riz et haricots verts (salmon with rice and green beans) was flavorful, rich and creamy; this, followed by a decadent creme brulee and an espresso removed the lingering taste of les gesierd de canard.
Throughout the meal I was accompanied by the lyrical cadence of the French language as other guests enjoyed their lunches and the balmy spring weather. Next to us was a group of four adults, plus one toddler, who wasn’t too thrilled about sitting in his high chair. Escargot (snails) arrived and the disgruntled toddler burst into squeals of delight and sheer excitement as a snail, shell and all, was handed to him. The air was punctuated with the happy and contented sounds of this ecstatic diner sucking, smacking and eating his lunch. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud! Perhaps he would have been thrilled with my gizzard?