Some Healthy Food Fun: The Wanderlust Food Diaries (of a chronic daydreamer)
Almost Paris (based on my true experience in the French Quarter of Montreal)
On the Menu The Midnight Special: Peaches Sauternes with Orange Sorbet, and French Dessert Wine.
Video How to make Orange Sorbet, Midnight Special music video by The System
Music Michael Franks
"We strolled the Champs Elysees, sharing a warm baguette, coffee with anisette, we kissed in the Metro, in love, very retro................."
--Michael Franks (From the song "Samba Blue")
Back in the mid 90's, there was this girl I was dating, who shall remain nameless, that I took to Montreal to hang out at the Montreal Jazz Festival. I didn't make any extensive plans, just going to listen to some jazz, hang out in the French Quarter at some chic outdoor bistro with a little bread, a little cheese, a little wine, you feel me. Looking for that smooth French style experience that I always had a wanted to step into.
I'm so not having a good time with my girlfriend, and just trying to hold off breaking up with this girl til we get back to Chicago. One night up there, I wanted to hang out in Montreal after the jazz fest on the warm summer night, she wanted to go to bed, so we split and went our separate ways for a few hours.
Enjoying a walk, hunger is taking over, so I figure I gotta find a place to eat before everything closes. I see a cool little Bistro right in front of me, looks pretty chic, so I go in. Not three steps in the door there she is, Bridgette.
Bridgette is a French native who came to Montreal a few years back. Daughter of an African father and French mother. A dead ringer for the singer Sade. While I sit, she comes over with a menu we start talking, eventually, she pulls up a chair and starts speaking with the most pleasant heavy French accent I ever heard in real life. We're just trading stories and we got this instant connection that is totally blowing my mind. I quickly throw in the fact that I'm dating, but she seems not to care. That works for me. I was asking her about Paris, and she said she was going back in a few months. Somehow during this conversation, she goes and grabs a bottle of wine and pours us both a glass. She says the resturant owner is her uncle, so it's all good. I forgot to mention she was fine and sexy as hell.
We got this crazy connection going on, that kind you get with four or five people in your life, so immediate and unmistakeable. Soon we're on our second bottle of wine, but she says, "You should come over to Paris in September when I am over there, I could show you around. I will have my parents place to myself all through September. Is this this girl serious, or is it the wine talking? She proceeds to talk about some of the things to do and places to go. The Louvre, The Arc de Triomphe, she said I would a love walking down the Champs Elysees. I told her I was into military history and she said she could take me to a few of the historic battlefields out in the country, one near Chalons, she knew of a cool restaurant out there. She seemed a little stunned about how I knew of the Battle of Chalons in 451 AD, Attila the Hun vs. the crumbling Roman Empire. I downplayed it like it was no big deal. Anyhoo, My mind is just totally sailing. I'm thinking that this is the way energy is supposed to be with a girl. Zero effort. I'm not complaining, but is it fair when a girl laughs, she has to run her hands down your bicep? There outta be a law against feeling up a guy like that in my delicate condition of the slow death of my failing relationship. But I dug it.
Anyhoo, Bridgette personally cooks me a meal free of charge. Somehow, we're eventually sharing the roast chicken, and she then says "I am going to make a special dessert for you". Peaches in Sauternes topped with Orange Sorbet. Prepared fresh earlier today. I am tripping so hard on this whole scene, she could have brought me a bowl of rocks for dessert and I would have been digging it. I told her I am going to call this artistic creation, "The Midnight Special", a term I'm always using since the late 80's, originating from a song by a band called The System. I am enjoying this heavenly creation, or shall I say, two heavenly creations, both the Peaches in Sauternes and the girl. She even grabs a spoon and we are digging into this dessert together, knocking out a few more glasses of wine, I am so in the moment. Do they teach French girls to "work a spoon" like she was doing?
The Midnight Special:
Peaches in Sauternes with Orange Sorbet
Peaches in Sauternes
-- 6 to 8 very ripe organic peaches
-- 3 tablespoons Ultimate Sweetner Birch Tree Xylitol (I avoid table sugar)
-- One Bottle of Sauternes Wine
-- 1 tbsp Orange flavored liquer, Grand Mariner if possible
Directions: Bring water to boil and immerse the peaches for a minute or two. Remove peaches with slotted spoon and place in cold water to stop the cooking. Peel peaches, slice into wedges off the pit. Stir in xylitol, Sauternes, and liqeur. Cover and refridgerate for two hours. Add sorbet at time of serving.
-- 2 1/2 cups water
-- 1 Cup Ultimate Sweetener Birch Tree Xylitol
-- Orange rind strips from two organic oranges
-- 2 2/3 cups fresh squeezed organic orange juice
-- 1/3 cup organic lemon juice
-- grated orange rind (optional)
-- Mint Springs (optional)
Directions: Combine 2 1/2 cups water and xylitol in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Add rind strips to pan. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the xylitol sweetener mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids. Cool xylitol mixture completely. Add orange juice and lemon juice to xylitol mixture; stir well. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Garnish with grated rind and mint sprigs, if desired.
..........and this craziest of crazy, "cant be scripted it you tried" evening escalates even further when she says "If you wait around while I close up, we can take a quick walk around the French Quarter, or maybe we can hang out tomorrow". Reality hits me like a Mike Tyson punch at this point, as I tell her, which I regret to this day, that girlfriend I mentioned previously is with me in town we have to prepare to leave tomorrow. I could see the disappointment in her face and she sees it in mine. She simply says, "oh, I see". I tell her I am going to break up with her as soon as I get back to Chicago, and she tells me if I do, then look her up and come over to Paris.
She writes down the number of her relatives in France where she'll be staying. I get ready to leave, dreading the drama and negative energy awaiting me back at the hotel, and Bridgette, seemingly sensing my despair, gives me this great big hug and three kisses, you know, that French style "kissie kissie" thing, one to the left cheek, one to the right cheek, but the third, she blindsided me, and hit that one straight to the lips. I was a little stunned, that one to the lips lasted what seemed like an eternity, who knows how long in real time. It felt like one of those Baptist churches where the preacher touches your forehead and you fall back in a daze. Nothing but pure energy and genuine energy. As I walked out, she says "Bonne nuit". Then we mutually regrettably part company. A classic "French Film" style goodbye. My mind always plays back that scene in black and white and I'm wearing a beret. Why didn't I just walk her home and do what I had to do? Too much "good guy" in me I guess. Sex with strangers comes and goes, but stories like this last forever. Or so I try to convince myself.
So to Bridgette I say "Vous m'avez donné aperçu interminable véritable esprit de romantisme". And this song by Michael Franks, Samba Blue, is just for you.(the volume on this song might be low, so you may need to turn it up a little...........)
Never made it to Paris (always too broke, and living "check to check" back then), but I contemplated a million times up to this day what Paris would have been like hanging out with Bridgette for a month. If you catch me drifiing in a business meeting, that's where I am, in Paris in late summer. Fate is a funny thing some times. Genuine energy is hard to come by in an ever increasing self righteous world, but every now and then, the real thing hits you, and never leaves you. It was "Almost Paris", on very "Special Midnight", one summer in the French Quarter of Montreal.
Below is that song, Midnight Special, where I originated the term back in the late 80's. Shot in Paris, NICE!!!!! I only found it a year ago in 2011, and I didn't know they shot it in Paris. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I guess that means my life has always been in sync? It seems with me and romance, "The Gods" sure have a sense of humor. ~dw~
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