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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Equinox knocked - no extra spoons with free moules.

The summer that sometimes was, is over and autumn arrived two days ago. It wasn't exactly obvious as we've been experiencing an indian summer with temperatures into the mid 20s celsius and bright blue skies. We even ate lunch in the garden a few times though there wasn't enough heat in the air to allow us supper outside.

We are living the economic crisis and are quite used to sailing close to the wind with our finances so the offer of moules frites for 7,95€ at Restaumarché was very attractive and the bonus of getting the fourth one ordered free had us beating down their door. OK, so it was never intended as a gastronomic delight though the company was always going to be excellent and the value good too. The buffet à volonté did what it said on the tin and was enjoyed, the mussels were small but sweet and copious and the sauce respectable. The wine at 5€ for a 50cl pichet went down smoothly. It was the dessert that stuck in the throat.

Only Max wanted a pud. He hadn't had much starter and, as is his wont, was only drinking tapwater so a pudding he would have. He chose La Coupe Gourmande mostly because one of the many ingredients was caramel au beurre salé flavoured ice-cream which had ruined us at Berthillon earlier in the year in Paris. A large dessert, he wanted to let us enjoyed it with him and requested a couple of extra teaspoons. "oh non, monsieur" intoned the waitress, "I'll have to charge you for an extra dessert for each spoon" she continued, and then added "besides, you've had a free moules frites".

So we didn't have extra spoons, he didn't order this extravagant confection but asked for a simple two scoop ice-cream instead. It wasn't a taste of ice-cream we were left with, but a bad taste in our mouths.

Having waited an adequate length of time for a bill to appear we got up and went to stand by the till where, eventually, we were given an opportunity to pay. They had been having their own meal so I offer our apologies for having interrupted. But we weren't given the bill, we were merely made privy to the total. Was this usual ? -we wondered - as we were now concerned about the arithmetic abilities of mine host. Were we paying in cash or by card? Why was this important?

We did get to see the bill - which was correct - finally and we left, for good, wondering what on earth that was all about.