Monday, April 16, 2007

on the town

Saturday we drove to Troyes to meet some friends for dinner. The place in front of the Mairie is a popular meeting spot in Troyes, so we weren't alone, hanging out on the low wall that sits just in front of the town hall. Despite the fact that we left later than we wanted, we still managed to be first, as usual, but the evening was clear and cooling as the sun went down, albeit a bit muggy and humid. Soon, everyone arrived from different directions and the ten of us ambled through the old downtown.

Our restaurant was one we've gone to as a group before, offering many different salads and lighter fare for summer and warm cheesy goodness in the form of tartelette, raclette and fondue in the winter. Since we were placed in the upstairs room, which was quite warm despite all the windows being thrown open, most of us opted for salads, but four brave souls went for a beef fondue, which is when a boiling hot pot of oil is placed on the table and diners take turns cooking their beef by poking them with fondue sticks and dunking them into the oil. Lovely in winter, questionable in warmer temps.

We had a lovely time at our end of the table, with Steph talking shop with his fellow teachers (once again I was the only one at the table who wasn't a teacher!) and politics. I very much enjoyed my salad, which consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, toasted chèvre on toast and thinly sliced ham, which was just enough for me. And then, just when the fondue was being delivered to the Fondue Four, Steph, who had just devoured his own salad brimming with seafood, looked at me and basically said, "hey watch this" and turned to the waiter. "Excuse me," he said, "my salad was very good as an appetizer, but is it possible to also have some fondue?" Well, it seems someone's got their appetite back!

It was rather a long dinner, last minute fondues notwithstanding, mostly because our waiter tended to forget we were there for long periods of time. At one point, someone even offered to call the restaurant from their cellphone to request a server to take our dessert orders. Oh well, at least the company was good.

We stumbled out at midnight, and four of us went in search of a nightcap. We ended up at one of our old haunts, The Middle Age, which seems to have fallen a bit in popularity as of late. It certainly wasn't crowded but the music was so loud that I couldn't hear the conversation, but I had my kreik (woo yummy cherry flavored beer!) and I amused myself by watching the dj, a middle aged thin man of northern African descent who entertained us with Kool and the Gang's greatest (and least) hits.

An hour later, as we made our way back to the car, Steph said, "This doesn't feel like April at all. It feels exactly like the end of August." I knew exactly what he meant - it wasn't stifling hot, but still warm at 1:00 am, and still humid and muggy. I know it's been raining just to the south of us off and on for the last week or so, but none of that rain has made it up our way. I surely hope we get a reprieve before summer sets in for good.

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