|Stanislas Square in Nancy|
|Interior of L'Excelsior|
Our jackets were slung over a coat rack and as I watched more and more garments were piled on until our stuff was totally buried. Would we have to leave in the order of the coat pile or would they keep unstacking to reunite everyone with their outerwear?
I had Pig trotters which contained about 1 teaspoonful of edible portion. As they were served with pommes frites I should say more correctly that I had french fries for dinner with a pig trotter and mustard garnish. Richard had poached eggs in a wine sauce, followed by tartare. The lady dining alone next to us ordered a creme brulee which they served on fire. The flambe burns out to form the crust instead of the torch method that we use. We laughed, chuckling about how flambe has been outlawed in most U.S. restaurants. The French merrily eat raw eggs, rare duck, unpasteurized cheeses of all descriptions and even cow brains (quelle horreur) oblivious to the dangers therein. The flaming brulee was carried ablaze through the crowded restaurant barely grazing puffy hair styles, dangling beards, moustaches and fur coats along the way. Even if someone was set afire, I'm sure they would simply douse the person and then re-light the dish. Cuisine rules; you takes your chances.
I doubt we ordered as well as we could have in this place, looking at the plates coming and going around us. Raw oysters seemed to be the house specialty. Lost on me, Richard might have enjoyed them. We usually opted for the specials in the tourist area restaurants which consisted of an entree and a plat or a plat and a dessert for a reasonable price.
When we left we stood agape in front of "our" coat rack which by now was groaning under the weight of wet coats, bags, umbrellas, sweaters, hats and scarves. A burly hostess came over and unloaded the whole pile so our stuff was exposed. We snatched our things and she re-piled the whole soggy mess. From being enshrouded by our fellow diner's clothing, our wet clothes had absorbed the aromas of cigars, cigarettes, brandy and perfumes - stranger's smells, not at all unpleasant - but an odd bit of unanticipated intimacy.