Today is my 32nd half birthday and I don’t feel any different.
J’ai seize ans.
I’m sixteen years of age.
Since my birthday also happens to be during the week, my family chose to celebrate early at this “petit” French restaurant called Coquette. I was directed to ditch my daily do-dads for something more sophisticated and well…pretty. Some closet searching was in order for a dress, heels that haven’t seen the light of day since attending weekly b’nai mitzvahs, and what I consider the vacuum-cleaner-lawn-mower-hybrid of the beauty world or what others call a hair dryer.
“Go ahead, order what you want…after all it is your birthday.”
Wait…what?! We never order a three course meal when we go out. Knowing I had one vegetarian option, I scanned the hors d’œuvre section and the side section in case I wanted to build an entree out of sides(a common vegetarian trick). Just the options on the menu excited me and let me tell you, the food itself didn’t disappoint.
“Je m’appelle croquettes aux pomme de terre et gruyere.”, whispered the croquettes in all their fried glory as I broke one in half, dipped it in the aoli, and popped it in my mouth before I could even respond enchante. Heaven. The potato on the inside was creamy and delicious with a crunchy exterior and I wanted to swim in the aoli. So much garlic…so much goodness…so worth having to use a hair dryer.
Out of excitement, I ate the inside of my leek tart so quickly I couldn’t really taste it—bad idea? Not really as the shell made an excellent serving device for my side of ratatouille(a fancier way of tricking people above the age of five to eat things they don’t like; finely dice and roast). By drizzling some garlic aoli on my layered feast, my thousand watt smiled continued to stay lit as my stomach became less ravenous.
And then came the desert menu.
I know you’re not supposed to eat when you’re full but…
THERE WAS CREME BRULEE! YOU DON’T PASS UP CREME BRULEE! You tap your spoon on the burnt sugar layer, heart the knocking noise, and dig in.
I couldn’t stop swooning.
When I woke up the next day, I thought it was all a dream until I checked the fridge. Ratatouille and garlic aoli were nestled amiss my family’s condiment collection. Holy french crepe! Cracked two eggs in a bowl, whisked them with a little water, and poured them into a hot skillet to hear the satisfying sizzle. Flipped them once they were cooked, added the ratatouille with some cheese to seal the deal, then fried until warm. Garlic aoli and salt were added once plated.
Nope…no dream. Just some heavenly food to mark my Sweet Sixteen.