Before the terror attacks, Paris was a very delightful city, as you all know.
You could go out at night without being afraid, stroll without a care in the world along the Rive Gauche or Rive Droite and frequent restaurants and concerts.
Maybe the sociocultural life of the city wasn’t as rich as New York and London … Maybe the waiters in restaurants and cafes weren’t as cheerful as they are today…
Be that as it may, we were used to all of this. The city was good to us.
I don’t remember the number of restaurants I’ve gone to in Paris. But there are ones that I can’t forget but will always remember.
One of them is the Apicius.
I was tremendously surprised when I saw that the Apicius was a mansion stuck between narrow streets. It was as if it had landed there by accident and was yearning to break free one day.
We were greeted very well … The dining hall was very comfortable … The wait staff was extremely professional and knew what they were doing. The food was very good…
While we were polishing off our plates with tough French bread that tore through your palate, the Maître D’ came to our table and asked us what we thought of our meal.
– “Excellent,” we replied, “really excellent.” I, in order to convey to him that I spoke French, said “vraiment excellent.”
Maître D’ looked as if he understood our conversation. He asked:
– “So, what did you think about the mushrooms?”
– “Excellent, really excellent.” Again, I repeated in French: “vraiment excellent.”
– “Where are you from,” he asked, and we told him.
– “I guessed as much,” he said. “These mushrooms come from your country; this is its name, and this is where it’s from.”
We were simply baffled. We had never heard of such a mushroom. Go to Paris to eat and find someone who knows about a mushroom from your homeland you’ve never even heard of!
I was ashamed.
“I guess waiters in Paris have the right to look down on people,” I said.
I paid the bill and we left!