Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pampered Pooches

Doggie Bags in France! Rare as Martini's and Ice.
I'll never forget my first seven course meal at
Restaurant L'Escargot in Vichy.
This is great, I thought, what my stomach refuses
to accommodate I'll pack up in a Doggie Bag for
déjeuner sur la route demain, (lunch on the road
A perfect day, not having to stop for lunch while
scouting out more Antiques Shops, Depot Ventes
and Vide-Greniers. No need to waste time having
When I asked my French Ami to summon the server
for a Doggie Bag he practically went into a seizure.
Pas Pas Pas (They always say it three times)
Tabou, ce n'est pas approprié. He rattled this,
three times also, while levitating from his seat and
arms flying about uncontrollably. Nothing lost in
translation here.
He then proceeded to educate me on the Art of Dining
in France. First off, most dogs are allowed in
the restaurants of France. They usually receive their
water before the humans and most people in France
take their beloved companions with them. Therefore,
no Doggie Bags.
This I could understand, being a dog lover and all.
I've not been in many French restaurants where there
wasn't a pampered pooch or two present.
Secondly, I could not shop between
the hours of 12 and 2 anyway. Everyone closes to
have lunch with family and friends, so I might as
well stop and eat too.
How ridiculous I thought, no way all the shops
would be closed.
Who in their right mind would take the chance of
missing out on the almighty dollar or franc (in 1998.)
I know this French culture is different, but they
can't be that crazy.
It took several trips to convince me. I tend to be
a bit hard headed at times, but I had also been
brainwashed for 28 years by Corporate America
AND our culture, that the most important
thing in life was Money, Money, Money. I just
could not conceive of the notion that stores would
close in the middle of the day. AND to make matters
worse, TWO WHOLE HOURS to eat lunch????
Since my first days in elementary school I had
learned to gulp lunch in 20 minutes flat. By the
age of 40 my skills were well honed. I could throw
down a Big Mac, return two phone calls and smoke
a cigarette while driving, all in the span of one mile.
I never competed in any speed eating contests,
but I bet I could have placed in the Top Ten.
Dinner in an American restaurant, not much
difference. The Golden Rule of every restaurant
chain out there is TURN TABLES. It's all about
the MONEY!
I must say, there are exceptions to the rule.
A few of my favorites in Louisville, are the independently
owned establishments in The Highlands. My favorites
being Club Grotto, Nio's, Coach Lamp Inn and
You always have to ask for your bill in France,
"S'il vous plait, l'addition." If you don't you will
sit there all day.
Slowing down was really foreign to me.

MY OH MY, how I've changed.
I now live the Life of Luxury!

The French have truly taught me how to better
enjoy life. Their culture integrates what we Americans
sometimes view as, a necessary evil, into a beautiful
Tapestry of Life. There is just a Romance to everything
they do.
Many people talk about the French Cuisine being
the best in the World. I don't know if that's so
much the case as, they know how to create the
ambiance and they take the time to actually taste
what they put in their mouth.
How many Americans actually conserve a bottle
of wine until it has matured? NOT, we are more
into the instant gratification.
A really cool thing to do, a French tradition,
is when there is a birth of a child in your family
or a friends, buy a case or two of Bordeaux.
Put it in the cave (basement.) Open a bottle only
for special occasions in that persons life.
A graduation, marriage or the birth of their child.
I'll be buying a case shortly, as my 2nd grand-daughter
will arrive later this year. When the time comes
you won't just drink a glass of wine, you'll create
an experience.
My friends in France just opened a bottle from 1988
to celebrate their son, Charles, scoring a 13 on his
baccalaureate. He was just accepted into the Finance
program at the University of Geneva. Quite an
My friend also told me that even the most modest
families in France will invest in quality items when
it comes to the table. Dressing their tables with
the finest of linens, sparkling crystal, antique silver and
china all in an effort to set the stage for a wonderful
moment. Objects become entwined with the special
moments in life. That is luxury.
Sometimes there is even a place setting for
the beloved dog. That is luxury.
I have found myself frequenting those restaurants
that welcome my Cavalier, Zoe. Of course its patio
dining here, but I happen to enjoy her company
and she loves being with us.
Some day, when I get rich, I'm going to open a
restaurant, complete with antique linens, crystal,
mature wine, doggie menus along with the kids,
and NO DOGGIE BAGS! Oh, your also going to
have to ask for the bill.
Until that day, buy some great linens, invest in
some antique crystal, hide a case of wine in the
basement, (I would recommend a Saint-Emilion
Bordeaux) and invite your pampered pooch to
the table. Oh, and Bon-Apetit!

These are Doggy-Treats the Chef Gregoire Guiot
of Mirabelle Gourmet Catering whipped up for
our Doggy-Hop at European Antique Market

This is a sketch in progress of my Pampered Pooch "ZOE"
Jenny Deamer, an artist is drawing her.

Zoe again, she is 10 months old now.

Jenny Deamer sketching her pooch "Daisy"

This is a dog house I brought back from a French Chateau.
It just sold to one of my clients who happens to have
39 pampered pooches. Yes, you read that right, 39.
She rescues dogs.
I happen to have the neatest people for clients!


Southern Heart said...

This is a wonderful post, and great food for thought. I plan on doing the same!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I savored this post! I met you at Lidy's FrenchGardenhouse. I live 3 hours south of you in Guthrie, Ky....almost Clarksville, Tn.
I am a francophile and will be back here for my french fixes!