On Thursday evening last week, our global team took a brief tour of Compiègne (a charming city in Northern France) before heading out to have a nice team dinner.
Here’s a shot of City Hall, a beautiful illustration of the extraordinary architecture found throughout Europe.
After walking around the city for a bit, we headed to Le Bistrot de Flandre for dinner.
One of my colleagues, Benoit (who was not mentioned directly, but was one of the “thorns” in this post), led us into the restaurant and was met with a friendly and familiar greeting. This must a spot he frequents in Compiegne.
Nicolas, the other “thorn” in the previously referenced post, and whom I’ve mentioned here and here, knows my dining out behavior quite well by now. He graciously informed our server (a young and “all in” guy whose name I never caught) that I wanted him to choose my meal (and keep it a secret), based on what he thought was the best offering on the menu. Upon listening to the request from Nicolas, he looked us each in the eye, nodded his head, and gave a big smile.
I liked this guy already!
It turns out he had chosen a three-course menu option for me, although I didn’t know that at this point.
The first course was gently seared salmon bites with pistachio and goat cheese over greens. As I’ve mentioned before, salmon is not my favorite seafood, but this was fresh meat which was prepared beautifully. And, I do love goat cheese! This was a pretty large appetizer, but I managed to finish most of it. And, I enjoyed it!
When the main course was served, there was a bit of confusion. A different server delivered our table’s meals, and one of my colleagues was away from the table (taking a phone call), so we really weren’t sure where she should set one of the dishes! After a minute or two, our server came back and cleared up the confusion.
I was presented with roasted duckling over vegetables. I will say that the flavor was quite nice, but the duckling was a bit tough for my preference. I had to “saw” at the meat a bit in order to take my bites. I may have been spoiled at Odd Duck (and other establishments).
I also tend to like my vegetables on the crispy side, but surprisingly, I was more than okay with these “limp” vegetables. I liked them so much that I finished my veggies!
Following the entrée, I was provided new silverware (thank you France for swapping out utensils regularly!), indicating that I was going to be served dessert.
My teammates were all served desserts at the same time, and my place-setting remained empty. And, remained empty. And, empty still. I’m not sure how long it was, but it felt like ~10 minutes, and Nicolas asked the manager and another server what was taking so long.
We started joking about “just how special this dessert must be”, and…SURE ENOUGH…When the dessert my server had chosen for me was delivered, it was quite simply – superb (and not part of the standard menu).
Strawberries, cream, and flaky pastry – can a girl ask for more??
I loved that this dessert was as light and refreshing as the appetizer was. The appetizer and the dessert were delicious bookends to an “average” entrée.
While this doesn’t rank as my favorite meal since I started this blog, the dining experience was really enjoyable, and the server’s response to the request was awesome! I do wish I had asked his name so I could give him proper credit for his superb attitude and solid recommendations (for me, the salmon and dessert trump the disappointment of the duckling).
I must thank my European colleagues for being extremely gracious hosts during our weeklong visit. It’s hard work to be responsible for foreign visitors, and they never showed fatigue or irritation. I feel truly lucky to work with these folks.
I hope you enjoyed these few posts from my recent trip. If you’ve got recommendations or experiences you’d like to share from Europe, please leave a comment!