Top | Tales from a Studio Apartment
(post, David Silva)
"So, Dave, want to meet us at Pastis after work?" "No, that's ok. But thanks for asking." "Aw, come on. Why not?" "There's nothing for me to eat there. I'll have some wine though." "REALLY? You don't want to eat" "No, it's not that. There is nothing for me TO eat. I'm vegetarian. Remember?" Now, there was some flaw in that last dialogue. There IS something I can eat at Pastis at dinner, and it's a salad. But who wants to go to a Manhattan hot spot and get a SALAD? I love the brunch (despite the ungodly noisiness of the place) as I have a love affair with their Brioche French Toast ... I didn't even know brioche EXISTED before I went there. (sigh... ) Yet, as a whole, it is difficult for a vegetarian to eat at a French restaurant. I have always wanted to try French food, but other than breakfast-y type things, there are limited options. And it KILLS me, because I would love to try it. A few months ago, some friends came to NYC from Lyon. I cooked dinner, we had wine, shared some laughs, had some good times ... but it came to a point where one of my friends was like, "OK, now eet ees time vee cook fur you". My heart started to race. I winced. Slowly, I said sadly, "I'm a vegetarian". (Expectedly, there was a pause.) "Oh! No problem. Vee vill make endive." I was doing cartwheels! I'm going to have FRENCH food!! Made by actual French people! I didn't know what to say. The result was this gorgeous casserole-like dish: Braised endive with a Bisquick-type topping that had to have contained my body weight in butter. It was heaven. Buttery, endive heaven. After dinner, I walked to catch the 7 train home and stopped in a bodega for my weekly Mega Millions ticket. I took a moment and thought to myself: "Wow. Wouldn't it be super cool to open a vegetarian French restaurant?! I've never been to France, I've had my first French meal a mere 2 hours ago, and why stop now? There must be others in the same pickle I am in." No doubt there are a million French dishes that could be tweaked for veg-heads... some just as simple as substituting vegetable broth in place of beef broth, or throwing in seitan for chicken. So, when I do win my millions, I'm buying a plane ticket to Paris, researching, and returning to open my own vegetarian French bistro. It's a pipe dream, but who knows ...?