Meet Michael. He is a really fun guy, as evidenced by this classic photo of us at Halloween.
He also rivals my love of food, and celebratory events that revolve around food. Basically, his birthday's (or any other party/event) are always worth the 150 mile trek down to Orlando. This special 26th anniversary of his birth was no exception.
The Location: Winter Park
The Venue: Cafe du France
The Menu: a special selection, just for our party
The company: A wonderful mix of 25 food fanatics. We basically took over the tiny cafe with not only our table, but our chatter. Sorry fellow patrons.
Here is the Man of the Hour, with Stacey.
(Sadly, I didn't get any pictures with Mikey, as I was playing photographer, even if poorly!)
The Wine: A lovely, full bodied but smooth, Cotes du Rune
The Starter: Of course I had to go with the escargot, even though all the options were tempting. I was a little disappointed that my snails came "naked" (without their shells) as was looking forward for an excuse to play with my food, but the generous portion was very tasty, tossed in a heavy butter/garlic sauce.
I'm glad I ordered the escargot, but if I return to Cafe du France I'll branch out onto some of their other starter options. I tasted Jesse's French Onion soup, which was classic and lovely. Steve shared one of his mussels with me also, but I'm very glad I didn't order them, as they were steamed in chicken stock, creating chicken flavored bites. Tasty, but very odd if you are expecting a classic white wine broth.
The Main Course: Noix De St. Jacques or Seared Diver Scallops, served with an orange beurre blanc, and tarragon, with shallots creamy Israeli couscous.
Rich, sweet, creamy, buttery, fresh, crisp, divine, surprising, amazing.
I loved this dish. The scallops were huge and perfectly seared. Forget about those stereotypes that the portions at French restaurants are tiny; this plating of scallops was so generous, I ended up being generous myself and sharing them with my neighbors. There was no way I was sharing the asparagus or couscous, however. Between the creamy pearls of the pasta and the surprise notes of citrus, I was in heaven. I could eat an entire bowl of just the side dishes at Cafe du France for the rest of my blissful days.
Overall the experience at Cafe du France was excellent. While the service was "slow" for American standards we did have a very large party, and this meal was meant to be an "event." The staff were absolutely wonderful, true masters of their profession, something that is being coming more and more rare in the modern hospitality world.
Happy Birthday Michael! I can't think of a better way to celebrate.
Love to all,
~the, "yes, birthdays are my favorite holidays" gal, Jess