For the past three years I’ve worked at a company with a headquarters in Paris. It sounds much more romantic than it is. I’ve only visited the Paris office once and due to company politics it was a miserable experience. But next month I’ll be headed back under much better circumstances, especially since Dick will join me at the end of the trip for some vacation time.
What better way to get excited about our trip than sampling French cuisine on a bike date? On Friday night, we pedaled through the old neighborhoods of Palo Alto up to Left Bank in Menlo Park. Left Bank has a small bar that’s very popular with the after work crowd, but I prefer the spacious dining room that manages to feel calm even when the restaurant is busy. And you can still get all the tasty vintage cocktails.
After the cocktails we shared a pâté de foie gras plate and green salad, then moved on to the main course. Dick ordered a Couscous with Lamb Stew that was artfully served up at the table. I went for the Canard aux Pommes, duck breast with apples. For dessert: chocolate mousse and coffee. All very tasty, making us glad we chose Left Bank for an elegant dinner to help us unwind after a busy work week.
But you don’t have to go high-end to experience French food on the Peninsula, there are several small cafés and bistros serving more modest fare. Like Bistro Maxine, a crêperie where we ate before a dinner-and-a-movie bike date last month. To say that Bistro Maxine is petite would be an understatement. Inside, there are four tables seating a dozen people and two cafe tables on the sidewalk serving four. So don’t try to book a table there for a rehearsal dinner or a going away luncheon.
The menu is simple: sweet and savory crêpes, soup, salad and house wines. After soup, crêpes and people-watching from our sidewalk table, we were fully satisfied.
Afterward, we walked over to the Aquarius Theater to see “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen. Now that got us excited for Paris. The romantic one, not the work one.
About Bike Date Friday: Since September 2010, my husband and I have had a standing date every Friday night. We eat at a different place every week and arrive by bike. There’s no better way to end the work week.