Ladies Who Lunched

Thursday was ladies day for the Frosts. Ellie needed to get her hair cut before heading off to Smith and it was about time for me as well so we decided to make an outing. Ellie also lamented that she had never been to Le Relais de Venise and everyone else had so, for old time’s sake, we planned a lunch before our haircuts.

We headed in to Manhattan on the train. It was great fun and we chatted and knit the whole way in. (Ellie has decided that Smithies must knit, this is more than captivation for me). It was a perfect summer day and a great way to make a special time together before she heads off to school.

A word on Le Relais de Venise. The summer we spent a month in France for my sabbatical, we ended our time with a week in Paris. The whole trip was magnifique, but one of our favorite things in Paris was to eat at Le Relais d’ Entrecote. There were three of them I believe and they only served one thing: very tasty steak with an amazing mustardy sauce. We discovered this treasure quite by accident. We were wandering in St. Germain- des- Pres and it was lunch time. We saw an inviting restaurant and wandered in. It is now Frost legend that when the waitress asked me something I clearly didn’t understand, I responded “Du l’eau avec menthe.” Only a Parisian can make a face mingling confusion and disdain with quite such conviction. Apparently, the question was, ” how did I want my meat prepared?” ” To what degree did I want it cooked?” My response was both bewildering and sadly typical of a dumb American. We got beyond that difficult start and fell madly in love with the fare.

There was another restaurant like the first but not part of a chain. It was called Le Relais de Venise and was near Porte Maillot. We dined there happily as well. Same drill. They ask you how you want your meat cooked and that is the only decision to be made until dessert. Next comes a delightful salad with walnuts and a perfect vinaigrette. Then the meat which is served off a large platter drenched in the mustardy sauce. They put a good helping on your plate add crispy, thin french fries and just when you have finished the last bite, they reappear with the platter. The platter has been kept warm over little candles and there is no way one can refuse more of that outstanding food. Dessert? Not necessary, but who says no to Profiteroles?

Le Relais de Venise opened in New York about two years ago. It was the remembrance of times past that Ellie craved. They did an amazing job capturing the essence of that dining experience. We had a delightful lunch and left feeling perfectly overfed.

Next was our visit to James Geoia. James has cut my hair for about nine years. His wife was the assistant to my former supervisor. Actually, Gail was the assistant to a string of my former supervisors. She was very good at her job and each successful boss kept her. James is equally good at cutting hair. He has moved around a bit, but I follow wherever he goes. Ellie has now joined the party.

It was a great bonding afternoon. I can’t believe that in two weeks she will be off to college. I will miss her very much. I miss all my children when they aren’t around, but, as Ellie says, we are biffles. Biffles can’t be apart for long. This was a day of ladies lunching I will remember for a very long time.


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