We had a few elegant meals (and a few glorified happy hours) in Paris, the first of which was the breakfast at Le Meurice. First, there was the platter of bread and pastries - flaky chocolate croissants, sweet brioche, fruit-flecked financiers, mini-baguettes with pointy tips. All this flanked by jams from Fauchon (red currant, apricot, acacia honey) and soft butter. Next, impossibly fluffy omelets stuffed with chantarelle mushrooms. Strong coffee. Gracious service. Japanese businessmen feasting at tables nearby. A dining room dating nearly two centuries. A crisp International Herald Tribune. Fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. Silver coffee pots. Toast with the crusts trimmed.
It was so proper, so delicate, so French. And it was a great introduction to a city whose formality and attention to culinary detail I was just slowly beginning to understand.