Thank God for St. Jacques

Apparently it is the season for noix de St. Jacques, literal translation: nuts of St Jacques, a.k.a. scallops. From St Jacques, of course. I have no clue where it is but Thank God for St. Jacques. We have eaten so. many. scallops in the past few meals. At a creperie (Little Breizh) near the Odeon in Paris, gratinated for dinner last night at Le Dalou (which was awful), and again for dinner tonight at some restaurant (didn’t catch the name) in Bruges. As you can see I have recovered. Not completely, just enough to eat, which is more or less the same for my purposes. what can i say? when there’s a will, there’s a way :D Went to Laduree and got my macarons, I really like the rose flavoured ones. In general their macarons are not too sweet, which is great, but I’m not sure why they are thought to be THE best. I didn’t exactly go around trying macarons, since each one is already so expensive, but I didn’t really taste anything outstanding. We also went to Angelina for the chocolat chaud which was very rich and absolutely luscious, kinda reminded me of Augustus Gloop floating in the great big chocolate river in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Was a bad idea since I still have a sore throat, and so does liangze. He thinks he may be getting sick this time, ack.

So in general in France and Belgium you don’t really have to tip, since the servers are paid well and the tip IS included in the bill. You may round the bill off to the nearest euro or leave one or two euros for politeness, 10% is the absolutely maximum if the service was exceptional. At Angelina our bill came up to 43.60 (we also got an eggs benedict and the omelette angelina) so we paid with a 50 euro bill. when the waitress came by with the change purse, she put out a 5 euro bill and i motioned to liangze to tell her 5 euros change is enough, so we sorta pointed at it and said it’s enough, and she said “is okay?” and we thought she meant “just 5 euros is okay?”, so we said oui oui, and she said “merci, thank you very much” and put the 5 euros back in her purse! wound up tipping her 6.40, which is astronomical. The service wasn’t even great. The problem with us (or them?) is that we don’t dress well. Yeah we have branded coats but apart from that we do wear our sneakers and jeans everywhere, and look really young and poor even though we are usually one of the biggest spenders in the restaurant. i also don’t carry an expensive handbag (too bulky to pack), so we’ve been carrying this very cheap looking met opera tote, and basically look like we won’t order much. And this actually gets us different treatment from staff.

Yesterday at Le Dalou (we were too lazy to find a good dinner place, so we went to this seafood restaurant near our hotel) we got squashed at a tiny circular desk about 45cm in diameter, perfect if you were there for coffee and a biscuit, impossible to accommodate an actual dinner. We asked if we could move to an empty table beside us with more space and the waiter was really snitty about it and asked “there are two of you? then no.” cause that table could accommodate 4. and half the restaurant was empty! Who’s he saving the space for? The queen of England? we ordered and the waitress had problems fitting everything on our table. and halfway into the dinner, another couple came and was showed to the table we wanted even though there was just the two of them, and yes, four available seats at the table.  i haven’t vented my ire on tripadvisor yet, but i will soon, and it will be brutal. The same thing happened at Angelina, we got seated at one of these tiny tables because the service staff, from our attire, simply assumed that we were just there for their hot chocolate because we are skinflint tourists. they had to extend our table with a wooden stool, so the cream cup and the chocolate jug and the water pitcher and the bread plate could fit, in addition to our breakfasts. And another couple better dressed than us were shown to a larger table for 4 and proceeded to order the smallest drinks and snacks. I know I sound pretty small-minded discussing this here but I hate being snap-judged because of my attire. So I don’t bother with clothes. What gives you the right to discriminate against me? Yes we do feel bad for lowering the class of your restaurant, if even a couple of schoolkids like us can afford to be fed in your maison. But not bad enough to justify packing a more presentable wardrobe for people who are basically being nomadic for 3 weeks. 

I think that’s what makes the truly genteel waiters at comme chez soi and olimpia stand out. Also our waiter today in Bruges, who (even though we were the most youngly dressed in the room), told us to sit anywhere we like. They make my happiness their personal business, and not just a means to an end. They don’t mentally calculate “oh, they’re wearing jeans and sneakers, spending limit is 10 -15 euros; that couple behind is carrying a prada handbag, will probably spend 30-50 euros.” how superficial can you get? and what business is it of yours how much a customer spends? you may as well have a sign outside your restaurant saying “if you spend less than 20 euros, it’s self-service.”

[aside: Speaking of calculating, today liangze and I bought 10 hrs of wifi from our hotel in Bruges and it cost 15 euros. We gave the receptionist a 50, and she typed into a little pocket calculator on the desk “50 – 15 ” we both goggled at each other in total astonishment and started giggling lol. Liddat also need calculator meh!!! Yeah we’re both going to hell. \aside]

yes, paris is beautiful but some of the people there really get on my nerves.  so unhelpful, so complacent,  morally degenerate (for reasons of my own gleaned from new year’s day), and  judgmental.  which i suppose is fitting since the people who love the place love it for its appearances too.

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