Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On the Island in the middle of the Lake in the middle of the Park

The boy and I had planned to go to Bois de Boulogne for a picnic so I packed a few sandwiches, snacks (including the last of the See's Awesome Nut and Chew bars) and we set off in the car to the woods, zipping past the Arc de Triomphe's horrifically confusing roundabout.

We arrived and parked near the lake and walked down near the water, where I spied a boat charging an outrageous 1 euro 50 for the short ride across to the island in the middle of the lake. I was just commenting on the money fleecing nature of the boat when the boy walked up and hopped on. Incredulously, I followed. The man on the boat asked if we were going to the dine at the restaurant, Le Chalet des Iles on the island, to which the boy replied yes.

I thought perhaps the boy misunderstood so I told him that he should tell the truth and pay up as he might know if we didn't go to the restaurant.

"But we are going to the restaurant", the boy replied.

"Are you crazy or something? We packed a lunch, did you already forget? You even put the bananas in there!", I said, exasperated.

"I made a reservation there... as a late surprise for your birthday", he said calmly.

I was suitably shamed and followed meekly but excitedly at this point.

The restaurant itself is very prettily set high up in full view of the water, with tables spilling out throughout the terrace and the lawn.

We were seated and placed our order, happily enjoying the view and each other's company when the bread and wine arrived. I reached for a roll when I looked down into our bread basket to find half a roll, a bottle cap and a cork. We had gotten the remains of someone else's breadbasket. As we waved a waitress over, we notice that a horde of pigeons and swooped onto a neighboring table, recently emptied and were in the midst of energetically pecking at all of remaining food. I must admit, this was less than appetizing. Especially when someone who had visited the washroom came back to discover his bread half gone.

In any case, we were soon distracted by our appetisers of beef carpaccio with raspberries and broccoli, and brownie foie gras. The latter turned out to be simply that. A brownie plated with foie gras, drizzled with dark chocolate. The combination, for me, didn't work at all. The chocolate sauce was much too strong and made only the texture of the foie gras as opposed to its lovely richness stand out. The brownie also, I can only guess was a play on textures as it was very crumbly and dry, tasting like a stale thin slice of brownie.

We did better with the mains. Of which we ordered three. Hey, we were hungry! Also, we couldn't pass up "posh mac n' cheese", which we ordered as a dish to share. This was on menu as a gratin de macaroni au fromage . We were surprised to find it come as a meticulously plated huge spiral of macaroni pasta, with a thin crust of cheese and a flurry of rocket on top. It was decidedly moreish with a nice peppery bite of rocket balancing out the rich cheese and pasta. Very fun to eat too. Especially if you eat it spiral by long spiral like I did.

I ordered the lightly seared salmon served with an "Asian" salad, with this latter consisting mainly of bean sprouts and julienned carrots. By the way, can someone please tell the world that including bean sprouts does not make a salad "Asian"?? In any case, the salmon was delicious, succulent, perfectly cooked and very, very moist. The salad was forgettable.

The boy's beef tartare was a bit more disappointing. Although it was a generous portion, it tasted a little too much of mayonnaise and was a little too well minced, making the texture somewhat mushy. These were served with crispy fires, not homemade but still decent.

With the three mains, we were more than stuffed and could not manage dessert. Instead the boy offered to row me around the lake so I could have a snooze. Unfortunately the counter for row boat rentals was closed by the time we got there, lazily wandering around the island exploring.

Although the food was not memorable in and of itself, the restaurant is lovely, romantic and a nice little getaway from the city.

Most of all, I will it remember it because it was there that the boy asked me an interesting question...

...to which I replied, yes.
Porte de la Muette
Lac du Bois de Boulogne
75016 Paris
Tel: 01 42 88 86 74


susan said...

Dearest Jess, I am so happy for you. The ring is beautiful. And Drew is so sweet and thoughtful.


Josh said...


Looks like someone gonna stay up in Paris longer than she thought!

susan said...

Jess, it's me again. Oh my god, how did you write that without crying? Tears are coming down my face! So sweet.


umami said...

Aww, sooo romantic. Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...


I have never commented before but I felt compelled. I thoroughly enjoy your writing style and stories.


Sui Mai said...

Thank you Susan! I can't cry when I'm writing about food! Unless the food was really bad.... or maybe I'm just cold hearted. Like a popsicle.

Hi Josh, my ticket is still booked to return in Sept so we shall see. In any case, you haven't come to visit. Harumph. And I heard you had a Ratatouille party. I need to go back and wait to be invited to these things.

Thank you Umami! (even though you already knew!)

Hi Alan, thank you, especially for your kind comments.

Viv said...



Red Socks said...

Congratulations to you and the boy, Jess. Hopefully we'll meet soon for a proper celebration.

Victoria said...

The ring is GORGEOUS!!!!!!

ttfnRob said...

Excellent! Excellent! Very please and happy. Well done to the boy and to you.


Sui Mai said...


I hope that's a good AAAAAAAAHHHHHH, Viv! ;p

Thanks Red,
Hope to see your socks soon too.

Thank you Victoria, I rather like it!

Rob, not sure I did anything but thank you!

Anonymous said...

Love the ring. (Not just because they are Canadian...).


Anonymous said...


This is truely wonderful news, and I couldn't be any more happy for the both of you!

The ring is simply beautiful, and I think it's great that your boy proposes to you over a meal - your boy knows you very, very well...

Lots of love,

Ka Fei Tai Tai

Mama BoK said...

Wow..!! congrats..!! love the ring..!
And so romantic..!!

Sui Mai said...

Thanks Gen... I still suspect its because its from Canada though! ;)

Ka Fei Tai Tai, Congrats on your recent marriage to Ka Fei Seen Sang! The boy does know me well...he didn't propose during the meal... it was afterwards. He knows that I'm MUCH more agreeable on a full stomach.

Mama Bok, Thank you!

Robyn said...

Whoaa oh oh CONGRATULATIONS!!! Nice way to slip in that ring. ;D I hope I can have a romantic moment like that some day. With all the food and stuff...and I suppose a sparkly ring would be nice too. ;)

sylvie said...

Congrats Jess!!! I am so happy for you!! Can't wait to see you in September when you return. Millan and I will be moving at the end of Sept but we will have a bigger place for dinner parties.

The ring is beautiful! So happy for you. You will join the newlywed group soon.

Clara said...

Hi Jessie, the photo of the ring attracted me to read your blog word by word, so sweet. Can't wait to see you and your ring when you back to Hong Kong. -- Clara

Gerry said...


The boy done good and he's one lucky guy. I'm delighted for you and you are going to be a stunning bride. Remember, something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!