Sunday, February 04, 2007

An evening out with Maylin

Maylin and I decided to have a girls' night out on Friday before Daddy was going to fly home the next day. I was craving Indian food, but I knew Maylin wouldn't be able to eat any of their spicy dishes besides some basmati rice and naan. So, we went to the chain restaurant, Leon de Bruxelles, for some mussels (Maylin was actually excited to eat them!). Leon de Bruxelles is not a place where you go for fine dining, but if you want a quick meal of moules-frites (mussels and fries) in a kid-friendly atmosphere, Leon's is the place to go. Maylin sat down immediately to a sheet of puzzles and mazes, and some little colored pencils.

Maylin was not swayed by the other choices on the menu (hamburger, fish nuggets), so we both got mussels (mine was Spanish-style, "a la plancha," with some prawns and calamari). I've eaten seafood "a la plancha" in Barcelona, and this wasn't even close, but the tomatoes and garlic they cooked it in were good. Too bad it was too salty towards the end. I warned Maylin not to finish all her fruit juice, which came included with her meal, but she did and was too full to eat many of her mussels, which were simply prepared but very good.

Her ice cream was included with her meal, too, which had a toy figure from Pixar's "Chicken Little" movie ingeniously stored in a separate compartment from the rest of her ice cream in a cup. Maylin was very happy with this toy, and another surprise from the restaurant -- a denim purse with some cute buttons and the restaurant logo. She was overjoyed with the bag and stuffed all her other goodies inside.

I paid with our "tickets restaurant," our subsidized meal tickets from John's company, so I only had to pay forty cents out of my own pocket and leave a one euro tip (the norm is fifty cents per person since tip is often included in the price of your meal). I felt bad wasting so much food -- I couldn't finish a third of my mussels, and Maylin left most of hers behind. And you really don't want to be doggy-bagging seafood. (People often say that you can't get a doggy bag in France, but I beg to differ. In Asian restaurants, no problem. Just don't ask for one in a classy place.)

Maylin was very content the entire meal and that's all that really mattered to me. We both had a relaxing time. The fun even continued on the way home. Maylin insisted that we sing a small motif from the French musical, Les Desmoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Ladies of Rochefort), with Catherine Deneuve. Over and over again. Until we got home. I had a blast doing it with Maylin, hand in hand. We probably sang that same bit about fifty times. She quite likes to sing now -- so different from those days when she'd beg me to stop singing. I'm so happy she's finally showing some interest in music.

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