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April 19, 2009

Tell your mom and dad they're great cooks?

April 19. Day 293.

Our first night in Nice we walked by a restaurant called Gargamelle, which looks like an innkeeper's dining hall from the times of Rabelais. Cozy carpets, low burning candles, pewter chalices, hand scripted menus, the works.

That Friday we asked for a table, but the woman who greeted us replied she was closing. "It's a slow night, so we're cutting out early," she explained.

I asked if she had any ideas for where else we could go. She told us about a bunch of places in the neighborhood, and because of her generous honesty, and how cute the place looked, we resolved to come back another night.


We had a great dinner. I devoured the traditional fish soup which seemed to have a touch of cognac -- a nice twist. My mom had salad with crostini.

As we ate, I considered that I hadn't asked for anything all day and I figured this would be a chance.

Only I was low on inspiration. Under other circumstances, I might have asked her to let me visit the kitchen, or spend a morning with her prepping. But time was tight. It had to be now or never. What could I ask that would have an immediate result? What did I need or want, after such a pleasant meal?

And it occurred to me that in the kitchen, which was slightly visible from where I was sitting, I could seen an older couple barking orders at one another, wearing all black and looking very tense indeed. It takes hard work to put together a meal like this. So why not tell let them know it's appreciated?

I inquired if it's a family owned business - it was - and I asked the waitress/hostess to extend my compliments to the chefs. Her mom and dad.

Gained: expressed my appreciation for a fine meal. Not cutting edge asking or negotiation... but offering a compliment has an immeasurable value of its own.
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