I didn't learn to ride a bicycle until I was 10. I didn't quite trust that contraption - something about balancing on two wheels that were each an inch wide defied physics. My younger brothers, on the other hand, swooped up and down the street, training wheels off, by the time they reached kindergarten. Neither gravel driveways, curbs, nor black ice patches could shake their confidence. One fateful afternoon, embarrassed that I had reached double-digit age without acquiring this locomotory skill, I took my mom's bike and coasted from one end of the yard to the other. Eventually, I pedaled and, lo, could ride a bicycle like any other kid in town.
One you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget.
One is also unlikely to forget a visit to the newly-hatched Cafe Bicyclette. Cafe Bicyclette has set up shop in Bistro La Persaud's former digs, at the bottom of a spotless staircase in the city's French Quarter. French language fills the air and blends easily with the cafe's Parisian soundtrack. Even the menu is en francais, though servers are happy to translate.
Supper commences with spicy tiger prawns. The aroma alone is intoxicating. A complex sauce of scallions, dill, garlic, and multiple sources of heat wrap around each prawn like an edible overcoat. Slices of fresh baguette were made for sopping up the drippings.
Tarte au Champignons avec Salade Maison is somehow reminiscent of a forest in summer: vibrant greens rub shoulders with meaty mushrooms, all in the company of rich butter pastry and the occasional surprise of a piquant, black olive.
Bouillabaisse is France in a kettle. A delicate broth, scented with fennel, saffron, and garlic, is home to mussels, shrimp, salmon, potatoes, and carrots. A graciously toasted slice of bread is a happy accomplice.
Dessert, though there's scarcely room, features a deconstructed lemon tartlet. Here is a ray of sunlight that bursts through the now-darkened room and sings of lemon groves along the Mediterranean. A duo of shortbread biscuits and a dollop of chantilly cream complete this creation.
Magnifique. Much like learning to ride a bicycle, one is unlikely to forget a visit to Cafe Bicyclette anytime soon. Je n'oublierai pas.