Thursday, July 8, 2010

Make your Bastille Day plans, mon amis

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:25 PM


click to enlarge Image via Flickr: Dominque Roberts
If you feel you didn't properly celebrate July 4th with enough pomp and circumstance (it was on a Sunday this year, and a rainy one to boot), there's always Bastille Day!

Several local French restaurants plan to celebrate the holiday next Wednesday, July 14 (and later in the week), with some intoxicating specials. After a few sips of peche au vin, you may lose your wits -- but not, unlike Marie-Antoinette, your head.

So what, exactly, is Bastille Day? The French holiday, also known as Le Fete Nationale, celebrates

the 1789 storming of the Bastille Prison in central Paris, the first

major event of the French Revolution and the precursor to Queen

Marie-Antoinette -- the "Let them eat cake" gal -- being led to the guillotine four years later.

click to enlarge Peche au vin
  • Peche au vin

Westport's intimate Boozefish Wine Bar isn't exactly a Gallic restaurant, but owner Maija Diethelm is the daughter of a French citizen and the granddaughter of Frenchman Bernard Peigne, who taught her to create peche au vin with ripe peaches crushed in sugar. This concoction is put into a wine goblet and covered with chillred red wine. She says it's both a cocktail and a dessert. She'll also be serving ratatouille over rice, topped with and egg, and Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches.

Diethelm plans to show the Tour de France on TV and play French music over the sound system. The celebration runs from 4 p.m. to after midnight.

Emmanuel Langlade, the chef-owner of the popular Aixois restaurant in Brookside, serves dinner specials on Wednsday, the actual Bastille Day anniversary. But the real celebration will be held the following Saturday, July 17, when he'll erect a tent over the patio, move a grill outside and host petanque games: "It's the French version of bocce ball, but the balls are heavier and smaller," Langlade said. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Le Fou Frog owner Mano Rafael refuses ever to be outdone. He's hosting no fewer than three days of Bastille Day celebrations, beginning tomorrow, Friday, July 9, with a circus cabaret: Le Fou Cirque! There will be two dinner seatings this night, 5 and 8 p.m. On Sunday, July 11, the restaurant will host -- beginning at 5 p.m. a "beat" inspired musical evening featuring the band Bongotini.

On July 14, the actual Fete de National celebration, expect local performance-art troupe Alacartoona as Le Fou Frog's headline entertainment.


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