Slummin’ it: A business lunch in Luxembourg
Lovely in Lux Libby plays it cool at her first business lunch, in one of Luxembourg's fanciest restaurants, despite an eruption of food nirvana.
Today I had lunch at one of Luxembourg’s most exclusive (and expensive) restaurants. Cool, huh?
My boss decided to take me to a lunch meeting with some future business partners today. My ego tells me that it was because I’m intelligent and charismatic, while my other ego (who calls herself a ‘realist’, but is actually negative) tells me that it’s because his boss told him to take me because it would look good to bring along a female assistant.
In all actuality, it was probably a mix of both, not to mention the fact that our business partners were American and my boss probably figured I could ‘talk American’ with them. Which I did.
If you’ve read my past blogs on the mediocracy of Luxembourg dining, you won’t be surprised when I say that my expectations weren’t high. In fact, they were close to nil. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when the aloof hostesses (aren’t hostesses supposed to host you, like as in, hospitality?) weren’t particularly helpful in taking our jackets, helping us find a table, bringing the menu or smiling.
I must admit that I was surprised, however, that the waitresses didn’t speak a word of English, because the restaurant is inside a hotel and about 55 percent of their clientele must consist of expats who are going there for business lunches. Even I’m not that pessimistic and would have thought they could speak English. Very poor. But then again, I suppose the fact that they only speak French all contributes to the overall exclusivity of the place. VERY posh indeed.
After receiving the menu and having its items explained to us (‘The SPECIAL, today, MADAME, is the flambéed fru fru fru with the tee tee taa and the très cher poached crème de la blah’, or at least that’s what I understood), we waited a good solid half an hour to decide on what we wanted to eat. The French are always good at giving you lots of time to sit. That’s the positive way of putting it.
I chose something quite simple, a filet of beef with a potato pancake. Not only was it the only animal on the menu that I recognised (there actually weren’t any vegetarian options at ALL on the entire menu except for dessert!), I also will find any excuse to eat a potato pancake. When someone made a joke about me ordering the item with the red wine sauce (what a lush), I really just wanted to tell them it was all about the potato pancake, but I decided not to do that. It was a business lunch, after all. My first ever. Gotta play it cool.
They served the appetiser. I don’t know what it is about French restaurants and appetisers, but it’s always some kind of layered purée served in a shot glass. Seriously. They’re usually very good, but I always have to bite my tongue to keep from spitting out my sparkling water laughing at the pathetic size. Today we had some scary-looking puréed sausage with an apple compote and shredded apple on top. Again, very good, but MINISCULE. The men had theirs finished before I could even say ‘bon appetit’.*
Then came the food. When I first saw my oversized plate and a bloody piece of meat on it, my instinctive reaction was “Awww, maaaannnn, do I hafta eat this?” After being force-fed steak for half of my childhood, I can definitely live without it. (My boss, who had ordered something else, received a giant plate with two miniature pieces of half-dollar-sized pork on it, accompanied by a fig. Again, had to force back laughter.)
But then, I bit into the steak. My body erupted into a state of food nirvana, causing me to temporarily lose all track of the conversation. I had the strong urge to make the orgasmic sounds that I normally do while eating anything that’s halfway decent, but stopped myself before it was too late. Chaos ensued in my head:
Ego 1: Oh my God, this BEEF! IS! AMAZING!!
Ego 2: Yes, this beef is very good. Now be quiet.
Ego 1: But I HAVE to TELL the OTHERS about this BEEF!
Ego 2: No, you don’t. The others are not interested. They are talking business. Now shut up and look attentive.
Ego 1: It’s melting…in…my…mouth…
Ego 2: By the time I count to three, you’ll have pulled yourself together. 1…
Ego 1: The sauce! It’s…impeccable! I’m…I’m…in heaven!
Ego 2: Mmm. Hmmm. Yes, maybe you should tell the others about this beef.
Ego 1: YES!! YES!!! YEEESSSSSSS!
Ego 3: Would the two of you SHUT UP already?!!!!??
I have these conversations with myself a lot.
The meal was challenging. Not only could I not talk about the beef, but I also couldn’t stop eating, which was probably a little weird. I was definitely participating in the conversation, but I had my mouth full the whole time. I COULDN’T STOP. The others had ordered small things, like soup, or they picked at their food (yes, these are MEN I’m talking about). But I couldn’t stop.
I looked like Katherine Heigl in ‘27 Dresses’, when she’s at her dad’s house with her sister and her boss, and she’s shoving food in her mouth to keep from talking because she couldn’t handle it and her cheeks are like all puffed out because they’re full of food and she just keeps nodding and stuffing her face. (I think I have a lot to learn about business lunches. Rule 1: Don’t order something that you actually want to eat.)
In the end, we ended up getting our own coats out of the coat check (hostess MIA, probably on her cigarette break), and were served way more plate than food. And I don’t want to know what the bill was.
But the plates were really nice. Villeroy & Boch porcelain – Made in Luxembourg. Très chic.
So that was my first (and last?) visit to one of Luxembourg’s poshest dining établissements. I give it seven out of 10 stars. Ten for the beef + two for the service + nine for the atmosphere (DUDE, they SCENTED the whole place. I don’t know how. It was awesome) = seven stars average.
But I’m sure it won’t be anything compared to my Ultimate Thanksgiving dinner. At least there’ll be more to eat.
*A note to my European readers: I don’t want to be rude or seem ungrateful, but please don’t give me a big spiel on haute cuisine after reading this. I know the portions are small. I know there’s reasoning behind this. I just really don’t care.
A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Libby moved to Germany after finishing college and enjoyed four years there. In 2008, she left Germany for itty-bitty Luxembourg. Follow her adventure and her journey to happiness – no matter where on Earth she may find herself – on Lovely in Lux.
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