Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brussels: The Art of Making Work a Delicious Affair

Yesterday I had the pleasure of indulging in a short business trip to Brussels. My assignment was to interview the owner of one of the city's most interesting restaurants. I'll tell you more about that when the piece is published, but what I can tell you now is that it was more than just another interview. For a good half hour, I listened to someone speak passionately about his work. Someone who had a dream, realized that dream and reached for more. I was completely drawn in by his words and the story he told me. These are the people and the experiences that add color to my life and make me wake up every morning loving what I do. Of course, the little perks that come with visiting a beautiful city are also a major part of the fun!
Before and after the interview, I had a chance to walk around Brussels- a cosmopolitan city with echoes of many nationalities coming from every corner. The diversity of cultures reminded me of my New York and was evident not only in the many languages heard on the streets, but also in the wide variety of foreign shops and restaurants. French is the lingua franca though, which to me meant a perfect opportunity to practice the language I love. 
I could have spent hours and hours admiring the stunning architecture at the Grand Place. There are so many little details in the imposing buildings that frame the square! And with the variety of restaurants, the only thing keeping anyone from a good meal is finding a table- it is that busy! Luckily, I did get a chance to sit down to a rabbit and morello cherry beer stew at Brasserie Le Paon. In fact, we scored the perfect table in the warmth of the late afternoon sunshine! I adored the food and wine (and they specialize in beers!), but a word of warning if you're considering checking out the place yourself. Do not, under any circumstances, go there for just a drink. We saw one too many tourists being shooed away with a firm and snappy, 'this is a restaurant, you order food'! I know, I know. It sounds a little arrogant, but I can totally understand where they're coming from and can even appreciate it. Especially because there have been many times when we were frantically looking for a free table for lunch and almost every restaurant was occupied by people who were just having a coffee. With so many cafes and bars, it is a little unfair.
After lunch, greed got the best of me and I decided dessert would be one of those ridiculously huge and ridiculously tasty Belgian waffles. One with whipped cream and salted caramel, to be precise. Two bites into it and I was already swearing never to eat again! Next time, a waffle will be my breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Oh, and did I tell you that I also shopped for beautiful chocolates? Just leave it up to me to make 'work' a delicious affair!

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