Brussels mini-boink

26 April 2008

A report on the 26 April 2008 Brussels mini-boink was posted to the newsgroup by Stephanie and is reproduced here:

A mini-boink (party of 4) was held Saturday in Brussels and a good time was had by all, courtesy of food, wine, sunshine, and chocolate shopping. LFS took a few pictures with her wonderful new camera, so they may be posted at some point.

Careful and detailed planning, along with copious use of mobile phones as personal GPS systems, ensured that things got off to a good start in the 'couloir secondaire' of the Gare du Midi. But do not despair, Gentle Readers, it all improved from there on out. And up. Into the sunshine, the first of this year that's been warm enough to justify leaving heavy coats in a luggage locker.

The party proceeded to a traditional Brussels restaurant, staffed by very traditional Brussels waiters -- men in starched white jackets who took this waiting business very seriously. To quote Jean-Marc, 'I will not reveal all my secrets at once!' He was lovely, in several languages, as was the wine (Alsatian gewuerztraminer), and the food, which included: fish soup, Russian salad (selected by LFS and myself, largely as we hadn't seen it in decades -- and yummy it was too!), cod in mousseline sauce, sole with Duglere sauce, sole with white asparagus and grey shrimps, beef carbonnade, and (brace yourselves) tiramisu with speculoos, chocolate mousse, and a 'farandole' of desserts, which sounded rather as if it should have been some sort of dance, but turned out to be a trio of small but incredibly yummy things, one of which was not a cabbage profiterole. There followed coffee with biscuits named 'gavottes' which did indeed have a logo involving Breton dancers.

A post-prandial stroll in search of this trendy young chocolatier's wares ensued:

Serious and thoughtful shopping ensued.

Topics of conversation throughout the afternoon included the food and wine (naturally) and also:

-whether the word 'economy' is feminine in all/most/some languages with grammatical gender
-hock glasses, unseen in years in the UK but quite common Over Here
-the piece of cod which surpasseth all understanding
-the cost of wedding venues (DON'T ASK, it's very upsetting)
-Nick's fabulous canal web site
-painted churches
-good food in Rotterdam
-flaming crepes (every time the serious waiter in charge of this activity prepared one, the flames nearly brushed the ceiling, nearby patrons clutched their chair backs, and a wall of heat swept through the room -- other than that it was quite dull)
-free-range asparagus, striding across the fields after being liberated from its tragic incarceration
-the Derridan import of embroidery, or not
-the citation of philosophers whose name one can't pronounce
-children pronouncing things backwards, especially their names, and the ease of coming up with 'eloretiforp'
-Grasmere gingerbread and the tininess of its shop and implicit lack of studious children in the area
-the need for an Official AUE Toast (the best we could come up with was the possibility of rendering 'O! AUE!' in the appropriate case in Latin, or possibly just 'O! AUE!' or 'Oy, AUE!')
-the need for an Official AUE Motto (most suggestions were along the line of 'I know most things...' with various endings, such as '...and the rest I make up'; '...and what I don't know, my wonderful bunch of friends in this news group do')
-the suitability or lack thereof of scantily clad dancing girls at serious conferences (recent cases in point including one on patents and one on accounting)

A brief exploration of the public transport system, and the effect of scouting thereon, followed, and reluctant farewells were said back at the Gare du Midi after a wonderful afternoon and agreement that no dinner would be needed.

Click here to see the posting and the rest of the thread in the Google archives.

Chris, Laura, Stephanie, Mike — also note splendid desserts
Chris, Laura, Stephanie, Mike