Monday, November 12, 2007

Lazy Sunday A La Folie

So busy, completely full, in fact, yet somehow quiet-even the six-year-old buzzing around is barely noticed-the music alternately loud and soft, customers' heads bopping in time, some singing along. I mention to the waiter this remarkable oddity, and he replies, “Well, we are French.” By 'we', he means 'A La Folie', a cozy French creperie on Espanola Way in South Beach, that indeed has the air of a laissez-faire little bistro on a side street in a small town in Brittany. The service is several notches above the usual South Beach nightmare-the waiters here are friendly, unobtrusive, young and hip-but not hipster/model-types you want to strangle-they have the cute t-shirts and the ripped jeans, but the smiles don't seem tight and forced and they actually respond politely to your requests. The mustard colored walls, covered with large French script and a giant Folies Bergere poster, appear to have absorbed the smoke from millions of Gitanes cigarettes (my tribute to GG), but the only smoke in the air today is coming from steaming bowls of soup and large French-style cups of hot tea. There is some seating on the sidewalk, and a super-cool garden on the side, where a large group laughs about their weekend's frolics (follies?). I prefer to sit inside, to smell the aromas coming from the grill. The place, in fact, smells like a giant grilled cheese sandwich, which is one of the most comforting smells in the world, and the aroma keeps you company as you read the Sunday paper. The crepes are made with buckwheat flour, and the one I order is filled with bacon, Cantal cheese, and potatoes, topped with a fried egg. Add a glass or two of Cotes du Rhone, and you have the perfect early afternoon meal. It comes with a perfectly-sized salad, and is so tasty, that I clean the plate like a hungry dog. It was worth the wait-everything is made to order, and arrives at your table hot and fresh, so be patient. Don't worry, there is plenty to keep you occupied, including watching the sunglass-wearing couples trying to shrug off last night's rolls, and humming along to Johnny Hallyday on the sound system. The bill was $9.50 for the crepe, and $7/glass for the wine. They also include the tip, so don't forget to examine your bill, and add a dollar or two if you like. As I get up to leave, I notice that there seem to be an inordinate amount of people arriving by motorcycle or scooter. Tres hip.