Some of the most beautiful surprises are friendships that last decades and which span continents and generations. I moved here thanks in large part to a friendship like that and last week I was invited to a fantastic event here because of another friend who doesn’t even live in this country! Ok, so Belgium is only an hour and a half away by train, but it boggles my mind how connections to people can be made and evolve no matter the time and or distance.

She is an alumni of a University in NYC which held a private event in Paris, so she invited me to attend as her “Plus One”. In a building with a view of Notre Dame and the Seine, champagne was served alongside beautiful appetizers. Not all of them were delicious, but all were gorgeous with contrasting textures, flavors, and some combinations worked better than others. My favorite was the one with the edible flower, filled with a marinated beef, and my second favorite was the mushroom square with the gold enoki. Her favorite was already gone by the time I got there, since six other savory bites had been passed earlier. Sweet bites were offered from chocolate to citrus, but I skipped those to make sure I could still eat dinner afterwards.

We met up with a friend of hers who lives in Paris, for dinner after the event. I love finding and sharing a new place for a resident in Paris, especially if it’s in her old neighborhood and she loves it! Le Café d’Avant is a very casual comfortable place that offers set menus from about 15€ for lunch, to 25 € for dinner. If you book with The Fork or La Fourchette, you can also get a discount don’t want to order the set menus and get at least two items from the full menu.

My friend’s friend saw two boudin and didn’t hesitate to order that and the panna cotta since that was her favorite entrée and dessert! She happily enjoyed both the traditional white and black sausages with apples, pureed potatoes and salad.

My friend and I both ordered the grilled Daurade, one of my favorite fish, served with a cheesy risotto and green beans. The menu noted that the fish was fresh and it was not only fresh, but prepared well. It could have used a bit of salt, and the risotto could have been a bit warmer, but for the incredible price of less than 15€ it was remarkable!

The only one who had room for dessert was the one who didn’t eat appetizers before dinner:) Both my dining companions loved panna cotta and both said this one got better with each spoonful (yes they shared). It was lighter than most and yet still made with cream (we asked).

The best part of any day is spending it with company you enjoy, but when I got to eat well, treat my eyes to beautiful views, and meet interesting people, all in the same day, that is a heavenly day in the city of lights:)