When the weather gets cool and my stomach starts growling, one of my go-to restaurants is la Madeleine, a French cafe-bakery with locations throughout the DC-area. Serving up good French country fare -- hearty soups, crusty breads and a range of pastas, salads and quiche -- la Madeleine appeals to me mostly because many of its locations feature a huge, roaring fire.
Sitting fireside with a huge bowl of creamy tomato basil soup, accompanied by chewy whole wheat bread for dipping, is one of the coziest locations imaginable. The tables are often crowded with groups of students studying, taking advantage of oversized tables and ample space to spread out books and papers.
(My dad has a theory that only women -- or men dragged there by their wives -- eat at la Madeleine. He may be right...)
Not-so-secretly, I want la Madeleine's decorators to fix up my future home in a French country style. Every square inch of the restaurant is covered with heavy wooden furniture, old books and artwork.
During my last visit, it was cold and drizzling outside. But inside by the fire, I was happy. There's no better feeling than being warm and having a bellyfull of delicious food. If I can't be back in France, this may be the next best thing.
Vive la France!
Have you ever been to France? I've been twice and can't wait to go back -- there are just an endless number of things to see and do in Paris alone, let alone the rest of the country.