A La Folie: Soup Makes the Breakup

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The phrase à la folie translates to something like "to madness." Usually it would be included in a French expression such as "I love her to madness."

A La Folie near Purdy Avenue is a pretty good place to watch the sun set and munch on some French goodies. When I recently ate there, love wasn't on the menu, but there was plenty of "mad" by the time our crêpe stuffed with bananas and dark chocolate arrived. More like anger.

When my boyfriend Matlock and I ate there recently, the meal started out innocently enough. We sipped on our chipped bowls of tea (I don't know why they don't serve it in cups like everyone else, but whatever) while looking over the menu. Unlike some places where you pretty much know what you came for, A La Folie can throw diners a bit with a slew of tempting choices. Perhaps you come craving a light salad, but then how do you choose a Niçoise when there's a croque monsieur calling your name? And how does a bowl of gazpacho compete with a slice of quiche Lorraine or a crêpe with duck a l'orange?

We settled on the Paysanne, a salad of lush greens with pâté, rosettes de Lyon (AKA salami slices), cornichons, two big slabs of Brie, tomatoes, croutons, and haricots verts (green beans), all dressed in balsamic, and a bowl of French onion soup. My stomach grumbled in anticipation as we sat at a little wooden table outdoors, watching a couple play Frisbee with their mutt. I could almost taste the saltiness of the cheese as it mingled with the sweet, soft onion bits. I envisioned my spoon carving oh-so-delicately through those baked-in slices of crusty French bread that the chefs expertly trap in the baked-on gooey topping.

Just as I imagined the utensil cruising toward my tongue, heavy with the layers of this decadent soup, I heard the words: "I've been feeling disconnected from you. I don't think we're on the same wavelength."

I stopped my virtual spoon midair and asked him to expound.

"It's just that I think we don't want the same big-picture things," he continued. "We don't see eye-to-eye on religion, marriage, pot smoking..." Was he serious? I wondered. I thought we had covered the most important topics at El Carajo on date two. Yes, pot smoking (or my lack thereof) wasn't one of them, but that just didn't seem like a relationship qualifier.

For the next ten minutes -- as the soup of my dreams arrived in physical form and then got cold, and the salad arrived and got soggy -- I tried to make sense of his sudden attack. By the time I yet again had defended my views on everything from procreation to the legalization of controlled substances, he had already polished off half the meal and I had fully lost my appetite.

Yep, even A La Folie's offerings weren't providing comfort. I realized this guy was out to make a clean break of it no matter what I said, so I finally just gave up, downed the remaining three bites of the salad, and half-heartedly agreed to split a dessert crêpe.

Now that my heart was broken and my mind was spinning, my stomach found new strength and I gobbled up half the crêpe. Suddenly he was uttering phrases like "Even if this had worked out..." and "Maybe someday we'll be able to..." Those words fell on deaf ears. I was already back in my head, adoring every forkful of this spongy, hot crêpe showered with sugar, stopping only for a second to remember a time when I thought our relationship was just as sweet and satisfying. Then I lifted the bowl of tea to my mouth and noticed that what I originally thought were chips in the rim could more accurately be described as cracks. Guess that's the kind of stuff you find if you look deep enough.

A La Folie/Date Rating
Food: 3.5/5
Hip Factor: 2/5
Ambiance: 2/5
Cost: 4/5
Date: 0/5
Overall: 2.5/5

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