It was midday, midweek.  It was going to be a summit of two PR professionals, long overdue for a first meeting.  What better setting than the L.A. home of the gentleman that is considered by many to be among the most esteemed and acclaimed chefs in the world, Thomas Keller.  I arrived early to enjoy the courtyard, the February sunshine, and the people watching that Beverly Hills always provides.  And, of course, to check in on the many social media platforms that always manage to consume the first fifteen minutes of every dinner.

The meeting was perfect, my peer an amazing woman with extraordinary talents in this industry.  Fortunately, we do not compete for clients, which made lunch all the more enjoyable. It didn’t hurt that it was just hours before the Oscars, and we were surrounded by the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Kelsey Grammer.  Nor did it hurt that neither of us had any problem whatsoever feasting in front of the other.  And feast we did.

Upon entering Bouchon at lunch time, you are greeted by a phalanx of hosts, managers, and servers.  As it was a work day, everyone at the table was sipping iced tea, my only regret of the meal.  A nice glass of rose, and I would have been transported right back to the South of France, ensconced seaside, enjoying meals that burst with the flavors of the sea and the skill of the chef.  This day, conversation flowed easily, and we ordered a new course as each course was served, with food arriving over the next several hours.

Per wikipedia, “bouchon is a type of restaurant found in Lyon, France that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork. Compared to other forms of French cooking such as nouvelle cuisine, the dishes are quite fatty and heavily oriented around meat. There are approximately twenty officially certified traditional bouchons, but a larger number of establishments describe themselves using the term.

Typically, the emphasis in a bouchon is not on haute cuisine but, rather, a convivial atmosphere and a personal relationship with the owner.”

Hence, bread that arrives atop the paper table cloth, along with a small round of softened butter.  We enjoyed two before ordering.  Let’s simply say it was pretty damn delicious.

Course after course after course then arrived…

The magic of meals such as this arrives only with good people and good conversation, where the joy of the table is shared in such a way that minutes and hours simply drift away.  Food arrives, scrutinized and discussed, then quietly savored until, gradually, conversation resumes and someone lifts a menu to order the next dish.  It rarely happens, this magic.  On this gorgeous, sunny Los Angeles day in February, however, magic arrived.  At the table.   With good people and good conversation. Good food. Good memories. Thanks, Thomas.  It was exquisite…