March 4, 2021

Bastille Bash

On July 14th, interior designer and performer Bill Kavanagh (of Kavanagh Interiors, Ltd.), threw a festive dinner party, scouring the city for foodstuffs and beverages for his French Bastille Day soiree. To set the scene, he chose to play a DVD of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” in all of its primary color glory with that very French Michel LeGrand soundtrack.

Guests were first treated to Lillet Blanc, a French wine aperitif served on the rocks with lime, along with brie and nicoise olives, followed by a refreshing cold cucumber soup dressed with caviar and creme fraiche. Escargots (canned) were served in their shells with butter, parsley and garlic. The main course, Poussins, (akin to the American Rock Cornish game hen) were from Paulina Market, and prepared with fennel, the French liqueur Pernod and Herbes de Provence which Bill purchased at Fauchon in Paris, accompanied by slightly steamed haricots verts (French green beans) in shallot butter. Chablis from the Wine Discount Center was served with the dinner courses.

My French friends have always raved about the selection and price of cheeses at Costco. Kavanagh informed me that the green beans, the flowers, the champagne and the tantalizingly runny brie were from “le Costco.” As a non-alcoholic beverage, French Lemonade was available; my personal favorite is made by Efferve and in stock at Treasure Island. I also brought a French baguette from Bennison’s of Evanston. Dessert was a home-made tart cleverly made to resemble the French flag with blueberries, raspberries and apples.

The lovely tablescape kept with the evening’s theme: the plates were French and the silver was Christofle. The photo above is of the table centerpiece replete with a tri-color ribbon around the silver pitcher of roses. The only oversight of the evening was to forget to sing “La Marseillaise.” Zut alors, next year.

I shall be eating French food, however, well and often in the interim. Vive la France in Chicago.

Recipe for the Poussin Pernodine:

Bennison’s, 1000 Davis Street, Evanstons, IL (847) 328-9434, French baguette

Costco, 2746 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, IL, roses, champagne, French green beans, brie

European Imports Ltd., 2475 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL (773) 227-0603, canned escargots
Next outlet sale is August 26, 26, and 28, 9 AM to 3 PM (Thursday, Friday, Saturday)
Cash or check only.

Fox & Obel, 401 E. Illinois, Chicago, IL (312) 410-7301, poussins
the poussin can also be special-ordered here

Paulina Market, 3501 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL (773) 248-6272, poussins

Treasure Island, 2121 N. Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, IL (773) 880-8880, Efferve French Lemonade

Wine Discount Center, 1826 N. Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL (773)489-3454, Chablis

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