After literally seventy-five 25 minute German lessons on tape, and I have no idea how many private, in-person and Zoom lessons with 4 different tutors, you cannot imagine the kind of thrill-verging-on-triumphant I get when I am presented with a German menu and I actually pretty much understand it. The flip side of this is that there’s a kind of let down when the menu is also (or only) in English. I mean, it’s not the kind of let down you get thinking you’re ordering ice cream and having a plate of liver flopped down in front of you. But I have to admit that there is a certain security in being sure you’re ordering ice cream rather than liver if the menu says it in English, so fine, I’ll live with that.
But going to a restaurant where I can understand the menu in both German and English but not what-the-hell is going on really throws me for a loop.
We went to a Vietnamese restaurant called Mme Ngo’s where I was totally out of my element. Yes, I understood the menu but not the processes and procedures that accompanied our meal. Chopsticks are bad enough but apparently one wraps one’s deep-fried spring roll in various leaves and lettuces. News to me. Of course, his royal mountedness knew exactly what he was doing including using goddam chopsticks.
A small tray of enticing condiments accompanied our meal and I drizzled a little of the lovely red oil onto my phõ (pronounced fah, in case you didn’t know). While I did know the pronunciation of the word, I was unprepared for the kick in the face that a few drops of pretty oil might give me. The soup wasn’t as salty as I’d have liked it to have been so the addition of my tears was welcome.