It was supposed to be “just drinks.” A glass of wine or two to accompany our conversation that doesn’t actually need any assistance from alcohol. My girl friends and I can be just as brazen and inappropriate sober as we are when we are marinating our mouths with white wine – for better or worse.
Given these circumstances, I should have known that it wouldn’t be “just drinks” when I arrived at Comme Ca at 6:30 pm last Friday evening. The downside to having entertaining friends that are entertaining regardless of their level of inebriation is that a plan to meet for “just drinks” will never actually involve “just drinks.” While we may start out with a bottle of Rosé or simple glass of Sauvignon Blanc, our stay in whatever bar or restaurant will inevitably outlast the time it takes to drink those beverages – again, for better or worse.
On Friday evening, our extended stay proved to be “for better.” Partially because of the attentive presence of our charming server Barrett, who gave the most compelling specials rundown I’ve ever heard (as in, I actually paid attention and didn’t need him to repeat anything), partially because the sommelier and fromagier bathed our egos with attention, and partially because of that overly familiar adage, “time flies when you are having fun.”
For the purposes of my night at Comme Ca, however, I’m going to amend that adage to “time flies when you are drinking wine and eating cheese.”
While I can’t recall the names of the three cheeses our fromagier, or “cheese expert,” selected for our fromage plate (another downside to having entertaining friends is that they are wonderfully distracting), I can recall feeling as though I could stay nestled away in our booth table forever. The impeccably presented plate ($15) was fondly put together with various accompaniments to further accentuate the experience of eating each cheese. A sheep’s milk selection was crowned with dried cherries, a refined blue cheese was lovingly placed in a pool of sweet honey, and a sultry brie-like wedge was paired with golden raisins. To marry everything together, our fromagier dotted the center of the platter with a curry-spiked kumquat puree that accosted our taste buds with a bright hue of contrasting flavor. Coupled with the warm French baguettes from La Brea Bakery, the cheese plate was simple yet spectacular – the type of thing I wish I could linger over every evening.
Fueled by fromage and later, an order of potato chip-esque pommes frites with an addictive lemon aioli ($7), our conversation continued to fill the space of the modern French bistro until well after 9:00 pm. I had halibut marinating at home and a host of other things “to do” prior to my departure for Orange County for the Easter holiday, but all I wanted to do was talk, laugh, drink, and live like a French woman who nibbles and sips and completely loses track of the time. At the end of the evening, I felt all the better -- not worse -- because of it.
8479 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069