When I walked into Pastry by Camille, I instinctively and fake French-ily said “Bonjour!” This was to indicate that I am so good at both French and English that I get confused between the two. The staff said Bonjour back in a crazy way. This proved to me that I was immediately accepted by this French restaurant and would only have to let Vincent do all the speaking. They were definitely not making fun of me. They thought I was the real deal. Yes. This is how I will remember that moment.
At the register, which was next to the crepe making station, I ordered a lavender creme brûlée ($6). Vincent ordered a meringue lemon tarte ($6). Only someone, named Vincent, forgot his wallet, so I had to pay, which meant, I had to speak, which meant that my cover was blown. It was clear I was an English speaker. Mince!
Mais, c’etait tres bon! But, do not fret, my little lemon meringue tarte, the dessert was delicious. So delicious that we were eating it at 10:30 a.m. Do I care about food time restrictions? No, I don’t. The lavender was subtle and the creme brûlée was nice. It was thick and rich, like good milk. The kind we all drank in elementary school when life was simple and we only had to worry about learning geography. I noticed they used good quality, Hood, cream for my coffee, so I think maybe they use this for all their desserts. Je ne sais pas.
We got to eat our meal with the lovely French friends whose names I named yesterday.
These French friends told me a lot of interesting French facts like the l’art et essai (artsy French theater) and also “Le Meilleur Patissie” (TV show in France like The Great British Baking Show).
Aujord’hui, Marc et Aurore ont mangé les crepes ($9). Today, Marc and Aurore ate crepes. They also ordered a baguette ($3) to go. Mon dieu, they are so French! They can’t even stop being French if they tried. Thank god, I was wearing a striped shirt that looked French. Thank God!
I very much enjoyed Pastry by Camille. The bathrooms are gender neutral. The prices are fairly fair. The coffee was smooth. The barista was nice. The porch was dog friendly (one dog sort of overstepped her dogness and was barking, but hey, c’est la vie). It was a lovely experience.
I am very happy about anything that can make Hertel more French. For North Buffalo is a land of immigrants. The second and third generation Italians have claimed many spaces as their own and now I think it is time for the French to find their spot. And then next, perhaps, the Burmese will move from the west side. I think language and food and observation and awkward hellos are the way we understand each other. For we are all part of the larger communities, stepping our way through, becoming and unbecoming ourselves and each other.