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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Where Have All Our Old Haunts Gone?

thIt’s the holidays and I’m feeling nostalgic. My kids are teens and old enough to understand that I had youthful traditions with my own mother once upon a time.

I call a local department store that’s had an in-store café since the 1950s known for sky-high club sandwiches, delicate tea sandwiches, and luscious pies and coffee. The store itself had the most spectacular holiday decorations, really over-the-top items that stick in my mind to this day. When I call to inquire about the café, I enter a time-warp where the operator puts me on hold to transfer my call and the recording says, “Please hold during the silence….”

Hold during the silence???aupieddecochon

They connect me with customer service and I’m told that unfortunately, the café is no longer. The painted, gilded bird cages suspended from the ceiling are gone. It closed approximately five years previous. What a shame.

“I know. I know,” commiserates the operator. “We all miss it.”

The rest of the family drives through the city to see the trees and lights everywhere. I take my oldest son into Georgetown to find a present for his coq_au_vinfather. We run in here, there, and everywhere, studiously avoiding Dean & DeLuca or any other food-oriented establishment.

“A tragedy, a travesty,” I remark to Petya. “I wish you had been around for Au Pied de Cochon.”

“Cochon?” he wonders. “A pig?”

“Just the name,” I laugh. “It was the best French café. Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguinon…” I rhapsodize. “Vitaly Yurchenko redefected there, back to the 021Soviets through the bathroom window.”

Now it was a Five Guys burger joint.

I recall Dominique’s, sponsor of the Bastille Day waiter champagne race, and how we could be ferreted away in a private dining room for four, while surrounded by power brokers whom we did not have to hear nor see. Maybe quiet, or silence, was the final frontier, a desirable luxury in a loud city, so much so that we’re put on hold… in silence.

The rest of the family picks us up, which only starts my husband on the whole issue.

“The Pleasant Peasant…” he reminds me. “The private elevator heading upstairs….”

“The Wayfarer in Old Town–” comes the rejoinder as we both sigh.

What are we, 100 years old? Where have all of our favorite haunts gone? Is it the same where you live?


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