Belgium: De Brasserie du Parc
We got off the tram in Oostende. A small port city. In the rain. Although I'm not an ardent admirer of Europe, it feels more genteel than North America. There aren't wide open spaces, but there are narrow streets with gentle bends. There are small shops instead of big box stores with mammoth parking lots. We wound through the wet streets until we found De Brasserie du Parc. A dark wood pub. With stained glass accents. Here we sat. And were greeted by a tall waiter in black with a white shirt, a crisp bow tie, and a white towel affixed to his shoulder with a large paper clip. I perused the menu. The waiter said, "You are the boss. I am the waiter. You can have anything you want." We ordered Belgian beer and shrimp croquettes and an omelette au frommage. The beer came with a plate of small crackers and another of marinated olives. Wonderful crusty baguettes and butter followed. People strolled in with their dogs. (I would love to take my dog into a restaurant with me!) The waiter was pleasantly amusing, with a dry sense of humor. And at last, I feel as if I have actually spent a little time in Belgium.