In Which We Recreate La Madeleine

Let me just start this post by saying: I’m excessively hard on chain restaurants.  I’ll admit it.  But there are a few chain restaurants that you will catch me inside of, from time to time.  La Madeleine is one of those.  I’m sorry, people, but I really love their Caesar salads and tomato-basil “soupe” and the free crusty bread with strawberry-rhubarb jam.  Feel free to thumb your noses at me and scoff in distaste.  I’d probably do the same to you.

But here’s the thing: La Madeleine is a reliably cozy — albeit in an incredibly fake way — and easy place to meet up with friends and family and defrost next to their also very fake but cozy fireplace.  You learn not to order certain suspect items off the menu, as you will inevitably disappointed in their utter lack of authenticity, and you especially learn to avoid their “bakery” section, where everything tastes as if it came straight out of the deep freezer.  And you enjoy your Houston Press while sipping on bottomless cups of coffee and eating your aforementioned free bread.

Now, Richard, my oft-mocked but truly beloved husband, has decided that he wants to recreate not only the enjoyment of sitting next to a fireplace in a restaurant (and La Madeleine happened to be the first one that sprang to mind, hence the first two paragraphs here…) but also the cozy warmth of the public houses back home in Ye Olde Englande.  And to that end, we’ve decided to install a fireplace in the dining room.


I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.  I never cared to have a fireplace in the living room, since it’s never truly cold enough in Houston to necessitate prolonged use of one, but somehow I’m peeing-my-pants excited about having one in our dining room of all places.  I’m picturing morning coffees and newspapers…by the fire; romantic dinners…by the fire; intimate gatherings and elegant dinner parties with friends…by the fire; holiday dinners…by the fire; writing this blog…by the fire (since I do most of my writing in the dining room on my laptop) — the possibilities are endless!

Am I crazy?  Or does the prospect of a fireplace in the dining room strongly appeal to anyone else?  I mean, it certainly isn’t necessary in our climate and it’s not going to be big enough to, you know, cook things in a large kettle or anything.  But, the ambience, people.  The ambience!

Ooh, I can’t wait…  Now all we need is some decent cold weather and we’ll be all set.