Débit de boissons (café, mais aussi bière, vin, apéritifs et jus de fruits), où sont également proposés quelques plats rapides (croque-monsieur, sandwichs, salades garnies, assiette anglaise).
“Drinking establishment serving coffee (but also beer, wine, coctails, and fruit juices) where a small number of quick-to-prepare foods (croque-monsieur, sandwiches, composed salads, cold cuts) are also on offer.”
To get more elaborate food, you have to go to a brasserie or a bistrot. However, many Paris cafés also serve lunch nowadays, including dishes like the one above. It's called « gratin dauphinois » and it's thinly sliced potatoes oven-cooked in the oven in milk with garlic and nutmeg. I posted a recipe with photos back in 2007. This time, I forgot to take a photo of the finished gratin before we started spooning it out of the dish and eating it.
I made a gratin dauphinois — scalloped potatoes — earlier this week to have with the leftovers of our Christmas capon. I put cheese on top, but that's optional. Walt sliced the potatoes on the mandoline, so they were uniformly thin and perfect. That's powdered nutmeg and black pepper that I sprinkled on before pouring in the hot milk and putting in in the dish in the oven.
Another brasserie classic — a brasserie is a German/Alsatian-style café-restaurant where food and drink are served all through the day, not just at standard French mealtimes — is the steak au poivre (above), or beefsteak seared quickly in a hot frying pan and then dressed with a cognac cream sauce with a lot of crushed black pepper in it. We make steak au poivre at least once a year, for Walt's birthday (December 21), and sometimes another time or two in spring or summer. This year, our steak was filet de bœuf, beef tenderloin, so it was especially tender.
Today, I'm making another classic. It's gratin de chou-fleur — cauliflower au gratin — comfort food for a cold winter day.