Here's a chalkboard menu (l'ardoise, meaning "slate") posted outside a restaurant in Paris 20 years ago. You might notice that the prices look pretty high, but that's because they are in French francs, not euros. Divide the prices by 6.5 to get them in today's money. The main courses were 80FF that day, which comes to about 12 euros. But the thing that's really interesting about the menu is that it's so hard to read if you don't immediately recognize the names of the dishes as classics. It's in handwriting, yes, and French handwriting is often so different from American handwriting that it's hard sometimes for us to decipher it. How many of the names of dishes can you read easily? (And why is that gratin made with just a single mushroom?)
Here's another menu from the same year. Is it easier to read? Some of the words you might not recognize are bourguignonne (and why is it in the feminine instead of the masculine?); andouillette and Troyes (why doesn't it start with a capital T on the menu?); brochette and beurre blanc; and finally, côte and Salers. Why is the veal so much less expensive than the beef? Would you prefer the blanquette or the andouillette? If you ask the waiter to explain what these different dishes and specialties are, there's a good chance he will look puzzled by the question. Everybody knows what these things are. You might just have to take a stab at it and take your chances.
recipe here) — if you can get good veal. You can make it with turkey or chicken, but it won't be as good. Try it with lamb...
recipe here. That means making a filling using sugar, powdered almonds, butter, and eggs. Slice the top off the croissants and spread the filling on the bottom. Put the top back on, brush it with sugar syrup, and sprinkle on some sliced almonds, which should stick. Bake it.