Vive la France! Today is Bastille Day, and what better way to celebrate then to feast on some delicious French cuisines.
So what exactly is Bastille Day? On July 14, 1789, a bunch of very pissed off Parisians, angered by the lack of power and control over the future of their country, stormed the Bastille prison. The prison came to represent the corruption and tyranny that was indicative of the political system in the country. Historians mark the event as the beginning of the French Revolution.
According to About.com, Bastille Day was officially proclaimed a French national holiday in 1880. And just like the Independence Day celebrations here in the United States, the French like do it right with an elaborate parade up the Champs Elysees, festivals, parties and fireworks.
Bastille Day eats
While most households in the states enjoy grilling up some hearty burgers and hot dogs, and snacking on some good old American apple pie on the fourth of July, in my research, I couldn’t find a dish that was definitively representative of Bastille Day. But legend has it, when the Parisians stormed the Bastille, they discovered stock piles of cream, cheese, eggs and prime rib hidden in the basement. While most poor and working-class Parisians were encouraged to consume leafy green vegetables and herbal teas, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were saving all the good fatty stuff for themselves and their noble friends.
According to Carl Hanson in “Revolution and the Restaurant,” after the Revolution, chefs who had cooked for the nobility found themselves out of the job and forced to open public restaurants, and the birth of fine dining was born. Most French cooking centers around a meat dish with fresh fruit or vegetables, and the main dishes are typically sauce-based.
To kick off Bastille Day right, here at the GrubHub office we decided to indulge in some authentic French dishes from Bistrot Margot for lunch. The fresh Nicoise salad, croque Monsieur, soupe a l’onion Lyonnaise, and tarte au pommes were très très bon!
If you’re in the mood to join in on the festive celebrations today, here are some great French restaurants that deliver:
Bistrot Margot, 1437 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL
PicNic Bistro, 2665 Broadway, New York, NY
Ponty Bistro, 218 3rd Ave., New York, NY
Snap, 1062 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Washington, DC