How About A Meal With These Stars?
This edition of “Dinner And A Movie” travels to Paris to dine with Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves. Well, they weren’t there when I was, but I ate in the same restaurant – and I sampled two of their most iconic dishes!
The legendary French restaurant Le Grand Colbert has a pivotal role in the romantic comedy “Something’s Gotta Give” – as the restaurant proudly lets you know as you arrive.
The restaurant is located at the corner of one of Paris’ elegant old covered passageways, Le Grand Colbert is a traditional French brasserie dating back to 1900.
As the website “The Fork” noted:
The eye-catching tile-mosaic floors that grace the premises are identical to those found in the adjoining Galerie Vivienne, and for good reason: before it was made into a restaurant at the turn of the 20th century, the Colbert was itself a covered passageway, built in 1825 and a rival to the Vivienne. This long legacy led to it being accorded a great honor: being named a Parisian heritage site.
I popped in one night as the sun was setting in Paris, unannounced with no reservation, and no idea if I would be seated.
The Maitre’D looked me up and down for a moment and then motioned to a table right next to the door: “There!” he barked, and there I sat: yes, I scored a table right inside the door – which happens to be close to where Jack Nicholson finds Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves dining in the film!
Time To Eat!
After a glass of wine and a perusal of the menu, I had some choices to make.
What to eat at an iconic French Bistro? Turns out the answer was easy. Iconic french food of course, so let’s get started with a platter of these!
Provencal Frogs Legs!
There are few dishes more “French” than Frogs Legs, and since they were prominently featured on the menu, I had to have them!
Frogs Legs aren’t served that much in the US, but they are should be! These were served “provencal style”, meaning they were covered with a delicious blend of diced tomato, garlic and parsley…the legs themselves were lightly breaded and pan fried – moist and succulent…and delicious!
Here is the recipe – or as close as my notes allowed:
15-20 pairs Frogs legs
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup diced tomato
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
flour or bread crumbs
1. Version 1: wipe the frog legs dry and season with salt and pepper. Dust them with flour OR breadcrumbs, then shake the excess off.
2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan, add the oi. When hot fry the frogs legs until light brown on both sides.
Note: I think Colbert used bread crumbs, giving the frog legs more heft…I would do that but either works. Add the garlic, cook for half a minute, then squeeze in the lemon juice, add the tomato and sprinkle with parsley.
3. Turn off the heat, put a lid on a and let it steam for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot.
4. Version 2: follow the above steps of seasoning, dusting then frying the legs in the oil. Transfer them onto a plate lined with paper kitchen towels.
5. Fry the garlic in some butter, when sizzles, pour over the frog legs, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with diced tomato and fresh parsley. Serve hot.
Next up was one of the restaurant’s signature dishes:
Blanquette de Veau aux Morilles, Riz Basmati
This translates to Veal Stew, and boy what a delicious stew it was!
The braised chunks of veal were smothered in a rich creamy gravy, along with morel mushrooms, chunks of carrot and pearl onions. A small dish of white rice was served alongside.
The dish was very rich and filling, but the sauce didn’t overwhelm the veal, which was beautifully cooked. And while I ate, I got to look out at the restaurant, a classic French bistro that was alive and fun!
Now, why was I there? Of course, because the great film “Something’s Gotta Give” was filmed there!
This 2003 romantic comedy stars Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton and Keanu Reeves, and was written and directed by Nancy Meyers.
Here is the trailer:
Nicolson stars as a successful, older music Executive who likes to date women much younger than him…like Amanda Peet.
So when he has a heart attack while visiting her mother’s house, they rush him to the hospital, where he is treated by a local Doctor, Keanu Reeves.
Of course, Peet’s Mom is a noted Playwright – played by Diane Keaton, who must now let Nicholson rest up at her home before traveling…from that, a love triangle develops…
Nancy Meyers wrote the roles of Erica and Harry specifically for Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, who relish playing two people who are staring into the prospect of “old age” in very different ways…and the film has a lot of fun with that…when Nicholson is admitted to the hospital, Keanu says something about “your father” to Amanda Peet, who replies “he’s not my father”.
“Oh I’m sorry”, Keanu says, “your Grandfather.”
It’s a throwaway line perfectly delivered by Keanu that sums up the film perfectly! “Something’s Gotta Give” deals with aging, romance, and mortality – in a way that is universal – and funny…
Diane Keaton Nude!
Yes, this is the film that features a full-frontal nude shot of Diane Keaton!
Keaton was 57 when this film was made, and it’s her first fully nude scene ever. As I mentioned, after his heart attack Jack is recuperating in her house, and he inadvertently stumbles upon her naked in the hallway, which leads to his hilarious exchange with “Doctor” Keanu, as he tells him what happened.
Harry: “I’ve never seen a woman that age naked before.”
Julian Mercer: “You’re kidding.”
Harry: “Hey! We’re not all doctors, baby!”
One of the great pleasures in this film is to see this trio clearly having a blast together…and Nicholson and Keaton have such a great rapport…they previously worked together in the 1981 film “Reds.”
This film is a great romantic comedy, with a lively script and terrific acting…and it’s a perfect film to watch after eating at Le Grand Colbert.
More Tasty “Dinners And A Movie!”
I love sharing these recipes, as well as a great film to watch afterwards.
“Something’s Gotta Give” isn’t the first “dinner and a movie” to involve french cooking:
Yes, I made the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe from Julia Child to celebrate the film “Julie and Julia”, and you can see the step-by-step recipe here:
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Let me know if you’ve seen “Something’s Gotta Give” – and if you’ve had Frogs Legs!