Today we took a little trip right outside Toulouse and because IKEA is closed on Sunday in France (to me a disappointment equal to Disney World being closed forever) we decided to dine at a place called Hippopotamus. Here is what I learned from eating there: Except for our one stumble into McDonalds we have only experienced local French places. This was a chain no doubt about it. It had a Ruby Tuesday/Applebeeish feel to it the second you walk in. While the food wasn't horrible...it wasn't anything to write home about either. It cost almost €18 ($27) for a burger and frites (fries) That's more than we have paid for gourmet burgers in the local French restaurants. And you could tell it was pre made "chain" fare. The best part was the menu. It was written in English and was a nice reprieve from all the work it is for me to read and order in, what my French/American friend calls Franglish.
There is something about French food done the French way...or American food done the French way. No matter what it is you can tell it's been done with care. Everything is done with expectations of perfection. As soon as you try French food done the American way or American food done the American way (by a French chef) something gets lost in the translation. I had ribs (which of course I ate with a fork and a knife) and they tasted like something that would happen if a McRib sandwich and a can of spam got married and had a baby.
But He had violet mashed potatoes (made with purple potatoes) that were creamier than white potatoes and they were the bomb.
And the café and desserts were typically French and thus delish.