It's a rarity if I can stay up past midnight these days. Starting episode one on season five of "The Walking Dead" and waking up disoriented with a stiff neck several hours later, somewhere in the middle of episode three, hopefully still on season five, is the norm. Sign of age, or is that aging, when it's easier to wake up before sunset for a dawn patrol (surfing early morning for the dude lingo challenged) than keeping the eyes open past midnight while out and about and contemplating the logistics to making it back home safely to the comfort of one's own bed.
So, it's increasingly becoming a rare treat to see customers say goodnight, one table after another vacated late into the night. Then, watch the waiters, the bus boys, the chefs, and the bartenders decompress to their normal self. Last call for the sole surviving customers, including moi.
The little slice of Europe in Laguna Beach, Brussels Bistro, has become a local favorite and my personal "Cheers" where everybody knows your name. Consisting mostly of French speaking staff, well stocked with Belgian beers, and cuisines, Brussels has an entryway to the unique subterranean level dining and bar area, differentiating from other restaurants in the region. Having spent time taking food photos for Brussel's webpage and social media, I've become familiar with most of their eclectic menu and flavorful Belgian beers.
As the music mellows and Edith Piaf's "La vie En Rose" fills the air, the ambiance is as close to Europe as you can feel to being momentarily lost in some foreign land while in Orange County. All the Euro ambiance while encompassed within the artsy coastal town of Laguna Beach.
It's closing time. If I had an opportunity to wear a long coat, walk back to the car in the rain on a cobblestone road, while smoking a cigarette (all which has a low probability of occurrence for me in So Cal), I might have thought I was in a foreign country. I may still force myself up for a dawn patrol, but luck has it, it's forecast for rain on Saturday in Southern California.
Brussels Bistro is located on Forest Ave at Laguna Beach. They serve all you can eat Mussels and Fries on Tuesdays. Their fries are really good! My favorite dark Belgian beer is the Grimbergen. Most Belgian beer have higher alcohol content so go easy. If you haven't had escargot, BB is a good place for you to lose your virginity. Don't say you love French food. They're Belgian!
"Closing Time": I found this on Youtube and Dan Wilson describing the song's meaning interesting. Wilson performs the 90s song with his acoustic guitar during his college reunion. Really great live performance you can see here. Forward to 4:30 just for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niz9FtJIB2Y
Edith Piaf is one of France's greatest stars and her "La Vie en Rose" is a classic song that most will say, "I know that song!" There's a beautiful scene in her biopic also called "La Vie en Rose" and I think you'll love watching it. I'm going to request they play this song at my funeral. Forward to 4:16 for the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMcMb5d79RQ