I enter through the side door of the old mansion known as La Colombe d'Or (3410 Montrose Boulevard, 713-524-7999). It's quiet inside. Too quiet, if you ask me. Still, the tables in the dining room are all set up with white tablecloths for diners to arrive. I turn right, into the little Bacchus Bar, a four-seater room decorated with a few oil paintings and a lot of memories. Funny, how that goes. Lots of men go to a bar to forget. Restaurant manager Francisco DeLeon steps behind the bar and asks me what I'll have. He's been here a long time and has memories, too. Bastille Day is coming up, so I'm remembering France. "We'll always have Paris," I remember her saying. Yeah. Guess so. "I'll have a French 75," I tell DeLeon. He knows what I'm talking about. He knows the history, so we don't have to talk about it, about the war, about women and memory and that feeling you get when you bag a marmot with a single, clean shot. He pulls down a champagne flute, mixes the mix, and pushes it toward me across the dark counter.
It tastes like -- Paris.
La Colombe d'Or's French 75: Lift glass, pronounce a toast to the AEF or Marshall Foch and sip. But, as befits a drink named after an artillery piece, respect its power.
Bottle of French champagne
Three-quarters shot Courvoisier VS cognac
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Fill a flute three-quarters full with French champagne. Mix in the Courvoisier. Serves one.