I should disclose that I went into the film knowing a little about Edith Piaf. I knew that her last name is made up, that it means 'little sparrow', and that I liked her music. Knowing only this about Edith Piaf gave me few expectations of La Vie en Rose, which turned out to be a brutally beautiful bio film with an amazing actress in the lead role. The final sequence of this film may just be one of the best edited pieces of film I've seen ever.
Marion Cotillard is probably one of the best actresses I've never heard of. As Hayley put it - she's the Helen Mirren of France - which is probably as good an equivalent as one can get. Mirren was on TV in England in Prime Suspect; Cotillard was on TV in the US in the silly Highlander. Mirren of course has made tons of films but was catapulted to the top of the US conscious by a film where she plays a real life person dealing with death and change (The Queen for those who don't know). Cotillard was in A Good Year with some guy named Russel Crowe. Of course this film is in French but she is nonetheless here for your viewing pleasure.
Another thing that I don't know anything about - but know a little about - is gnocci. I bring it up because Hayley and I went to Zoe after we saw La Vie en Rose and I ended up having gnocci.
I have consistently loved Zoe since moving to New York. I eat there about once a week or so. If not that often, at least every time I go to see a movie with Hayley, since it's around the corner from the Angelika theater on Houston. The food is always good, inexpensive, and in SoHo. It's right by the R train and the Apple store. There's a big front window to people watch, the wait staff are amazing and awesome. The whole place is 10 kinds of fabulous.
But here's the point, after the delectable greatness of the film - and our last great visit - Hayley and I decided that Zoe would be the perfect finish to the night.
We decided that we'd go bar menu, because we never do, and we were feeling all hamburgerish. We asked for the menus and some sparkling water. We pursued. We loved the choices of cheese. Our waitress informed us that the bar menu was unavailable - even though we were given the menus.
In this circumstance I'd most likely get the steak, they have great steak for only $24, which is a steal anywhere, but especially in SoHo. This night I decided to go for the gnocci again, because I was trying to eat a little lighter. While I might not know much about the stuff, I do know that it should not taste like buttered spaghetti. That it shouldn't be bland and dull, and unfilling. I know that I should not have to use salt or pepper on a meal at as good a restaurant as Zoe purports to be. Hayley had pork, which was better tasting than my dish, but just as dull. I'm not discussing the amounts paid for the dishes because I'm pretending it didn't happen.
In an attempt to save the meal and our favorite restaurant for us, Hayley and I decided to get dessert. She had a nice peanut butter/banana tart object that was oddly light and buttery at the same time for $7. I had a very heavy chocolate mocha cake with bittersweet chocolate ice cream on the side for $8. Our waitress (in an attempt to placate us?) sent over some free ice cream in the house flavors (pistachio, cookie dough, mint chocolate chip). We loved the dessert, but still frowned while paying.
Next time we might have to dine at another restaurant in the area (there are several) and go to Zoe for dessert. Or, we might give them one more chance. It shouldn't be a problem to make a hamburger for a customer at dinner time in an averagely busy restaurant on a Friday night. McDonald's manages it and I've seen them with busier crowds than Zoe's probably ever had.
Zoe usually gets a 10, last night it got a 4