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The Little Door on Bastille Day

dineLA menu at the Little Door
dineLA menu at the Little Door
Charles Ryan

Yesterday was Bastille Day. For those of you who aren't up on your French holidays - this is like the French version of the Fourth of July. Here's a quick history lesson:

The French Revolution kicked off when the Bastille, a symbol in Paris of royal tyranny and absolutism, was stormed by members of the Third Estate (everyone who wasn't a part of the clergy or nobility - so just about everyone.)

The Bastille held very few prisoners at the time of attack but, more importantly, it had a large amount of ammunition. After initial negotiations between representatives from the crowd and the prison broke down, an ever-growing crowd grew increasingly hostile. By late afternoon - the prison was overrun with the French people and was liberated.

Soon after: feudalism ended in France, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was written, and a march on Versailles sent the nobility scurrying. Four years later (and a year after French First Republic was founded) the Revolution ended with the beheading of Louis XVI in 1793.

A year after the storming of the Bastille, July 14th, 1790, was the first celebration of the Fete de la Federation which takes place to this day. The Fete de la Federation, also known simply as le 14 juillet, is what we call in English: Bastille Day. Vive la France!

Examiner (and francophile) Charles Ryan went to The Little Door to celebrate both French nationalism annnnnd the first night of dineLA. A double whammy.

If you haven't been to The Little Door, it's probably because it's hiding. Well - not really. It's more.... inconspicuous. You're actually more likely to notice it's cafe/market The Little NEXT Door. If you're facing Little NEXT Door, The Little Door is to your right. Sound confusing? Nevermind. Just look for the large wooden doors that look like they've got something amazing hiding behind them.

Through the doors and you'll find yourself somewhere in Provence. Fields of lavender and vineyards stretch for as far the eye can see. Old stone farms. Warm summer nights.

Your entrance into the outdoor dining room will take your breath away. This place softly glows at night. To your left is a bar, to your right is a tiled fountain, bougainvillea hangs from above, and in between is a very cosmopolitan crowd. Lots of Europeans, lots of romance, lots of beauty.

Through the initial patio is a series of rooms that each have their own character. None will disappoint - though the main patio is truly stunning.

The restaurant was absolutely packed last night with French people, francophiles, and dineLA celebrants. The three-course dineLA menu showed off the flavors and ingredients associated with The Little Door very well. You know: lamb, tomatoes, eggplant, fish, basil, oregano.

Best of the dineLA menu:

- Braised spiced lamb agnolottis and roasted baby eggplant

- Grilled marinated Mediterranean white sea bass

- French vanilla ice cream & caramelized profiteroles

Also had by the table was the duck liver mousse - because this is a must. If you're not into mousse - you haven't lived. Perfectly portioned, a textural, flavorful treat for the mouth. The couscous with lamb stew, lamb chops, and chicken and merguez sausages was equally delicious (and rather massive!)

Live entertainment in honor of Bastille Day, French food, French people - it was a great way to start two lovely weeks of dineLA.

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