by Fatma Sheekh, Direct Support Professional

Hidden away on the quiet corner of 12th and Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis is French Corner Bistro and Bakery. Most of us pass by without ever noticing the white poodle and the words “consider yourself Frenched” written on a red bubble. I was fortunate enough to come across this place while waiting for the 17D bus to arrive.

French Corner 2I had the pleasure of going to French Corner Bistro and Bakery, or as we like to call it, “the French Corner,” with some amazing folks from our Avana program. Since French food was new to them, they asked that I keep it “simple” and “edible.” I knew immediately that the French Corner would be the perfect place! The bistro has a captivating ability to teleport its customers to classical Paris, allowing them to take in the beauty and mystery that is France.

We parked and made our way to the French Corner. Since we had printed a menu and chosen our food already, we spent time talking about and admiring the original French décor. Our waitress was impressed with our ability to plan ahead. I’m proud to say that my Avana friends were quite the adventurous bunch.

Sam, who is familiar with some French words, was more than willing to translate for us. He read the menu, explained desserts and even told us of his favorite French singers, Daft Punk. This talk of French culture inspired Mark, who considers himself part French, to share with us his family history and love for French swords, mainly the Estoc.

Our food arrived and we carried on our conversation while savoring every bite of our delicious meals. Tonya and Janet, who sat next to each other, were absorbed in the new world they had just entered. They talked about coming back with family members and even asked our server if the bistro caters. Tonya later revealed she would like the French Corner to cater her wedding someday.

Inside French Corner

As I took photos of these moments, I realized I was exactly where I wanted to be. I was surrounded by individuals who mean the world to me. They see me as someone they can trust, as well as someone with whom they can just “hang out” and call their friend. It was such an honor to share this great experience with great people.

Once we finished dinner, we immediately went over to the dessert bar, which was filled with incredible treats. We each bought a different kind of dessert and enjoyed them with French, decaf coffee…which we later decided was not good. (As someone who has taken several vacations to France, I can absolutely confirm that French coffee is the worst.) This, in a way, was the perfect ending to our “trip” to Paris.

French DessertsAs we said farewell to the French Corner, Sam and Alex had the brilliant idea of writing about our experiences at the restaurants we visit. We are currently making plans to go back to our favorite French place, as well as to other ethnic restaurants around the Twin Cities. We look forward to finding new adventures, as we eat our way around the world. It’s about forming unforgettable moments and building our connections as “friends who enjoy awesome food together.”