When I enter a restaurant and see a chalkboard prominently featured, I know I’m in the right place. What does it mean? First, it is tres francais—almost any bistro in Paris has one. Second, it means the chef is motivated to change the specials often, if not daily, based on available ingredients or spontaneous inspiration. If you happen upon a cafe with a blackboard and chalk-white curlicue lettering, I advise you to set aside the regular printed menu. Each offering might be erased or struck through (with a squeaky scrape) at any moment, if products are limited, which adds to the excitement of dining in such an establishment!


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