Zen it is one of two restaurants that are owned or operated (I don't know which) by the very lovely Natalia and her pleasant and unassuming husband Alex. I guess that they are in their 30s, they are expecting, and they are just building their first home on a hillside. They radiate contentment. They are shopping on Ikea online for furniture.
We were drawn to Natalia that first time we saw her. You may remember that we were wandering down the main street in Grand Case when we encountered her. She was walking her dog, literally barefoot and pregnant. She was dressed in a camisole and a island print wrap slung low across her torso, exposing her fecund belly. She just looked so happy, we liked her
The restaurants are both kind of funky cool chillin. Zen it has a few deck chairs out on the small sandy beach separating it from the sea. Hmm. Separating it is an exaggeration; when the swell is from the north, the sea sweeps right up past the big driftwood log and brushes the basement of the structure. When there is less wave action the beach is usually covered with fashionable thirty something French vactioners, and the occasional 40 something American tourist.
Every morning Stan cleans the beach, rights the potted plants upset by the gusty winds coming around the hillside, and shovels the beach sand from the entrance to the basement. There are a few rocks placed around that door, but the attempt to stop the shifting sand is futile.
I really enjoy the music there. There is a fair amount of French Rap, which for some inexplicable reason, I like. (Even if Achilles once told me "French Rap ees Bollscheet"). This is a disturbing development to Dana, and I avoid playing it when she is here. There is also a lot of Amy Whinehouse, Some Arrested Development, and the various Marleys.
The tables and chairs are pressure treated rustic, and the menus are large chalkboards that are brought to your table. The lights are covered with palm fronds that rustle in the wind. Each table has a kerosene lamp. In the mornings I see Stan and Achilles filling them and trimming the wicks getting ready for the evening.
Emily is the bartender and mixmaster, and not infrequently, she and Achilles will break into spontaneous dance and all are invited. Emily's brother works next door at Calmos Café, the other restaurant run by Natalia and Alex.