The following day, I sampled more moules frites around town, including a version spiked with cream at Aux Armes de Bruxelles, a classic bistro opened in 1921. And when I got home to New York, I was eager to test out what I'd learned. I bought the best ingredients I could find: sweet, plump, farm-raised mussels from Prince Edward Island, and Yukon Gold potatoes, to approximate Belgium's flavorful bintjes. I started with the fries first, slicing the potatoes thinner than is the fashion at most fry shops for crispier results. I whipped up a mayonnaise with fresh egg yolks and a touch of wine vinegar. While my potatoes were frying, I followed the advice of Royal Brasserie's chef, who told me that unless he was using wine or cream, he steamed his mussels with aromatic vegetables, a bit of butter, and no additional liquid. When I did the same, I noticed the liquor released from the bivalves was intensely flavorful, but there wasn't as much broth in the pan as I like, so I added a touch of white wine with the next batch. The result was so good, I decided to forgo additional flavorings; maybe next time I'd add some Pernod or curry. And then I sat down to my meal and imagined I was back in Brussels on that rainy day.