On July 15, famed chef Jeremiah Tower posted on Facebook the purported itemized receipt from the dinner enjoyed (presumably) by Donald and Melania Trump and their hosts, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, this Bastille Day in Paris. The venue was Alain Ducasse's Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne, on the second-level landing of the Eiffel Tower.
Tower's eyeful amounted to an eye-popping €154,953 ($177,689). It also amounted to a load of hooey.
Legitimate news reports from the dinner noted that the menu actually served included such dishes as an assortment of pâtés, Dover sole with spinach and sauce hollandaise, fillet of beef with truffle sauce and soufflé potatoes, and warm chocolate soufflé with chocolate ice cream (presumably two scoops for Le Donald, one for everybody else).
Strangely enough, not one of these dishes appeared on the putative addition published by Tower. The only food listed was three "palettes" of fruit, two orders of grilled sea bass, one fish of the day, two orders of "fresh" fries, and an "XXL" tiramisù.
The rest of the bill gives the game away: It lists four bottles of mineral water and two Cokes, but also a 30-liter bottle — equivalent to 40 standard bottles — of Armand de Brignac Champagne (itself accounting for €130,000 of the bill's total), a bottle of Clase Azul Ultra tequila, another of Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute scotch, two "pineapple hookah lait" and two "freish" — whatever they are — and, best of all, 14 casquettes (caps). Oh, and €250 worth of tobacco (cigars?).
It's unclear whether Tower himself believed the bill to be genuine, but a majority of the 60-plus comments the post received seemed to think it was, with many expressing outrage at the cost or poking fun at the American president for presumably having ordered the Cokes and fries.
One of the few websites that reported on the dinner tab was Nordpresse.be, a Belgian parody site, which explained (in its English-language version) that the caps were "purchases from the couple Trump for their family" and that the 30 liters of Champagne "would have been shared with the entire communication team of Emmanuel Macron and the security team of Donald Trump."
By July 16, the post and comments had disappeared from Tower's Facebook page.