I'm a sucker for table-side preparation in a restaurant and the rare times I see "flambée" mentioned on a menu I invariably choose the associated dish. In Paris, at the great brasseries like La Coupole and Terminus Nord, I always have crêpes Suzette to give the waiter a chance to show off his pyrotechnic skills. Similarly, I enjoy raw steak tartare as, even if they only very rarely chop the beef (or horse if you're lucky) in front of you these days, they still (in France at least) blend in the raw egg yolk, Dijon mustard, chopped shallots, capers and cornichons, condiments and seasonings with a flourish at the table and ask you how daring you want to be with the tabasco.
In this simple little restaurant in Nice I spotted aumônière aux pommes on the menu followed by the magic word flambée so I had to have it. Aumônière is an old word for purse (the type one would have tied to one's belt and where we get the words alms and almoner) and here represents the pastry pouch holding the baked apple slices (and vanilla ice cream). The waiter poured Calvados over the dish and then lit it with his little Bic lighter. Notice in the short video below his forced laughter at my attempt at jocular engagement with him...My French friend Claire points out that a true aumônière is made from pancakes and is therefore soft and bundles up like an oldfashioned purse. It's not clear to me however how one would tie it up at the top. The chef here has used (Tunisian) feuille de brik pastry which one can buy in packs of a dozen sheets from the supermarket rather like one can buy (Greek or Turkish) filo. It's less brittle than filo though and can be merely moistened and shaped in a bowl before spending a few minutes in the oven.