Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Inside the restaurant, a nearly endless array of small plates streamed from a kitchen smaller than most walk-in closets. Goat cheese in lemon-infused oil; broccoli soup; eggs and hash browns in Worcestershire; tarbais with lardons; smoked magret with figs and hearts of palm; the best kidneys I've ever had; a sponge cake and meringue confection; warm chocolate mousse with cherries aux noix; ginger-lime sorbet drown in tequila blanco with sea salt.
Our friends in Paris, Daniel and Ellen, picked the spot and accompanied us. Thank Pete. Never would have been able to eat all that by myself.
My humans leave me often; I do not know where they go. I suspect I would not like it there, but I am not sure, lacking experience. When they are gone, a lady who smells like 87 cats comes to feed me. It is fine, but I miss the hunt. She's all business. Sometimes, a lanky, odd human comes. He sleeps here. He is satisfactory, because he doesn't smell like 87 cats, but when I bring him my prey, he does not respond, possibly because it is dark outside, but that is the best time to track prey. I worry about my humans; when they are not here I cannot sleep on their faces, which prevents them from freezing to death.
I will wait. They will return soon. If there is justice in this universe, they will come back as me.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
It reminds me of the Bay Area's ill-fated museum of wine and culture, Copia, which failed miserably, in part because people never showed up.
About the only thing that rivals the galette and the tourist for its sheer pervasiveness is the foie gras. Every restaurant offers at least six variations, from turrine to gâteau to côte to rillette to salade gourmande to foie stuffed into an artichoke heart. That one I must try. I think there are an equal number of foie dishes to every other dish on every menu. And it's not just here: we stopped for lunch in St. Lager and guess what was featured? Even better, it came with fig compote. Karen's salad came with bacon, which she donated to the cause, so I stacked the above along with some greens and goose fat gelée onto a poppy seed roll and ended up in my fourth foie coma in as many days.
Wait. What was I talking about? Pèrouges has a galette-based economy. It is the focus of labor and production. It is a final product and a mechanism of trade. It is customizable, but only in the approved fashion--cream, berries or sorbet (i.e., you can have it in any color you like as long as it's black). It is breakfast, dessert, mid-morning, mid-day, and mid-afternoon snack. Pèrouges eats, sleeps, breathes, and presumably farts galette. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
There is much to love in France. The food is ridiculous. I ate a third of a pound of foie gras earlier tonight. The wine bars are lovely. The accent is impenetrable, but I think they do that as a kind of affectation. Service is slow, but like I said I just ate a piece of foie the size of a gerbil, so maybe that's for the better.
No, the problem is that in all other matters, we should have let the Germans have it for efficiency's sake.
Take French telecom: for the most part my phone tries to decide whether it should be on Orange or Bouygues. Don't worry if this doesn't make sense to you; AT&T can't figure it out either.
Then there's the internet. Lyon should be praised for establishing free, public wi-fi, provided that it actually worked. Rather, like all things this time of year, it appears to be on vacation in Mallorca. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to log in every time I wanted to use it. Or if the login had functional buttons, like "Login."
I think they do this for security reasons, but u:7372305484 p:VivelaFrance. You're welcome.
Anyway, the pic is a movie set in the miniatures museum, but much like the aliens from Galaxy Quest, the French think it's for realz.
Our local bakery and morning breakfast stop (more on that in another post) re-opened this week, as did a restaurant on our street and our current favorite wine bar. But all of the galleries, and numerous other boutiques and restaurants are ferme. If you are lucky, they will post something on their website, or at least leave a sign at the door to disappoint you once you arrive. Or, in the case of the wine bar at the end of the street (which, of course, is supposed to be awesome), they keep it shuttered with no information in situ or online. We keep watching it for signs of life...
The cheese here is alive. It reminds me of a radio show interview with a French chef in which he was bemoaning the way Americans treat cheese, hermetically sealing it in plastic, relegating it to a too-cold refrigerator. "In France," he said, the cheese is alive. We leave it on the counter to breathe and grow." And enjoy, although I may need to take a cheese break when I get home.
First up: Karen's lightly smoked salmon with tomatoes, beets and artichokes. I went for the cold mussels in a mussel broth, mushroom and cream reduction. Superb. For the mains, Karen had this perfectly cooked piece of white fish that stood atop the most vibrantly colored beet emulsion. Steak carpaccio for me, because sometimes I like to take a break from the blood sausage and enjoy the raw beef. It was so thinly shaved I swear it only had one side.
Crême brûlée and molten white chocolate cake go without saying, of course.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Nonexistent, it seems, in France's second largest city. We asked at the Beaux-Arts Museum (surely they ship things), but they did not know. We asked at the office of city management, but were told they aren't allowed to release that information. We went to the tourist info center, and they didn't know either. So they sent us to the post office, who were very friendly and helpful. I could mail it via French Post, but they could only guarantee sometime in the next 2-6 days. They did provide the address for DHL, however.
Two hours later, I'd walked halfway across Lyon before finding a taxi that would take me to 6 Rue Lertot, out by the tracks. He dropped me off and split. The folks at DHL were quite helpful. But I was stranded in some kind of industrial zone without a ride. So I walked halfway back across the city again before finding another taxi. When I told him where I wanted to go--the square outside our apartment--he asked why I wanted to go there, implying there could only be two reasons: smoking pot or something else I couldn't understand. He replied that it was better that way.