Friday, August 29, 2008

I love a bargain

As posted over on eGullet we went to our favorite restaurant for lunch this week. It was delicious and a terrific bargain. I didn't go into detail in my post, but can here.

As an aside, ever notice how some bloggers make a point of linking virtually every post they do on eGullet to their blog. Not content with mentioning in their signature they stick in links. Some of these are pretty contrived. The self promotion sort of makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway, the favorite restaurant (Le Vieux Pont in Belcastel) has a 27 Euro three course set menu for lunch on weekdays. (The main menu is 51 or 43 Euros depending upon whether you have just a fish or meat course or whether you have both.) But what they do is to include all the little extras that come with the more expensive menus. In effect we ended up with 7 courses as follows:

Amuse One. A board with two miniture pancakes on sticks (one was with fois gras & the other smoked ham) plus a little pot containing a veretable puree with herbs over minced shallots & a touch of horseradish.

Amuse Two. Mashed avacodo (almost a guacamole) over tabulla.

Our Entree. A flaky pastry disc covered with flaked steamed cod topped by roasted tomato with basil & chives. Very delicate & very good.

Our Plat. Traverse de porc (meaty pork spare ribs) that had been confited with soya & sweet herbs. In a seperate bowl were rice noodles with julliened vegatables; these mixed well with the porc. Strong flavours, but very good.

Cheese. A generous wedge of local goat's cheese cut to your wish at table with a sprinkling of fresh walnuts.

Pre - dessert. Macaroons with chocolate & orange and a chewy toffee loaded with pistachio nuts.

Dessert. Fruit salad with finely minced fruits & in the center a crisp sugar biscuit roll filled with passion fruit. Light & wonderful. By far the best "fruit salad" I've ever had.

Post - dessert. Lemon granita with basil & cream.

All beautifully presented and served with charm. (in this restaurant everyone works to satisfy their guests. Each member of staff does whatever is necessary to make thing run smoothly. Even the co-owner/ Maitre d'hotel is not above clearing courses if needed.)

For wine we had a delicious Cotes de Roulission at 21 Euros. Well, actually we had 2 bottles.

What a deal is all I can say. The ambiance is every bit as good as the food & the prices.

So for those who spurn Michelin starred places, I say just keep trying. There are other places that equal Le Vieux Pont. The trick is in finding them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Guess I'm just an old grouch

Some of you reading this may have been following the discussion on eGullet about taking photographs in restaurants. If so, you'll know that I'm firmly against it. Never the less I have been willing to at least listen to arguments from the opposing sides, but reluctantly I've begun to come to the conclusion that we're dealing with a much more serious issue underlying this issue.

As I read the posts from the photographers I can only come to the conclusion that most of them seem to be of a mind set that says me... !! I will do what I want, when I want to & where I want to and to hell with the rest of the world. There seems to be lip service at best to considering anything others might feel. No, I'll do what I want. The world is waiting for my artistic interpretation of the food I eat!

I find this unfortunate and having met many of these people find them unfortunate. No manners! Few morals! Little sensitivity! I could go on, but why bother. They love themselves to the exclusion of anyone else.

As my title says maybe I'm just an old grouch, but I do have a few manners and I do take the feeling of my fellows into account and I do wonder if the me.. me.. me attitude might have had anything to do with causing the financial chaos that's finally easing a bit. Certainly, there was little but immediate short term gain & fat bonuses in that whole fiasco.

Enough! I rarely let myself get carried away on this blog, but these photographic idiots pushed me a bit too far.