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Feb 27

A Few Days in France Part IIb: Bordeaux Continued

A short introduction:
Our friend Jay Erisman, from the EQ Center @ the Party Source, took a trip to Bordeaux last year. A while back, he introduced us to Part I of his journeys starting in Cognac. Since Kevin & I are in Texas, Jay has graciously offered to share some more pages from his travel diaries. Enjoy!

Part I: Cognac

PartIIa: Bordeaux

_______

Bordeaux: Cold Oysters and Hot Lamb

Saturday served up a culinary double whammy, with two of the
most memorable meals of the trip. Up first were the oysters. I have a serious
love for oysters. If you don’t like oysters, on account probably of the
texture that falls somewhere between gelatin and mucus, know that we oyster lovers don’t
eat them for the feel. Oysters for me are all about the flavor, the secondary
and tertiary notes that happen as you roll an oyster around your mouth. Truly,
a good oyster works like a wine, with an initial sweetness or saltiness, and a
slowly emerging midpalate. And the finish can last for minutes: saline, earthy,
mineral-metallic, maritime.

Jon Reeves, Yorick’s wine manager who would later drive me
around Armagnac, had mentioned a Bordeaux restaurant specializing in oysters.
Sure ‘nuff, while strolling about the Old Town, I found “La Maison de l’Huître”
(House of the Oyster), formally known as Chez Brunet. I found absolutely the
best oysters I have ever had, anywhere, from any coast. The entry level oyster,
Marennes Fines de Clairs, was awfully good eating, and the enormous, elongated
Pleine Mer de Quiberon probably could take me in a fight. But the holy oyster
grail was at hand, I had never had one before: the Belon oyster, for a whopping
€25 a dozen. Would that I had eaten twelve of these sublime bivalves, but I
settled for two of them in a tasting flight of eight oysters. The Belon
deserves its place as the greatest of them all, with the same sense of
effortlessly balanced, highly complex flavor one finds in the very best wines.
A phrase I learned in Cognac applied manifestly to the Belon: longeur de bouche, or “length in the
mouth,” which indicates the slow development of flavors and an extended finish.
I also discovered the great compatibility of charcuterie with oysters. I had a
rillette on the side—a sort of pulled pork in its fat, spread on bread—that went
great with the clean and brisk oysters. The surrounding diners enjoyed small
fried sausages.

France_2007_172

Oyster House!

France_2007_182

I half expect a horse drawn carriage to pull up at the Old
World façade of La Tupiña.

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Posted by Michelle at 12:01 am in Guest Writers, Restaurants, Travel, Wineries | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 25

A Few Days in France, Part IIa: Bordeaux

A short introduction:
Our friend Jay Erisman, from the EQ Center @ the Party Source,
took a trip to Bordeaux last year. A while back, he introduced us to
Part I of his journeys starting in Cognac. Since Kevin & I are in
Texas, Jay has graciously offered to share some more pages from his
travel diaries. Enjoy!

Part I: Cognac

______

After three days in Cognac, the second leg of my
trip to France went through Bordeaux. A look at the French wine map reveals a western
coastline studded with boozy treasure, as from north to south against the
Atlantic you get one classic after another: Loire Valley, Cognac, Bordeaux,
Armagnac. You almost feel sorry for the poor bastards sunning themselves on the
Riviera. Though I couldn’t make the Loire on this trip—which is a real shame,
because I sure love those Chenin Blancs—I was heading to the granddaddy of all
wine regions, The First Wine, the one that still sets the pulse for the rest of
the wine world. When Bordeaux speaks, Napa Valley listens.

Jay_01

Driving into Bordeaux was a nightmare. Basically, the entire
city is under construction. Bring a lot of patience with you to Bordeaux. My
hotel was just off the Place de Tourny, one of the city squares, which is not
saying much because there are beaucoup
Places in any French city. Also,
walking about this Place, one
definitely gets the idea that the French have dogs. Many, many dogs, if you
catch my drift.

At any rate, I cautiously picked my way to a recommended
(“they have a good chef”) bistro around the corner from the hotel. Some French
bistros are airy and inviting, while others are smoky and dark and a bit
oppressive. This one, Le Café Bordelais, fit the latter description, but the salad
I ordered for dinner proved that yes, they DO have a good chef. Around a tangle
of greens were arranged various parts of a duck. Like gesiers, which are a confit of duck gizzard and totally delicious. I could eat large
bowls, like breakfast cereal sans lait, of these duck gizzards. There was
a sublime duck breast that was at both smoked and cured, and which tasted entirely of smoke, and entirely of
cure. This dinner salad was the first of many foodie moments I had in Bordeaux,
the theme of which amounted to “Damn These People Eat Good.”

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Feb 24

Texas Twitters: Sunday

Twitter updates from Michelle (shels):

  • between San antonio & Austin: outlet malls!
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Posted by Michelle at 5:25 pm in Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 23

Texas Twitters: Saturday

Twitter updates from Michelle (shels):

  • Touring Texas hill country vineyards
  • @ the Alamo drafthouse for the midnite showing of master pancake
    theatre: back to the future. Btw, I’m sleepy & possibly too old for
    this.
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Posted by Michelle at 5:23 pm in Travel | Permalink | Comments ()
Feb 22

Texas Twitters: Friday

Twitter updates from Michelle (shels):

  • @ spider house on university Texas campus. Lovin’ the chai & the vibe & the perfect weather.
  • enjoying amy’s ice cream – they beat coldstone creamery to the idea. Yum!
  • Just visited Spec’s Liquors in Austin. Http://www.specsonline.com And I thought our KY liquor stores were huge!
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Posted by Michelle at 5:20 pm in Travel | Permalink | Comments (1)

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