Sep. 13th, 2008

figarofigaro1: (Mont Blanc)
Saturday we had a relaxed pace morning, knowing that once the cycling part started, we'd have busy mornings. The weather was better. It wasn't sunny, but it was not actually raining for the day. We wandered around and found a little bakery and ate croissants just to stave off the hunger. Then we walked up the hill to the old city.

Here's a gate covered in plants (picture is for JS in the UK):

We wandered into an alley that had artists on both sides through the whole thing. There in the middle, we found a small oil painting of birch trees in the fall by the water. We fell in love with the painting and the woman who sold it to us was nice and very chatty. She wasn't the artist, but I believe the artist's sister-in-law. The painting is still packed up in it's little cardboard protection so I don't have access to the artist's name right now. But it is a sweet little painting.

Here are some other pictures from up top in the old city:



We randomly picked a restaurant for lunch, based on location and setting and didn't look at the menu. We ended up at a place called "Le Grille" because B had noticed some tasty looking sandwiches. I think it turned out that the tasty sandwiches were at the adjacent café and this one was oddly Italian. But we had some yummy pasta and enjoyed two different street musicians: an older woman singing (and sometimes playing harmonica) with a man on guitar and then a very young pretty girl playing a blue accordion. Both were delightful and transported the lunch to something far better.

More shopping and walking around, and we even escaped the touristy areas and explored a "real" neighborhood for a while. A couple of signs in a bike shop that I thought were really fun. First, a jeu de mot that is bilingual (a play on "peace and love" and "vélo" (bicycle):

And then some equations that I liked:

Back to the hotel for a nap. Again cocktails in the bar and dinner in the restaurant at the hotel: Panache (link is for the hotel, and you can find the restaurant from there).

We had the tasting menu, which they set up at the table on an easel, a nice touch, since often by the third course, I'm wondering what this thing is that I'm eating, and where I am in the grander scheme of the dinner. The menu:

Oyster with champagne and white sturgeon caviar

"Exceptional" tomatoes salad with old balsamic and sprouts
France. Vin de Table, Hommage de la Grave, Château de la Grave 2006

Atlantic coast scallop with warm citrus jelly and arugula salad
Austria, Wacchau Osterrich, Grüner Veltliner Federspiel, F. X. Pichler 2006

Warm foie gras with duck magret, peach pulp, and arugula salad
United States, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir, Foley 2006

Grilled beef tenderloin with summer black truffle, chanterelles, and garlic flower
France, Coteaux du Languedoc la Clape, L'Épervier, Château Pech-Redon 2003

"Fromage dans le trou"
France, Corse Calvi, Cuvée Vignola, Domaine Renucci 2006

Sweet corn... [a dessert of sweet corn, really! I remember a panna cotta and some other variations. It was unusual, not too sweet, and very tasty.]

Tea or coffee [and a few sweet nibbles from the kitchen]

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