Monday, November 29, 2010
Thanksgiving in Burgundy... and snow! glorious snow!
And my birthday was a real treat as well. I arrived back in the city at the hotel absolutely ravenous (is this constant hunger a sign of something?) and decided to pop in at the restaurant I'd discovered the other night just next to the hotel, Les Anysetiers du Roy (an ancient spelling of roi, I understand). The place itself, a tiny, funky thousand year old (or something) corner building on the Rue St. Louis, was the former home of les pharmaciens to the king, who prepared digestifs and other 'remedies' for him with anise base. Probably just anisette, don't you think? But when you're king, you get to call hootch medicine and insist it be specially made.
I love this place. And Lillian herself, the chef de cuisine, made me a lovely supper of rabbit a la moutarde, a nice glass of Bordeaux and, as she was out of Ile Flottante for dessert and the bavarois as well I ordered a simple creme caramel and she put a candle in it! I was, needless to say, utterly charmed by not only this gesture, but as she cruised the room making sure everyone was happy earlier, she stopped at my table, insisted I had not availed myself of the finer points of my rabbit, picked up my knife and fork and proceeded to scrape the meat off the tiny bones, loaded a fork with it, saying "ce n'est pas biftek vous savez!" and literally fed me the rabbit. I could say nothing but, Merci, Maman, both of us laughing and I adored her. Please note: Lillian does employ a waiter, but he is by and large nowhere in evidence. He may or may not take your order and then disappear for an hour while she waits tables, cooks, serves wine and all without a lick of complaint, cheerful and grateful for the work she loves. I know this because I asked her if it was not difficult with the waiter disappearing periodically, at particularly busy moments as well, and she only laughed and said she loves her work! And this woman can cook! Everything she makes is delicious, and cheap. I shared a table with two female students from the states who were charming, one of whom lives on the Ile in a sort of pension for female students and workers – Les Visges maybe? I suppose some people would have felt sad eating their birthday dinner alone before the girls arrived, but I was in heaven, taking in the strange paintings on the walls and enjoying the relaxing classical music from which Lillian never strays.
So I may go back and take a few pictures of the place today, but here are some photos from the weekend in the country. A lovely time and just what the doctor ordered when I'd had enough of city life. I feel renewed!
So.......Back in the City of Light for two days prior to departing for the UK visit with a friend and then home to Boston and, hopefully, a pedicure and a nice hot stone massage with Wendy in Portland as soon as possible. Thanksgiving in Burgundy was relaxing and fun, as only a warm fire, a beauteous snowfall, congenial company and great wine in the rolling hills of the French countryside can be. Not that I have a huge frame of reference, but come on... you know what I mean! If you can get your hands on a '95 Gevrey Chambertins, do it. It's an out-of-body experience.
Think I'll hit le Louvre today. See what senior Botticelli has to tell me. Good thing he isn't alive or I'd be such a helpless groupie.