Miss Sophie Blankensop
Hi. Joe made me write this entry. He also insisted on the above picture, which I do not approve of. Why is my face so round?
So. After Collioure Joe, executive planner master, decided we should go to Lyon, France. Why? Because it is the culinary capital of France. And Joe loves his fancy French food.
We left Collioure early in hopes of reserving a place on one of those European express trains that go approximately nine million miles an hour instead of one of the local trains which travel approximately the speed of an injured mule. But of course the fast train was fully booked. So instead we settled for a dozen local trains and tried not to die in the ovens that train cars become when they lack air conditioning.
Can I also just mention that in Collioure, the taxis are driven by paramedics and therefore sometimes have to leave to do "ambulance stuff?" This seems like a bad idea all around but fortunately no emergencies arose during our short trip to the train station.
ANYWAY. Lyon. Right. We got to our hotel pretty late, around 10 pm, so all food adventuring had to wait until morning.
We ate breakfast at the hotel, as it was fairly cheap and I am ravenous and irrational in the mornings. It would not be wise to look for a different option. The hotel did not serve enough fermented meat products to satisfy Joe but they had tea and cereal and that's all I need to be a happy camper. By the way, do not try to order tea in Paris. I'm not sure if it's because the Parisians hate the English or what but every place I saw sold tea for ridiculous prices. Since when did it cost 3+ euro to put a tea bag in some boiling water? I was once sold some ludicrously expensive tea in a plastic cup the temperature of molten lava. At least they didn't spit on me.
So anyway, Joe enticed me to Lyon with promises of fancy French vegetarian food, which you can imagine is a rarity. I decided to eat seafood during these travels, which is good because I'm pretty sure the French consider foie gras a vegetable to be eaten early and often. But of course the veggie friendly place ended up being closed until mid-August for some reason. It was probably burned down as a disgrace to French cooking.
Instead, Joe found a place that was supposed to be 'relatively cheap' for France, which is similar to 'relatively painless torture'. The restaurant was called something like Leon in Lyon. I'm very helpful at this remembering stuff. (Joe says it's Leon de Lyon).
The bread was good and received the Good Bread stamp from Joe, who has become a bread connoisseur since he has begun to bake his own bread. Chewy, crusty and French, mmm. One variety was studded with a bunch of different seeds, which I enjoyed a lot.
We started our meal with rose champagne, which is why I will never take Joe seriously when he worries about our travel budget. Rose wine and rose champagne are popular in France and, again, 'relatively cheap'.
I love complementary food stuffs that classier restaurant sometime supply. These little babies were little cheese puffs compliments of the chef, really delicate and light despite the fact that they probably contained several pounds of butter. Each.
Terrine of zucchini, tomatoes, basil and goat cheese
Joe started with a terrine of vegetables(!) and I remember liking this. The vegetables were al dente and in close proximity to hunks of goat cheese. Mmmm.
Salad with shrimp and haricots verts
I stuck with a salad with shrimp and green beans as my main since I was not terribly hungry. Also, Joe could not translate a majority of the menu and I was terrified I would accidentally eat organ meat. The salad was simple but good.
White fish with fantastic sauce and steamed carrots
Joe had fish with vegetables as his main and liked it a lot. I can't tell you a lot more than that because the only information Joe gave me is included in the picture caption. As you can tell from the 'fantastic sauce' description, Joe had consumed more wine by this point.
Brie and toast
For dessert, Joe had a cheese plate (an offense to the dessert Gods in my humble opinion) which consisted of a massive hunk of brie and toast. It was particularly stinky brie but luckily we like exceptionally stinky cheese that most find repellent. I was conditioned at an early age by travelling with my dad, who would buy huge chunks of cheese during our travels. Which would be fine if we ever had a fridge, which was rare. So the cheese got stinkier and stinkier throughout the weeks. And we ate it anyway and didn't die so my dad deemed it an acceptable practice.
But the 'adventure' of travelling with my father is a whole other can of worms that we don't have time for now. Moving on!
After lunch we walked back to our hotel and ran some errands-- Joe went to the train station to try to buy us tickets on other fast trains, I washed some clothes and took a nap. Soon enough it was time for dinner and Joe had picked a restaurant from one of our guidebooks. He was determined to go a bouchon, which essentially is a cafe as far as I could tell. We found the bouchon easily enough but although the door was open and a chef and server were sitting down reading, they clearly had no intentions of serving us. My blood sugar was approaching hysterical Sophie levels so we ate at the nearest open bouchon instead.
It ended up being very good and 'reasonably priced' so it was a good random find. Also, the waiter closely resembled Chase Crawford, had good English and tolerated me asking for a translation for every item. Win!
What's that you say? Who is Chase Crawford? May you see his picture? Why of course!
If Joe can openly ogle Rebecca Rominj circa naked-except-for-blue-body-paint-in-X-men, I can watch a little Gossip Girl with a small pool of saliva surrounding me. Just sayin'. To be fair, here is Ms.Rebecca:
Square? Square. Back to food.
Terrine of white fish
Frightening sounding meats were ever present so I'm glad I got translations. I started with this terrine of white fish in... sauce. It was mild and tasty which is all I can ask for. I liked it a lot.
Joe started with salad Lyonnaise which consisted of lettuce, croutons (or "hot bread" as the Chase Crawford waiter dearly called it), a poached egg and bacon. Joe declared it the best execution of eggs and bacon ever.
Quenelle of fish
I had a quenelle of fish for my main dish. I have no idea what was in it and I don't really want to know. Very tasty though. The dish had the texture of mashed potatoes and was covered in bubbling cheese. Since I'm bound to enjoy anything dripping with cheese, I liked it.
Andouillette with mustard sauce
Joe had this supremely attractive dish of andouillette with mustard sauce, which he claimed was delicious. Joe was too proud to ask for translations and we're still not quite sure what this was made out of. Joe thinks perhaps tripe. And we will pause here for a chorus of dry heaving.
Soufflé of vegetables
We had two complementary dishes, this souffle of vegetables and a baked potato filled with mashed potatoes and ham. No picture of the potato dish but I tried a few bites sans ham and thought it was tasty. Rather American-y comfort food like. The vegetable dish was also good and I promptly ate my half and eyed Joe's.
Baked apples with black currant sorbet
Dessert for Joe was some sort of traditional Lyon dish consisting of "hot apples" (Chase Crawford waiter quote) and black current sorbet. I ended up liking it better than my dessert, which was some sort of ice cream dish that was not exactly ice cream and was covered in caramel sauce. Obviously it was tasty but I wouldn't order it again. But then again, I'm not a huge fan of ice cream.
Lyon at night
We only had the day to spend in Lyon and I would like to spend a day or two more there -- there were many shops that I did not subject Joe to shopping in and much good food to try. Perhaps more Chase Crawford-esque waiters to discover. Kidding! The center of town is well kept, clean and good for walking. Not to mention there's somewhere delicious to eat about every 5 feet. Conclusion: thumbs up!