Brains. Yes ladies and gentlemen, The Libertine has added that to the extensive catalogue of items he’s consumed. Lamb brains, to be exact. And let me tell you, they were spectacular. Reminiscent of both sweetbreads and scallops or fried oysters, but infinitely tender, not the least bit slimy or tough. Rich beyond belief, but not heavy.
This particular meal was served with macaroni gratin and bookended by a starter of escargot with mushrooms and thick pork sausage stewed in a rich bourgogne red wine sauce and ended with fromage blanc aux lyonnaise, a sort of sour cream and chive dip to conquer all others. The vat of fried pork skins as tableside munchies was a new experience as well.
This was but one of several meals had in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Having collected The Magistrate from Geneva, the decision was made to escape the confines of the swiss franc most rapidly. Lyon had never stood out in my mind as somewhere I really needed to go. I imagined it as a medium sized, slightly dirty industrial city, but I relented and we were off.
I hope the city forgives me my ignorance as I extol their virtues here.
To start, the city is beautiful. Clean, large, not terribly difficult to navigate, filling a valley occupied by the Rhone and Saone rivers, with mountains on some sides an Mont Blanc visible in the distance on clear days. Lyon also possesses easily the fastest, most efficient, most enjoyable public transportation system The Libertine has encountered anywhere in his travels. Every person of authority involved in transportation the world over should come to Lyon and just ride the metro and the trams for an afternoon.
But enough of that. Efficiency is only appreciated by The Libertine because it delivers us to our next visceral indulgence more rapidly.
That particular one would be dinner at Leon de Lyon, a former Michelin starred restaurant who gave it back to relieve some pressure. Repackaged as a traditional brasserie and located in a small alley, it was exactly the French meal needed on that rainy evening. Stewed lamb shank with perfectly finished risotto and asparagus. Hearty and rich, but not overpowering, with a staff that went out of their way to help The Libertine and The Magistrate with problems unrelated to our dining experience.
The township is young and vibrant, fun, not too expensive, beautiful, and loaded with food beyond your imagination. The Libertine will most certainly be making a return trip, hopefully for an extended time.
After 2 nights in Lyon, we continued on to Beaune, in Burgundy. After a day spent partially laughing at The Libertines hilarious lack of basic childhood skills, dinner arrived and we settled into Restaurant les Vignes Rouge.
To start, I had escargot in a light cream sauce with chantrelles while my companion dined upon eggs poached in Bourgogne wine sauce with pearl onions. The snails were perfectly cooked, fully purged, and the sauce was shockingly weightless and delicious. The eggs were, without question, the best poaching we’ve ever encountered and the sauce rich and complimentary.
For a main course, The Magistrate ordered the classic Coq au Vin, which… was classic. Everything that dish should. I ordered a ribeye with sauce d’eppoisses(my favorite cheese.) It came slightly tough, but perfectly cooked and the sauce was divine.
We finished with a trio of desserts. A perfectly cooked anise scented creme brûlée, fresh local pears poached in Pinot noir, and a caramel fig ice cream, all served upon individual slate trays(added to the list of things needed for JHACASS HQ.)
Eastern France has charmed us in exactly the way we had hoped. Now we are off to Paris. We’ll see what sort of hedonistic darkness we can bring to the “City of Light.”
Au revoir my friends, and I suppose I shall see you all soon in the great nation of Texas.