Today mom and I took the train from Paris to Lyon. We had planned to be out the door early enough to catch the 9:54 a.m. train but we delayed to 10:54 a.m. because we also wanted our beauty rest. When we finally arrived at the Gare de Lyon, it was 11 a.m. Paris traffic: 1. Mom & me: 0. “Thankfully we didn’t buy our tickets ahead online,” mom noted aloud. She spoke too soon because we spent the next hour waiting in line to buy train tickets. Apparently the automatic ticket machines only take French credit cards (with microchips built-in), just like the machines for the vélibs (bicycle rentals) around town. Well, at least we bought our return ticket as well. This also gave us time to check out the oyster spot I read about on David’s blog.
David and I aren’t friends. Well, not yet. It is likely he doesn’t know I exist, but I’ve been following his blog for quite some time now. No, not in a stalker-ish kind of way, just a “hey I also love chocolate, awkward moments and blogging about them” kind of way. Anyhoo, turns out we are now in the same city. I secretly (well, not a secret any more) hope I can bump in to him (not literally because he thwarts pushy Parisians with his shopping basket technique) now that we’re both in Paris. I imagine it to be serendipitous, like both of us grabbing for the same bag of coarse sugar, or something along that line. But for now, I will refer to him as David because David Lebovitz requires more typing, and because I already feel comfortable with him, having read his blog for many years now.
Comme se dit metal?
Anyhoo so mom and I went to l’Européen, per this entry. Despite the forewarning one of the servers at B&G back home gave me before I left, I still ordered the oyster tasting, a dozen oysters including the no. 2 Belons David recommends. I so wanted to prove the server wrong, that not all French oysters are metallic in taste. But more importantly, I just wanted some briny, meaty suckers like the ones I crave from home. No such luck. All 12 were metallic tasting, even after I loaded up on the mignonette and lemon juice (no cocktail sauce/horseradish here). Boo! I was so sad and not to mention, a bit nauseous. I believed in David. After all, he is a San Francisco native and Hog Island oysters are tasty. I guess at the of the day, I’m still an east coast oyster gal…oh how I miss B&G.
When we finally boarded the train I passed out and missed the two hours of scenery. Perhaps sleepiness is a side effect of metallic oysters? Oh well, I’ll catch it on the way back. Our hotel, Hotel Royal, was super cute and a bit hidden. Despite the impracticality of the hotel, like the lack of shower curtain (in its place was an inadequately-sized pane of glass), the tiny elevator fit for malnourished elves, and the fact that our room was really on the 4th floor even though we were room 220 (the lounge and mezzanine levels = two extra flights of stairs; therefore I am actually on the 4th floor), I liked our hotel. Why? Well, for superficial resasons I suppose, like the framed Hermès scarves that adorned the corridors and the cutesy teddy bear key:
We were strategically located near the Place Bellecour (hours of researching Lyon the night before paid off!), just footsteps away from shopping.
There were a bunch of art galleries down the street, as well as furniture, bed linen and craft stores. If I had the carrying capacity of this backpack, I would have bought some silk sheets to bring home! After all, Lyon is famous for its silk production since the 18th century.
Hours of window shopping resulted in an awesome, timeless black leather skirt, which mom convincingly and sagaciously claimed, “It will never go out of style! AND you never have to wash it!” in addition to a new pair of sunglasses (photos to come). The service at the sunglass shop was exceptional, plus we got the last pairs of the particular styles/frames. I’m so happy I have yet to run in to a mean French shop attendant! They were all very helpful and spoke English with us, as much as I tried to speak Frenglish.
Dinner that night was at L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges , the famed Paul Bocuse restaurant. At first I tried for Nicolas Le Bec, but it was fully booked :( Must plan better next time. Maybe that was a sign that I should have just opted for a bouchon. Arf, I’m still disappointed from last night’s meal…here comes my grief, brace yourself.
The highlights of the meal:
The best [mini] baguette I’ve had yet:
Of course when in France, en doit manger le foie gras:
The not-so-high points of the meal:
Soupe aux Truffes Noires V.G.E. (Plat Créé pour l’Elysée en 1975)
Everyone always says “you eat with your eyes first”. Please, somebody enlighten me, what about this dish looks appealing? Can anyone even guess what it is?
Filets de Sole Fernand Point
A part of me wishes I appreciated this:
Sélection de Fromages frais et affinés <<Mère Richard>>
Another part of me wishes they didn’t leave the huge stinky tray next to me for an hour. Gosh, I thought I was going to pass out before dessert:
Surprisingly, the chocolate was ‘refreshing’ after my selection of Saint Marcellin, Époisses and Comté cheeses.
En fin, the meal was very heavy, dense, and overglorified, not to mention overpriced. Perhaps I lack an appreciation for traditional French fare, but I think even fundamental components of cooking such as seasoning and balance were lost in the dishes. C’est la vie.