Monday, October 10, 2011

Best Meal in Bordeaux: at Gravelier

Actually, the meal I had at Gravelier was the the best of its class that I had during my recent 2-week jaunt through Europe and the UK. Thank you, Pierre (owner of the 18th Century barn of a house that BB and KG swapped homes with), for the great recommendation. It almost redeems you for your peculiar hoarding-tendencies. Anyway, back to Gravelier.

What a fab meal it was. In fact, I'll let the pictures speak to how formidable it was ... in flavor, color and texture as well as unique and complementary combinations.

For example, creamy foie gras wrapped in nori, sitting in the lightest dashi-vegetable broth, accompanied by a skewered shrimp brushed lightly with teriyaki sauce sitting atop thin, extra-crisp brioche toastettes. A surprising appetizer that absolutely worked.

Buttery fresh pasta with a bolognese sauce and a crown of peppery arugula accompanied by a chunk of moist fish flavored with a nutty pesto.

An amazing umami-esque dish of mushroom and tuna medallions.

A lovely medley of fromage, vegetables and proteins including tender pieces of lamb and beef.

Dessert is not Gravelier's forte, but I still appreciated this palmier-like pastry with gelee of fruit with melons suspended inside. Light and airy, fresh and clean. A good ending to a fantabulous meal.

The other dessert option was also solid: marinated minted peaches with grapes in deep-fried puff pastry and a little bit of ice cream on top.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oyster-mania in Bordeaux

The day I spent trailing on the garde manger station of a Manhattan restaurant where oysters made up one-fifth of the orders hitting the kitchen came in handy during my week's stay in the Bordeaux countryside when BB, KG and I had oysters not once, but four times. No one knew how to shuck the shellfish except me (though BB was a quick study)and in most cases, the lusciously salty-sweet oysters were hard nuts to crack.

But man were they cheap. And the nice man at the Libourne open market gave us an even better deal on our first go at the bivalves, giving us the oysters priced at 4.5 euros/dozen for 4 euros, and throwing in a couple extra for good measure.

We rounded out our midday repast with a crisp, dry white wine, a lovely pate, plus a creamy fresh mound of burrata with melons, tomatoes and basil from the garden.

Honestly some of the best oysters I've ever had.

BB scored an even better deal on his second trip to the market, picking up two dozen assorted oysters that were equally as fantabulous for just 7 euros. Wowza.

Flanked with a lovely portion of paella, the oysters were one of the highlights of my trip to Bordeaux.