after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

France Days 4-5 (Burgundy!)

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t says:  Our little side-trip to Burgundy was kinda-sorta awesome …

First off – the TGV puts Amtrak to shame.  You buy tickets online, you get assigned/reserved seats (woohoo!).  All the trains we saw were on time, including ours (woohoo!).  The trains travel of >250 km/h (woohoo!).  Really … it was exactly how a means of transportation should operate.  True, it was spendy at ~50 Euro, but it was totally worth it.

After arriving, we checked into our bed and breakfast, which was humorous primarily because there were no signs for the BnB anywhere.  Furthermore, the older lady working at what seemed to be a pool supplies store, did not parlez l’Anglais.  She instinctively pointed to the 2nd floor of her building which was indeed where our bed and breakfast (Les Chambres de l’Imprimerie) was.  Fortunately, even though g had some initial concern (she always has “initial concern” with every place I choose), the room was off the hook (as with nearly every place I choose).  The room we stayed in (the “printer’s room”) is the first pic on the tripadvisor page … and looked exactly like the picture.  It was well-appointed, well-temperatured, and ginormous.  It was a little dark in there (lots of black), but in the early morning, that was beneficial (it was super-dark!).  Furthermore, there were cute niceties:

cute, right?

cute, right?

After checking in, we ventured into Beaune for a bite to eat.  It’s a shame that the town was essentially a ghosttown!  No shops were open, and half the restaurants (that we knew of) were closed.  Fortunately, we were told of La Part des Anges, which was indeed open.  And so, g and I were the only other table in the entire restaurant … that was weird (to this day, we’re not sure why it was so dead around there!)

g went with shrimp and risotto

g went with shrimp and risotto

lentils

i went with what turned out to be an escargots sandwich over lentils – it was SUPER-good – perhaps not quite the tenderness of Bibou’s, but a deeply flavored sauce

chocolate "pudding"

we finished with chocolate “pudding”, which ended up being more like a molten chocolate souffle (not as good as bw’s but they did give us two orders for the price of one, so how could i complain?)

It actually turned out to be quite a nice lunch.  Even the “cheap” wine we got (a crisp Burgundian chardonnay) was nice … even if it was still ~$9/glass.

After lunch, we trolled around town and eventually wound up at Hospices de Beaune, which was originally a hospital for the poor.  Nowadays, it’s primarily known for a huge wine auction.  It was a super-impressive building and had a fun audio tour (with voices!).

panoramic view of the main room where patients would go

panoramic view of the main room where patients would go (yea, i had a LOT of fun with my iPhone on this trip)

We then proceeded to a wine tasting at La Cave de l’Ange Gardien.  Unlike the tripadvisor page’s main photo, it’s actually far more like a warehouse (much larger, and more grey).  The tasting was led by a 70-something year old dude who was hilarious (he spoke English and French and who knows what other languages).  He waxes poetic about each wine’s flavors and tosses in anecdotes.  Basically, it was a 17-wine tasting, lasting 3 hours (and we only left because we had to go to dinner!), and it was free.  That’s right: free.  CRAZY!  If at the end of this tasting, you didn’t know what Red and White Burgundies tasted like, then you just weren’t going to get it.  It was very informative and we’d totally go again!

Dinner was at Le P’tit Paradis., a restaurant that was way-hidden in Beaune.  It was located down this super-tiny street, sitting pretty much by itself in the dark.  g and I felt like we were in a super-secret restaurant (once again, there was only one other couple in there – also America), but sadly, the food was unremarkable – so unremarkable that the only pic I’m posting is my dessert:

nutella creme brulee ... with POP ROCKS

nutella creme brulee … with POP ROCKS … do pop rocks make a dessert like this janky as hell?  sure!  but it was still fun!  g pointed out that, technically, it didn’t follow the real rules of a creme brulee, as it was clearly pre-made and refrigerated rather than made on the spot and torched (i.e. the sides of the ramekin were chilly), but am I going to argue with a glob of chocolate-hazelnut?  nope!

4 French cheeses that killed it

g finished with 4 French cheeses that killed it – we were both full and still continued to eat

The following day, we started with breakfast (it was pretty good – not as fresh as our BnB in Paris, but respectable!  the home-made jams were OUT OF CONTROL!) and began touring with Sebastien (he was the husband of Marie, who ran the BnB operations).  I”m 94% sure that Sebastien is a real-life “Transporter” as he regaled us with tails of driving Carla Bruni and wealthy businessmen in their Ferraris around Spain … and the best part is that he, like his wife, were so incredibly nice.  And the tour was fantastic – we visited two vineyards (one small – Domaine Amiot, and one large – Chateau Meursault).  Really, the saddest part of our Burgundy trip is knowing that when we return, surely their BnB and touring operation will most definitely be way more expensive as other people catch on … :’-(

the tasting at Amiot

Domaine Amiot is a property in/at Chassagne-Montrachet.  The owner was super-nice (while still maintaining his French-ness) and the wines demonstrated a huge variation in terroir.  We ultimately brought home a bottle of the Vielles Vignes because it was approachable now (and was the best combination of a “g+t wine” and “Burgundian Chardonnay”.  Overall a fabulous tasting experience.

Chateau Meursault’s wines weren’t particularly remarkable (or at least, the ones we tasted).  I was tempted by one of their 1er Crus, but at 75 Euro, it was a bit rich for my blood …

Lunch (included in the tour) was at Michelin-starred Loiseau des Vignes.  It was a fabulous meal, opening with a multi-layer soup (a light, whipped mushroom soup over a bed of lentils), followed by duck:

duck

fabulous duck – once again tougher than the duck breast I’m used to in the States, but with sharper knives, we demolished it

g's favorite dessert of the trip: chestnut millefeuille

g’s favorite dessert of the trip: chestnut millefeuille – a perfect combination of delicate and soulful … and with chocolate!! yay!

We concluded our tour with visiting some shops in Beaune … which was remarkable because unlike the previous day, they were all open!  What the heck!?  Where were all these people yesterday??  In any case, we visited an awesome bookstore (Athenaeum), a great cheese shop (where we saw all the cheeses we had the night before as well as an assortment of Dijon Mustards … made in BEAUNE!), fabulous wine shops, charcuterie shops …  Man – it was great!  We could have spent a day going from shop to shop to explore (hell – I could have spent a day in the bookstore alone – it had all kinds of great wine gadgetry!).

And with that, we TGV’d it back to Paris – no fuss, no muss.

We met up with drb and ate at the restaurant around the corner from our Paris BnB: Bitrot La Pendule Occitane, which was recommended by our BnB guys.  For an off-the-cuff meal, it was fabulous!

escargs

these escargs (my new word for escargots) were absolutely fabulous – the best we had on our entire trip.  g pointed out that “they taste just like garlic, butter, and parsley” … as if that were a bad thing … they were great!  we followed this up with steak tartare, a burger, and a steak – all of which were done quite nicely (drb was impressed with the sheer quantity of tartare he received).  this was a great place.

wine

2010 Graves – a fabulous daily-drinker of a Bordeaux

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

31 March 2013 at 9:54am

Posted in Happenings

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