(A couple weeks ago now… )
Detached and half sleeping, I am patient for my triple espresso to come to my rescue. It’s the day after the centennial celebration of the world’s most famous cycling race, and I am tired. Still, sleeping past 10a seems hardly an option with just a few short days to take it all in, so I disregard the fact that my friend and I were up till 4a with room service, since no one was open to feed our munchy mouths, and I look forward to the day ahead.
We pull it together and go for a walk along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower. On the way, we note quaint urban box gardens to the side. I didn’t recall that last time, and was not altogether different from the urban local food revolution going on in our own country’s bustling cities as well as urban spaces. We came up a little restaurant near the Pont du Alexandre III and stopped for lunch. In nothing more than simple metal mixing bowls, fresh picked leaves of lettuce were piled high with some veggies and a light balsamic. Nothing ever tasted so good on a hot, sizzling day with the Seine meeting our gazes.
We prattled on about the night before. The funny moments, the memorable… but mostly words cannot really put it into more than a play of pieces.The best though? Watching Millar break from the pack gave a thrill for the finish we all hoped to see! It didn’t matter that he didn’t win. What mattered was that he took a chance and held strong on his own for many miles round the Champs Elysees.
That night, Jonathan and I introduced my friend to our favorite restaurant: Chez Dumonet Josephine. It was sweltering inside, but there were no tables to be had outside. Still, sweating or not, I had to get the best Boeuf Bourgognon in the world. Finally, the waiter explained that the table outside was reserved for anyone who might come in that smokes. I told him I would start immediately if that increased our chances. He laughed, walked away and then returned to take us to the table outside. The temperature fell, it was glorious, and the beouf is still as I remember… the best. He pulled a bottle of 1995 Chateau Boyd-Cantenac for us to share– a 3rd growth from Margaux I never had to this point. A superb vintage, this wine was showing like perfection. Letting its belt a little loose on the tannin, it still held tight to the fruit that gave it youth and poetry. At nearly 16 years, it’s what you want all well-aged Bordeaux to demonstrate. Elegance and power.
The night ended with Calvados, Cognac, mille foiuelles and souffle. We were stuffed to the brim, happy as kids and ready for bed. We had a long journey ahead in the morning to the best place on earth: Avignon.