A WEEKEND IN BORDEAUX I: THE FOOD
I recently completed a pilgrimage to Bordeaux, here is a summary of my journey to the sacred city of wine to encourage like minded believers in food & wine to do the same.
Saturday morning, I awoke with a foggy head and an empty stomach thanks to the impromptu club night at the hands of Agathe & Christian, some locals who insisted on showing us a good time which climaxed with us being ushered into Black Diamond, a small discotheque with decent music, apparently the most exclusive spot in town. The only way to cure my current state was to get dressed and get some grub.
The marché des capucins is one of the oldest food markets still standing in the region, tracing its roots as a daily food market back to 1797, the name capucins refers to the hoods worn by the Italian capuchin monks whose hats resemble the iconic pointy roof of the market. Today the stalls are filled with fresh produce, cheese, wine and other specialities of the region, the perfect shopping ground for a Mystery Bag meal.
I opted for the scenic route down the Garonne river passing the iconic water mirror at place de la bourse ending with a breathtaking view of the gothic style cathedral. The walk was about 30 minutes and gave a snapshot of the bordelaise spirit, youthful, gay and inventive. There was a chap on a bicycle who whizzed by with a large shopping trolley, half full, tied to the back of his bike frame. He skillfully swerved in and out of the walkers, joggers and rollerbladers all the time keeping the tow rope taught to maintain control. A group of young girls sat down just off the path chatting away eating noodles while the hyperactive one amongst them ran round in circles chasing pigeons like a game of duck duck goose. The fresh air certainly did our heads a world of good, however it also amplified our hunger.
A quick zip through the market led us to Bistro Poulette a small eatery specialising in mussels & chips. The place was packed with couples, families and friends slurping up the mussels and chatting away, it looked perfect. Lucky enough there were two free spaces beside the kitchen, orders were placed as quickly as we sat down. Moules marinière, chips and a crisp white wine. The meal was beautiful in its simplicity, every mussel mouthful packed with flavour and every chip crunchy & sweet with no need for condiments. Before we knew it the bottom of the 1.5l pot became visible and an overwhelming feeling of anxiety crept in at the thought of finishing so soon.The only way to overcome it was to order another a bowl. And that we did. This was truly an ode to the French classic.
Time passed us by without warning, we made the acquaintance of the trio of hepatitis specialists sat next to us and before we knew it the market stalls were closing. Any thoughts of doing a mystery bag for my travel buddy went out the window. Nevertheless, Stomachs full and spirits high we wandered out of the market and strolled through the old town taking in the sights, smells and feeling of pre-Christmas Bordeaux. After a nap and some of Bordeaux’s finest it was dinner time and time for another French classic l’Entrecote. We waited for over an hour as the doors revolved letting one couple out and one couple in, family out family in. All these people, myself included queue because L’entrecote never disappoints. There’s a set menu, walnut salad for starters, followed by some thinly sliced steak in the most delicious herby meat sauce with sweet and crispy chips, followed by some thinly sliced steak in the most delicious herby meat sauce with sweet and crispy chips. No that’s not a typo, the food is so good they literally serve it to you twice! Two fairly large servings of perfection. The fries in entrecôte are mouthwatering but it is that secret sauce shrouded in over 50 years of secrecy that steals the show. After all that food the waitresses play a cruel game of “dessert or no dessert”. At this point the mere thought of more food is enough to make any human gag, those who opt for dessert either have 4 stomachs or a