Thursday, May 12, 2011 – Adieu, Jacques et Betty

Up early and off to the clinic in Salon, where David dropped me off then drove back to Eygalieres where he picked up fresh pastries for Jack & Betty’s last breakfast in the mas. They were up early and packing, and appreciated the pain au chocolat and sacrastain.

As they had a 12:40 TGV to Paris from the Gare Central in Avignon, David was going to have to do quite a bit of driving to get them there, then come and get me. He gave Camilla a few extra scones, and laced her morning tea with rum, then it was off to Avignon. They arrived at the gare (train station) just before 11:00, which gave Jack & Betty some time to spend before their train left at 12:39. Then David gave Camilla another drink and they headed off to wind their way out of the center of Avignon to find the A7 Autoroute to Salon de Provence.

Once out of Avignon, the drive was simple  but scary – south 40 km on the A7 dodging the amateur Alain Prosts and huge trucks until one of the Salon de Provence exits, then meander to the ATMIR center. David made it in good time, and we were off on our way back to the mas, now strangely quiet with just the two of us.

After a short stop at the mas, we headed off to St. Remy in hopes of a nice lunch at Bistrot Decouverte, one of our favorites. While strolling through the town on our way, we passed an interesting looking place – Bistrot du Marie — with seating outside on a shaded terrace. A couple at one of the tables gestured to us and gave us a thumbs up, and the menu looked nice, so we decided to try it. The food was terrific. The menu for 25 Euros had a choice of two appetizers and two main courses and two desserts. I went with the garden salad with asparagus and burrata cheese. Burrata is normally found in southern Italy, so I was interested in having it here. It was terrific, and the salad fresh and crisp. David had aubergine and tomato with cheeses, served in a small crock. It was almost like a ratatouille. I tasted a bit, and it was wonderful. For the main course, we both passed on the roast veal and opted for the penne with chicken and mushrooms. It was a good choice. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the chicken tender and flavorful, and the mushrooms earthy and delicious. The dish was topped off with lemon juice, which gave it a real freshness and enhanced the flavors. Our desserts – cherries with mango sorbet for David, and chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream for me – made for a wonderful meal. A chilled bottle of Chateau d’Estoublon rose went perfectly with the meal.

Afterwards, we wandered a bit in St. Remy, going down some of the old winding streets past the museum des Alpilles and the Hotel de Sade (yes, that de Sade). Then it was back to the car and Camilla, who had lunched on a special Brit meal we treated her to for all her hard work – boiled mutton, and shrimp in sawdust, plus a glass of sherry. She was burping with delight as we eased out of our parking spot, and napped the whole way home.

Then it was time to upload some photos and get the blog back to speed. Still full from lunch, we opted for a light evening snack of a baguette with some jambon a l’os (ham cooked on the bone) with Amora mustard. Our fridge looks empty, so tomorrow one of our tasks will be to stock it.

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