Monday and Tuesday October 17-18, 2011 – Lazy days, great meal

Monday – With both of us still feeling under the weather (whatever has hit us is really strange, with relapses, ups and downs, etc.) we decided to spend the day around the mas, working on a few items and getting ready for having guests over on Wednesday night.

I made a salad for lunch which David devoured – cheese, shrimp, avocado, shallots, onion, tomato, and several greens. I also put out some sliced ham and cheese to nibble on with a dollop of Amora mustard. The produce here is incredibly fresh, and the shallots very pungent. The Amora also seems to have more of a bite than the jars we get at home. In any event, everything disappeared and we returned to relaxing.

We suddenly noticed that the day had slipped away, and it was almost 6pm. Time to think about dinner.

We decided to go into Eygalieres and try la Petite Table, a small restaurant we had dined at in May when it was located in a tiny old house near the church. The meal and service had been good, and only the limited wine list a drawback. Now they have moved into an old house in the center of town, so off we went.

The dining room has been tastefully done in soft greys and beige, giving a very peaceful feeling. The furnishings are good, very classy, but comfortable. We started with two kirs, and perused the menu, which had a number of excellent choices on it, and reasonable pricing – 39 Euros for a full dinner. The amusee bouche arrived, and was quite unique. First there was cotton candy wrapped around a stick and small piece of foie gras – a wonderful blending of tastes. Then there were three small dishes with a wide variety of tastes: a creme brulee, a pumpkin soup, and sardine, olive, and capers on a light puff pastry. An interesting mix of flavors, and all were excellent.

I skipped a starter, and David had the oeuf parfait – a poached egg with mushrooms, which he thought was very nice. For the main course we both had the cod, which was light and moist with a creme sauce. On the side was a small helping of pomme puree – mashed potatoes with butter. For wine we had a Chateau Romanin white. After having had their nice rosé this was a bit of a disappointment. It lacked any real character.

The service was friendly and efficient, and, all in all, we feel this restaurant will be successful in tiny, upscale Eygalieres .

Tuesday – After dialysis, I was still feeling as though I was in a relapse situation and David had improved somewhat. We decided not press our luck and go sightseeing and opted to finish the shopping for tomorrows meal at the mas with Christine, Philippe, and Jean-Pierre. David had gone out early in St. Remy to look for a few items, and found that the downside of fresh, local-only produce is that when something is out of season, it’s unavailable. He could not get any raw crevettes (shrimp), nor could he find asparagus (pas le saison) except for some interesting looking stalks almost an inch in diameter. We’ll try peeling and splitting them. He found Buratta at Maison Monique, the fromages store in St. Remy, and some good jambon cru at his favorite ham store. He also got some nice sausages for appetizers.

My inspiration was to go to the huge Geant Casino in Salon de Provence that we had found last trip. Anything we needed, we should be able to find there. Lo, we found uncooked frozen tiger shrimp which he will peel, de-vein, and brine for my scampi; fresh taggliatelle; prosciutto (in case the jambon cru doesn’t work), salad stuff, and supplies for the mas.

Then it was in the car, over the Alpilles, and back to toss the stuff in the fridge before having lunch in Eygalieres. All that is left is the right wines, and panko (good luck explaining that in French).

For lunch we grabbed a table at the Bar le Progress on the main street. I ordered beef carpaccio and frites; David ordered an omelette jambon with frites, but decided to try a “light appetizer” of anchoiade (a sort of paste made from anchovy, garlic, capers, and olive oil.) His anchoiade was delicious, but could have fed three for a full lunch, with endive, carrots, cucumber, celery, toast, and more for dipping and scooping. It was too late to cancel the omelette, so we did our best to eat what we could before burping our way back to the mas. The carafe of local rosé was – bland – but for four Euros, who can complain.

after a quick stop at the boulangerie for a baguette and wonderful sacrastain almonde, we wandered back to the mas in mid afternoon, and got our plan in order for tomorrow: what dishes we will make, who will prep what, etc. David will process the shrimp, removing the heads and shells, cleaning and deveining, then brining. Our 1200 grams should yield around 1.5 lbs of shrimp for the dish. He will also peel the asparagus and get them ready for cooking. I will do all of the sauces, the salad, and the garlic bread. We need some nice wines, which we will get tomorrow with a bunch of other last-minute items. Voila.

Still full from lunch, we decided just to head to the Cafe for a carafe of wine. patrick joined us, and we spent more time than we had planned enjoying his company and learning more about France and the French way of life. The cafe  bought us a final round, which we finished with a toast to them. They have become friends and greet us every day. Then we wound our way back to the mas and turned in.

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