Clinic day for me. We need to be there at 7:30 and think it is a 45 minute drive from Riboto de Taven. David said he would turn on the alarm on his Blackberry. I hear what I think is the alarm and leap out of bed looking for my clothes. David says “What are you doing?” I said getting dressed. He says it is only 4 a.m. What I heard was his notification signal that incoming e-mail had arrived. I repeated this at 5 and at 6. I finally gave up and we both got up and readied ourselves for the drive to Salon-de-Provence. Hardly any traffic, so we made great time and I arrived early. That gave me a chance to chat with the head nurse, Otilia, and the staff doctor, Dr. Esposito. It was a comfort to see the same faces and everyone wanted to hear about Rome. Luckily Otilia translated for me. The two questions most asked were “How is the food compared to France” and “Is Roma noisy?” I got settled in and before I knew it I was emailing David the time to pick me up.
David arrived at 12:30 and we decided it was time for lunch. It seems that eating food is all we are doing and thinking about. We drove to Maussane, and once again found that La Place – Oustau Baumaniere’s nice cafe in the square – was not open. We hopped down the street to Oustau Ravi de Provence – another favorite – and were told by the chef’s daughter (who now runs the place) that, although it was only 1:20, they were through serving. Fearing a repeat of the previous day with our search finding everything closed or full, David called Bistrot Mogador and – in his best “menu French” – made reservations for a table in 15 minutes.
We arrived and were given a nice shaded table under the big tree outside. The weather was gorgeous, sunny with a light breeze. We started with two kir, and ordered a bottle of their d’Estoublon rose to go with our meal. David started with Eggplant Parmesan and we both ordered Dorade for our main course. All the dishes were excellent. We enjoyed our leisurely lunch and decided to head back to Riboto, as – with our early rising(s) – it was a long day so far.
We arrived at Riboto and were greeted by Christine, Philippe, and Fred. Fred worked his wiles on David, and soon had him tossing his ball for a game of catch. Then we sat down at a table outside and caught up on all of the news about Riboto. Christine and Philippe will close the inn and restaurant at the end of the year and retire. They will convert the inn back into a residence, and Christine’s mother will move into the downstairs apartment. They will convert the two troglodyte rooms in the wall of the cliffs into an apartment with kitchen and rent it out, along with the house her mother has been occupying just below the cliffs, so while they will be retired, they will still be active and should derive a nice income from the rentals. Hopefully, we can rent from them some time in 2013. Jean Pierre has several projects he is pursuing, and it appears he will fare well with the change. Good news for all.
We went to the room to putter around and catch up on the latest from CNN until dinner time, then headed over to the dining room. With the news of their imminent closing, streams of former guests and friends have been coming to Riboto to say hello and share a dinner with Christine, Philippe, and Jean Pierre, and tonight was no exception. It was nice to see them enjoying the admiration and friendship of so many people.
We started our meal with kir for me and Champagne for David. Philippe recommended a Mas de la Dame Cuvee Stele white for the wine, and – as always – we went with his suggestion. We both began with the white eggplant, which was nice – light and flavorful – then followed with Dorade, a sea bream, also light and perfectly prepared. As always, David enjoyed Christine’s cheese board, selecting Langres, Pont Leveque, and Roquefort. Being full, I passed on the rhubarb dessert and had a small serving of sorbet. after another wonderful meal from Jean Pierre, we headed off to bed.