Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Saying goodbye to friends…for now

We woke to a beautiful fall day, sunny and in the low 70s, perfect. We had three things to accomplish today, decide where to have lunch, stop at the wine shop, and have dinner with Christine and Phillipe at la Riboto.

Wednesdays in Eygalieres most of the restaurants are closed. We knew the le Progres Bar in town was open so if we didn’t find another restaurant we’d stop there. We considered St. Remy but it was market day and the town would be overrun with stalls and people shopping, so we ambled into town and discovered that the Brasserie de L’Eygalieres was open. We picked a table outside and perused the menu. As always, they have a very nice luncheon menu.

David started with the smoked salmon cannelloni which he said was excellent, small, light, with a medley of tastes. I passed on the appetizer, and we both ordered the steak, cooked bleu, of course, with a bottle of Valdition rose. We had a leisurely luncheon followed by a cafe noir. The food and service were good, but I thought the lunch prices were as high as some restaurants charge for dinner.

Then it was off to the wine shop to select a nice wine as a gift for Philippe and Christine. We walked over and found it closed, but reopening at 3:30. With nothing else on our agenda we went back to the mas and caught up on emails and things.

Before heading to la Riboto we stopped at the wine shop and David went in to pick out a nice bottle of red for Philippe and Christine, settling on the best red of the region, Domaine Trevallon. Mission accomplished, it was the time to head over the Alpilles to la Riboto. As we arrived we were greeted by Fred, their big, happy doggy, who is the official welcoming committee at la Riboto. Christine was busy on the phone, and Philippe came out of the kitchen in his apron. He said he was preparing a simple one-dish Provencal dinner. Philippe had selected a wonderful 1997 Beaune Clos des Mouches white Burgundy wine to have with our appetizers of cheese wafers and green olives. We all sat outside with our cocktails while Fred was romping and playing.

Philippe announced that dinner was ready and we all went inside to eat. He presented us with his version of a simple one-dish meal. I’d call it elegant with a beautiful aroma. The dish consisted of a variety of vegetables and merlu (a white fish). The meal was excellent – tasty, savory and visually appealing. It reminded us that Philippe, among his many talents, is an excellent chef, more than capable of holding his own as a professional. Another white Burgundy, this one a ’97 Drouhin Mersault les Perrieres, was the perfect accompaniment for our meal.

We spent the dinner chatting more about the plans for la Riboto after it closes in December. The troglodyte caves and the current house which Christine’s mother lives in will become rentals, probably under the banner “Taven Properties.” Given their impeccable taste and attention to detail and quality, no doubt Christine and Philippe will create a wonderful haven for people wishing to rent in les Baux. We hope to stay with them next year. We are also looking forward to hosting them in Boca Raton.

Reluctantly, we wound up our evening with our delightful friends, saying goodbye until we see them again in May, and pointed our Audi ark back to Eygalieres.

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