We woke with great plans of visiting L’Isle -sur- la-Sorgue, a beautiful village interlaced with branches of the river Sorgue that resemble canals, hence earning it the nickname, the “Venice of Provence.” As Sunday is market day there, we planned to snoop around all the vendors stalls and spend a leisurely day. As we were about to leave, torrents of rain came down, which called for a quick back-up plan. We thought maybe a trip to Molleges as the village was holding a “vide grenier” (which translates to “empty attic.”) We gave that about three minutes thought and decided to head where our stomachs told us — time for lunch!
We have quite a few good dining choices in Eygalieres but honed in on our friend Alex’s place, Bistrot L’Aubergine for our first lunch in town. We love the cozy and simple restaurant setting with dining on the terrace or inside, and the food is terrific. Alex greeted us warmly and couldn’t keep the big news from us, his restaurant got listed in the Michelin 2013 Guide. Quite an accomplishment and compliment, with quite a nice write-up too.
After catching up, we got down to serious business, choosing what to eat. While we were reviewing his new menu, Alex brought out a wooden plank laden with an assortment of green olives, meat terrine, ham, tapenade, crostini, and tiny muffins of olive bread. It is his new amusé bouche, and gives a wonderful assortment of flavors to start the meal. As Morel mushrooms are briefly in season, I decided to have the filet with mushrooms, while David opted for the heart of tuna. We ordered our meals, two kirs to start, and a bottle of Mas St. Berthe rosé. Alex has done a nice job of refining his menu, and Veerle, his sous chef, does an excellent job executing each dish. Our meals were both very good. The frites with my steak were so good I had to ask how they were made. The secret, boiling the potatoes first, then lightly frying them, then crisping them in the oven. The result is frites that are very light and crispy without being soggy or oily.
While we’re not normally dessert eaters, Alex convinced David to try their apple tart, which was superb. With this quality, the excellent atmosphere and service, and the reasonable pricing, business will only get better for him.
A light drizzle was still falling when we left, so we headed back to the mas, leaving touring and sight-seeing for better weather. We puttered around the mas, putting things away and getting everything set up to our liking, then, spotting Patrick the property manager outside, we invited him in for a glass of wine while we caught up on all that was new with him and the mas. No major gossip. The biggest news was that the clothes washer has bitten the dust and will be replaced during the week. After a glass or two, Patrick headed off to his apartment.
Still full from lunch, we made ourselves a small snack of a baguette with ham and Emmenthal cheese and turned to the TV for entertainment. David found the Movies for Men channel, which features an endless string of awful action and western movies. We were fascinated by possibly the worst movie we’ve ever seen, an ultra low-budget Hercules epic with almost no plot and hysterically bad acting. The total budget for the script writing must have been under $100. We were about to turn it off and turn in, when something even worse came on, Death Car on the Freeway, a mindless 70s saga about a TV reporter pursuing the story of a “mystery van” driven by a psycho who attacks cars driven by “aggressive women,” while playing bluegrass fiddle music on his stereo. The cast included every “B” and “C” level actor imaginable: Shelley Hack, Peter Graves, Morgan Brittany, Frank Gorshin, Dinah Shore, Barbara Rush, George Hamilton, Abe Vigoda, and Harriet Nelson as a blind landlady who, despite her blindness, directs Hack by pointing and saying “go over there.”. We were almost tempted to drink gallons of coffee and stick needles in our cheeks so we could stay awake long enough to watch a young Lee van Cleef as Captain Apache, but decided that a classic of this stature would surely be shown again during our stay.
So with strains of bluegrass fiddle coming from the grille of a mysterious blue van wafting through our heads, we turned in. Tomorrow is another day that may bring sun, but definitely more incredibly bad films on Movies for Men.