As you drive to Orgon for shopping, baguettes, gazole, or the like, you pass a curious building with a collection of old cars sitting outside, and a hodge-podge of signs promoting a “Musée Automotive,” café, nightclub, etc. We have come to love and enjoy this quirky local hangout, and decided to go with our friend Patrick tonight to enjoy it. But first…
Mid-morning we headed down the road to Mas de la Rose for a farewell lunch at Potager du Mas, probably our favorite dining spot in the area. The gardens which supply the restaurant are starting to put forth an increasing volume of vegetables and fruits, and we wandered around marveling at how they could be so successful growing everything when we cannot get astro-turf to stay alive. The strawberries are out and beautiful, so we made a mental note to have a strawberry dessert.
A warm welcome from Franck, and a table inside (the winds were still blowing a bit), and we were off on another wonderful dining experience.
I decided to again go with the “Farm Menu,” as it had been so wonderful last time. The entrée was the same – sort of – a tarte tomates, but the eggplant was replaced by courgette (zucchini) and a light tempura-battered zucchini blossom adorned the top of the dish. It’s very difficult to do right, usually either soggy with oil or burned, but this was done perfectly. For my plat, I went with the cabillaud (cod), again done marvelously – moist, flaky, and tender, with just a hint of sauce to give it some zip.
David has always loved the poached farm egg here, as the presentation is stunning. He followed with a roast turbot. For dessert, we shared a small bowl of pears and fresh strawberries from the garden. A bottle of l’Eole rosé was perfect with both of our dishes, a vineyard that David was not very familiar with, but is becoming a favorite.
Franck joined us for a bit, discussing the upcoming weekend wedding for 100 people that they are hosting, and his plans to return to Florida in December/January for up to two months. We invited him to spend a weekend with us when he arrives, and he told us to count on it.
Then, it was on our way, back to Eygaliéres to pick up a few items. We parked ourselves at our usual table at Café du Centre and David went next door to the Guinot beauty shop to get me nail polish remover (solvent du vernais a ongles.) Proud of his accomplishments of a) going into a women’s beauty store without me, and b) figuring out the French for nail polish remover (almost as difficult as asking how to make a cold fusion device), he proudly presented me with the small but fashionable Guinot bag with the precious (acetone-and-GMO-free) solvent.
Then, it was back to the mas for a few minutes to get everything squared away and we were off to Orgon and the Musée Automotive.
Patrick was already there, eyeing some of the old cars. The Musée has several parts – a showroom with restored classic cars that can be purchased, a row of old cars awaiting restoration or sale, a shop where major restoration work is done (Pierre, the owner, was currently restoring a 1953 Chrysler Town & Country wagon,) and a bar/café/nightclub, including an outdoor terrace. The bar/club inside hosts bands and parties, and for a while Pierre had toyed with having David’s college rock band, the Pineapples, play there. No money, but all the wine and frites they could eat. It didn’t go forward, but was sort of a neat idea.
David and Patrick eyed a 1930s vintage Morgan three-wheeler. It has a two-cylinder engine in the front of its torpedo-shaped body and looks like a glorified soapbox racer. Spying a part on the ground next to it, David and Patrick convulsed with laughter about typical British workmanship.
We spent some time in the museum section to see what is new. There were a number of beautifully-restored vintage cars, including the centerpiece, a 1963 Buick Wildcat, which – typical of cars of the mid-60s – was about 90 ft. long, but had a trunk only big enough to hold three normal size tea bags. Pierre told David that it had Buick’s famous “454” engine, the only one in France, and that the car had been purchased new in France in 1963. He is the second owner. The engine talk lead Pierre and David to lapse into some kind of car-babble, talking about valves, camshafts, and the fact that Pierre is restoring the “331 hemi” engine for the Town and Country. They might as well have been talking about building a warp drive.
We sat at a table outside on the terrace, and Pierre brought a bottle of rosé, some peanuts, hunks of cheese, and charcuterie. As the evening wore on, this was followed by two more bottles of wine and two plates of frites, some of the best I have had in France. Pierre dropped by from time to time to join in the conversation.
Lots of laughs with Patrick, and a wonderful comment from him that he always checked the schedule for guests in the mas to see when we were coming, because he enjoyed us. “You are old, but fun,” was the way he put it – sort of like saying “you’re dead but no longer have tooth decay.”
Finally, with fond farewells, we headed back down the road to the mas. David and Patrick might have a bit of a hangover tomorrow, but – one of the few good things about dialysis – I will not.