French Food Roadtrip 6 – Lyon and Grenoble
Whenever I am in Lyon (France) I need to go at least once to the Brasserie Georges. I got acquainted with this place twice actually before I could remember enough to become so attracted to it whenever in the vicinity, almost like iron powder to a magnet. Now I have even turned my dad into an aficionado. But come on! Look at this place. It’s like eating in a train station hall… with a hundred other people… in the 30s. Quite steampunk, so to speak. They also brew their own beers: always a blonde, a brune and a wheat/white, adding a seasonal one for good measure. If the beer is not amazing or anything that will have me discuss flavours for hours on end, it is just plain good. And it goes fantastically well with the food. “Brasseries” in France are not always what the name advertises, i.e. they most often do not brew beer on site. That is what “brasserie” means: brewery. Most of the time it is just a place where one can indeed drink beer but also get food that used to be cooked in breweries: traditional, everyday, simple cooking. Delicious cooking, that is. Being in Lyon of course it is based on pork cuisine. And “dans le cochon tout est bon !“, isn’t it?
I opted for a saucisson pistaché et sa purée de pommes de terre maison (sausage (yes, again… I’m an addict) made with pistachios and a side of mashed potatoes mashed with a fork, not a vegetable mill! in a restaurant…) and a fondant au chocolat et caramel au beurre salé (lava cake with chocolate and salted butter caramel). Of course we had a sample of the local brews but also a sip of the house red wine to go with cheese, a Côtes du Rhone as anything else here would be silly.
I was a bit disappointed that nobody got treated with a birthday cake that day. Indeed, it comes with the full monty: music from an ancient automated pipe organ, dimmed lights and the whole place clapping. The birthday cake is always une omelette norvégienne which is what Northern American people call a baked Alaska, do not ask me the reason for the two names and their difference… I would certainly not like to be the one receiving the, er, attention but it is always nice to see a maître-d’ in full uniform with bow tie and all, dashing along the aisles yelling with the cake lit with sparking magnesium rods. The whole thing lasts for a minute maximum and then all goes back to normal, the buzz of conversation and sound of waiters swooshing by the tables until another one comes.
To be complete we would have had to spend the night in Lyon and go for dinner in a bouchon lyonnais. These typical restaurants, most regularly on the small side, sometimes really really small. I know one that can host maybe 12 people maximum and then you are under the impression that you are eating on the lap of your neighbour, sometimes a good thing but most often not. Bouchons (meaning “cork” by the way, as in the stuff you seal wine bottles with) only serve pork specialities: saucisson en brioche, andouillette à la moutarde, paté de tête, etc. Just thinking about it and writing it down makes me want to go back there and given that I already gained about 3 or 4 Kilos it would be a mistake…
However we had to go on because we were expected for apéritif and dinner at my best friend’s place, close by Grenoble.
We stayed there a couple of days to rest a bit and gather ourselves for the rest of the trip Northwards. We had some extremely good homemade food: amongst other we were treated to a fantastic ratatouille (which, as everybody found of rats who cook know, is pretty tough to make very good) accompanying a roti d’agneau (roasted lamb, baked in the oven with thyme), some amazing cheeses and the wine that goes with it (or the other way round). The ratatouille was especially nice. The cook did not just dumped all veggies in a pot and wait, she browned the eggplant and zucchini in separate pans, only putting them in the final cast iron pot at the appropriate time to keep texture and not mix flavours too much. Such a simple dish but so delicious when well made. She had to omit bell peppers as I cannot stand the damn thing though. Many would cry for heresy but I’d glove them to a duel any time, my choice of weapon.
We contributed with our own brew, a Chocolate Stout brought all the way from Vancouver, BC, and some sample of patisseries bought from a local bakery… These individual cakes can be almost art and get better and better the more you go towards the North of France. Some argue the in the South they cannot make good cakes, something to do with the climate I gather.
Read the Entire French Food Roadtrip
After a couple of train rides we will arrive at our second stop: Txot Sidreria in Figueras, city of Salvator Dalí for the ones amongst you readership with a fancy for psychedelic painting. To be noted that this rather small Catalan town sports the world famous Dalí museum (yes, the one with the bathroom sculpted on the ceiling of some room, go figure…) However we were there to catch a car ride to the South of France but not before stopping for some new-school tapas and Basque Cider! Basque Country cider in Catalunya, you got to be kidding me!
After dragging ourselves out of the Cider-induced madhouse of Dali’s Figueres,we venture to the third stop on the French Food Roadtrip: a small house in the Pyrénées.
What could be better than that – A small house in the mountains? Oh yes, stop 4 on the French Food Roadtrip: Roussillon and the Sea.
After refreshing ourselves at Roussillon and the seaside, now it is time to move on and jump in the mix of French Food Roadtrip 5 – Center of la France!
This is getting intense people & I think you can feel it. Now that we survived Lyon by protecting ourselves with some of the best local cuisine, wine and beer we venture to French Food Roadtrip 7 – le Buget and Montbéliard in le Jura.
What is Choucroute? Come with us and find out on the French Food Roadtrip 8 – La Maison de la Choucroute in Strasbourg
And finally–though this is not the end–we must finish our French Food Roadtrip 9 – En passant par la Lorraine.