Tuesday, December 10, 2013

France 2013-12

It is not easy to get from Boston to Pau, France. First one had to go from Boston Montreal, Montreal to Paris CDG, thence to Pau.

Montreal is actually nice for a brief layover; once Customs figured out I was in-transit and not "entering" the country.

Had an excellent meal at Gastropub Cabine M - in fact one of the best meals ever at an airport restaurant. Along with a pork belly salad, had a

Creedmore Springs - Lager

Rickard/Molson - Rickard's Red

Once my baggage was ransacked at the local terminal G at CDG, there's a quick one and a half hour flight. And as we all know, seeing "Newton's Rings" from the airplane means "good luck".

Was really great along way to see at least four nuclear power plants splitting atoms, blithely uncaring that petroleum is available from the Middle East.

Pau is located near the picturesque Pyrenees mountain range; in the distance covered with snow.

The town itself was quite old, a classic European-looking town, at least in the center. The outskirts have shockingly modern buildings, especially near the airport.

Just walked around to the center of town and the castle.

The Château de Pau is a castle in the center of Pau, the capital of Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Béarn. King Henry IV was born there.

However, ran into is one major problem. There really no bars open on Sunday. One of the best beer bars - La Tireuse - was closed. Stopped at a small bar near the hotel - Clin d'Oeuil (blink of an eye).

And NO FaceBook - Bad BAD dog.

It is NOT " Clin D'oeuil" - as the "d" is lower-case and the "O" is capitalized!

Had several beers spoke the local folks including Marcel; who was quite a character and insisted on a photo with me wearing his beret.

Tried the:

Pelforth - Blonde

Affligen - Special Blonde

Pelforth - Brune - brown ale

Fischer - Desperados

yes folks, a French beer, blended with tequila. Probably quite good with spicy Mexican food or even curry, but by itself a bit overpowering.

After that very close the hotel find a place called Le Garage.

Had a fantastic duck liver burger, along with a couple beers.

Heineken France - Edelweiss - Hefeweizen

John Martins & Timmermans - Cerise - oude kriek

On the way back to the hotel, stopped in at a small magasin, et acheter, (woops, lapsed into French) store, and bought a bottle of

Fischer Tradition - Bière de Garde

The next evening after work, found a few more places were open but still quite a few places closed on Monday.

The special beer bar - La Tireuse - was still closed. Out of business? I hope not but the last review I could find was 2012...

When walking try to find a decent bar and stopped at the L'Aragon. Had an excellent dinner of pâté and roast duck.

The beers tried were Oldarki beers Now that name would never fly in America!

Oldarki - Extra Pale

Oldarki - Blonde [4,666]

On the way back to the hotel, stopped in again at the Clin d'Oeuil. The night before (hier soir) Marcel had recommended Armagnac as a "digestive".

Armagnac is a brandy, similar to Cognac. According to Wikipedia, Cardinal Prior Vital Du Four claimed it had 40 virtues:

makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits.

Would have loved to try the semi-banned gourmet dish "ortolan", which is prepared by force-feeding an Ortolan Bunting before drowning it in Armagnac and roasting it. Mmmmmmmm armgnac-drowned Bunting.... going to try it with some day with a Goldfinch.

My last day in Pau was quite a treat. We lunched at a local small gourmet restaurant.

First of all there was a duck pâté, then three different wines, lamb meat pie, and crème brûlée with pistachio nuts.

The duck pâté was absolutely unbelievable - locally raised as well as the corn used to force-feed it; such delicate flavor.

Mon Dieu. C'est marvilleux. Absolutely.

Best. Lunch. Ever. I truly mean that.

And then a small parting gift that nearly drove a friend to tears.

Then a flight to Paris, where one encountered the living hell of the shuttle bus.

Yin and Yang; tit for tat; I suppose I had to appease the gods that be for such a superbe petite dejuner.

It was supposed to 20 minute ride from the airport to the Holiday Inn. The shuttle bus stopped at one point inexplicably, but also waited at another hotel where some lady frantically kept saying "wait my friend will be coming any minute now."

Arrgh. 40+ minutes for a 20-minute shuttle. There is very fine line that separates the average person from becoming a serial killer.

Once at the hotel, realized both from fatigue and how long it would take to get there, the center Paris was not in the cards for this evening.

As it turned out, the hotel bar had several beers not tried before, as well as a decent sandwich for dinner.

Beers que j'ai buver:

Bräu Union Osterrich - Hofbräu Edelweisse - Berliner Weisse

Kronenbourg - 1664 - pils (tap)

Grimbergen - Blonde (en boutielle)

Duvel - Duvel Belgisch Speciaalbier - Belgian strong pale ale

Tomorrow - Lithuania!

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