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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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Gourmet Moments – Part Two

<img src=/"fork.jpg"alt="fork"/>

My most memorable French meal(so far) was, unbelieveably, “sans fromage.” It began in the office of my pal the Chiropractor, Bob Caires.

< img src=/"sailboat.jpg"alt="sailboat"/>Nicknamed “Capt’n Bob” for his sailing obession. (Hey – what else would you expect from a Portuguese-Hawaiian?)

The good Doctor had come in on his day off to lay healing hands on “the-man-who-comes-from-far.” (And pays with a chicken.) An hour past rendezvous –no sign of chicken man. Bob’s eyes glaze over with the “I’d rather be sailing look.” I play the straight man: “So…..uh….where’s the wind today?” “On vacation.” He replies morosely. Staring vacantly ahead, it’s clear the Capt’n’s enthusiasm for this day, is as becalmed as his boat.

How to pull him out of his funk? Only one arrow left in my meger quiver of possibilities. A longshot. But my only one. “Why don’t you call Olivier?” Bob has heard this suggestion often. And always found a reason not to call. But today, his face lights up like a New Year’s roman candle. Becalmed funk be history! Bob’s tempermental Peugeot, obviously sensing the importance of this mission, behaved as a Lady should.

<img src=/"snotty-blonde.jpg"alt=snottyblonde"/>Bob’s other lady – “Wally” (A strange nickname for a Catherine Deneuve clone n’est ce pas?) – was pacing in small,tight circles as We pulled in beside an expensive, red Italian something. Her considerable beauty could not completely mask the reality that inside, She had more free-floating anxiety than a netless tightrope walker.

Bob, the original Mr. Hang Loose”, slid out of the Puegeot, like He was body surfing at Waikiki. (Do opposites really attract?….uh…….yup!) The maitre’d sniffed imperiously as We approached. Obviously Wally was not the object of his disdain. Favoring us with his best industrial smile He huffed: “Et vous…………………dans le liste?” Mr. Hang Loose just smiled. “Monsieur Cares.”

The gatekeeper scanned “le liste” theatrically. Then slowly, raising his head, mouth open, his face became that of one who thinks he is eating a radish, but, is, in fact, chomping the World’s hottest Chili Pepper. “Oui… Monsieur Cares!…….Absolutement, Monsieur Cares!!…..Sil Vous Plait ….attendre une petit seconde !!! With Olympic speed He bolted inside.

<img src=/"smiling-chef.jpg"alt="smilingchef"/>Seconds later, a beaming Olivier emerged in his chef’s whites. Striding toward us, arms outstretched. “Cher Bob! Quelle honor!!” After kissing Bob on both cheeks, Olivier delicately clasped Wally’s hands, and arching his head as He gave her an appreciate “once over” purred: “Madame…vous etre trop beaux!” Wally smiled demurely. But did’nt contradict him. Quelle surprise!

As Olivier led us to our sea-view corner table,<img src=/"sea-view-table.jog"alt="seaview-table"/> the assembled multitude were transfixed. Naturally wondering : “Are they………….’somebody?’”    Well,…..Wally could have been an actress/singer/news reader. But, Bob and I? Talk about an “odd couple.” He’s dark and  medium. I’m tall and blonde. And neither of us, as presentable as We were, would have been mistaken for GQ cover boys. But then, whenever I’ve  spotted somebody who’s…..well…..“somebody”, they’re usually so “dressed down”, that it takes a while to grok their “somebody-ness.”

< img src=/"gourmet-meal.jpg"alt="gourmetmeal"/>I won’t bore you with a course by course run-down. Suffice to say – this was Olivier’s “Tour de Fork.” We were denied menus. The great man simply kept the great grub comin’. Accompanied by appropriate wines of all colors. (And there are more than three.) Served in Crystal, Gold and Silver. Two waiters and a waitress hovered constantly.

Undeniably, this spectacle was unexpected entertainment for our dining partners. Brains strained attempting to nail our “somebody-ness.” Their puzzlement was only half of my entertainment. The better half being contributed by Wally. With her constant whine that this could’nt possibly be “on the house.” As indeed it was. And had been for the two years that Bob had been “quacking” Olivier’s back.

< img src=/"cookie-basket.jpg"alt="cookiebasket"/>Our “Grande Bouffe” began around one. By five thirty, only We remained. Olivier, ferrying a wicker basket of freshly baked goodies, joined us for b.s. and coffee.

The next night I was back in my little kitchen in Bob’s office. Sitting at the postage stamp table with the red and white checked plastic “cloth.” I had some bread and reasonable wine. Judy, Bob’s receptionist, had left a tin of something her girls would’nt eat.< img src=/"fois-gras.jpg"alt="foisgras"/>

Fois gras du Canard.

And so it glows.

Still Hungry? – then you might want to read part one.


What are ya thinkin’?

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11 Responses to “Gourmet Moments – Part Two”

  1. andy bannerton says:

    I can imagine this as a TV comedy segment. Totally.

  2. byron allen says:

    there seems to be no end to your adventures…for which i for one
    am glad (and i’m probably not the only one either!)

  3. cindy deniso says:

    Sounds like a great meal! I bet it was a hoot with all the people wondering if you were movie stars or something. Too cool!

  4. mario silverstri says:

    you were living the life all of us dream of.

  5. claudia marantz says:

    I love your adaptablity…or should I say..your ability to enjoy at whatever level you find yourself. Whether it’s in the fancy restaurant or in the tiny kitchen with the plastic tablecloth.

    All too few of us can appreciate to your extent, i think. By the way _ how was the fois gras?

  6. tellman pederson says:

    i can relate to your enjoyment of the other diners wondering if they should ask you for a autograph. it happens to me all the time, because (so they tell me) i bear a striking resemblance to
    one of the today’s big movie stars.

  7. cammie andervillet says:

    i think it’s great the way you let us know that there’s more than one definition of luxury.

  8. edouard yamaguchi says:

    another great tale of adventure – as we’ve come to expect from you.
    would have liked a little more detail about the meal…maybe next time?

  9. susan tait says:

    In all of your posts, but especially this one…I really get the feeling of being there. Except for the wine, of course!

  10. sabrina markozy says:

    reminds me of the style of Peter Mayles…..but, of course i’m not saying an imitation of him (lol) …just the kind of quirky characters he includes in his tales….and i guess you both experience….tho’ I don’t hear much about him lately……is he still writing?

  11. jean luc deboeuf says:

    To answer your commenter Sabrina : Peter Mayles, now in his 70’s is still writing….although I don’t know if he has a book out now….
    He lives in the village of Lourmarin, in, of course, Provence.

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