When I went restaurant shopping (that is to say, perusing all the menus posted in restaurant windows to find promising candidates for dinner), I was pretty uninspired in Bordeaux. Unlike every other region I had visited thus far, I didn't see any unique, regional dishes (with one exception, salade landaise: green salad with poultry gizzards) - just lots of enormous cuts of beef. Eventually I realized that most of these cuts of beef advertised that they were grilled, but you can get a steak anywhere in France so calling the regional specialty a grilled steak seemed a tenuous distinction at best.
Enter Le Grill Au Thym - The Grill of Thyme. (The pun on "the grill of time" works in French, too, by the way.) While most menus I saw were variations on the choices of oversized steaks, this restaurant offered a prix-fixe menu with boudin aux pommes - blood sausage with apples - as an option for the plat. Bingo! That, plus the stickers in the window, sold me.
I could have opted for a salade landaise for my entrée, but after my double-tripe mishap, I felt one adventurous dish per meal would suffice, thankyouverymuch. So instead, I went for the salade des foies de volailles:
Foie means liver, and volaille means poultry, so this is a salad with chicken livers (because they're so much more mundane than gizzards). The liver was very smooth in texture, and tasted a little charred - this place wasn't kidding: everything was prepared on the grill. From her seat, my mom had a view of the grillmaster at work, flipping huge racks of meat with his bare hands, adding a little salt here and some herbs there, turning out dish after mouth-watering dish, all with a side of mashed potatoes from a huge vat.
My mom chose the garbure, which, in the tradition of all good French soups, was served in an enormous terrine:
Garbure is a soup of cabbage, vegetables, and preserved meats from Gascony in southwestern France. This version had cabbage, onion, potato, carrot, and herbs in a meat stock. Rustic, hearty, and sounding pretty perfect to me as I write this in Michigan in February on the eve of the biggest snowstorm of the season.
And then, the pièce de résistance, my boudin aux pommes:
This was not the prettiest dish I ate, but oh, was it good. My super juicy sausage and apples were cooked in a tin foil package to keep the juices in while heating over the grill. The sausage was huge - maybe two inches in diameter - and cut into slices to cook. The apples were perfectly caramelized, barely tart. The sausage was a little sweet and kind of mellow and impossible for me to describe sufficiently, so you just need to go have some blood sausage yourself because oh my, when combined with the apple, this was heaven on a plate. I ate wayyy more than strictly necessary, because it was just impossible to stop. This definitely ranked among the top dishes I ate in France. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it. Anyone know where I can get fresh blood sausage in the US???
After a huge dinner, I was glad I could get a sorbet citron for dessert:
This lemon sorbet was light and cool and refreshing with lots of lemon zest. A nice ending to a spectacular meal.
After dinner, we waddled to the mirroir d'eau once again, which was luckily just a minute or two from the restaurant, to see it lit up in the evening lights. I'm so glad we did - it was stunning.
What a change from a few hours earlier with the nekkid kiddos. So calm and austere and lovely.
Coming soon: More nekkid kiddos. And fresh, hot-from-the-oven bread. And enough with this French nonsense, time for some Greek food!