Friday, April 24, 2015

Euro Spring 2015 - Part 30 - The Gastronomic Acorn Falls Not Far From The Tree

Where Our Heroes Find
  • A way to return to their roots
  • The upside to discount airline weight restrictions
  • That there will be serious sibling gastronomic compettion
  • The effect of the full weight of social pressure
  • A wealth of cuddles and snuggles
We're leaving the rental in Belgium early tomorrow morning so there was a lot of getting ready to go today.  Wife and I wanted to do some shopping for things that are hard to get in the US.  I decided I wanted to get some of the Ardennes Ham that the 3's had bought yesterday to bring home.  The drive to the little town not far from us was actually one of the nicer ones and as Wife and I were on our own we could stop and do some picture taking.  It was back to our photographer and camera Sherpa roots with me happily having to drive back and forth to find a place to pull of so Wife could get the best shot. 

Happy local butcher who makes all his own cured pork products

I loved this guy because he had this wonderful self-deprecating attitude of a person who really knows his craft.  I mentioned that my daughter had come by yesterday and bought some of his ham and we'd had it and loved it.  He said "Oui, sais pas mal" "Yes, it isn't bad".  Then he had be try something else, a salami type sausage and said, "Pas mal, n'est-ce pas?"  'Not bad eh?"  I smiled and said "Ouis, sais pas mal de tout." "No, not bad at all."  

This is the kind of tiny personal interaction that makes traveling so special for me.

Then we went on to our local supermarket the Carrefour...sorry not Super U's here in Belgium :(  We we wanted to by some chocolate and some flavor bases by Maggi that I can't find in the US.  I've found that the French style plain dark chocolate with whole nuts is far and way my favorite and stock up on it when I can.  As we had to restrict our weight for our Air Malta flights, we have more than enough weight allowance on our US flight to stock up.

Some of you may recall in posts past my discussing daughter #2 as being my foodie ally in arms.  I believe #3 has taken this as a serious challenge and has become a major contender.  There was hardly a day that went by on this trip that she wasn't up for a nice lunch and we wanted to try a place that was just a 10 minute walk from our rental.  

I have gone into a number of these meals with #3 with the best of intentions of maybe eating just a little bit less.  But all it takes is #3 suggesting (as she did today), "Shall we have an aperitif?" or saying, "Well I want a first course" for me to cave in like a French Army in WWII.  The food today was very good.  There were errors such as I thought the sauces were a bit heavy and overly floury but a number of the preparations were very good indeed.  Also, this place was sooooo child friendly.  There was only one other couple in the restaurant and they had a whole room of toys just for kids to play with.  How thoughtful was that!

Allez-y - on to the meal!

Relatively horrible attempt to get whole family in picture
This is just the start of what will be a 3 hour meal

Frogs legs in a curry sauce with some crisped Ardennes Ham

A potage of tomato
Little 3.2 has become a soup fanatic and ate almost all of this

A scallop dish with a sauce that I forget

Fried goat cheese - this was our favorite of the appetizers

Jambonneau - a local dish I saw on virtually every menu while we were here.
It is a should joint of a small pig, cured, and then braised.  This had a mustard sauce.  The meal was excellent.

Salmon filet - loved the way they made the salads so artistic (even if that made them a bit of a pain to eat)

Trout Almondine - Both of the fish were very good

Rack of Lamb - thought this was slightly overcooked

This is a place that take pride in the potato and offered a variety of them.

Dauphinois potatoes (a kind of scalloped potatoes from the Alpine area of France)

Rosti style potatoes - a Swiss preparation that takes already baked potatoes and then hashes them and fries them.

We thought these looked like foodservice bought products but they were really good.

And of course Frites
(Our conclusion of this area is that the Dutch and Flemish are better frites makers)

3.1 insisted that her new Sangelier be part of the dinner

Bonjours Michelle.  Ca va?

"Mais non Monsieur.  No.  I am a wild boar, a Sangelier.  But the little girl, she has given me a female name.  But a boar is male.  So what can I do?  Peut-etre I weel have to become a cross dresser...Michelle the Drag Sangelier.  C'est triste.  It is a sad fate for a wild boar.  More wine S'il vous plait."

The perfect end to the meal

Wine and cuddles

We staggered back after our meal and spent the afternoon doing packing and spending a lot of time playing with our grandchildren.

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