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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 44.8374, -0.576144
In a former life, I once called Middle Earth home - it was a tough time, as I was an outcast because I was so tiny. I was a hobo, aimlessly wandering across the land, from Mordor to Gondor to Rivendell, and finally, to the Shire. Luckily for me, the Hobbits took pity on me and took me in because I was sort of close to their size, and me and a young Hobbit named Frodo became tight like brothers.
Oh, the crap we used to get into with Samwise, Merry, and Pip ... and when we thought things couldn't get any more insane, Gandalf the Grey would show up with his pipe and ... well, let's just say that it was rarely tobacco that he was smoking! Too bad we all had a falling out when he became Gandalf the White, and thought he was too cool for us - but that's a story for another time ...
We used to hike up Mount Doom all the time, picnicking along the way, and stopping for tea at the top with Sauron. Don't be surprised by that, and don't believe all that you hear about Sauron - he's a
Chez Jean Mi ...
... breakfast #2 - oysters and wine!
bit like the Lindsay Lohan of Middle Earth, vilified and ruined by the media and the paparazzi. He's actually a pretty cool guy, but just a bit misunderstood ...
None of it was his fault, because we all would have ended up like that, had our home been ruined. You see, Mount Doom used to be a paradise, and the number one tourist attraction in Middle Earth - a lot like Banff is to Albertans. But just like Banff, it all went to hell, when it got overrun by evil - in the form of massive Asian tour groups! So what if Sauron flipped out and killed a bunch of them? You know how annoying those tour groups can be! Who can blame him?
But I digress ... back to the point of my Hobbit anecdotes - it was on these many treks up Mount Doom that they taught me the two most important of life's lessons. The first was second breakfast. And the second was third breakfast. And that's the knowledge that I imparted on the boys today, at Bordeaux's killer Marche des Capucins, the best possible cure for our jet lag-induced hangover.
The sights and sounds of a legit European
Phenomenal-Looking Tarts ...
... we never got to sample these at this patisserie, only some disappointing croissants and pains au chocolat.
market - a legit FRENCH market - are second to none. Everything on display was the best of the best, the freshest of the fresh, the tastiest of the tasty - it's where we had a first breakfast of killer galettes and cafe cremes, served up by a veritable master of the crepe stone.
The guy was actually disabled, and had only the use of one hand to prepare all four of our meals, but was like a magician in the kitchen, whipping out galettes better than most could turn out with the four hands. There may not be a more quintessentially French breakfast than what we had this morning, but that was still only a prelude to our second breakfast ...
... oysters with wine! Though we were all stuffed from the first breakfast, we couldn't turn down what was our true target at the market. Again, the oysters weren't properly separated from the shell, leading us to believe that this happens to be the local style. They were far brinier than last night's, and much tastier, though far from the best that any of us have had before. But you can't beat the price - 6 Euros for
Prelude to a Kiss ...
... from the loveliest Spanish senorita named Pintxo, the sexiest and most desirable in all of Spain. She's everywhere in San Sebastian, the Basque version of the tapa - everybody was supremely tempted by this display at Marche des Capucins, but we cautioned them against sampling any. Though surely delicious, this could never compare to the gourmet delights to be found in San Sebastian's pintxo bars - best to wait for the real thing that would come in a few days time.
a half dozen with a glass of wine? We felt like we robbed the restaurant!
Perhaps the oysters were better today because of one important ingredient that was missing from last night - Tabasco sauce! It was comical watching John try to ask for the ultimate oyster enhancer, first querying about the availability of hot sauce, which was only met with puzzled looks from the waitstaff. After much gesturing and discussion, in a last ditch attempt, John threw out the word "Tabasco".
"Tah bah skoh? Ah! Tah bah skoh!!!", in an a-ha moment of Newtonian proportions, a bottle of Tabasco sauce fell on our heads, drizzled itself all over our oysters, and ended up in our satisfied bellies. So you'd think that after a galette, a cafe creme, six oysters, a glass of wine, and some market samples, that we'd be done, right? Hell, no! Like the Hobbits taught us, this was all only a prelude to ... third breakfast!
We had now been in France almost 24 hours, and had yet to sample a flaky, heavenly croissant or pain au chocolat. This could not continue any longer, so we had to hit up a patisserie, only to be ... supremely disappointed.
Bright Red Funky Tomatoes ...
... the tomatoes on display at the market looked supremely tasty, including this slightly unusual variety. We never did get to sample this kind, only the more common types available, which weren't quite as delicious as their appearance suggested.
In France, the odds of having a crappy tart like we did last night, and a crappy pain au chocolat like we did today, only hours apart, is infinitesimally small. But it happened! WTF??!!!??
The food in Bordeaux has been a bit bizarre, so far - in the land of France, it's virtually impossible to have a subpar meal outside of the touristy areas, and very difficult to not have almost every meal be mind-blowingly good. But that somehow happened today after lunch at La Pie Colette, our second mediocre meal in the past 24 hours. It appears that we have stepped through a portal to a dimension of pure evil, where fantastic French cuisine is not to be found on every street corner. Oh, the horror!!!
Fortunately for us, we managed to eventually find a way out of the culinary equivalent of Superman's Phantom Zone, where, instead of hurtling through space and time while stuck inside of a shard of crystal, we were trapped inside of a soggy, chewy mediocre pain au chocolat! Our escape was to the town of Bouliac, to Le Saint James to sample one of Bordeaux's numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.
After dinner, yet another evening passed out without
Bright Orange Chicken Breasts ...
... positively vibrant in comparison to what we get back home. It almost makes you think there is something wrong with it, but the truth is that this is probably far superior to what you would find at your local North American supermarket.
us hitting up the clubs. I'll cut Justin some slack since he had just arrived today from Canada, and called it an early night. But these other pansies ... I'll only cut them a bit of slack because we at least spent the remainder of the night drinking beer and smoking cigars on Bordeaux's riverfront!
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