LA CUISINE BOURGEOISE


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August 7th 2019
Published: August 8th 2019
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August 7, 2019

Invergordon, Scotland

Well, clearly Invergordon is an oil town. There are ENORMOUS oil derricks dotting the Firth. We came up alongside several of them as we made our way into port.

My day started with an 80-minute massage…I was Savo’d!! Strong hands and hot stones made for a very relaxing stress-free way to start my day. Blissful.

After my early morning massage (8am), I thought about grabbing a bite to eat. We don’t dock until 11 (actually docked at 10) so…it’s going to be a nightmare in the Terrace for breakfast. As I thought – lines everywhere and no tables. Waves, much the same. Too late for the Grand Dining room, so I grabbed a smoothie (now have smoothie bar in waves) a pastry – undoes the smoothie – right?? And 2 double espresso (because why not) and try to find Christopher. Back and forth to the room to see if he’s done with his poached egg and avocado toast (It’s a guess, but if I were a betting man, I’m betting on that one). Eventually back in the room and I was right, re: avocado & egg.

Christopher got his espresso and we decided to go ashore.

Well. Invergordon is a small town. Truly a charming sleepy town. There’s one streetlight. Seriously…ONE! A lot of shuttered storefronts and several homes for sale. We overheard a local talking to one of the other guests from the ship regarding locating money. ALL the banks in Invergordon are gone. Every last one! The post office operates as a bank as well. There is one ATM in town. Something tells me this town has seen better days. Of the operating storefronts several were “charity shops” bakeries, real estate offices – 2 vets, and at least three employment offices, and a treatment center for drugs use. I was crestfallen. Clearly this town was at one time dynamic, but it seems as if the majority of the oil companies have fled and the wells stopped producing (or were shut over environmental concerns).

The landscape is a gorgeous green. In fact, more shades of green than I can describe. The buildings, covered in slate roofs growing a highland moss portray a prosperous town fallen on tough times. Or, maybe I’ve got it all wrong, and it wasn’t much of a town to begin with. I can’t say for certain. I can say there is some new “posh” homes at one end of town (near the streetlight) a villa which is undergoing some construction and a dynamic tourist industry.

Most of the ship took local tours to Inverness or the last battleground on Scottish soil (1760’s or thereabouts). Evidently, the battleground is a setting for a TV show called Outland (never heard of it). Lots of tours of Inverness and such – we chose to remain close to the ship. I truly couldn’t care less about a battleground, and I’ve been to Loch Ness – beautiful country – but well, don’t want to risk missing the boat!!

We sat on the deck for a while, until it got COLD. And, the rain came – inside where we both read for a while.

Lunch in the Terrace was QUITE a bit different than breakfast. The Place was EMPTY! I think there were five or six other couples – had the place to ourselves and didn’t have to jockey for position or knock anyone over to get our desired meal….which was rather small for us both as dinner tonight is La Reserve!

More calls to the Accountant. A few calls to Christopher’s brother to deal with the accountant and time for dinner. Trust me, the accountant fiasco was OUTRAGEOUS. Christopher is very calm and composed…I KNOW the Accountant must have said some DREADFUL things for Christopher to respond in the manner he did. GLOVES. OFF! Not Pretty…and not convenient. Oh well…on we go. First world problems.

Cocktails at 5 – CLEARLY a necessity!

Dinner at 7.

OK….I haven’t mentioned this episode from a few days ago, but it now becomes important for the remainder of the evening… Have I piqued your interest?? HA!

SO…we’re on deck the first day (out of Southampton) and a woman walks by us leaving a snail trail of fragrance which sets me off coughing. She circles back and decides to sit next to us. I now have a coughing fit which devolves into an asthma attack. We have to move (and do) and I have to retrieve my inhaler. Attack calmed with my wonder-drug inhaler. Every now and again we have seen this couple and avoid them as much as possible out of preservation for my lungs. I have NO idea what the fragrance is, but trust me….whatever it is it’s RANCID! Not that it has gone bad, the fragrance itself is RANCID! AND … she must have poured the ENTIRE bottle over herself after gargling with it. OVERWHELMING!

Well….who should show up at our table for La Reserve, but this couple of the rancid fragrance. I started wheezing within minutes. Off I go to get my inhaler. Christopher, ever my protector, went up to the head waiter and asked that they either NOT be seated at our table (not possible at this point) but seated as FAR away from us as possible. I come back with my inhaler and am escorted by the head waiter to the table first. He deftly and cleverly seats everyone else making certain the couple of the rancid fragrance are far enough away. Every time I reach for my inhaler, he comes over to check to see if I’m OK. The staff were wonderful. So the couple…retired Doctor from Miami and his wife. We didn’t interact with them much as we were seated across from a LOVELY woman and her son. They both lived in the Bay Area for a long time but have since moved on to Kyoto, Japan (the son) and Colorado (Mom). She lost her husband of 68 years (married right out of high school) two years ago, so now her only child takes trips with her. LOVELY! They each have their own stateroom and socialize whenever they feel like it. We chatted with them for hours and hours. Not a moment of silence, except when we were filling our mouths with an amazing meal.

The meal….LA CUISINE BOURGEOISE

“Cuisine bourgeoise originated in the middle of the 19th century in France. It’s a cuisine rooted in simplicity, fresh ingredients, and comfort – above all else, it is a cuisine to share. Cuisine bourgeoise is the women’s cooking extolled in classic literary works such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Balzac’s Pere Goriot. It is a cuisine epitomized by le meres de Lyon, the celebrated female chefs of Lyon during the 10th and 20th centuries, and one that shaped my childhood and family traditions. It is a cuisine which honors the ritual of the table in the tradition of mothers and grandmothers. It is a cuisine to savor rather than admire or evaluate. Cuisine bourgeoise is simply happiness on a plate.” … Jacques Pepin

Dinner started with Champagne on deck 12 just outside of La Reserve. This is when I was overcome by rancid fragrance.

Le Menu:

Kir Royale

Veloute Reine-Margot: Poultry cream with vegetable julienne and pistachio diamonds - paired with Ladoucette Comte Lanford Sancerre Blanc, Loire Velley

Souffle de Homard Plaza Athenee: Maine Lobster and cheese souflee – paired with Louis Latour Meursault Chardonnay, Cote de Beaunne, Burgundy, France

Filet de Sole Brillat-Savarin: Dover Sole fillet with crustacean mousse and French black truffles - paired with Louis Latour Morey-Saint-Denis Pinot Noir, Cotes de Nuits, Burgundy, France

Filet de Boeuf Roti Richelieu: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with stuffed mushrooms, tomatoes, braised lettuce, Chateau Potatoes and Madeira Sauce – paired with Chateau Lynch-Moussas 5eme Cru Classe Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

Brie de Meaux aux Noix et Laitue: Nut-crusted Brie de Meaux with Boston Lettuce Hearts – paired with Chateau Lynch-Moussas 5eme Cru Classe Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

Omelette Siberienne: Baked Alaska with Williams Pears and Chestnut Ice Cream – paired with Chateau Laffitte-Teston Pacherenc Du Vic-Bihl, South-West, France

Petite Fours

Chouquette Aux Pralines Roses – Parisian-style pink praline cream puffs

…And THAT my friends was our dinner last night, which lasted over three hours! And is why the blog was not posted last night. We got back to the room and collapsed, on a very full stomach!!

I still smelled rancid fragrance when we got back to the room. That snail trail never grew weak! Perhaps it was scent memory…in the WORST WAY!

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