Friday, May 28, 2010

I could get used to this.





No sooner had we sat down on the terrace for a pre-dinner drink than the skies clouded over and it started to rain. Within a minute the town emptied of tourists and a serene calm descended on the squares and boulevards. None of this bothered Wilf who was being royally entertained by the waiting staff on the broad balcony of the restaurant. While we dined inside he was feasting on a low-protein meal of fish and rice followed by a low fat yoghurt specially prepared in the hotel kitchens. Despite firm instructions that he was not to be pampered ,the kitchen staff , Michelin chef included, would appear every ten or so minutes to chat with him and illicitly slip heaven alone knows what calorie enhanced goodies in his direction .

From Wilfs position on the first floor he could look through the balustrade to see who was entering and leaving the hotel. This activity and the onerous responsibility that went with it kept him fully occupied for the full three hours that we were in the dining room. From time to time he would cast a half reproachful glance through the French doors in our direction until another member of staff arrived and he would reprise his ' I'm an orphan, please feed me' routine . Being France none of the other diners thought that this behaviour on the part of dog, staff or owners was in the slightest bit strange. Quite a difference from Scotland where the presence of a dog in a hotel would cause much tutting and murmuring about health, cleanliness and sanitation.

Dinner started with a preamble that " dining in the restaurant was like eating with friends. There would be no menu, the chef would just serve the freshest of todays produce. However, if we had any allergies then we should let the kitchen know and it would be taken into account". My response ' Aye, I'm allergic to the prices' elicited a quick kick on the ankle from 'the font' and a blank, unhumoured look from the maitre'd.

When I was a boy spume was the off white frothy foam that used to be found on beaches at the high water mark. These days spume has clearly become an intrinsic part of dining. My fish was submerged under melon spume while 'the fonts' poached egg (believe it or not the chefs speciality) swam in a sea of fennel spume.A wonderful, carefully prepared, delicious meal, but very spume heavy.

21 comments:

  1. Those little orphan eyes will get extra helpings every time and it sounds to us like Wilf sure knows how to work his to his best benefit☺

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  2. Well Angus, regarding attitudes to prices, and to adapt a well known saying, you can take the Scot out Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out of the Scot....
    Cheers! Gail and Bertie.

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  3. Aaah, spume supreme.--can't quite picture the egg. Next we'll be hearing that Wilf is on a strict diet. Oh well, enjoy it while you can, little dog.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

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  4. It appears Wilf had the best seat in the house and I bet unaware of the prices...
    Susan x

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  5. Sounds like anyone could get used to that. I love the attitude toward us canines in France. What a good idea you had in moving there.They are a shining example to the rest of the world.

    wags, Lola

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  6. Despite the prices, everyone is having a good time...I mean, look at the view! And other than the spume (which just sounds disgusting!) the meal described would be good, too, near an open door on the balcony. Wilf is going to be in for a rude awakening when he gets back home, I suspect!

    Liz

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  7. Hmmm, then I guess all that foam on the beach the other evening--as if the ocean was topped off like an enormous Guiness--was really a culinary delicacy! Those photos of the town are travelogue perfect. Love how the buildings look as it they are children's toys, placed at random. You must read "Spotted in France" about an American (former neighbor) living in Paris who travels the backroads to Provence on a Vespa with his Dalmation, stopping at Michelin-starred restaurants and inns along the way. He'd receive the cool shrug until the dog was spied, then suddenly plates of foie gras and crystal bowls of Evian would appear.

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  8. Well, I'm ready to pack up right now and move to France! You make it all sound very appealing!

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  9. LOL! I'm allergic to the prices....I love it! :)

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  10. Ah, the life of a canine!

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  11. France is light years ahead of us here in the US. There'd be grumbling about health codes here too. Glad to hear you had such a nice evening!

    Wags,
    Zona

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  12. Oh dear, I just posted a comment and then it disappeared into "service unavailable."

    Do you have it???

    Joan

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  13. This is kind of what we wrote:

    Oh how envious we are -- treating dogs like the royalty they are instead of like the great unwashed.

    Wilf. enjoy every minute of the spoils on behalf of your underappreciated American canine friends who in most cases cannot enter a restaurant or, except for a few "dog-friendly" establishments, most hotels. Even where, as here in Florida, dogs are allowed with permission of the respective municipalities on the premises of a restaurant, they have to eat outside.

    We are addicted to TV food shows; but have decided that our palettes are not inclined towards the latest molecular trends in gastronomy. Thus no spume except for the kind surfacing on our ocean waves. Now buying up cases of St. Emilion, that's quite fine!

    So, ignore the prices; enjoy the treats!!

    xxx Joan

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  14. I have to say the same thing as yesterday. Oh how I wish that dogs were accepted as many places here as they are in France! And, Wilf was even pampered with a specially prepared meal. Lucky boy.

    Spume :) Never thought of it as being part of a meal!

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  15. Wilf what a wonderful time you must be having - We're betting Digby is around insuring your trip makes a wonderful memory for you....

    Not digging on the "SPUME" disgusting is not the word we would use.....

    We'll have to check on Petey's book recommendation and get our passports and learn to BARK French - oh BARK is universal.

    Glad you guys are having a nice trip!

    XXoooXXoooXxxoo

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  16. mmmm, sounds like a delicious meal, even if it was a little spume heavy. :)
    sounds like wilf has completely mastered the art of begging. i'm a sucker for sad puppy eyes. i bet he could even get my car keys for a joy ride if he tried!
    enjoy your mini holiday!
    the booker man and asa's mama

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  17. Great job conning - er - convincing the waitstaff peoples outta food, Wilf! It sounds like you were holding court - being the Royal Almighty Wilf that you are and all. hehe! Your dad is funny! Being allergic to the prices! (Even if "the font" didn't think so. Sometimes fonts don't have much of a sense of humor.)

    Wiggles & Wags,
    mayzie

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  18. Spume. Not a very appetizing word, is it? Maybe melon would be okay.

    We find Scotland to be very dog friendly, especially when compared to the good ole' USA. ( Here, we have to worry about ecoli in our spinach, but a dog near the restaurant.... Horrors! ) I remember sharing the library at Glenapp Castle with a very large, sullen Boxer one rainy afternoon.

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  19. My husband and I have a good friend who is a chef and not long ago he prepared an amuse-bouche of poached quail egg with tiny leeks and kipper spume--The jury is still out because I can be a traditionalist when it comes to food--I'm happy having a steak!! :-))
    It's great to hear that somewhere in the world a gentleman like Wilf is welcomed, places like that are few and far between here in Virginia! (I've enjoyed your pictures of St.Emilion!)

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  20. Pictures of the spume dinner!!! Please!!! Oh Wilf - lucky you to be in France! So glad they are feeding and serving you so well!
    Hugs xoxo
    Sammie

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  21. Sounds like Wilf did not starve! Bet I'd be allergic to the prices too. And then to have "spume"-melon or otherwise-not so much. Poached egg under spume a chef specialty for dinner,hu?
    I do love eggs benedict. Or a hamburger, or a pulled pork BBQ,Chicken fried steak, etc, etc. I know Soooo mundane! ;} (Really, I do like other things. Just thought I'd throw in the perceived Texas fare hahahaha)
    Loved all your pictures as usual.
    Still on our minds in Texas
    Hugs
    Jamie &Sunny&Scooter

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