Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Panoramic Pau

Five hours on the TGV, we found ourselves in a compartment full of Sisters and their teen-age apprentis (apprentices) headed to Lourdes no doubt. The trip was quite pleasant, really. And much better than a 10 hour car ride. Plus, we were "blessed" with some gregorian chant practice along the way which helped nod me off to sleep, I must admit!

We arrived just in time for lunch and we headed straight over to our favorite restaurant in Pau, Au Fin Gourmet. It's conveniently located just across the street from Gare de Pau (Pau train station). Unfortunately, I was too taken in by the moment to think about taking any pictures of what we ate! The meal was superb and I can at least describe it to you:

Entrée (1st course) - langoustines (tails of small-lobster) in a farce fine (fine cream-based fish stuffing) which was enrobed by a layer of spagetti, and served with a lobster sauce. The spaghettis were pre-cooked and individually "glued" together to hold the form and to hold the prized langoustine inside....amazing.
Plat (main course) - bonite avec qq (tuna with I don't remember what)! Very good anyway.
Dessert - A roasted, caramalized white peach encovered with phylo dough sitting on a bed of riz de lait (rice pudding), with a caramel sauce. Outstanding. I'm not usually a riz de lait gal, except when it comes to passing the CAP exam (!!), but this one was de-li-cous!

After lunch, we talked with frères Ithurriague, owners of the Au Fin Gourmet restaurant (brothers Christian - front service; Patrick - Patisserie; Laurent - chef de cuisine). They are the ones who catered our wedding. They are also the ones who allowed me to come into their kitchen for a 1-week stage (student work) nearly two years ago when I was just starting my culinary classes at Ecole Ferrandi. That had been the first time I worked in a professional kitchen. It was an amazing experience for me and I'll always be appreciative of their generosity & encouragement.

Then we had an equally amazing dinner at home chez LaSalle. We repeated this pattern every day we were there! Eating well is very important in France. Actually, eating is just the excuse to spend quality time with good people!

What does Pau mean to me?

Panoramic views of the Pyrenées, inviting, warm, palm trees. Sunshine. Relaxing. Fresh air. Above all else, it's the most hospitable place I have ever visited in France. It's where we go once a year. It's where Jean et Raymonde live. Which explains the hospitality part.

Restaurant Au Fin Gourmet
24, avenue Gaston Lacoste
64000 Pau
Tél. 05 59 27 47 71

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