Our peripatetic Senior France correspondents, Ross Eisenbrey and Barbara Somson settled down for a bit in Port Vendres, a city on the Mediterranean in southeastern France, where the mountains come down to meet the Mediterranean. They were just across the border with Catalonia, the northeastern corner of Spain, and the Catalan influence naturally bleeds into France. Barbara reports
from the pretty little Pyrénées town of Cèret, where Picasso and other early 20th c. painters spent time over a number of years.
I’d done some research and decided to try a well-reviewed vegetarian place called Le Chien du Pascale, but when we got there it wasn’t open for business that day. A woman came to the door, however, so we asked her if she could recommend another place for lunch and she did: La Galerie, a new place a short walk away.
We joined everyone else sitting outside next to a burbling fountain that had been installed in the 20th century in recognition of the group of farmers who, in the mid-19th century, had pooled their resources to finance a collective irrigation system that doubled the yield of the cherries and apricots that the town is known for.
We each ordered the “formule” — a fixed price meal, required by French law to be offered by restaurants serving lunch or dinner.
The first shot shows our entrees (in English, appetizers):
Ross had a vegetable feuillete (flaky pastry) with goat cheese and a delicious sauce [in the background]; mine was ripe local tomatoes and creamy mozzarella with a yummy figgy sauce [foreground].
The next picture is Ross polishing off “the best French fries I’ve had in my life” faster than I could snap.
They were served alongside sauteed Iberico pork and a light curry dip for the potatoes.
My plat was an artfully presented and delicious grilled dorade (sea bream) with creamy whipped potatoes-and-carrots.
I had the two-course formule, while Ross sprang for the one with dessert. Look at that dessert!
In the center is an airy pastry covered in berry sauce, assisted on either side by a mountain of fresh whipped cream, sprinkled with both almonds and pistachios, and garnished with cherry syrup. Doesn’t he look happy?
Ah! They both had every reason to be happy.
I may need to visit Cèret, but should I go in through the Spanish gate
or the French gate?
I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it
but no bungee jumping for me.
If I go I will eat at La Galerie.
And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state or country for good restaurants (in Europe, usually close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.