Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 13, 2005
As it was, she was right. We had so successfully melted into rural Luberon ways that a visit to the big city jarred completely. Traffic queues? Underground parking? Crowds? It was all wrong. The kerbs were too high for the buggy; it was freezing in the shadowy narrow streets and too bright in the sun. Luckily, we’ve been together long enough to recognize where this day was going if we didn’t take remedial action. When the going gets tough, the tough get lunch.
A quick piece of map work got us to the Cours Mirabeau, stylish epicenter of all that is Aix. This is where one sits behind one’s shades and is seen loitering over your mouthful of coffee. The Blonde donned her sunglasses, adopted her best aloof French-café face, and selected our venue, just enough shade for the boy, just enough exposure for us. After an artful promenade or two up and down the avenue, we settled on Le Grillon.
The crowded terrace of Le Grillon was far too chic to have its elegant lines marred by anything as crass as a high chair, so the Tomato had to make do with his buggy and we had to settle for a table out in the social tundra of the terrace. Behind her shades, the Blonde remained inscrutable, her antipathy towards Aix vindicated. The boy shared his mother’s disgust and his grumbling from somewhere below the table continued until he got his baguette. The meal would have to be very special to please this audience.
The set menu offered a choice of three starters and three mains. The Blonde opted for Salade Camarguaise, a dish she did not anticipate to be quite as cold beef-orientated as it proved to be. My coarse pâté was much preferred and, therefore, much shared. For the main course, I continued my exploration of offal and enjoyed a delicious boudin (black pudding) with apple sauce. I recommend you abandon any squeamishness you may have and indulge; leftover animal has rarely been put to such good use. The Blonde claimed her cod was equally delicious, but her glances at my pudding left me skeptical.
The stylishly slow service gave us plenty of time to glance around surreptitiously and gauge our position in the fashion strata. This traditional French pastime whiled away the crème caramel course, too.
Le Grillon is a famous café on the Champs Elysées of the south, so around €17 a head for lunch is only to be expected.
From journal Provence in Six Lunches