France Nov 2014: Bordeaux food and drink

Bordeaux Beer Shop – walking down Rue des Faures toward the Basilica of St. Michael I noticed the word ‘beer’ out of the corner of my eye. Leandra was across the street and chatting with the American expat owner a minute later! The shop has an international selection of beers, but we were most interested in bringing home a few French craft beers. We found a nice lemony saison, a cognac-barrel aged beer, and a black ale from La Débauche. A nice little store, we were happy to have stumbled across it.

craft beer shop!

Wine More Time – With an hour and half before dinner we choose Wine More Time to try some local wines. And this is where we first ran into the wine bar laws of Bordeaux – basically, you have to order food in order to drink wine at a wine bar. Thankfully, they had an inexpensive cheese and meat plate specifically designed to meet the minimum requirement by law, but it was a surprising thing for a town in France, much less a premier wine region. Leandra selected a French white for me and opted for one of the Bordeaux selections for herself.

[Leandra’s Note: Later that evening, we tried to grab a table at another wine bar after dinner for a nightcap and were told (again) that we had to buy food to stay. Except this place didn’t have any low cost options, and since we were full, we skipped it. A frustrating policy to be sure.]

Le Parlement Des Gravesthe oysters are all mine! – our hotel recommended this restaurant a few doors down after they could not get us reservations at several other places. (Next time we’ll be sure to make restaurant reservations at least several days in advance!)

I ordered the oysters as my appetizer purely for Leandra, who was quite happy with the plate of nine – almost a meal in itself! We couldn’t believe that this many oysters had the same equivalence on the prie fix menu as a salad.

Our mains were solid, I had the entrecôte steak and Leandra choose the petite duck breast. We also ordered a 500mL bottle of a Bordeaux red that went nicely with our meal.

The service here was friendly if a bit scattered. They readily replaced Leandra’s first choice of appetizer as the fish ‘stew’ was essentially underseasoned broth with nothing in it but then disappeared after dinner, so we opted to change my three courses into two and get the check. They did come by with a selection of cheeses eventually and we got a little of each – the blue was the best by far. We will likely skip a future return visit.

Jean d’Alos cheese shop – Leandra wanted to pick up some cheese for a snack and this fromagerie came highly recommended on several websites. Put it this way- you can smell the shop from outside, so you know the cheese has to be good. Although there was a bit of a communication problem (Leandra: No, I am not asking to try the cheese, can you describe it to me?) she managed to leave with a nicely aged goat cheese that didn’t break the bank.

goat cheese! (@ Fromagerie Jean D'Alos)

Paul Bakery – tasty breakfast pastries with several locations around the city. We recommend the apple-filled tart and pain au chocolat.

Le Wine Bar – Learning the previous day’s lesson about wine bars, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch sharing a generous Italian meat and cheese plate while trying some local wines. Our corner table provided a nice view of the street that made for great people watching. Although it is a small place, it never got too crowded and people definitely stayed for a few hours. I don’t know what the standard is for glasses of wine per person per ordered food item but we each had two glasses with no trouble. :)

Le Wine Bar   Le Wine Bar

meet and cheese plate @ Le Wine Bar

Cambridge Arms Pub – a serviceable English-style pub about one mile from old town, this was a welcome respite from the shopping crowds on Saturday. Several ales and ciders on draft made for a good place to rest our feet in the late afternoon.

ceiling flags @ Cambridge Arms