In which P and J venture into French Basque Country: St. Jean-de-Luz

26Oct10

FRANCIA!  FRANCE!

The land of Little Mermaid’s Les Poissons-singing chef (who still provides me with endless entertainment today).

After our second excursion into San Sebastian, we hopped on a train to Hendaye and crossed over the Spanish-French border.  Our destination?  St. Jean-de-Luz!

We were worried that we would be stuck with rain that weekend, but lucky for us, the rainclouds held back while we meandered through the quaint coastal town on that quiet Sunday afternoon.

In case you haven’t figured it out over the course of my chronicles of Spain, P and I are major foodies.  So of course the first thing we did upon arriving in St. Jean-de-Luz at 2 p.m. was not to look for a place to eat lunch, despite how hungry we were.  No, no.  What was the first thing we did?

The first thing we did was hurry over to Chez Maya Petit Basque Grill?  Make reservations for dinner.  Dinner first!  And then lunch!  To make reservations, I busted out my little phrasebook.  After several highly embarrassing false starts with the nice woman staring at me like I was insane, I gave up and just pointed at the word for “reservation” in the book (which looks just like “reservation,” but apparently sounds completely different).

Reservation done, we headed towards La Ruelle for lunch.

La Ruelle - Water and CondimentsWith our bread, we got an interesting spread (on the right), which was something similar to mayonnaise and mustard mixed.  I have no idea what it was, but it was delicious!

In a feeble effort to try to catch up, I will just post pictures here of what we ate at La Ruelle.  The pictures are pretty self explanatory, anyway.  All the pictures here (including the mussels above) are from La Ruelle.  Pictures of Chez Maya and the rest of St. Jean-de-Luz will be in a follow-up entry.

La Ruelle - Bread, Wine, and MariscosLa Ruelle - Grilled MariscosLa Ruelle - Creme Brulee

Loved it.

Our garçon was also kind of awesome.  Funny and playful (he “borrowed” a wandering salesman’s sunglasses for a while and conducted business with them perched on top of his head), he spoke enough English to help us understand the menu and order some tasty food.

La Ruelle - Chocolate MousseAnd although I don’t eat chocolate, P does, and her chocolate mousse was too pretty not to post!  I know my chocolate-loving friends and readers will definitely enjoy seeing a photo of it.  According to P, it’s light and fluffy and not guilt-inducing at all!  These French have got things right.  My creme brulee was also decadently amazing.  Not light, but when I’m on vacation, I want something delicious!  And, really, you can’t go wrong with creme brulee . . . :D

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