While almost every meal we had in France was special (aside from one or two underwhelming dinners from restaurants that served before 7pm–traveling with small kids sometimes means eating whatever is available), we wanted to book a truly exceptional meal on our next-to-last night in Provence. When we discovered a French restaurant with a distinctly Mediterranean/Spanish twist on the recipes we were sold, and we anticipated that meal the entire trip. Luckily, Le Petit Verdot did not disappoint.
We sat outside at a table that was bare inches from the road; luckily it was a slow evening and the sultry atmosphere was perfect for a leisurely summer dinner. Our first course was tomato-based: salade de tomate for the adults with mozzarella and a bit of watermelon sorbet along with a cool gazpacho soup for our preschooler that was finished with a dollop of chevre (goat cheese) ice cream. Heavenly, especially after a wretchedly hot day, and the use of yellow tomatoes gave the meals a pretty, sunny visual appeal.
One of my favorite parts of the meal was choosing a wine; it was the perfect temperature for an icy-cold white. And the service was impeccable: I reached for the bottle to refill my glass and our server came sprinting from the doorway across the street to pour it for me. Needless to say, it had been a long and hot (wonderful–but long and hot) vacation with the kids, so the fact that I didn’t even have to lift my arms for a refreshing beverage was indulgence bar none.
Now, a broiling hot evening isn’t exactly the best time for a steak. But as you may have guessed from my rhapsodizing about offal sausage, I do love meat. A lot. Even enough to endure the odd discomforts of a condition my friends have termed “meat sweats,” a small price to pay for a delicious piece of beef. (“Meat sweats” may be the most wrong-sounding thing I’ve ever typed in this space, but anyone who’s eaten a huge prime rib knows exactly of what I speak.) When our wine-running server listed the specials and described the bull steak, cooked rare and dressed with pepper and a spicy dressing, I knew that was exactly what I wanted.
See that clear bag in the background? That’s our wine cooling bag. When I saw them earlier on the wall at a different restaurant hanging on a hook as decoration, I thought that the restaurant was decorating with IV bags emblazoned with winery logos–an interesting if morally questionable advertising campaign. Sometimes travel fries my brain, you know? That’s why we needed an amazing meal to cap off our trip: clear the mental cobwebs, indulge in some sensory pleasures, and finish the trip on an extra-high note. To that end, I think we succeeded admirably. If we ever go back to Aix-en-Provence, I can guarantee we’ll be back. I hope the wine runner is ready for us.
How do you top off an excellent trip?