24 November 2009

On Top Of The Côte D’Azur

J had been suffering with the cold and or flu and or bronchitis and or the plague all week. Two days running, I’d offered to take her into Vence for some oysters and champagne and she’d refused – she must’ve been feeling bad! Normally she’d have bitten my hand off with an offer like that but why would you do that to the hand which feeds you! Ouch!

Of course on Thursday she was somewhat hung over after her night next door with the girls, drinking and putting the world to rights by discussing babies, nappies, cold remedies and botox! I'd had no meaningful contribution to make to the discussion and that's why I'd left them to it but only after a bottle of Beaujolais and a few 'borrowed' ciggies.

And so when Friday arrived and she was a little better, I tested her resolve once more by saying I was taking the Alfa for a run after six weeks of inactivity (the Alfa – not me) – did she want to come along?

‘Where was I thinking of going’, she enquired. ‘Up the mountain to Gourdon for lunch in the Nid d’Aigle (the Eagle’s Nest)’, I said. Well she was out of her nightie (it was 11.45 am) and showered and dressed by 12.30 which was some going!

On the way up the mountain she enquired if I’d actually finished the work I’d been doing on the wheels of the car which was her way of asking if I’d put the wheels back on properly which, I suppose, was reasonable as it was J who had the 1000 ft drop on her side. It was 70 degrees (yes really), the top was down and I was flying round the hairpins. Coincidentally, Riviera Radio started playing Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain which made me go even faster. It was all idyllic. Top down, 70 degrees and Fleetwood Mac – what could be better? Britney Spears in the passenger seat I suppose?

Gourdon was rather quiet which made us wonder if The Eagle’s Nest was open but it was and we were ushered to a table at a window which looked down a 1500 foot sheer drop into the valley below and across the coast from Nice airport to the Esterel mountains in the west, a coastal distance of some 50 miles. It was stunning. And as if to prove just how high we were (760 metres according to my iPhone), a para-glider passed our window and headed off into the valley below.

The plat du jour (daily special) was Marcassin which neither J or I had heard of but it turned out to be baby wild boar which we should have guessed because on the menu it was marked as ‘fresh, supplied by local hunters’.

J and I both ordered it - baby Wild Boar stew with sautéd courgettes and pomme dauphinoise. It was deeeelicious and as it’s been a couple of years since I’ve had boar, it was great to get that meaty, earthy taste back on my palate.

A plate of boar and a bottle of Rosé later and J and I were wondering whether to have dessert or not. At 9 and 10 euros, it was exceptionally expensive compared to the price of the main course (10 euros). I ordered another glass of Rosé whilst J checked her elasticated waistband and as she was able to force her little finger down one loose bit at the front, that convinced her that desserts could be ordered. Mine arrived – apple tart with vanilla ice cream and it was probably the best ‘tarte au pomme’ I’ve had since I moved here. It was sublime.

J’s on the other hand was …… sensational. Five desserts on one plate – called Le Dessert Gourmande. A taste of all their desserts on one plate but of course no ice cream, so what was left of mine was snatched and she was as happy as a baby boar in a puddle of mud. Ha!

So, all in all, The Eagle’s Nest was terrific. Fantastic value, a view to die for (nobody else on the Côte D’Azur can have been dining higher) and a fabulous sunny day.

Eagle's Nest web site at the URL below:


No comments: