Tag Archives: lunch

Lunch at Le Madrid, Guéthary

You might start to notice that I’m working backwards now, which is slightly awkward, but I’ll make do.  I’m finding it less awkward than starting from the day I stopped blogging and working forward.  I hope you’ll stick with me on this strange anti-chronological journey.

Le Madrid was the unofficial (official?) hang of our stay in Guéthary.  Our first two days in Guéthary it was closed for two days before officially opening for the summer season, but Le Madrid was all I heard about for those two days from our Parisian friends and hosts.  It was so inflated as a “spot” that it hardly occured to me that the food would be any good.  When I ate dinner there for the first time on the night of the 8th I was absolutely blown away (some of you might remember a tweet of mine about the Cote de Beouf melting in my mouth).  Those kind of dinners aren’t for stopping every few minutes to photograph.  We were among friends, telling love stories, and sharing wine and Cote de Beouf (with Bearnaise of course), and since the best parts of the ephemeral meal were only captured in memory, I pledged to return in a more alert state so that I might record some of my meal for ARL.

Of course, the real way to do Le Madrid is this: aperitifs at home (our aperitifs of choice on this trip were foie gras (forgive me), radishes, and wine).  Savor all this from approximately 7pm-9pm, then make your way to Le Madrid for the real meal.  Oh, and having Manzana Verde post-Cote is the digestif de riguer.  The few images I have from Le Madrid at night:

le madrid 9

Customers entering Le Madrid behind lovely Martine at approximately 9pm

sunset

The view from outside Le Madrid at approximately 9pm

So, that said, on to lunch.

le madrid day

The view from the terrace

le madrid menu

The menus

It is worth explaining that I. and I fell in love with the menus as pieces of art in and of themselves.  We loved the fonts, the illustrations, and the color.  When we mentioned this to our friends they explained that the menus are designed by Martine, one of the owners, who was a graphic designer before she was a restaurateur.

lunch menu

The lunch menu

rose

The essential rosé

le madrid signage

Looking back towards the restaurant from the terrace

club

My companion’s club sandwich (I had a bite–absolutely delectable)

maigre

Maigre a la Plancha, pate fraiche & herbes

The perfect lunch.  The oil for drizzling has parsley and tarragon, the cherry tomatoes are roasted, and the pasta has a crisp piece of bacon artfully arranged at an angle atop.  And, how is it that the French know how to salt meat so perfectly?  You can see the small crystals of sel de mer on the maigre here.  Delicious.

Now that we’re in Spain it seems impossible, but I am actually missing Le Madrid.  If you are in the area go, sit for a few hours.  People watch, imbibe, and go back a few times to sample a variety of what’s on the menu.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you are as in love with Le Madrid as I am, you can click here to see the dinner menu: Continue reading

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A San Francisco Afternoon

Very uncharacteristically, I was in San Francisco for the afternoon yesterday.  I don’t love San Francisco very much, but I found a few spots that really hit the nail on the head.

1.  If you find yourself in, or are willing to travel to, an undesirable neighborhood (the Marina) you can rely on an oasis of soothing at Blue Barn Gourmet on Chestnut.  I love Blue Barn because of the truly amazing produce in their salads and sandwiches.  Romaine lettuce isn’t something I usually want to write home about, but Blue Barn changed all that for me.  Who knew romaine actually had flavor?!  In addition to composing tasty lunches, Blue Barn serves as a point of contact for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) exchange.  

bluebarn1

2.  Happy hour was spent at Nihon, a Japanese whisky bar.  At 5:45, the rays of the sunset were streaming in and I was sitting with two lovely companions-one had the French 75 and the other the Negroni.  Both were delicious.  There were beats playing, but soft enough, and the bar was full but not crowded.  I told the lovely waitress that I wasn’t in the mood for whisky (she was understanding), and was looking for something not too sweet (I detest sugary cocktails served up).  She recommended the “21 Hayes,” with gin, cucumber and lemon.  It was perfect: not too much alcohol, not too much saturated fruit or vegetable flavor, not too much simple syrup.  Apparently, Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe Bar made this drink famous, but the Nihon version was good enough for me.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to stay for snacks or a second drink because it just got too crowded and loud in there for 6:30 (with everyone from college kids to yuppies to a baby carriage (?!)…people in the Bay are so crazy).  But aren’t we glad someone is making money these days?  

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