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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.

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Monday
Aug152005

Oustau de Baumanière

baumaniere.jpg

It was finally the moment I'd been waiting for. Monday dinner had been booked far in advance at Oustau de Baumanière, a Michelin 2 star in a little place called Les Baux de Provence. Les Baux is a tiny town surrounded by a few small cliffs and rockfaces about 20 minutes from our place in Maillane. It's famous for its bauxite, a raw material that was discovered there.

The drive up the hill is magnificent - you can actually see the rock faces on the opposite side of the valley, with little buildings built in here and there. It's one of those pictures that are too big to capture on the trusty digital camera. As you drive down to the base of the valley, the setting becomes even more impressive. This page shows some pictures of where Baumanière is located. From the terrace where we were seated, the view is just breathtaking. Rocks appear high above you in all directions, and they are lit by a beautiful orange glow as the night gets darker. It was without a doubt the most beautiful restaurant setting I'd ever seen. Also impressive was the army of waiters at our service - a massive crew of clean-cut French dudes constantly shifting around the tables.

amuse: fried courgette fritters and rolled eggplant Soon after we sat down a first set of amuse bouches came - fried squash fritters flavored with curry and thinly sliced eggplant wrapped around veggies and topped with tomato and parmesan. Both were quite good. I think the courgette was the only time I tasted curry on the whole trip. The eggplant was less memorable.

amuse: chilled fennel soup Next came a chilled fennel soup with a cappuccino-like foam on top. This was very nice and refreshing, with a light but very definite fennel flavor. My grandma and great-aunt were pretty unfamiliar with fennel so this was a good introduction for them.

red tuna a la plancha with a gremolata of almonds and foie gras - 40 euros When our waiter described this dish and told me there were little chunks of foie gras sprinkled on top, I couldn't resist. It turned out pretty good, but I would have liked the tuna more rare. This was the weakest part of the meal.

truffle ravioli with leeks - 62 euros My dad didn't mess around and got probably the safest bet for an app - the truffle ravioli. I had a bite and wished I'd gotten it too. The truffles were pretty intense in aroma and flavor, and the raviolis themselves were very well-made.

suprême de volaille de Bresse, sauce Albufera - 49 euros This was GOOD. The translation is basically a breast of chicken from Bresse (supposedly the best chickens in the world) with a sauce of foie gras and topped with truffle. I'd heard a great deal of hype about Bresse chickens from my dad and I must say this lived up to it. This chicken was the most tender breast meat I've ever had (along with Le Meurice later in the trip) and I remember at the moment I was quite stunned. The sauce was rich but not overwhelming, and of course truffles make everything better. :)

I should also say that the side of vegetables in this dish were the most expertly-cooked vegetables from the whole trip. Those little pieces of carrot, squash and turnip were absolutely perfect in texture - cooked but still crisp. I should give an honorable mention here to the lamb en croûte that my dad and grandma got. Somehow I forgot to take a picture, but that was probably the best lamb dish ever.

cheese plate - 19 euros Baumanèire took the cake for biggest and coolest looking cheese cart of the trip. The cart had two levels, one for cow and the other for goat, and there was this really awesome swiveling contraption that could set the levels forward and back. It's hard to describe. Anyway, I got a fresh local goat cheese, a St. Marcellin, and a Pont l'Évêque. Over the course of the trip I think Pont-l'Évêque became my favorite... I just kept getting it.

petitfours As our desserts came out, so did these petitfours. Of the ones I tried, the berry tart was the best - a bit tart, a bit sweet, and very light. The apricot tart was too sweet. The financier was just okay.

crêpes soufflées Baumanière with Grand Marnier - 21 euros I decided to get the dessert that had their name on it. This thing was really really good - the soufflé was rich and satisfying. But it was freakin' huge! I could only finish half of this thing before I just got too full.

freshly made millefeuille of the house - 21 euros Though mine was good, my dad's ordering skills trumped me yet again. This was the most straightforward dessert but it was simply delicious. The pastry was so flaky and light that you could cut it with a knife without collapsing the whole thing!

My dad is convinced that Baumanière is really making a push for that third star. From what I can tell, their service is a cut above most of the other two stars, and the atmosphere matched. The only problem was that as the sun set, we started getting seriously attacked by mosquitos. Would a three star be able to solve that problem for us? Still, it was a wonderful meal, and I hope I can go back some day.

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    (3)大大节省的空间,更换两种板材的时间也变 彩钢瓦设备 得更短,也提高了产出率,但同时,由于相对拥挤,难于安装辅助辊机架,难以调节并检查成型状况。 压瓦机 (3)该彩钢瓦设备还具有操作、维护、保养以及机械的调试、模具更换容易等优点。 ...

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