We managed to head out quite early by our standards (thus avoiding the torturous search for a restaurant that was still serving after 10 pm that we had in Nantes), and for some reason ended up in a "ham cave" (sounds slightly classier in French). Unsure why, since in general I don't really like ham, but it's true that if I'm going to have ham, I do quite like the fancy Spanish variety (champagne tastes and all). I think we were mostly attracted by the cute pig logo and the opportunity to just graze a bit rather than eating a big meal. We ordered a cheese and a charcuterie platter, which looked quite small, but we were there for literally hours snacking away and didn't finish either of them, despite them both being very good.
As the night wore on, the restaurant got emptier and emptier until it was just us (caterwauling away to Bohemian Rhapsody) and the table next to us. We kept thinking "we're okay to stay as long as there's one other table, we're not bothering the staff" until eventually we realised that the other table were their mates. Luckily by this time we'd managed to make friends with the waiter, and much like our trip to Toulouse, the doors were locked and soon the free drinks were flowing with our new chums. Why do we only seem to end up best mates with bartenders on holiday though?
|Awww, heart! I tried to do the heart symbol but it interpreted it as broken HTML and wouldn't let me|
|There were many, many blurry selfies|
|It took me quite some time to understand this photo the first time I saw it on my tiny camera screen. Who's the blonde?|
|Making new friends|
That is, I wasn't feeling that bad until I discovered the Worst Hangover Food in the World...
As my mum is fond of remarking, I was quite the little meat-eater as a child. Times have changed, and I no longer enjoy big bits of meat like a steak or whatever, but I still like to think of myself as quite an open-minded gourmand who'll try pretty much anything. Part of the legend of little Gwan the Carnivore involved my alleged love of sucking the marrow out of lamb chops, an activity I haven't indulged in in many a year. But when I saw that the one of the choices of entrée on the menu prix fixe was bone marrow, I kind of thought, "I wouldn't normally order bone marrow, but since it's on the set menu, this is an opportunity to give it a go". I was slightly put off by the British woman on the next table loudly remarking (to her partner) that bone marrow was supposedly "like dog food" (seriously, this woman spent the whole meal complaining about things, particularly the fact that it wasn't fair that Liz's crème brûlée had a proper crust on it and hers didn't), but I forged ahead.
Bear in mind that with a lamp chop, you generally get a teeny tiny bit of pretty well-cooked marrow. I wasn't quite expecting that, but I think I had in mind a neat little terrine of something resembling foie gras. The reality was quite different...
|Sooo much marrow... What are those, ox bones??|
Still, I screwed my courage to the sticking place and cautiously dipped the spoon into one of the bones. It got even worse. It emerged from the bone as a quivering, wibbly lump. Suppressing the urge to hurl, I cautiously spread a small amount on my bread and took a bite. It tasted just like pure fat, with a greasy, jelly-like, tongue-coating texture. The small bite pictured in the photo was all I managed, but unfortunately, since I obviously wasn't progressing through the dish, the waiter didn't come to remove it until I eventually went to the bathroom around half an hour later and he spied his chance. So that was half an hour of Liz and I valiantly trying not to look that monstrosity in the eye lest we be sick.
On the bright side, the meal finished with the best moelleux au chocolat that I've ever had, but bone marrow: Never. Again.