Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The worst hangover food in the world

Let's go back in time a bit to my trip to Rouen, all the way back in February (where does the time go?) Last time, I shared with you the wholesome sightseeing and gastronomic explorations we got up to, but we all know a girls' weekend isn't a girls' weekend without a few shenanigans.

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
After a little playing on the dumbwaiter connecting the restaurant with the cellar, it was time to hit a club with our new friends. Fun was had, and then at some point around 3 or 4 am, we very sensibly decided to head home. Problem being that we had no idea where we were, and I'm not convinced we didn't just head off in a random direction for quite some time before it occurred to us to consult a map. After a slight unbloggable detour involving a spot of light party-crashing, we managed to find our way back to the hotel by about 7 am, by which time I'd been awake for more than 24 hours, so a wee lie-down was much appreciated. Liz was rather out of sorts the next day, but I managed to be up and about by lunch time and actually wasn't feeling that bad.

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??
As soon as it was put in front of me, I knew it was a grave mistake. I think all I could say for the first five minutes was "oh my God, oh my God". Just looking at it was making me sick. Liz told me afterwards that the sight of it seriously almost made her vomit as well, although she was quite the little soldier in not revealing that to me at the time. Not so the Brit on the next table, who felt free to make several uncomplimentary remarks on the topic (not sure whether she didn't realise we spoke English or she thought we couldn't hear her, but wrong on both counts).

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.

11 comments:

  1. I am amazed you took the little bite, actually. And if the party gatecrash was unbloggable my mind boggles! Mx

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    1. Ha, probably worse putting that than just saying what happened, nothing scandalous, we were just being dicks really

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  2. I eat practically anything and love trying new foods, but even I would draw the line with that!

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    1. Worse than andouillette (which I didn't really mind) and possibly even worse than boudin noir. Certainly worse to look at than boudin noir!

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    2. I saw them at the supermarket yesterday and all I could think of was you eating them. I touched the central part of the bone (the marrow) and it was rock-hard. I guess it softens up when you cook it?

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    3. It was certainly very soft. Shudder

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  3. EEK!

    Even without a hangover this sounds awful. Props for trying though - I think you've earned a big plate of chips and gravy or whatever normal hangover food is!

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    1. Mmm, now I want chips and gravy! Brussels this weekend, I think I can sort something out :)

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  4. Oh, I LOVE bone marrow -- ok, maybe not after a hangover -- but it's really, really delicious when you're not hungover. In Switzerland, they cut the bones lengthwise down the middle so that you can sprinkle the marrow with Fleur de Sel. Then you scoop out the marrow with a piece of bread. It's one of my favorite starters in the winter, although I usually have to share it with Stephane because it's so rich.

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    1. You make a good case for it! But.... no...

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  5. I'm pretty opened minded food wise too, but that dish makes me queasy. Yucky yuck yuck.

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