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Nice to Bordeaux: Jardin des Sens, Michel Trama, etc.

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I am planning a trip next spring to France and Spain. I will be driving from Bordeaux to San Sebastian and back. My mind is pretty much set on the restaurants i would like to visit in Spain, however i am still undecided about southwestern France. I initially thought of trying Michel Guerard's restaurant in Eugenie-les-Bains but I am leaning instead towards skipping Guerard and going to eat at Michel Trama's restaurant in the Perigord (I love the region). It is a little out of the way but I could still incorporate it in my itinerary. I feel that with a newly awarded third star, Trama would be a more interesting experience + les loges de l'aubergade looks like an amazing piece of property. Has anyone been to either one of them or both? In addition to the obvious regional difference, I am curious to know how they differ in terms of culinary style and dining experience?

Merci d'avance!


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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I've been to both. Twice to Guérard and once to Trama. All the visits were some years back and two of those three visits were made under less than optimum circumstances. The single visit to Trama was a lunch decision made on the spur of the moment very off season. We called about an hour before we wanted to eat as we found ourselves not far away at what seemed an auspicious time. There was really some hesitation about giving us a table and I suspected they might well be full. On the contrary, they were empty. There was no one in the room all afternoon. I suppose they were deciding whether to both for only two diners. We had the set prix fixe three course luncheon menu. Everything was quite lovely, but there was something just unnerving about being the only one's there. One of our dinners at Michel Guérard was also offseason. In fact it was lunch on the last day they were open for the season. Not everything was available and we felt they were not operating at full capacity. Our other meal at Guérard came on the heals of two meals at André Daguin's old restaurant in Auch where we consumed more foie gras and goose fat than I dreamed possible in a month. I'm sure we arrived at Guérard with our own livers rather enlarged. As a consequence we ate lightly, ha!. I recall a duck and foie gras tourte that was far more rustic than I expected at a three star restaurant and about as good as anything I've ever eaten at the time. I did get quite ill a few days further into this trip and my doctor diagnosed my illness as "crise du foie. Large quantities of foie gras consumed on successive nights may not be recommended to all digestive systems. We stayed at Guérard's less expensive "guest house,"Maison Rose," but ate at the Gastronomic dining room of the main house. I've also heard wonderful things of the more rustic food food at le Ferme aux Grives. All of this is too long ago to have much affect on your plans.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I did get quite ill a few days further into this trip and my doctor diagnosed my illness as "crise du foie. Large quantities of foie gras consumed on successive nights may not be recommended to all digestive systems.

Mais bien sur mon cher, I intend on doing the same! Is there anything better than the good ol' foie gras du perigord? This will be the highlight of my trip, I appreciate the warning though.

It seems that the timing of my visit could become a factor. Is the end of May considered off-season?

Also, I am looking for a good source to purchase wines when I am down there. I was told that l'Intendant in the city of Bordeaux would be perfect for that. I only saw recent vintages on their website though, do they only sell wines en primeur? do they sell older vintages at their store?


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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It seems that the timing of my visit could become a factor. Is the end of May considered off-season?

It's not the height of the season, but it's not off-season the way January is. Everything is open in May, although you will avoid the major crowds. In January most places take most of the month, or longer, for a holiday. May should be a good time. In France you should have excellent weather, but not hot weather. By the time you get to Spain, you may find beach weather, or so I would expect. I don't know that I've been in that part of France and Spain in the late spring.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Thanks for your advice! We fly into Rome and we are hoping to go to La Pergola for lunch. Hoping they do it for a good price! LOL! Staying for about 3 days. Going up to Florence (2 days) then Venice (2 days) via train. Overnight train to Lyon via Switzerland (1/2 - 1 day there). Nicholas Le Bec for lunch in Lyon at some stage. Down to Nice for the first big event. Louis XV for Dinner! Very excited!

Now here is a problem.. Heading back along the south coast of france towards bordeaux and am struggling for ideas along there. Les Jardins des Sens and Michel Trama are options. Jardins seems to have a really good value Lunch menu and it's menu seems quite modern but mixed reviews. Trama is interesting but read mixed reviews. Should we just skip both? I am looking for "cheap" lunches as I think it's a good budget conscieous way to experience 2 and 3 star places.

Also, is there much to see scenery and food wise in that corner of france (divide france into four quarters)compared to the rest? Can't seem to find much. We will be running short of time I'd say by that stage so should we just skip Bordeaux altogether and get to either Montpellier or Toulouse and head towards Paris a little more leisurely? What starred restaurants are worth seeing on the way? If we do have time is it worth going to Arzak or Mugaritz for lunch? Are they good value? Do they do lunch?

Once we get to Paris we hope to go to Pierre Gagnaire and Les Ambassadeurs. At least that's the plan... Then we unfortuantely fly home :(

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I had a great five hour lunch at Arzak and would highly recommend it. There is one other restaurant though which I would give an equally high recommendation for and that is Kokotxa in Old Town San Sebastian. He doesn't have a star yet, but will very soon. Go now before he gets those stars and the price of the tasting menu goes up.


"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."
-EW

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Now here is a problem.. Heading back along the south coast of france towards bordeaux and am struggling for ideas along there. Les Jardins des Sens and Michel Trama are options. Jardins seems to have a really good value Lunch menu and it's menu seems quite modern but mixed reviews. Trama is interesting but read mixed reviews. Should we just skip both? I am looking for "cheap" lunches as I think it's a good budget conscieous way to experience 2 and 3 star places.

Also, is there much to see scenery and food wise in that corner of france (divide france into four quarters)compared to the rest? Can't seem to find much. ?

michel guerard is far superior to either Trama or the Pourcel brothers.

as for scenery, I'm not sure where you've been looking but Gascony and Aquitaine contain some beautiful rolling countryside and lovely historic towns and villages

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Now here is a problem.. Heading back along the south coast of france towards bordeaux and am struggling for ideas along there. Les Jardins des Sens and Michel Trama are options. Jardins seems to have a really good value Lunch menu and it's menu seems quite modern but mixed reviews. Trama is interesting but read mixed reviews. Should we just skip both? I am looking for "cheap" lunches as I think it's a good budget conscieous way to experience 2 and 3 star places.

Also, is there much to see scenery and food wise in that corner of france (divide france into four quarters)compared to the rest? Can't seem to find much. ?

michel guerard is far superior to either Trama or the Pourcel brothers.

as for scenery, I'm not sure where you've been looking but Gascony and Aquitaine contain some beautiful rolling countryside and lovely historic towns and villages

I thought about Guerard but can't seem to find a lunch menu price and I actually thought they only did dinner? I would like to go to an old school place like that though...

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Now here is a problem.. Heading back along the south coast of france towards bordeaux and am struggling for ideas along there. Les Jardins des Sens and Michel Trama are options. Jardins seems to have a really good value Lunch menu and it's menu seems quite modern but mixed reviews. Trama is interesting but read mixed reviews. Should we just skip both? I am looking for "cheap" lunches as I think it's a good budget conscieous way to experience 2 and 3 star places.

Also, is there much to see scenery and food wise in that corner of france (divide france into four quarters)compared to the rest? Can't seem to find much. ?

michel guerard is far superior to either Trama or the Pourcel brothers.

as for scenery, I'm not sure where you've been looking but Gascony and Aquitaine contain some beautiful rolling countryside and lovely historic towns and villages

I thought about Guerard but can't seem to find a lunch menu price and I actually thought they only did dinner? I would like to go to an old school place like that though...

At this time of year (out of season) they only do dinner during the week but still do lunch at weekends


The quest for perfection will lead you to role models that will last you for life (Nico Ladenis)

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