Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

We got back from Paris around 10:00 AM after spending 10 days with Ellen's brother and sister-in-law (the last three of which were in Paris). During their visit, we covered a lot of ground – including a day trip to Carcassonne to see our long-time friends Daniel and Irene.

Paris was cold and it was snowing and on the day that we went to the Eiffel Tower it was snowing AND blowing AND cold! We left Paris at 0:dark 30 to get a 7:30 AM train back to Avignon. As we were making our way to the metro, we saw a lot of people who were just leaving the bars – early Valentine ’s Day partiers?

On the train, we got “Happy Valentine’s Day” wishes from the cupids in the picture.

We were back in time to have lunch with Phil and Margaret, rest and then go to La Lyriste for dinner. It was the best meal that I have ever enjoyed at Benoit’s place. It was the Valentine's Day menu and more expensive than usual, but we enjoyed:

"Mise en bouche:" - Benoit's own foie gras (the best!) plus a goat cheese/cream cheese with scallions wrapped with magret de canard.

Entre: Cannelloni de Saumon Farci à la chair de crabe, légumes craquant, brochettes de Gambas Grillées. (vegetables, crab and herbs wrapped in smoked salmon; lettuce and grilled shrimp.)

Plat: Aiguillettes de canard rôties, croustillant de Risotto, Spaghetti Végétale.
This was the dish to see. Ben put the Risotto cooked as a crispy round cake on the plate. He then added three aiguillettes that he had rolled into tight spirals and then put on a "hat" of grilled tortilla on which he placed the vegetables-cut-like-spaghetti. Gorgeous presentation, delicious flavors.

The cheeses came from the local fromagerie and included brie, Roquefort and goat cheese. I plan to go to the shop and ask the cheese shop owner what she chose for Ben's menu - and then buy them.

The dessert was a macaroon (pink), dark chocolate ice cream, some kind of marscapone filling in a sugar shell and a piece of cake that had been marinating in some "eau de vie"...
What a wonderful meal. Only once before had we enjoyed a similar Valentine ’s Day meal and, by coincidence, it was at a restaurant only 8 km away in Sablet. It was a restaurant that Brian knew about and we went there with him for a memorable Valentine’s Day lunch.Add to Google Reader or Homepage


  1. Where is La Lyriste? We have a home in Sablet and go 4 or 5 times a year! I have been to many restaurants in the area but have never heard of this one? Is it in Avignon?

  2. La Lyriste is located in Vaison la Romaine at 45 Cours Taulignan (tele:

    Benoit Joulain is the chef; his wife Marie runs the floor. Together, they have created one fine restaurant.

    The La Lyriste business card reads: "Expression poetique et exaltee de passion." Benoit is truly an artist who has chosen food as his medium.

  3. Thanks for the follow up. We have been to Bistro du'O, Le Bataleur, Auberge la Bartavelle, Le Moulin a l'Huile, Le Brin d'Olivier and stopped for cafe at several of the spots on the square. But La Lyriste is a new one to me. We will definitely try it out when we come back in May. I was just there last week.