Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Tastes of Lyon

An important part of any trip to Lyon is experiencing their local cuisine. One of the first things we had to have was a Salad Lyonnaise, which consists of frisee lettuce, croutons, bacon, Dijon vinaigrette, and topped with a poached egg. Delicious!
The other requirement of any gastronomical tour through this urban destination is to eat at one of the famed bouchons. We settled on Le Mercière, which offered a comprehensive set menu for 29 euro. It took us approximately 2.5 to 3 hours to make it through the entire meal, so budget your time accordingly.
We started with a selection of traditional Lyonnaise appetizers, followed by a further appetizer of our own selection. I chose the mussel soup, which had a garlic cream base, mussels, and topped with a puff pastry. I loved every last drop! My adventure partner went into far more adventurous territory by ordering the ox head and tongue. The flavor was amazing, but I don’t enjoy the texture of tongue, so it wasn’t for me.
Next up, I chose the bacon wrapped salmon main course, with a side of creamed pumpkin and honey. The dish melted in my mouth; the bacon and soft, buttery flavor of the salmon pairing perfectly with the sweetened, fluffy pumpkin. My adventure partner selected the coq au vin, which smelled heavily of red wine, as the name would imply. By then we were both quite full, and neither could finish our mains.
The meal continued on with our cheese course, followed by dessert. I chose the lemon sorbet, which came with a bottle of vodka to apply liberally as needed to the dessert.
All in all, it was an amazing dinner and an experience in itself, but I recommend waiting until you’re quite hungry before attempting it.
We also had sushi a few times during our stay, as Lyon has a surprising number of Japanese restaurants. They feature salmon prominently in their menus, which was perfectly fine by me. Every place we looked at offered a set menu of 8 to 10 pieces of salmon sushi paired with soup and a salad, or a variety platter of salmon rolls and sashimi. The yakitori at both Chez Fyfy and Planet Sushi was also quite good.
With such a wide selection of restaurants, there is absolutely no reason to go hungry in Lyon. I prefer to eat a few of my meals from grocery stores while traveling as a way to keep our finances in check. I can recommend Carrefour as a great choice, offering the normal grocery selection as well as beer and wine. Their store brand line of meats and cheeses was delicious on petit toasts.

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