Skip to main content

CAFE DU MIDI - BIZE MINERVOIS - A REVIEW

You can't go home again. Well, in this case it might be more accurate to say that you can't always get back to where you once were even if you go back to the same place. Catch my drift? Too much drift?

On a luscious fall day in 2004, my wife Cathey, her sister Liz, and I happened across a restaurant in the little village of Bize Minervois. It's a pretty little village with the river La Cesse running alongside, not far from the regional olive cooperative with its neat gift shop, and on the back road from here to there if you're tired of the highway. We're in and around Bize quite often. But we've never returned to that little restaurant just inside the Bize archway until this weekend. We remember the restaurant well, though we've lost the name, because of a picture that Liz took of Cathey and I as we sat down to eat, a picture of a younger, happy, and satisfied couple that was printed out, framed, and given prominent play in my office at work and also served as my avatar on several websites in the decade since it was taken. The meal was as memorable as the picture. The girls shared a huge salad plate with a dozen or more ingredients including fresh veggies of the region and the season, pickles, and a hunk of country pate. I had rabbit, my first in France, stewed to perfection and served in a funky terracotta bowl. No ambiance, though. Not a lick. Just good French country cooking.

Today's Cafe du Midi is a different sort of place. Modern brown and red fabrics in place of the white linen. Modern, slightly awkward chairs. Modern lighting. Modern. That's okay. Modern is okay. But the menu was not okay. Our choice for a main dish was either hamburger or steak. Granted that it was a winter weekend. Granted we arrived just before a party of about twenty that had booked beforehand. Granted that it was the fixed price special. Even so, you shouldn't have to choose between cow and cow.

I will say that the presentation was interesting. Check out the picture. But to Cathey, the idea that hot and cold courses were served at the same time meant that by the time that you got to the last hot course, it wasn't hot any more.

So...

The sauteed veggies atop a square of puff pastry with a mild sauce was OK. The gazpacho with bits of bacon would have been interesting if we didn't get the feeling that the tomatoes came out of a tin. The steak was French biftek with a sauce and a dash of onions. The fries - chilling down while we worked on the veggies and the gazpacho - were probably reconstituted. The pineapple was fresh and the presentation novel. The goat cheese was good and the cheddar was French cheddar. (The French don't get cheddar.) Good baguette.

With a demi of wine, 32 Euros. Cathey has spoken. There are too many kitchens to sample in the region to come back to the Cafe du Midi any time soon.

Read more of my reviews HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE IN FRANCE: SIMPLE PRIMER (WITH TONGUE IN MY AMERICAN CHEEK)

My recent reading of a poor internet review of a favorite restaurant of ours prompted this post. Some people simply should not be allowed internet access. Speech may rightly be free, but it shouldn't be worthless. From reading the review, I could determine that the reviewer was a tourist who started out in a bad mood because he had to pay extra for parking a camper van that exceeded the maximum height for parking in the free lot. His party arrived at the restaurant at the end of lunch and without a reservation. At first, he was told that an empty table that he pointed out was reserved. When he persisted, he was informed that lunch was over. Since none of the other restaurants in town were still open, the reviewer had to miss lunch. Let me count the ways... RESERVATIONS ARE NECESSARY. Maybe not at Burger King, maybe not in a touristy restaurant in a touristy destination. But if you are really hungry, if you really want to try that restaurant that everybody's talking ab

FINDING A HOUSE IN FRANCE: FIRST STEPS #2

  First, be advised. I am not an expert in anything except my own experiences. And my experiences are confined to a particular time and place. If you have issues, I welcome them in Comments. We've been house hunting in Herault on several occasions since 2003. (Herault is a French department, somewhere between an American county and a state.) We twice visited to find a holiday home from which to learn about and explore the region. After deciding that this region of France was where we wanted to settle in our retirement, another search led to our current home of seven and a half years. And recently, we searched for a home with broader, gentler stairs given the state of our old bones. So I do speak from experience. As always, my advice is free of charge and worth every penny. There's no multiple listing service in France. Each agent has their own website and, while some agencies do cooperate with partner agencies, it can easily be the case that there is a house for sale next door

ARCHIVED VIDEO CONCERNING APRIL, 2021 LOCKDOWN

 I made this video a few months ago, but things moved so quickly that I never published it. Now that France is experiencing the fourth COVID wave, I thought that it might be interesting to revisit.