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Archive for france – burgundy

Regis Marcon (near Hermitage, France) – The Mushroom King

We ate at Regis Marcon during the Burgundy portion of the trip but it’s taken me a bit longer to write this review.Close to Hermitage/Tournon, across the mountain, lies an empire run by a man obsessed with mushrooms. The windy roads leading to the restaurant are covered in damp forest, overcast, and some periods of intense earthy smell. Upon arriving into the small hilltop town, one sees the name “Regis Marcon” and his mushroom icon on everything – the hotel, the butcher, the patisserie, and probably more. Where other chefs might like to golf or sail in their spare time, Regis Marcon loves to hunt for mushrooms.

The hotel interior is quite striking – modern architecture gives way to country touches. The corridor to the rooms is dark with aggressive modern painting lining the walls. The room was full of odd angles and matte colors contrasting with amber wood and the striking view.

Regis Marcon view

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Jacques Decoret (Vichy, France) – Parlor Games w/ Shocking Results

Establishing a serious restaurant in Vichy takes some guts. A dreary city, if ever there was one, it makes sense the Nazis installed their puppet government here. It would take something special to motivate people to drive a few hours to the city of black clouds. The city is known these days for its rejuvinating spas and springs which, apparently, attracts the over 50 crowd. Are most French seniors anxious to test their culinary boundaries after losing a few years in the spas?

Jacques Decoret has the reputation of a culinary rogue – off in his own little city concocting his own brand of cuisine. It’s not quite molecular gastronomy but it is post-modern; it can be playful, self-referencing, and packed full of culinary pop-culture references. In a country seemingly filled with traditionalists who prefer to tweak, Decoret tries to push and redefine culinary boundaries.

Artists can have such lofty ambitions.

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Troisgros (Roanne, France) – Jeckyll & Hyde

Troisgros has quite a reputation in the French dining world – all-star cooking with a preference for citrus (when in season) and spices. However, the reviews you read are often polarized – one review will proclaim it the best meal on a trip to France while a second review will complain the food was unbalanced and the spices overpowering.

The Hotel
Like most of the 3-star countryside French places, the restaurant is a hotel. Mind you, these hotels are generally spectacular – ultra-modern design, state-of-the-art facilities (no gyms though!), and impeccable service.

It all makes for an easy evening. You come down to dinner whenever you like (generally between 7-9pm); get seated in the lounge where you sip on champagne and figure out your menu; and then, about 45 minutes later, claim your table in the dining room. This is luxurious dining at your own pace – it’s nice. After dinner, you can retreat back to the lounge, finish your wine (or order more drinks), and smoke cigars if that’s your thing.

And you never see the bill. It magically appears on your hotel charges when you check out. Easy dining.

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Pic (Valence, France) – The Empress Has No Clothes

Pic is a Michelin two star restaurant, hotel, and fancy-diner an hour outside of Lyon. The stylings are the W on steroids – modern to the point of function-less with a palette of Prada black and gray. It’s held in high regard because the chef is one of the few (if not only) female chefs that has garnered two Michelin stars. And she’s doing it by combining her presumably traditional French background (her father owned the original 3-star Pic) with asian ingredients and influence.

We opted for the extended tasting menu.

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Montrachet (near Beaune / Chagny, France) – Snail Kings

After our Lameloise dinner, we stopped off at Montrachet a few miles down the road (twice in 2 days) on the way back to Beaune. The 2001 Michelin guide gave it 1 star but it’s apparently lost it since. Supposedly it’s glory days are behind it. Perhaps, but their local soil is among the best in the world – this is reflected in the wine of the region and its delicious snails.

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