Arrived at the Globe and Cecil, my favorite hotel in Lyons, at 11:30 p.m. after a long trip from San Francisco, and immediately set out on a balmy night to find something to eat. Not much stays open late though on the rue de Merciere, in a district of bars, a bouchon called Les Enfants Terribles was still serving a few tables of men well into their cups. One of the energetic waiters in black T-shirts motioned us to a little table on a classic banquette by the open door, where a large group of said men spilled out onto the narrow street.
I didn’t expect much and didn’t get it–an over the hill half bottle of ’06 St. Joseph (24E); a ghastly filet of beef with morels–the most expensive item on the menu, 37.50 E–chosen by my angel. But I had something so perfect, so Lyonnaise, that it lifted my spirits after being imprisoned in planes and airports–a plate containing warm tete de veau, a green salad, a ramekin of sauce gribiche and some boiled potatoes. Tete de veau is a loose conglomeration of all the succulent meats from the head of a calf, tongue, cheek, jowl, with plenty of chewy connective tissue, meant to be lubricated with the mustardy sauce gribiche, textured with chopped egg and cornichons. A pallid version, but a harbinger of what is to come on a full day of eating tomorrow.