Despite the fact that I have several sports-related injuries preventing me from running or getting much exercise at the moment (every morning when I wake up I pray my jeans still fit…), most of my weekend in Lyon centered around food and eating. And oh boy, was it glorious. You don’t even want to know how many croissants and pain au chocolat I ate.
Lyon is considered the gastronomic capital of France and on top of that it sits right smack in the middle of two amazing wine regions – Côtes de Rhône and Beaujolais. The city is full of officially-licensed and not-so-official Bouchons, which are traditional restaurants serving typical Lyonaise food and wine. I visited one called Le Bouchon de l’Opera located on the rue des Capucins in the Crois Rousse neighborhood.
The choice was made for me when I saw the hundreds of little ceramic pigs in the window as I walked by. I would say the theme of this place is “Pork and Rockabilly.” The interior is super cozy with thick stone walls, wooden beams, ceramic pigs as decor and traditional farming implements adorning the walls, but then there is Elvis playing on the radio and posters of Betty Boop and Harley Davidson.
To start off I had a carafe of the house Beaujolais wine which also came with pork rinds/scratchings/chicharrón. Melt in your mouth yummy.
Then came the salade Lyonnaise. Now, I ate this dish three times over the course of the week and this version was by far the best. Huge homemade croutons, a perfectly poached egg with the faintest hint of vinegar, and big smokey chunks of back bacon. Such an improvement over the little shredded pieces I had seen in previous salads. So good.
Finally came the main course, Quenelle de Brochet. Brochet is Pike fish, and a quenelle is…interesting to try to explain. The quenelle is ground up and formed into a dumpling, then oven baked in a cheese sauce. The dish smelled and tasted like baked fish, but had the texture of creamed scrambled eggs. It was absolutely delicious.
The proprietor was very chatty and kept me talking all the way through the time I was there, even though there was another large group in the restaurant at the same time. He walked me through the options of the menu and talked a bit about the history of the place, which was apparently a nightclub before they moved to this location. Before they were actually located across the street from the Opera, but had to move when the building had to be renovated. I was there alone, but didn’t have to resort to reading my kindle even once. Great guy.
And here are a few more gratuitous food pictures from Les Halles