Sunday, February 14, 2010

Le Canut et Les Gones

Here I am in the coat I bought at the open-air market,
ready to go out, waiting for the babysitter:

I must describe last night's dinner, the best we have had so far, the night before Valentines Day, at a local Croix Rousse restaurant, Le Canut et Les Gones (The Silkweaver and the Kids). It was one of our favourites from 10 years ago and it remains so. We went last night to "test drive" it, as we made reservations there for when Andy comes to visit from London in March. (For those of you who do not know British Andy - he is a fluent French speaker, writes about wine for the Evening Standard where he is an editor, is an excellent cook, David's best friend and a real food and alcohol lover.)

Les Canuts et des Gones is one of the funkiest places in town. Broken clocks and old tin signs cover the ancient walls. Old stone archways are visible in places. The calm and amazing kitchen is partly open so you can watch them torch things and prepare unforgettable delicacies. The chef comes out to talk to friends-customers regularly. Service is impeccable, friendly and while the food is divine, it is almost casual and not too expensive. Our whole meal cost about 100$.

They brought us little glass square dishes filled with a whipped salmon and chives on top of a scoop of curry, wasabi sauce. We ordered Communards for our aperitifs (red wine with creme de cassis). My appetizer was the most incredible soup I have ever tasted and I hesitate calling it "soup". It was a veloute (cream) of yellow squash with swirls of broccoli coulis and olive oil drizzled over it in a perfect pattern and it was topped with the lightest temple mound of whipped creme fraiche on top, sprinkled with tiny poppyseeds. (I am not sure if it was whipped creme fraiche, but it was not whipped cream and not egg whites. Creme fraiche is my best guess.) David started with a farm egg floating in a piping hot bowl of beef broth and lemongrass. We had a basket of fresh soft and crunchy bread to soak up what we could not get on our spoons.

Then we had a delicious Cote du Rhone with our entrees. I had an enormous pork chop, glazed and juicy, served with a cylinder of orzo (that they call bird tongues pasta!) cooked with fresh spinach and ricotta cheese. I have never had such a good pork chop in my life. David had confit de canard topped with whipped sweet potaoes, a piece of duck that looked like a big dumpling, with whipped rutabagas. We were so happy. I had been waiting for my first Ile Flottante and there it was on the dessert menu. We shared it and could not even finish it but it was incredible: an asymetrical bowl holding a pool of creme anglais and caramel topped with a hefty but airy triangular wedge of whipped egg whites drizzled with caramel. I was in heaven. That is my all time favourite dessert (although the panna cotta I had after lunch in Hauterives, topped with a coulis of red fruits, was pretty amazing too). When we asked for the bill, they brought it too us with two tiny glasses of chestnut and caramel liquor - divine.

We walked home in the freezing cold, happy and full. Can't wait to go back and next time, I will bring my camera!

And here I am again in a shirt-jacket I bought at the same open-air market, and peeking through, a plaid Kookai blouse with a lazy and loose neckline, bought at Printemps - Lyon's fancy 6 story-high department store - during their super January sales:


  1. The Gone means Child in old lyonnaise language. It was used for children of Croix Rousse in 19th century.

  2. You and your clothes; I am chartreuse with envy! I can't wait for the fashion show when you get home! Your dinner descriptions remind me of the long, long letters Tonya used to write me from France, lovingly detailing her meals. Divine.