Glidin' to the Glazicks

posted 15 July 2005

Okay, so "l'Auberge des Glazicks" was the name of the restaurant, not the name of the town, but the best I could come up with was "Ploddin' to Plomodiern," which didn't seem in the right spirit, somehow (I don't know why it's "Plo-" rather than "Plou-," but it's probably the same root). When I called them Friday evening to reserve for Sunday lunch, they were full up, but the Strawberry Museum was open Saturdays, too, so we conferred briefly, rearranged the weekend, and called back to reserve for Saturday lunch. (All these consultations are done in windy parking lots, because we have never managed to activate the cell phone the Patrick and Patricia lent us. I just bought a phone card, and we call from public phone booths, which are increasingly rare these days.)

Chateaulin bridge Much of the drive retraced our route to Crozon, but Plomodiern is a good deal closer, so instead of taking the freeway to save time, we took the twisty old road that parallels it. We got to the area well in advance, so we stopped to walk around the amazingly picturesque town of Chateaulin on the Aulne River (the photo shows the bridge over which we later drove to lunch). It was the day of the sports festival, scheduled to open a couple of hours later, so the town square and town-hall parking lot had been blocked off and were being covered with acres of wrestling mats. People were setting up punching bags, stationary bicycles, aerobics steps, and other self-torture devices. We walked up and down both sides of the lovely river, and I bought a book of tatting patterns that I saw in the window of a needlework shop. (You have to take them where you can get them—the needlework lady didn't know how to tat, didn't know anybody who did, didn't have any other tatting books or materials, and didn't even have any other copies of the book I bought.)

Auberg des Glazicks At the appointed hour, we drove on the short distance to Plomodiern, overshot the turn to "centre ville," and while looking for the way back chanced on the restaurant. It has murals on three sides (one of which is shown here), and the name of the restaurant is spelled differently in each one (Gault-Millau uses "Auberge des Glazicks." It's my theory that the spelling is so bad on French menus (both in France and in the U.S.) because all the serious chefs quit school at age 14 to apprentice in restaurant kitchens. "Glazicks" (or "Glazick" or "Glaziks" is Breton for "blue" or sometimes "green"; it has some vague association with the Navy that no one could explain to me. Everyone agrees, though, that it's very Breton.

Langoustine brikThe view from the dining room is gorgeous, but is somewhat marred because you must look at it over the top of an unbelievably ugly green-neon-trimmed, 1950's-modern pharmacy. I explained to the proprietor's wife that they will never get that third Michelin star until they buy that place and tear it down.

The dining room was almost empty. One French couple (a father and daughter, I think) were seated by the window. The only two other parties were us and another American couple, and for some reason we were seated next to each other, separated only by the tall, spare floral arrangement in the center of the room. They seemed very puzzled by the food—couldn't identify most of it and couldn't read the menu—but they adventurously scarfed it down and pronounced it delicious. We didn't exchange a word with them during the meal, but they must have been observing our diligent note taking and photography, because, as they got up to leave, they asked if we were writing a book on restaurants.

The food was excellent:

Glazicks lambFirst amuse-bouche: Little "ice-cream cones" made of slices of chorizo (a Spanish sausage that seems to have been enthusiastically adopted by French chefs) curled into cones and filled with ice milk. Crisp crêpe cones filled with seafood mousse. Crisp buckwheat "cheese straws." Strawberry gazpacho with large flakes of Parmesan cheese (in the photo), sweetness perfectly balanced with vinegar.

Second amuse-bouche: buckwheat crême brulée topped with cubes of foie gras.

Fennel parfait First course: Small brioches toasted and stuffed with lobster, with marinated beet cubes and beet foam on the side.

My second course: langoustine (Nephrops norvegicus) tails wrapped in "feuilles de brik" (paper-thin Morrocan pastry leaves that bake up crisp like phyllo, also enthusiastically adopted by French cooks at all levels) and baked crisp (pictured above), small mild sausages, very thin sheets and batons of fresh pineapple, chiffonade of herbs. David's second course: rack of lamb with wild salad, spring vegetables, and "black powder" (minced black olives).

Glazicks chocolateMy cheese course: comté, roquefort, pouligny St. Pierre (a favorite of mine), cendréd; de Menez Hom (a local ash-coated goat cheese named for the mountain that dominated the view from the dining room), and two dried apricots. David's cheese course: fromage blanc with double cream and salt and pepper (no herbs this time).

Predessert: A bizarre but delicious parfait of lemon cream, topped with warm chocolate, topped with green fennel foam, all layered in a large martini glass.

Glazicks strawberriesMy dessert: Crisp squares of chocolate layered with chocolate ganache (which turned out to be piped only around the rims, leaving a cavity in the center to be filled with verveine pastry cream, which ran out when I cut into the chocolate), tarragon ice cream with apple granité, little green macaroons, chocolate sauce. David's dessert: variations on strawberry and rhubarb. Rhubarb rolled in a crêpe. Two-layer strawberry soup (opaque on the bottom, clear on top, very different in flavor). Diced strawberries with ice cream and salty rhubarb marmelade. (The odd-shaped yellowish objects are part of the glass plate.)

Mignardises: tuiles, truffles, chocolate pot de crêmes, homemade mint marshmallows, strawberry-lemon tartlet, salted caramels, coconut haystacks, miniature canellé.

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