LaNovakThe Red PursePg.
was a man in uniform, sharp and in control. We exchanged a few smiles and glancesthrough the glass while Mark and Alain chatted in a kitchen French that could makeAnthony Bourdain blush. The lesser cooks yelled “Oui chef!” to Gras’ firm orders and Iwas smitten. My husband generously began to refer to him as “your guy Laurent” whenmy knees buckled while sputtering “Je vous remercie” as we shook hands adieu.In the formal dining room the following evening, I had my first bite of gold, which I wasinstructed was safe to ingest. And I was taught,
that the tiny apolsteredstool next to my chair was for
The Red Purse
from Dubai. Aside from lipstick andpowder, the only other item I kept in The Purse was a red leather notebook from theConcorde in which I recorded each of Ducasses’ delicacies in intricate detail - despite thefact that we were given personalized menus printed up as the Fourth of July fireworksexploded over the Cote d’Azur:
Grosses langoustines roties, fondue d’agrumes desquatre saisons a l’huile d’olive vierge et vieux vinaigre de Modene, zestescaramelises….Grecque tiede de jeunes legumes, lard de porc de ferme, petit navet et poire en copeaux crus, caille de brebis nappe d’une huile d’olives tres mures…Ravioli decepes et girolles moelleux et dores, fin veloute pour les saucer…...Pavé de loup Mediterranée piqué de fenouil et d’ail confit, cuit lentement (pour être moelleux), la peaucraquant,e aubergines en marmelade, jus vinagre au poivre et genievreconcasses….Pigeonneau des Alpes de Haute-Provence et foie gras de canard sure labraise, pommes nouvelles a la peau…..Fraises des bois de l’arriere-pays dans leur justiede, sorbet au mascarpone
(my personal favorite) followed by the famed chocolatepraline croustillant garnished with gold leaf of which I wrote in the red book: “it was soephemeral it only lasted the time we held it in our mouths.”
wo years later, replete with sinus infection (a natural corollary to our son’s chronic earinfections) I discovered the notebook buried under a wad of tissues. We were celebrating