After two nights on the Normandy coast (and a quick stop in Honfleur), we left to spend a few days with friends in Lille.
Our friends they were kind enough to book a babystter and make a reservation at a local wine bar called La Part des Anges. Located in beautiful Old Lille, this bar features a very nice selection of wines by the glass (all French, I recall) and a mid-priced menu of bistro fare. Despite my protests and numerous caveats, the group asked me to play sommelier and pair their dishes with a wine from the menu. Armed with little more than the appelation (I didn′t recognize the winemakers), I think I put everyone on the right track, and can now claim to have been a sommelier - if only for a few, brief, unpaid minutes.
To start we cleansed our palates with a Pierre Legras Champagne (Brut N.V.) - refreshing, slightly off dry, but rather uncomplex (14/20). I had a melon and prosciutto salad for an appetizer, which I paired with a 2005 Muscat Sec by the Vignerons de St. Paul - melon and white flowers, dry (but not bone dry), with some lemon and fresh acidity - a nice pairing (16/20). For dinner I ordered the Rognons d'Agneau, which I thought would pair very well with a Madiran. The 2005 Latreille Sounac had classic smoke, tobacco, and leather aromas with big tannins, dark cherry fruit and nice balance. Decent length and well made, an accessible Madiran (unlike those monsters from Montus!), 15.5/20. Overall, a nice restaurant, but a bit smokey at the bar out front. Great list of wines for those who wish to explore, and the location in old Lille made for a very nice evening.
This was an unplanned stop, as Belgium was never on our itinerary, but it was so close to Lille that a day trip was in order. There is nothing vinuous about Bruges - this is Belgium, and Belgium means beer. After a tour (on foot, and by boat) through this gorgeous medeival town, I stopped for some Moules et Frites (mussels and fries), which was washed down by the local beer called Brugse Zot - apparently a world medal winner in its class. I agree - an excellent pint, which I had the chance to compare to some other Belgian beers (but not my all-time favourite, Chimay - a rematch is in order), and this was the best. It may be hard to find, but definitely worth the effort for any beer types out there. A very beautiful town, and a must see - even if you do not care for Belgian styled beer.