Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz

We’ve only got two days, so we have to squeeze in as much as we possibly can.

Friends, beach, sun, and the best of all Basque things, basically.

Dinner was at La Cidrerie Luzienne, a little relaxed-style restaurant right next to the Jai Alai, the Cesta Punta stadium where the local champions slug it out. The decor is snazzily renovated stone-and-wood.

Now, the cider is not the main attraction. It’s a bit on the rough side and although the serving ceremonial is a lot of fun, it’s not as nice as cider from Normandy or Brittany. Nonetheless, when the gong rings (every 15 minutes or so) and they open the vault, you pick up your glass and go to get a refill.

The menu is short and simple. We ordered côte de boeuf for three – Irish beef, might I add. It was gorgeous (if you’re the carnivorous kind, like me…). Other dishes included omelettes with morue, which is a local speciality of salted codfish, or with fresh boletus mushrooms. There were lamb chops or fish with sautéed corne de boeuf (“bull horns”) red and green peppers. As I said, simple fare, but well prepared, and the waitress was the embodiment of charm.

After two lovely days with our friends, we were about to head off again, but were waylaid by the boys’ insistence on wanting to surf on the Grande Plage in Biarritz. 

The swell was timid at first, but increased to a decent roll by sunset. By the time we had handed back the boards and changed into dry clothes it was 8 o’clock, so we decided to have a bit to eat before driving back to the Gers (over 3 hours… Ugh.). We literally walked into the first sea-view restaurant we came across,
Le Steakhouse, and took a chance. The decor is kinda faux-American, but they have a fabulous view of the beach and we watched the sun go down and it was beautiful. The steakhouse menu was not terribly original: half a dozen fancy hamburgers and pizza and a couple of fish dishes, but the chips were hand-cut and crispy, and the chipirons were simply done and tasty. No superfluous sauce or spice. Just nice.

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