On the way home from Sault we stopped at a store for some more wine for the house. The Provence wines are fine but we had been buying Bordeaux at a median price of about $6 per bottle. At first we would carefully study the descriptions and hem and haw before deciding on one, but at this point we just grabbed since, so far, all the Bordeaux had been good. They were a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and sometimes Syrah—smooth, yet complex—and we still (not for lack of trying) had not suffered the headaches that come with some cheaper red wine in the States.
That night I helped Alex prep up a dinner of local pork with market greens and garlic-roasted potatoes. We used the grill to cook the pork Alex had pre-marinated. This grill took some getting used to since the briquettes were made of wood with a carbon or charcoal-like exterior. It surprisingly took a long time to get them going, but once lit they really burned strong—almost too strong. When I finally got the flames tamed, I put the meat on, but didn’t dare go back inside for fear of a flame-up.
I looked around and noticed the orange cat with blue eyes that Alex had photographed from our walk a few days earlier. Alex had already named this cat Rusty, for Rustrel. Maybe Rusty was hungry and smelled the food cooking, or maybe it was just Alex’s cat allure– Besides being a cat-whisperer, Alex is the pied piper of cats. Everywhere we go a cat appears: Inside a crepe restaurant in Paris; on our private, third story, balcony in Positano Itlay; on a walk on Catalina Island. And they all get named: Chat Noir; Posi; Lina…. and now Rusty.
That night all of us, including Rusty, enjoyed another one of Alex’s incredible dinners at the long table under the stars. Ines liked the meal so much, she proclaimed to Alex: “You are Le Cordon Bleu!” This coming from a French girl who had gone to school in Paris and was worldly enough, even at her age, to know such things. Alex took it as a grand compliment.
Later that night with just me and Alex sitting at the table enjoying the crisp night air and ultra bright stars under a blue-black sky, Alex giggled. “What,” I asked? “I am Le Cordon Bleu?” “You are,” I replied, “you are definitely our Cordon Bleu.”