It would be easy for you to think that I live in Paris, but I don’t. I did, but I moved south a year ago. Not all the way south – to the Rhône-Alpes region. You know, Grenoble, Lyon, Annecy, Chamonix – it’s a nice part of France. (Although if you were to ask me where the not-nice parts of France are, I’d be at a loss to tell you.)
In the summer, I move around a lot, but in theory I’m based in Lyon. I freaking love Lyon. It’s a great city. You can look forward to some inside scoops from Lyon (because I have friends who know what the scoop is and they tell me) and here’s the first one.
I was spending a few days in Lyon with my friend before kicking off the summer, and since we’re both American, we were hungry. Please note that we were hungry at around 8pm which is one of the acceptable times to be hungry in France. We went around the corner to try a little place that both of us had passed numerous times in Croix Rousse – l’Epicerie Comptoir. (You can also find them in two other arrondissements in Lyon as well as Grenoble.)
We chose inside over outside because it was getting chilly, and the gentleman inside greeted us warmly. We asked to see a menu, and he replied, “I am the menu!” He recommended a plate of charcuterie and a choice of tapenades with a really yummy wine that may have been from Australia or South America or possibly the south of France.
Normally I have trouble relinquishing control over my food like this. I like to comb through the menu, look at the prices, add it all up in my head, and then make a decision, so agreeing to food without having all the background information is disagreeable to me in the same way that I find it disagreeable when I’m not allowed to choose my own produce at the market (I don’t WANT the apple with the little hole in the side and I’m sorry if that makes me a produce snob.)
My self-induced anxiety was lifted when our food came. A perfect planche of charcuterie with thinly sliced saucisson and pâté en croute and prosciutto (sorry vegetarians). I eat a fair amount of charcuterie in France, and this is probably the best I’ve ever had. And the tapenades! There was olive, beet (which we referred to as “betterave” even when speaking English because “beet” means something quite different in French) and two others which I think had something to do with red peppers and garlic. All four were de-lish even if I cannot remember what they all were.
We also had a whole jar of small pickles (gherkins? Cornichons) to go with the charcuterie and I may have overdone it on that front. I like tiny pickles, what can I say?
The bill came to about 20 euros each, which is a little more than I usually spend on dinner (#thrifty) but it was reasonable considering the quality of all the different things we tried. FYI, you can also buy their products to take home, hence why is it called “L’Epicerie.”
Update: I did end up returning to L’Epicerie Comptoir, and while there are other wine bars in Lyon that I prefer, L’Epicerie Comptoir has a nice modern vibe and a good amount of seating – hopefully, you won’t have to fight for a table here.
If you like wine and apéro, you might like my list of favorite wine bars in Lyon.