Meribel Apres Ski ReportRibs, Selfish Karaoke Stars and Red & White Shoes
20th February 2012
A much belated Happy Valentine’s Day. I am so late with this post partly due to having to spend the last week sifting through the endless cards, letters and chocolates I received on the 14th February.
That is of course a whopping great lie and the truth, I’m afraid, is slightly dull. I am writing to you after a week of entrapment in my chalet. It is February half term and for my colleagues and I this means the dreaded ‘mid season deep clean’. The severe lack of inspiration that a deep clean brings is probably the reason for my delay in posting a report in recent times. Apologies for that, I just thought that oven cleaner fume induced ramblings about scrubbing and scouring and mopping and polishing would have made for a rather mediocre read.
When I am back in England for the other half of the year (the non snowy half) I have several culinary weaknesses. Chinese food and my mum’s leek and stilton pasta bake are two of them. But absolutely nothing gets my mouth watering and my taste buds tingling more than a tantalising plate of ribs. Spare ribs, barbeque ribs, spicy ribs, baby back ribs, you get the idea. So imagine if you will my delight just last week upon discovering a hidden gem tucked away on the lower slopes of St Martin. From Meribel centre take both the Tougnette 1 and 2 lifts to the top. A nice breezy ski down the Jerusalem run and down towards St Martin will eventually bring you to my new favourite mountain lunch spot ‘La Loy’. You will see signposts (see pictures) by the St Martin chairlift (which will later take you back to Meribel) for the restaurant, follow these and you will shortly arrive.
Upon entering the building you get the feeling you have stepped back in time, high ceilings, shots of genepy laid out on a table and old skis and snow shoes hanging from the walls make the place feel like an old mountain refuge house. It feels strangely empty and airy yet somehow cosy and welcoming at the same time. It was a cold and snowy day outside but on a sunny day I’m sure the outdoor decking area would be an ideal sun trap to sit and have a nice cold beer. Sitting inside was just fine though and I only had to look at the menu for about 30 seconds before deciding upon my meal. At €13.50, my huge plate of barbeque ribs with seasoned fries was an absolute bargain and would have easily fed two people. I hadn’t had a plate of ribs for 3 months though so I went solo on this one. They were delicious, sticky, falling off the bone. The sheer volume of food on the plate was incredible and I had to leave half of my fries. The rest of the menu sounded nice also with an interesting sounding bread crumbed camembert dish and a confit lamb dish to name just a couple, all were equally good value. In short, a friend and I had an enormous meal and 2 drinks and had change from €40. Service was quick, the staff were attentive and I will be starving myself for a day next week so I can go back and actually finish the plate!
I have mentioned before how being in a ski resort for such a long period of time can do strange things to the brain and make you forget that there is a world outside of the resort where normal people do normal jobs and don’t wear stupidly clashing clothes that are far too big for them. I had one of these moments of claustrophobia on my last day off work and decided to avoid the slopes and have a normal person’s day of fun. I met up with a group of friends and we headed down to the Olympic Centre for a day of bowling. It was incredibly refreshing to do something different. We had a couple of beers and hit up the amusement arcade, I won 2 games of air hockey and my friend won a duck billed platypus on the grabber machine. We blasted the hell out of some aliens with plastic laser guns and then played bowling for an hour. It is €11 for a game of bowling which may seem steep by home standards but a fair sized group of you can easily take an hour or more over a game. €6 for a pint of Stella was fairly reasonable and well worth the strange feeling of being briefly transported out of the Meribel bubble and home to the real world for one afternoon. As fun as it was though, the next day I finished my breakfast service at record speed and could not wait another minute to get back on those slopes!
Another food related recommendation now but it comes not because of the food itself but rather the in house entertainment. Last week I had the pleasure of a sit down pizza at ‘Le Tremplin’, a pizza restaurant right next to the Chaudanne and next door to Evolution. The pizza was very good but a tad on the pricey side (ranging from €14 to €19) but you have to pay a price, it seems, for an evening of good food and incredibly bizarre entertainment. On this particular Wednesday, Le Tremplin’s resident band, ‘No Mad’ were providing ‘light entertainment’ for about 7 perplexed diners. ‘No Mad’ (an incredibly misleading name given that the latter word would be an entirely adequate description of them) is made up of a male and female duo of about 45 and 65 years old respectively. It is difficult to describe the show that the two members of No Mad put on but it was similar, I would imagine, to a pair at a karaoke night getting far too into what they are doing and deciding they are just going to hold onto the microphones for the rest of the night and not let anyone else have a go. Electronic instrumentals of 80s and 90s megahits wafted out of a small PA system and ‘No Mad’ sung their hearts out. The female half of the band even marched around the restaurant getting people to join in with the songs and get up and dance. As strange as it all was I think the last time I was this entertained whilst eating a pizza was before the season sat with a hangover watching ‘The Cube’ on ITV. I’d pick No Mad over Phillip Schofield any day!