The requisite right of passage on your first night in Montréal du Gers is to be humbled and humiliated by Bernard Daubin, my friend Charles's brother-in-law who owns and operates one of the best restaurants in the region. Nothing pleases me more than coming here with two noobs and watching them slowly break down under the weight of endless glasses of wine and pound upon pound of duck fat. Just when you think it's over, another plate comes out and you have no choice but to eat it or embarrass yourself in front of the family. We had two guys from our film crew accompany us to Chez Simone last night and I have to admit I enjoyed watching them buckle minute by minute (as they were forced to then unbuckle their belts).
Being a seasoned vet at this point, I knew how to pace myself and brace for the coming onslaught. By the time the duck breast was finished, Bernard's mother Simone and I were picking up the bones and gnawing of the last little morsels. As the gang slowly meandered downstairs for breakfast, a few scattered moans made me laugh out loud. "Where else can you party with an 84 year old woman until two in the morning?" I asked them. "Welcome to the big leagues, boys!"