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Burgundy, a couple of places

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(1) just south of Auxerre (beautiful town, well worth visiting), Auberge Les Tilleuls (in the red guide), with a charming waterside eating area and a few rooms. Very good seasonal cuisine, from classic (I had guinea hen rolled around a forcemeat, with morel sauce) to more creative - an asparagus veloute with fennel (small cubes and feathery leaves) and oysters. Quite a cheesecart, excellent breakfast in a charming room, a very relaxing stopover.

(2) in Beaune, Le Benaton, a new Michelin star. Enjoyable cuisine and some very fine dishes - my rabbit entree and pigeon main were both standouts, as were the amuses (including what I believe were deepfried bits with creamy pigs foot inside and a cone filled with subtly flavored white cheese). A side dish of shell beans served with my pigeon was just stupendous. They have clearly layered on a lot of stylish accoutrements to get their star - the bathroom, for example, is terrific and the waitstaff's costumes made me feel like I was back in NY, but all in all this was an extremely civilized and relaxed evening in their pleasant garden.

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