Au Midi Restaurant and Bistrot [Aptos / Santa Cruz]
Still jonesing for cassoulet having missed out on our previous visit in December, due to it being offered only on their dinner menu, I had the good fortune to get chef and co-owner Muriel on the phone Tuesday afternoon. Hearing the disappointment in my voice that the cassoulet was still only on the dinner menu she offered to make it available for lunch with a days notice, so in we went the next day.
Lady PB went with the very tasty Croque Monsieur (10.50) with a green salad. The cassoulet was everything I had hoped for, two kinds of sausage, tender duck confit, and the best beans which I learned are called "nugget" and are imported from France. They prefer these to the Tarbais which are larger and more expensive.
Having looked over their WBG menu online I chose the Domaine de Chantepierre, a Rhone blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre, a soft fruit and low alcohol, perfect match. For a second glass I wanted to try the 2007 Alfaro Syrah that I'd seen online but was told they only had the Chardonnay. Michel, Muriel's husband and co-owner, steered me to another local that I hadn't heard of, Corralitos Ridge Syrah, which turned out to be stellar as well.
We were both surprised by how much the place filled up for lunch on a weekday, and even moreso how well Michel handled the front of the house entirely on his own, Muriel even managed a brief appearance to welcome a few of the regulars. Two of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
Looking forward to returning on future visits to the area.
7960 Soquel Dr.