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14 May 2016 : Barcelona            jump to this page > > >
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Back home for a brief rest, and then time to navigate across the Gothic Quarter into another new neighborhood, Raval, where we had reservations in a little hole-in-the-wall justly famous for its paella.

You'll notice that feet never left the ground today (except Rochelle's for a nap.) All navigation was by foot along streets rarely polluted by wheels, and that is surely one of the reasons this was such a lovely day. I'm beginning to get the hang of Barcelona, and can find my way from point A to point B with only two or three consultations with a map. "I don't know how you got us here," admits Rochelle. It definitely has to do with a (usually) imperturbable sense of direction. We found Arume easily.

Feeling brave, we started with a blackberry mojito (at left, below) Next, burrata spring salad with pomegranate, guacamole, microgreens and hazelnut vinaigrette, and then their signature paella, ranked 34th of 7,201 restaurants in Barcelona on TripAdvisor. To finish off, la Torrija de Manuel with vanilla ice cream: as if crême brulée had a baby with a pudding cake. After this indescribably delicious meal, we were favored by our host (whom I think we amused with our foodiness and appreciation) with a couple of little glasses of the local after dinner drink, an alcoholic concoction of chocolat (spelt xocolat here) and cherries.

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16 May 2016 : Collioure            jump to this page > > >
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Dinner. Le Tambourin. Yum! 

Superb local red wine. (I'm more than a little drunk; I drank almost all of the 500ml bottle.) Baby razor clams, can't remember what they call them. More of same plus gambas and a whitefish that tasted like lobster, and a little bit of risotto with mushrooms. Then charcuterie and a little salad and local cheese. We trusted the chef, and he did not disappoint. Delicious. Did I mention that I am a little drunk? 

23 May 2016 : Sète            jump to this page > > >
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Here's dinner! Even better than in Collioure; now we have chicken and mushrooms to add to the other bounty of the season. A glass of rosé from the Hérault (the département we're in, like a state, of which there are 96 in France). Unlike our early season (read "tasteless") tomatoes, we're getting succulent beauties. Spoiled by our greenhouse's production of yummy tomatoes right into December, it's a treat to get these for our salad.

3 June 2016 : Mirepoix-Niaux            jump to this page > > >
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Dinner was one of those inexcusably superb French experiences we came for. The restaurant: L'autre Jardin. We order. I ask for wine; our hostess invites us to the cave to choose. We find a lovely Bio Viognier Chardonnay from the terroir to go with Rochelle's poisson du moment with seafood risotto and my Guinea hen in mushroom sauce. We share a starter: an elegant arrangement of capers (the big real ones), parmesan, and Iberian ham. Everything is superbly plated and the wine is perfectly matched to all three courses. It's a rare dinner where we down a bottle, but no problem. Panna cotta with raspberry coulis shared for dessert, two espressos and a glass of local armagnac. The whole dinner transaction goes down in comfortable (at least for us!) French. Perfect.

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A memorable meal to complete an utterly memorable day.

9 June 2016 : Cahors - Sarlat            jump to this page > > >
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Dinner at La Petit Manoir. We share a petit pichet of the house’s distinguished local red – look at that color! Carpaccio with parmesan and fresh local greens. Magret (duck breast) “in her juice” done "the French way," pink on the inside, chewy but unbelievably tasty. Rochelle’s shrimps with tiny fettucini, seaweed, and sesame seeds. Chocolate mousse with chantilly and salted caramel sauce. 

Two serious "full menu" meals today and yet, quite surprisingly, not too much food; just enough. The meals are superbly presented but right-sized even for me. No wonder the French are, for the most part, not fat.

10 June 2016 : Sarlat            jump to this page > > >
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Another two-meals-out day. This apartment is delicious, but its kitchen is sorely lacking. The restaurant: Le Jardin de Harmonie. 1: Amuse bouche, who knows what meat (duck?) in a crispy skin with tempura sauce. 2: sweet potato and Madagascar vanilla velouté with shoestring sweet potato garnish. 3: Salad of five perfumes, fruit and half-roasted baby vegetables in a 10-year-old balsamic vinaigrette. 4: Salade 7ième vegeterienne (tomatoes, lettuce, tortilla wrapped local cheese and carrot, a bunch of other delights.) 5: Magret (duck breast) in port wine reduction. 6: Scallops a la plancha with enoki mushrooms and balsamic reduction. No dessert. No coffee.

We’ve got to stop eating like this. But, once again, just exactly the right amount of food. We each had a glass of lovely local rosé, and are home again, replete without feeling stuffed. 

11 June 2016 : Oléron            jump to this page > > >
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Dinner tonight - Chef Rochelle's salad at home: okay supermarket lettuce, heirloom tomato, sun dried tomato, Mirepoix market olives, pepper, pistachios (from Harvest Market!), parmesan, balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

For dessert, a little gateaux des noix purchased this morning with our chocolatine and croissant at a wood fired baker's place we found on the ridge above Sarlat. Yum.



Click for a summary of recent
lunches    dinners

10 July 2017 : Caspar & Mendonesia            jump to this page > > >
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To finish the day, a delicious dinner at Uneda Eat in Point Arena. Brilliant Caesar, onion rings crisp and plump at once, Rochelle's too-much southern fried chicken (yummy lunch the next day!), and Michael's roast squab. 

next group : to Hawaii

other topics:    Lunches     Markets     Transport

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