2013 in Bordeaux

2013 in Bordeaux

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Avignon, on Friday, Saturday

HBonjour from our favorite place on earth.  Avignon France.  True Provence.  We arrived by TVG the fast train on Friday afternoon from Nice.  We had 2nd class tickets, which normally is just fine.  The 2nd class cars are attached to the 1st class and get to the station at the same time.  Except this time we had a boy's soccer team traveling to a match.  20 or more 15 yr old boys and 4 coaches who were 20 or so.  Noisey!!!!!!  Oh well.  Then Jerry had a woman who sat next to him with a dog.  Who liked to ride on the seat with her.  Not the best train ride.

But when we did arrive we jumped in a taxi and came to #5 Rue du Crucifix, which is a building that used to house monks or someone in the 13th century and now has been converted to flats.  It really is lovely. Very modern with a loft and a large stone terrace with comfy furniture.  One of the nicest places we have rented. (I know I always say that but this time it is true).  Here are some pictures.


Doesn't this man ALWAYS Look like this?

After unpacking, we set off to see our favorite place again.   This is a medieval town (in the old part where we are) so there are not a lot of straight streets.  As a matter of fact there are NO straight streets.  While we have been here twice before this is a new neighborhood for us, so exploring we went.  I am reminded of the poem that my Grandpa Dygert used to tell me:  "The streets were so crooked and the lanes were so narrow, that he had to carry his wife home in a wheelbarrow".  It's like that.


We looked at some restaurants for dinner and  went to the Carefour (supermarket) for supplies.  Toasting bread, 6 eggs (that's how they come and never refrigerated), orange juice, coffee, mayo, tuna, cheese and meat for salads, spinach, which turned out to be something else, and milk for caffe at lait. I tried to find sweet pickles for tuna salad but apparently the French don't do sweet pickles at all, so I settled for capers and olives.  Came back and unloaded, and I took a nap.

One of the hazards of traveling like we do, for extended periods of time is that one of you inevitably gets sick.  My diverticulosis often kicks up while we travel, and this trip is no exception.  It is more nuisance than anything because I carry antibiotics with me to cure it, but it makes me tired.  So this week will be more laid back than usual because I am at about half speed.  Irritating!

After some research on trip advisor and Google we found about 20 nearby restaurants that would do nicely for dinner.  We had no reservations, and no phone to make any anyway, so we set out about 8PM to see what we could find in the neighborhood.  First place, full, second place full, third place had a table for 2!!!.  The place was called L'epice (Peace) and Love, and it is  a one man show.  The owner/waitress/cook is a 57 year old Earth Mother, who has posters all over the walls with symbols of the 60's.  Twiggy, Beatles, Ban the bomb, etc.  She only has about 6 hand written menus with what she has cooked that afternoon.  So when you come in you have to wait for other people to order first, then whe gives you the menu and explains it all. But surprisingly, the food was Good.  She flitted from one table to the next telling people what they should order etc. changing languages flawlessly.  We had a GREAT bottle of Grand Cru Cotes du Rhone for 18.00.  Jerry had baked chicken,  I had fish, we split a dessert $48.00.  Fun place and made us feel at home.  Next to us were a couple from London.  He is retired, she is an I.T. to train Lawyers how to use software (I sympathized with her having to work with lawyers).  They encouraged us to take a day trip to Niems and we think we will.

We came back to our little home and slept and slept.

The next morning after a cafe au lait and tea we went to the indoor market here called Les Halles.  On the map it is not far, and trusting Mr. Geography we set off.  JERRY GOT LOST!!!!!  I mean totally lost, lost like Jean gets lost!  We wandered and turned and he got more frustrated.  I took out my map and found where we were and then a local man took pity on us and gave us directions.  We had completely passed the market and gone to the otherside of town.  HA. It made my day because Jerry is always telling me that I can't possibly be lost, and I always am. 

Enough maritial wars.  We eventually did get to the market and couldn't resist a "few" photos.  You know me and food, and each vendor has made their food look more beautiful than the rest.
Scallops in their shells
Live lobsters and crabs
Beef lung, stomach and other disgusting thing s that the French Love!
Sea urchins ready to eat
I was wondering where to get that pig's leg.
50 kinds of goat cheese 
Fresh morel mushrooms


We remember from last time we were here there is a cooking demonstration by a local famous chef at 11AM so we cued up to watch.  These chefs are like movie stars to the French and today Jerome Blanchet from Crillon le Brave Hotel was there to demonstrate cooking : "Noix de Saint Jacques pique a la citronella, etuvee d'endive a l'orange et huile d'olive foisonnee au yuzu'.  I know, right? Haven't you always wanted to know how to cook that? 


The demonstration was in French, but I was armed with the recipe, in French, and a front row standing spot, which with the French is hard to hold onto, because they don't like being behind anyone, especially anyone as big as me.  But I held my ground.  This guy was young, and had his young sous Chef with him who was even younger.  

First they chopped the endive and sauted it in butter and added orange juice.


Then they made the foisonnée sauce with eggs, oil, yuzu (which I think is like lemon) and shallots.  It made a thick mayonnaise sauce, but WAY better. Like a thick lemony hollandaise.

Then he speared each Scallop (SaintJacques) with a spear of lemongrass,
sautéed them really fast in very hot pan. Voila!  The dish was done: endive, scallop, and sauce on top.


Of course, then he made enough for everyone to taste , with wine!  Delish!  


So at the market we bought a whole roast chicken, fingerling potatoes, green beans for our supper.  Olive tapanade and pate for appetizer.  French baguette, Brie and Minnouette cheese andchocolate eclairs   because we are in France and we can.



Eating out of the market a couple of days a week makes being like a local so much more real, plus saves money, and.....I get sick of restaurants every night.  (Not really but I get sick of Jerry whining about money), so with this great market, we will eat in several nights.  Many things are already prepared and all you need to do is warm them up.  Like this duck breast scallop with morel mushrooms and cream.  How can that be bad?  
Or pintade 



Saturday was a beautiful 70 degree day with little wind, so after washing a load of clothes and hanging them to dry, we went off on a trip to find wine bars (I know, it's a dirty job).  We found a sunny spot and had our first kir then went on to the big square and had another apperitf.  
Norwex travels with me ALWAYS!!!


Walked back in the sunshine and sat on our terrace with some bread and pate and Brie.  Then I took a nap.

It is definitely spring here.  Flowers and trees are leafing out.


And for my female friends out there, here are some gorgeous French men.
Behind Jerry is who I was talkin about.  :-)



Today is Easter Sunday and the church bells have been ringing and ringing.  It is raining a bit this morning.  The ideal time to get this caught up.  I hope you are enjoying our travels, we certainly are, but half the fun is writing this blog for you.  A Bientot!