November 22, 2006

Mini Vacation!

Perfect get-away!

My grandfather was French and I was a pastry chef.
I tried to love France to live there, but Florence stole my heart.
If I could I would live at the sea, so a weekend in Nice was really NICE!

We drove from Florence, stopping along the way for lunch at the sea.
Most places were aready closed for the seaon, but we found a small village called San Bartolmeo and the only place open. Filled with locals, but looking rather old and shabby,the huge first course were large enough for several people!

I had a simple potato gnocchi alla sorrentino, which means they melt some mozzarella in a light tomato sauce,perfect and soothing after a long drive through the tunnels from Genova, but HUGE!

A full tray for me.

My hubby Spaghetti with clams in tomato sauce and our friend fried calamari and a salad. 32 Euro total with wine!

Next stop Antibes!
I would love to go back here. I always assumed it was like Monte Carlo, but we found a lovely village and I scored a fabulous antique crystal jar with lid for some sort of infusions.

They had an intriguing Absinthe bar.. but we were afraid we would never find our hotel if we met the Fate Verde( green fairy).. as it is called.

Off to Mougin!
great off-season deals in hotels and dinner next door at La Mente Douce ( Sweet Mint) was maroccan.... with belly dancing. Fun. Dinner and the show 30 euro a piece.

The next day off to another market which was more of a garage sale( vide greniers) held in a huge open field with cars parked and people pulling stuff out of their trunks, ( trunk sale?) some fun treasures. After we headed over to Nice to see the vegetable market since it was closed on Monday... which is why we came. On Monday's in Nice is their flea market.

Monday we returned to where the market was and it had transformed itself into the flea market.

We toured it all and shopped till we dropped and then met with my friend Rosa for a lovely lunch in a wine bar and then home. Rosa had a lovely pumpkin soup with blood sausge and a red wine reduction drizzled on top. I had a grilled andouiellete sausage with fried potatoes, hubby had the salumi plate.

The wine Rosa chose for us was lovely with a rich cherry flavor, which they must have used for teh wine reduction.. perfect!

For dessert I had a fresh cheese ( like made from yougurt) with maple syrup. PERFECT.

For those of you who were confused like me...

No Potatoes
No String Beans!

What happens to food ... that makes people change ingredients and keep a name?

Being near the sea makes me not want to live in Florence anymore.

Who knows where you will find me next?


  1. Anonymous1:45 AM

    i dream of giving up my life in california for your life in florence. i love italy!

  2. It actually is a hard life..and not as much free time.. or money.. to travel a lot..
    that said.. I found cheap tickets to Belgium and am off Tuesday to see my brother and his new girlfriend.. from Belgium..and catch some of the famous christmas markets..and flea markets..
    see a trend here?

  3. Tjaart11:16 PM

    Beautiful blog!Beautiful photographs! A good read!
    One problem: do you really believe there is only one recipe for an "authentic" salade nicoise?
    I am sure in Nice itself, in homes in Nice, and in good nicois restaurants you might well find at least as many variants as there are chefs and housewives!

  4. Tjaart,
    was just in Belgium and my friend told me that what I thought was salad nicoise.. is salad liegoise!

    But as in tuscany.. every kitchen has their version.... but there is are basic rules which are followed!

  5. Anonymous9:03 PM

    I live in Minnesota and dream of a trip to Florence before I turn 60 years old in two years. I still work of course, so time is limited, and not even sure I can get anyone to go with me, hopefully my sister is up for the adventure! My son is a chef, got his "mojo" in Florence, I am an artist with "writers block" needing inspiration and an adventure of a lifetime. Not a lot of money, not high maintenence, just love great food and wine and a good bed to sleep in, Tuscan Style. Any advise for a couple of beautiful overweight happy women looking for an adventure in Italy? Need good sized accomodations (plane,train,bus,chairs) for comfort and plenty of laughing with breathtaking views while enjoying a jug of wine?