Sunday, December 28, 2008

Goat Cheese Tart, Carottes Râpées, & Celeri Remoulade (10/06)

We didn't want a huge dinner that night, so before we left for Avignon, stopped at the local boulangerie where I scored myself one of these luscious Goat Cheese Tarts. It was heaven in a pastry crust. The tart consisted of red and yellow tomatoes, fresh basil, and that creamy chunk of my favorite cheese. After seeing it, I nearly didn't make it to Avignon!
To keep it light, we served it with several salads: lettuce, Alison's tomato salad, and two French classics: Carottes Râpées (shredded carrots dressed in a light vinaigrette) and Celeri Remoulade (shredded celery root in a mayonnaise sauce). Now, I adore celeriac and have been to France several times, but this was a first for me. It was one of my favorite foodie discoveries (along with Perrier Menthe and Macarons) and I will definitely be adding it to my staple recipe collection, once I have mastered it. In the upcoming weeks, I'm going to give it my all to see if I can recreate the taste, and once I do - will be sharing it with you.
This was all washed down with a lovely bottle of chilled Pouilly-Fumé. Pouilly Fumé is a fantastic budget friendly alternative to the pricier Sancerre.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Fabulous Citroën C3 Pluriel

Going back to my early onset Citroën obsession, the new C3 Pluriel doesn't disappoint. While not quite as stylish as the Citroën 2CV, and yes - it does look a bit like a VW, it does have the classic roll top that I fell in love with as a little girl and I would be happy to add my personalized number plate to one of these babies to call my own. Well, I don't actually have a personalized number plate, but if I had one of these, I would...

Palais des Papes (Papal Palace), Avignon (10/06)

Text to come...

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a very nice Christmas. It is always so nice to see your town decorated when you're out and about preparing for the big day...

...then to go home and sit by the fire...
...and gaze out at your traditional outdoor lights once the sun goes down...

I hope your day was full of warm memories and sunny smiles.

Best Wishes for a Healthy, Happy, and Tasty New Year,
~ Amy J.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Provençal Lunch in Avignon ~ Restaurant le Lutrin (10/06)

We had a lovely lunch in the center of Avignon at the Restaurant le Lutrin, just around the corner from the Palais des Papes. It was a lovely restaurant, part of the Hôtel du Palais des Papes, and had a lovely outside seating area that sheltered you from the sunshine.
The perimeter was surrounded by large planters containing Bay Laurels, Lavender, Thyme, and Rosemary plants.
Surrounding the area was a small market of local artists, which provided a lovely backdrop to our heavenly meal.
This was one of my favorite meals of the trip: it was my ideal Provençal lunch. As it was a warm afternoon and we had been eating non-stop for a week and a half, I was in the mood for something light. My main course did not fail to please...
Roasted Aubergines with a simple Provençal Sauce. The flavors were so fresh and bold. I was in heaven. This was obviously washed down with a nice bottle of Provençal Rosé.

The only thing that could have completed this would have been lavender crème brûlée, and I was in luck: on the desert menu was a trilogy of crème brûlée. The flavors were Lavender, Thyme, and Vervain (Verbena). This is my ideal desert, right down to the fact that I have this thing about the number 3. It was the perfect way to finish the meal, even if the Thyme brûlée was actually Rosemary. Lucky for them, Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs too. Actually, in Provence, you really can't go wrong when it comes to my taste buds.

Hôtel du Palais des Papes ~

Restaurant le Lutrin

3, Place du Palais 84000 AVIGNON

By phone: (+33)490 860 413
By fax: (+33) 490 279 117

Images of Avignon (10/06)

After our visit to the bridge, we had a nice long stroll around Avignon. This was my first visit there, and I wasn't disappointed. Avignon is a very feminine, elegant city. While it is not as fast paced as Paris, you definitely feel an upbeat vibe - helped by the student atmosphere. It is a cosmopolitan city without being at all pretentious. I can't wait to go back!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Saint Benezet's Bridge ~ Avignon (10/06)

Our first goal was to find The Saint Benezet's Bridge - The bridge of Avignon. It proved a little tricky to find the entrance but thanks to some handy sign postings, we were on our way.
The building of this bridge started in 1177, all because (as legend has it) Saint Bénézet heard a voice telling him to build a bridge over the Rhône at Avignon. He decided to follow this advice, and much to the amusement and ridicule of the locals, he started making this vision a reality. It took around 8 years to complete, and here are the results...

... and yes, this is the bridge from the famous song: "Sur le Pont d'Avignon"

On the bridge of Avignon

Everyone's dancing, everyone's dancing

On the bridge of Avignon

Everyone's dancing in a circle.

The handsome men go like this

And they go like that

On the bridge of Avignon

Everyone's dancing, everyone's dancing

On the bridge of Avignon

Everyone is dancing in a circle.

Pretty ladies go like this

And then they go like that!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Market Treasures (10/05)

We ended up back at La Colombe d'Ocre for a nice, relaxing dinner that night were we sampled some of the treasures that we found at the market. We had some lovely jambon de montagne from the local charcuterie in Roussillon. It was total heaven, not too thinly sliced, and divinely smoked. This was joined by some beautifully marinated olives, conrichons (Maille, of course), radishes, and a few other gems that didn't make it into the photo. This was finished by the macarons that were left over from L'Auberge du Pere Bise and the boulangerie in Duingt.
Ah, what bliss!!!