July 30, 2009

French food

Needless to say I was in heaven when it came to food in France. And wine of course. At two occasions I really splurged and had food that I will remember for a long, long time. OK, I'm probably a bit crazy, but if people can collect cars, magazines etc then I can “collect” good meals and food.

11e art
I found this place on my first night in Nice just off Promenade de Anglais. Reading their six course set menu outside I decided to just have a wonderful evening and walked in. The waiters' English were as good (or poor ) as my French but we understood each other. Each course was just perfect and with some local white wine from Provence I know I had come to the right place.

Le 72 Croisette
In Cannes I decided to do lunch on Boulevard de la Croisette just like the super-rich do. Too bad I don't have the money they have... French brasseries are never wrong and when I found a place with the perfect view for people watching that didn't cost a fortune I was in. 10 minutes later I was eating one of the best Caesar salads I have ever had. The dressing was made of local roquefort cheese and with a glass of rose de Provence I was in heaven. Later on I looked in my guide book and apparently this is THE place to sit during the film festival to watch people.

Les Viviers
On Sunday many restaurants are closed in France and of course all the places I had looked at before were closed, but then I remembered a place that I walked by every day to the train station. Happy to finally find a place that was open I realised it was a bit pricey, but when it comes to food I really can't say no... To start with I had artichoke salad with parmesan cheese, then as I main course I decided to go all the way and had risotto with lobster. Expensive yes, but soooo good. To drink I had the local Provence rosé wine which really turned out to be the best and very cheap wine I have had in a long time. I brought one bottle with me home, but I'm sure it will not taste the same here. As I was already splurging and knew I had to pay with credit card I decided to have dessert as well. Crème brûlée with bourbon vanilla. I honestly think I had died and gone to heaven. So smooth and so prefect and with that crispy sugar on top. Oh my God!

When I passed the restaurant the next day on my way to the train station I noticed a signed that said they had one star in Guide Michelin, and I totally understand why. What I paid for that dinner was almost as much as in Sweden, but it's not every day you get to eat seafood prepared by one of the best chefs in France.

Brasserie Le Vendôme
Having splurged on Sunday night I decided to go locally and try the Nicene food on Monday night. For a long time I have heard about deep-fried courgette flowers. This is apparently a southern France speciality along with grilled red mullet à la niçoise (tomatoes, black olives, and garlic). Both were very nice. I really can't do that much deep-fried food so the last bites I just had the courgette flower which tasted like baby courgettes in the spring. Mild and a bit chewy but not too much chewy. I of course ended the meal with crème brûlée, but it was nothing compared to the one I had the day before. But still crème brûlée is always crème brûlée...

For lunch I usually had goat cheese salad with bacon and mushrooms or Salade niçoise (tuna, anchovy, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, lettuce, and olives). I loved that that fruit and vegetables tasted like fruit and vegetables and were so fresh. A lot of the times here in Sweden you just get fruit and vegetables that don't taste anything. The downside of having them flown in from southern Europe.

I had totally forgotten how good French food is really is. Cheap or expensive, it really doesn't matter because the French chefs do magic in the kitchen.

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