This trip has continued to be about exploring and feasting. The other day Matt and I travelled a different route along the coast. The ocean views were breathtaking, and we saw some scuba divers taking a break, and a few topless ladies. Hey-o!
Soon enough it might be warm enough for ourselves to take a quick dip.
On Valentine’s Day we dined at a local restaurant uniquely named ‘Restaurant’ and had the “plat du jour” (plate of the day), osso bucco along with fresh pasta. This is one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time and cost a mere 12 euros. The veal was succulent and melted in my mouth. The sauce and the consistency was spot on. It is truly a lovely place to unwind, relax and let the food do all the talking.
For dinner we got our favourite pizza take out from “Les choix d’Anna”. The pizzas here are not only inexpensive but also comparable to gourmet pizza you’d pay a fortune for. We swallowed the pizza down with some local Champagne (my first real champagne, not sparkling wine)! Then we enjoyed some Tiramisu for dessert. All in all, it was very Italian, which is typical for the area.
the other day we ventured to Menton. We took the 1 Euro bus and it was a frightening ride to say the least. We sped along the mountain’s edge with nothing but sea below. Nothing but a thin green bar separated us from a great view and doom.
Once in Menton, we were surprised to see orange trees. This was something new to me, instead of telephone poles there were oranges growing from trees on the sidewalk’s boulevard.
We dined near the beach; I had seafood pasta while Matt dined on some Fritto Misto (fried seafood). The meal was nothing out of this world, but did the trick. We continued to walk along the coast. While taking time to throw rocks in the Mediterranean we stumbled across the Jean Cocteau museum. The nice lady who worked there granted us free access. My wallet leaped with glee! Jean Cocteau was a multitalented artiste; he was a painter, sculptor, sketcher and film director. After the museum we strolled through the old town where we noticed small lemon and orange trees for purchase! We were offered samples of Limoncino, lemon wine and lemon vodka. It was a perfect way to top off our afternoon in Menton.
The bus ride back wasn’t as terryfying, as it was on the other side of the road. Phew…
I’m having a great time exploring the kitchen here in Nice. I go shopping for groceries daily, and surprisingly the groceries here taste gourmet compared to some back home. So eating in tastes better than it used to. It’s almost like eating out…almost.
All of our meals so far have been extremely good, and I’m not only saying that because I’ve cooked most of them! I must remember to snap some shots of these meals before consumption. Sometimes the aromas make it difficult to do so.
So far I have been inspired to create several different dishes from all over the world. I’ve made sushi, gnocchi bolognaise, spaghetti and meat balls, simple bacon and eggs, paired with a baguette I might add and last night we had a delicious German feast. The meal had all the fixin’s with two different kinds of sausages, sliced meats and pork that looked like thick bacon. Of course, this was paired with sauerkraut and a homemade potato salad, made by yours truly. All in all the meal was tasty and enjoyable.
The other day we travelled to Antibes. It was a little more than an hour’s bus ride, and passed through some interesting but not very enchanting cities along the way. Mainly back roads filled with a few stores and gas stations. Once we arrived downtown, we walked towards the Market Provencal. This was a lovely stroll. We walked through a square with a small antique market. It had little trinkets, colourful paintings and large rugs. We also passed by some of the most intricate boulangerie shops. For any pastry lover, this would be the equivalent to Willy Wonka’s factory. From macaroons to gorgeous fruit topped pastries to small donuts called bugnes. You’re sure to salivate, simply as a window shopper.
We tried four of the delectable bugnes and were not disappointed.
When we arrived at the market it was bustling with people, fresh produce, a range of tapenade, meat, cheese and a fragrant spice stand that had more colours on display than a rainbow.
After cruising through the vast market and of course sampling the different foods we purchased some marinated garlic in pimento chili oil, a spiced black olive tapenade, some citrus and some fruit confit.
The tapenade went excellent on a Matt’s homemade pizza.
I arrived in Nice last Tuesday and will be staying until the end of May before I pack my bags and travel beyond French borders and discover or in some cases re-discover other parts of Europe. So far Nice has had its highs and lows. It is a bit cooler than I planned for, thus my wardrobe is lacking warmer clothing. I am now a bundle of several layers, foot warmers along with the standard hat, scarf and gloves. Oh and did I mention double socks? This along with some jet-lag, some interactions with some very rude and unhelpful people and my encounters with two piles of feces, whether they be animal or human, has dampened the mood and mystique a little. Am I being too rash? No, as the other day I saw a lady holding up her toddler while he number two’ed in the street. I think this is what gives France it’s…Je ne sais quoi. However, these instances aside it is hard not to appreciate Nice’s lovely residential buildings, gorgeous ocean views (especially at sunset) and the old town is merveilleuse! The market is plentiful and the boulangeries are endless. The ingredients here are better than those back home too, either that or my cooking has improved! Also,the prices are not only inexpensive, they are down right questionable. Baguette’s are .60 euro, cheese around the 2 euro mark, 5 pieces of duck confit was 5 euro on sale. Eating here has become a hobby. I’m going to have to start walking the 7km Promenade des Anglais daily if I don’t want to come back as a brick of butter.
So far my daily routine involves drinking cafés and eating entire baguette’s (with the help of my partner, Matt) along with several other snacks and meals, wandering the streets of old Nice, grocery shopping and polishing off a bottle or two of wine. At 2 euro per bottle, this is a routine worth continuing. Nice is a truly beautiful city, just watch your step and your weight!