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LA MAISON DE L'ECURIE, SALLELES D'AUDE: RESTAURANT REVIEW

(If you prefer a video review, go to my YouTube channel HERE.)

Restaurants in peaceful, out of the way locations with scenic, picture postcard views often fall into one of two categories. They tend to be only as good as they have to be or to be more expensive than they should be. Situated right beside the Canal de Jonction where it intersects with the Canal du Midi, La Maison de l'Ecurie (The Stable House) is indeed in a peaceful, scenic location. But it defies convention by serving food that's better than it needs to be at reasonable prices. We thoroughly enjoyed our luncheon on a warmish fall day and shall return. But we'll have to hurry. La Maison de l'Eclurie closes in early November and won't reopen until the first of March.

You can't drive right up to La Maison de l'Ecurie. You turn off the main road from Mirepeisset to Salleles d'Aude onto the tow path, then park and walk for 150 meters or so to the restaurant. The terrace filled rapidly after w…
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KYCLOS, SAINT-GUILHEM-LE-DESERT: CONCERT REVIEW

The thirteenth season of the Festival Les Troubadours romanesque has come to a close. If you don't know about this fine series of concerts that takes place from May into October throughout Occitanie, mostly in churches and other ancient settings, take the time to find out about it. HERE'S a link to the website. You'll just have to wait until next year to plan your visits. And we do plan our visits. This year, 48 concerts were on the schedule in venues ranging from the Pyrenees to the other side of Montpellier. Artists came from all corners of the Med from Greece and Corsica, Occitanie and Catalonia, France and Spain. Their music can be classified as sacred and profane, polyphonic and simple, classical and folk, flamenco and world.

For this penultimate concert in the series, Kyclos performed in the Abbaye de Gellone in Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert, a UNESCO World Heritage village worth visiting in its own right. On a dark October night with heavy cloud cover, you miss much of t…

EXAMINING HEALTHCARE: SEPTEMBER 2018 RANT (ONE DAY LATE)

In a discussion about healthcare, a friend said that the European system was not socialism. Europe was composed of welfare states, of countries whose people wanted something for nothing. So I decided to look at healthcare in both the USofA and Europe to decide which system worked best, both in terms of cost and in terms of outcomes.

I'm not a socialist or a communist. I'm not even a democratic socialist. I do believe that there are certain aspects of daily life that are rightly the domain of government to undertake or, at least, to heavily regulate. I believe that it is clear that for-profit companies generally care more about profit than about the environment, for instance. When air pollution turned the air of cities like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles noxious shades of brown, it took vigorous enforcement of emission standards, not voluntary action on the part of the emitters, to clear the air.

There can certainly be debates about the limits of regulation. I once spoke with a Libe…

LE TAJ MAHAL, BEZIERS: RESTAURANT QUICK TAKE

Full Disclosure: I first heard the term 'The Raj' several years ago. The term did not appear in American history books. I never lived in any metro area with a significant Asian-Indian population. And I would guess that I was about 35 years old before I ate in an Indian restaurant.

So what the hell do I know? (If you prefer video to the written word, you can watch my review of Le Taj Mahal on my YouTube channel HERE.)

My sister-in-law now lives in the same village in the south of France that we do. For some reason not fully defined, she searched online for the best Indian restaurants in France. Le Taj Mahal in Beziers appeared on the list. We went because that's what we do, go to restaurants that look that they might serve good food. We're glad that we did.

First of all, the folks in the restaurant were very accommodating. We arrived at noon only to discover that they wouldn't be opening until 12:30. In recognition of the heat of the day, we were invited in, the a…

CAFE DE LA GRILLE, CAPESTANG: RESTAURANT REVIEW

If you prefer video to the printed word, click HERE.

I lived 50 miles from New York City for most of my life and I never visited Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty. I've seen that green lady in the harbor hundreds of times on visits NYC. I've just never taken the time to take the ferry and check her out up close. Familiarity breeds contempt? Who knows? Do I regret the omission? Only a little. There was always something else worthwhile on the agenda. Maybe next time, when...if...I'm back in the neighborhood.

It's been at least two years, maybe three, since we've lunched at Cafe de la Grille. I have no idea why it's been so long. We've had coffee there dozens of times on visits to the market in the square in Capestang that the Cafe de la Grille faces. We just haven't stopped for a meal. That changed last week. Spur of the moment. We were passing through Capestang. It was just past noon. Let's have lunch.

We're glad that we did.

The cov…