Thursday, January 25, 2018

TRUFFLE MARKET, VILLENEUVE-MINERVOIS: QUICK TAKE WITH PICS

Our visit to the truffle market in Villeneuve-Minervois this year during the third week of January was at least our fifth such pilgrimage and we've enjoyed each and every one. You see, truffles have a very particular taste and aroma. Not everybody gets it. Cathey is particularly sensitive and particularly appreciative. Foodie heaven. I can smell the aroma and I can taste the taste. But, like opera, my appreciation is on an intellectual level. My soul is not moved.

Here are some pics and comments concerning our recent visit. You can find a more comprehensive description of a previous visit HERE.

The same gent has been the arbiter in each of our visits. He takes a small snip of each truffle and checks the aroma. Aroma is pretty much all that counts. It's a pass/fail test with no argument. We call him The Nose.
Meticulous records are kept. Even the snippings are carefully bagged.
Cathey watches The Nose carefully. She looks for subtle signs indicating the best batch. This year, she picked this gent's truffles as the most fragrant. Can you see Eric Clapton?
We save the truffles in a jar with eggs in the fridge until ready to use, changing the paper underneath daily. A mandolin is used to shave the truffle as thin as possible, opening up the greatest surface area. Cathey likes hers on tagliatelle with a simple cream sauce. I like mine with the eggs that have been infused with the scent of the truffle.





Monday, January 22, 2018

AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S TAKE ON WORLD POLITICS: PART 2 - BREXIT

I've chosen Brexit for PART 2 rather than THE UK or something similar because, as an English-speaking expat in a region whose English-speaking expats are primarily English, the UK's march out of the European Union dominates English-language political discourse...until Trump is mentioned. I'll get to Trump in Part 3.

For the uninitiated, a brief lexicon:
European Union (EU) - 500,000,000 Europeans in 28 countries in a political and economic union.
The Four Freedoms - The free movement of goods, capital, services, and labor within the EU. 
English - The language spoken in the UK coloured by the whimsical use of the letter u. 
Brexit - Shorthand for the United Kingdom's (UK's) withdrawal from the European Union.
Remainer - Those who advocated for the UK to remain in the EU.
Leaver - Those who advocated for the UK to leave the EU.
Boris - Euphemism for "I lost my hairbrush."

I admit that the politics of Brexit had me stumped for quite a while. To some extent, it still does. Why did Remainer David Cameron call for the referendum in the first place? How did the ensuing closely-contested, nonbinding referendum become The Will of the People? And given that we now know that such claims of the Leavers as the claim that leaving would instantly and completely shore up UK's ailing and failing healthcare system are fraudulent, why is the UK still sailing headlong into financial purgatory with seemingly no one at the wheel?

To this American looking in from the outside, that last phrase holds the key. No one is at the wheel.

Why did Cameron call for the referendum? Apparently, because the Conservative Party that he led had made the referendum a plank in its platform during the Parliamentary elections of 2015. When the Conservatives won a relatively decisive and somewhat surprising victory, Cameron felt compelled. Why a politician should feel compelled to follow a party platform after an election is beyond my American comprehension. Platforms are put aside after elections in favor of the reality of governance. But for some reason, Cameron decided to put the Conservative platform ahead of his own best judgement and called the referendum. In other words, Cameron chose not to lead.

No one was at the wheel.

The natural ally of Remainer Cameron in the run up to the Brexit referendum should have been the Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn. But Corbyn was not a fan of the UK's entrance into the EU in the first place, opposed many aspects of membership, was at best a lukewarm Remainer, and went on vacation during the run up to the referendum. Even had Corbyn been more enthusiastic, he is neither a charismatic leader nor a dynamic speaker. With Cameron's own party advocating leaving the EU; without any committed, articulate, charismatic politician/public figure making the case to Remain in the EU; and with voter apathy brought on by polling that may have depressed Remainer turnout, the Leavers won by 52% to 48%. Cameron, having presided over the debacle, resigned. Theresa May took over as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.

After following Theresa May for several months, I think that I can safely say that I know Theresa May well enough to judge and I feel confident in saying that Theresa May is no Margaret Thatcher.

No one is at the wheel.

The EU has been very clear from the beginning of this process. In order for the UK to enjoy the benefits of the lucrative single market that 500,000,000 consumers in the EU represent, the UK must honor the Four Freedoms. The EU will not allow an outsider to benefit from the free movement of goods and capital without also allowing for the free movement of labor. If they did, other countries antithetic to free movement of labor - and other aspects of the Union - might peel off as well.

No free access to the single market? If such is the result, Brexit leads to disaster. The UK would have to negotiate with the EU, paying a stiff price for access, or else spend the next several years in uncertainty while negotiating 27 individual trade agreements with 27 individual European countries whose main interests lie within the EU. Major business sectors headquartered in the UK might find it necessary to move to the Continent in order to continue to benefit from the single market. Some have already announced such a move. A brain drain going out, or a failure to be able to attract the best and brightest coming in, might further depress the business climate in the UK.

There are those who insist that through Brexit, the UK can return to past economic glory. I don't see it. In a multi-polar economic world that includes such concentrations of population and wealth as the US, China, India, Russia, and yes, the EU, the UK becomes a minor player. Can the UK claim to have even the same economic prospects as Japan, with half of Japan's population and half its GDP? The entire UK auto industry manufactures one-third of the total number of cars that Honda alone sells annually.


So, in this American's estimation, Brexit has left the UK with a rudderless ship and bad hair. But given a liberal democracy that can hold elections at any time if Parliament expresses no confidence in its leadership, and with backbench members of both major parties expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, methinks that there are acts yet to unfold in the drama known as Brexit. It may well take a talent as bold as the Bard to complete the script.

Click HERE if you missed PART 1 - FRANCE.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S TAKE ON WORLD POLITICS: PART 1 - FRANCE

I enjoy politics. I enjoy reading about politics, talking about politics, writing about politics. And I've been a politician. I was a member of my town council in Pennsylvania for a couple of decades, chairman for a good bit of that time, and I sat on the two-county regional planning commission that covered the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania including the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, twice serving as chairman.

This last year or two have been like heroin for a political junkie like me. As an American expat living in the south of France among politically aware expats from around the world, Brexit, Trump, and Macron have been front and center to read about, to talk about, and now to write about. What better time to look back and look forward than at the beginning of a new year?

I don't pretend that these will be detailed analyses. Pick nits if you will. In fact, I invite discussion. Even dissent. My insights are free of charge and worth every penny.

Let's get to it. And let's start in France. Why France? Because of the three countries that I will be discussing, France is the one country that seems to have gotten it right. Who'd have thunk it?

The French hold a series of elections, regional government, Presidential, and National Assembly in that order. Each of the elections may be two-tiered. That is, if the candidate for a particular office does not receive 50%+1 of the vote, a runoff between the two top votegetters is held. Campaigning is strictly controlled. For instance, all campaigning must cease on the Friday before the Sunday voting and the publication of polling in the French press is forbidden on election day.

The regional elections way back in December of 2015 were truly extraordinary from this American's point of view. Why? Because the center-left Socialists and the center-right Republicans cooperated to prevent the anti-European, anti-immigration, far-right National Front from controlling a single one of France's 13 regions. How did they cooperate? The Socialists withdrew candidates with no chance to win in favor of their Republican rival.

OK. Stop. Take a deep breath. And think about that for a minute, you sophisticated American political operatives out there. In places where they had no hope of winning, Socialist candidates not only withdrew their names from consideration. They urged their followers to vote for the conservative Republicans in order to prevent a win by a surging, populist fringe. And it worked. Although the National Front took the most votes overall in the first round of the regional elections, they failed to end up with political control of a single one of the thirteen French regions.

But wait. It gets better.

Having received a record number of votes in the regionals, and with failed/corrupt/uninspiring candidates for President  representing the major political parties, National Front leader Marine Le Pen's followers were charged up. There was a real chance that an anti-immigration, authoritarian, populist/nationalist might be elected President in 2017. (Sound familiar?) Enter Emmanuel Macron. An investment banker who joined the center-left Socialist government in early 2012, Macron worked his way into a Cabinet-level role and managed to institute several business-friendly reforms. But in 2016, he saw his chance, left the Socialist party, and formed En Marche!, the brand new political party that was to be the platform for his election as the youngest French President ever.

As is the case with any political party that is the child of a single politician, En Marche! defies easy categorization. Although supported by prominent centrists and even greens, Macron also committed to various workplace reforms that would eventually send the unions into the streets to protest. In shorthand, I'd say that Macron and therefore En Marche! are generally socially liberal and fiscally conservative. (Understand that by American standards, socially liberal in France is very liberal but fiscally conservative is far to the left of anything true American fiscal conservatives would recognize. My guess is that this sort of political philosophy is shared by a majority of Americans. They just don't have a political party that consistently espouses it.)

Macron proved a cagey politician, became the darling of the media, and eventually led the field in the first phase. He crushed National Front's Le Pen in the runoff. The turnout for the runoff was historically low at about 75%, probably because it was understood that Le Pen had no chance. By the time that the elections for the National Assembly rolled around, the wave was complete. En Marche! won a clear majority of seats in the French legislature without having to form any coalitions.

There are two lessons that I take away from the French elections as an American political observer.

The first is that the French understood in ways that Americans can't seem to wrap their heads around that love of country can and should have primacy over political loyalty, even over political philosophy. 60% of voters in the American 2016 Presidential election voted for a candidate other than Trump. That's a practically unprecedented rejection. Given a turnout below 60%, Trump received the vote of less than 25% of eligible voters. Yet Trump won. Why? Because Americans failed to understand the dangers of a Trump Presidency, underestimated the chances of a Trump victory, and so either stayed at home or voted for a candidate that had no chance of winning. Americans have no basis for pride in their electoral system given that result.

The second takeaway is that the Republican and the Democrat establishments had better keep their eyes open. The Tea Party movement has pulled the Republican Party far to the right. Progressives are similarly convinced that Democrats should move further left. Take heed. A new centrist party in France, less than two years old, swept into power on an irresistible wave fueled by contempt for a corrupt and unresponsive establishment and a desire for a centrist government. If it's true that the majority of Americans are centrist, the two major American political parties are moving in a way that invites a third party to fill the vacuum.

It couldn't happen in America, though. Right?

En Marche!





Monday, January 15, 2018

BURGER KING, NARBONNE: RESTAURANT REVIEW (GOD FORGIVE ME)

After 48 years, The Southern Woman That I Married can still surprise me.

We went shopping the other day. You see, we're at the beginning of the French winter sales. Yes, stores here have sales all of the time, but I'm talking about THE SALES. Twice each year, once in winter and once in summer, every store holds sales. It's an official thing. There's a national start date (although it may vary a bit from region to region), a national end date, and stores are not permitted to bring in stock just for THE SALES. So these are true clearances. Discounts can be 70% or more. Serious savings.

Yes, I know. Controlled capitalism. How could it possibly work? Hint: It works because everybody buys into it, even the capitalists.


The day before we hit the shops, Cathey said,"Let's have lunch at Burger King." Be aware that Cathey has been trying to find a decent hamburger ever since we arrived in France. We've tried Buffalo Grill. We've ordered a burger at one of our favorite, totally French little bar/restaurants. We've talked about visiting Memphis Grill. And Cathey has tried to create the perfect burger at home. The problem, thwarting perfection, is the bun.

It is my contention that the best dogs and burgers are enhanced by cheap, squishy, white bread buns. I'm certain that some of you will disagree. I'm OK with that. But tell me why, in a country known for its marvelous and varied bread baking, the French can't come up with a hamburger roll that will survive the first couple of bites without breaking apart and falling to pieces? It's as if the French think that the proper bun for a hamburger should be closer to brioche than to Wonder Bread. Certainly, if the only requirement for a hamburger bun is that it doesn't break up before the burger is fully consumed, there are any number of Gallic breads and rolls that would do. But then you'd be chewing through a crunchy, crusty bun to get to the meat of the matter. The bun shouldn't be a distraction. It's about the burger and its condiments.

So, off to Burger King.

In the middle of a major shopping and office complex on the outskirts of Narbonne, the joint was jumping at lunchtime on a mostly sunny Friday. It's as big a place as any Burger King that I've seen in the States and it was just about full to capacity. The crowd was almost exclusively young, friends and family. Most ordered at the electronic ATM-like machines in the center aisle. We went to the counter and had no difficulty reading a menu that contained a surprising amount of English.

Cathey ordered a Whopper with fries and a bottle of water. I had a double with cheese, fries, and Sprite - my first soda in a couple of years, by the way. They came with packets of ketchup and fry sauce, a mayonnaise-based concoction from Heinz!  At the current lousy exchange rate, the cost came to about $20.00

Here's where it gets truly bizarre. Cathey said,"Yum. Iceberg lettuce. And the pickles are perfect. The bun almost held up all the way. All that it needs is some mustard under the patty. I'll bring some next time." Add that the fries, though reconstituted, were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and Cathey's assessment was,"Itch scratched."

Well, if Cathey can take me to Burger King,  I guess that I have the right to demand KFC one of these days. We'll see.

By the way, if you are an American with an itch for a burger, I suppose that you could do worse. With that caveat, recommended.


Monday, December 18, 2017

FOIE MARKET, RIEUX-MINERVOIS WITH PICS

TRIGGER WARNING: A Foie Market is where a French family goes to buy their special holiday foods if they're looking for the good stuff fresh from the producers - the Christmas goose, the duck breasts, the foie gras. I've taken pictures of it all. That means that there will be pictures of dead animals and their body parts. Be warned.

As you can imagine, the French go all out for their holiday meals. Christmas and New Year bring out the best. There are any number of foods that might grace a French family's table at December's end. Smoked salmon. Caviar. Lobster. But you can be almost certain of three things. There will be oysters. Supermarkets feature displays of oysters packed in special little wooden crates for a couple of weeks leading up to the holidays. There will be a bird - goose, duck, capon, pintade (guinea-fowl), even turkey. And there will be foie gras. And if you want your bird and your foie gras to come fresh from the producer, you go to a foie marché. 

Our favorite foie marché is in the rural village of Rieux-Minervois, about a half-hour drive to the west and north of us. In the big, drafty salle polyvalente (village hall or community room), folks shop shoulder to shoulder for their favorite holiday comestibles, in particular their foie gras in all of its incarnations - raw and uncooked, ready to slice and serve, stuffed into smoked duck breasts. For those of us who enjoy foie gras, it's a heady experience. 

And since these are poultry farmers meeting their public at the height of their season, every conceivable poultry product is on display. You can not only buy the whole, fresh bird. You can buy all of its parts - necks, breasts, legs and thighs, carcasses for stock, fat trimmings for rendering or for making cracklings called fritons. And there are the variations - smoked, dried, confit.

Of course, since it's a French market, there's other stuff to buy. Cheese. Sausages and smoked meats. Olives. Baked goods including spiced bread for the holidays.

So, enjoy the pics. And check out my blog page about French life HERE. I notice that the last several posts there have been about our walks around the village. Keep scrolling down for info on healthcare, car repairs, and the like.

We start with a picture of cheese to prepare the faint of heart for what is to come.

For the first time, we found stands set up outside the hall.

Packed. From the way that some stands looked, there had already been lots of shopping by 10:30 when we arrived.

The French call then macarons, not macaroons. Meringue-based, sugary, with almond flavoring, and colorful.

Foie gras!

The French do duck in all of its configurations

ALL of its configurations...

Christmas geese. Already picked over.

Spice bread.

The French are particular about lots of things, including beans.

Olives. Of course.

Charcuterie. Of course.

Duck fat. Of course?

Carcasses for stock.

Lots of carcasses.

And oysters to eat starting at 9:00am. Because, France.


 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

WHO BELONGS IN MY POLITICAL PARTY?

My politically conservative friends are convinced that I'm a masked, rock-throwing Antifa at heart. 

Why?

I believe that the gun lobby has perverted common sense when it comes to the reasonable control of firearms in the same way that the fossil fuel industry is trying to pervert our understanding of climate change. And I believe that both lobbies will eventually be understood to have the same wanton disregard for human life as we now know that the tobacco lobby had.

I believe that what goes on of a sexual nature behind closed doors is nobody's business except for the intellectually capable, of age, freely consenting adults in the room. And I believe that if you choose to participate in commerce in the public marketplace, your opinion of that sexual activity is just as irrelevant to your business as is race, religion, or ethnicity.

I believe that men in blue suits, white shirts, and red ties in state capitals do not have the right to tell a woman, her doctor, and anyone else that she chooses to consult what to say and do concerning her healthcare. And I believe that a woman's healthcare includes her reproductive healthcare.

I believe that the right to protest peacefully is a sacred American right. And I believe that carrying a flag onto a playing field for profit in a manner that is specifically forbidden by the US Flag Code is more fundamentally anti-American than taking a knee to protest racial injustice while that flag is being improperly displayed.

I do not believe that corporations are people or that money equals speech. I just don't. 

My politically progressive friends are convinced that I'm a corporatist stooge, a Reagan Republican in disguise

Why?

I believe that a flat tax can be both fair and progressive. And I believe that because I've done the math and can demonstrate that it is so.

I believe that BlackLivesMatter was doomed from the beginning to being labeled exclusive and racist. And I believe that if you have to take time from the struggle to explain to your allies why Black is inclusive of Brown, Red, and Yellow, you've obviously misnamed your movement.

I believe that MeToo has become a witch hunt that has abandoned the principles of due process and the presumption of innocence. And I believe that, although men are undeniably pigs, a witch hunt is morally repugnant regardless of the righteous intentions of the hunters.

I believe that only the privileged have the luxury to talk about privilege. And I believe that, if you took the time to ask, you would learn that White Privilege does not automatically extend to overweight, poor white women with bad teeth and a Southern accent. With props to Lenny Bruce, if Albert Einstein had a Southern accent, they would never have built The Bomb.

I don't believe that if you are White, you are by definition racist. I just don't.

Who belongs in my political party?

You belong in my political party if you believe that two plus two equal four and not some number approximating four. In other words, you belong in my political party if you believe in math and science.

You belong in my political party if you can talk to people with opposing political views without raising your voice or calling names. In other words, you belong in my political party if you have the ability to participate in civil discourse on topics that you hold dear with persons who don't believe as you believe.

You belong in my political party if you understand that the perfect is the enemy of the good. In other words, you belong in my political party if you know that perfection only exists in the mind of God and that you ain't God. 

Eugene Wesley Roddenberry is God.




Thursday, December 7, 2017

HOTEL TRIAS & RESTAURANT, PALAMOS, SPAIN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

During our stop at the Grau wine and liquor store in Palafrugell, Spain, we asked one of the attendants to recommend a place for lunch. He suggested continuing on to the coast, to the town of Palamos, for lunch at the Hotel Trias.

After about a ten minute drive into the heart of Palamos, we parked in a public lot, walked to the Med, and scurried into the Hotel Trias just as it began to shower. The posted menu looked promising but the restaurant didn't open until 1pm, about a half hour after we arrived. I braved the sprinkles to take a few pictures of the promenade that followed the shore line across the street. Broad and tree-lined, I could imagine that, in season, vacationers and holiday-house owners would pack the walkways and the tents set up by the restaurants that faced the water along the way.

We waited in the hotel's small bar until the lights went on in the restaurant across the reception area and chose seating by windows with a view of the harbor. The dining room was quite large, necessary to accommodate the hotel's guests in season, I would guess, but by the end of our meal only about one-quarter full on a wet and chill early December day. It's a comfortable if semi-formal space - white linens, crystal, and a uniformed maitre'd - as opposed to the guests, somewhat more semi than formal.

We were presented with two menus, one that just described the menu of the day, the second with all options. We chose to order from the former. Three choices each for starter, main, and dessert. The ladies chose white beans with clams to start and the rabbit for their main. I had onion soup and veal. The beans were a fine choice for a damp, chill day even if the clams were a bit chewy. The onion soup was not the French version, more broth and less onion, but the egg was a different touch and the cheesy toasts worked well. As the picture below shows, Cathey couldn't wait to cut into her slow-cooked rabbit. Liz found her portion a somewhat bony but both agreed that the preparation was proper. My veal was of a nice size, covered with Parmesan shavings, and was tasty if chewy as well. Such is French beef. Good frites.

For dessert, the girls had what the menu called pudding. Not quite flan. A small, simple sweet. I expected some heat with my bananas in chocolate sauce but both the bananas and the chocolate arrived cold. Not a problem, though. Good Spanish chocolate.

With a bottle of rosé, the bill came to under 38€, less than 13€ apiece. Well worth the freight. We had the impression driving and walking through town that several restaurants were closed for the season. That was fine with us. Hotel Trias met our needs. Nothing too adventurous or creative. No square plates or superfluous squeeze-bottle dollops of sauce. Just good, cheap eats.

You can read my other restaurant reviews, mostly closer to home in the south of France, HERE.









Monday, December 4, 2017

VINS I LICORS GRAU: LARGEST WINE BOUTIQUE IN EUROPE

One of the regular sporting activities that those of us living in the south of France enjoy is the semi-annual Run to Spain. Most everybody takes part. It's not a track meet, though. It's a shopping run. We go because some items are cheaper in Spain, substantially so. (I buy Cathey's favorite perfume there because it sells for less than in the duty-free shops, much less than in the local French parfumerie. But don't tell Cathey that. It'll be our little secret.) Some items simply are not available locally - a reasonable selection of Spanish wines, a bottle of brandy to feed the Christmas cake. And so, off we go Spain.

Just across the border sits La Jonquera, a small Catalonian town whose name is now attached to a massive array of opportunities to spend euros - department stores and specialty shops, garden centers, liquor stores, tobacconists, groceries and butchers. You want it? You can buy it somewhere along the main drag heading south out of the old town.

We usually make our winter run into Spain after resting up from Thanksgiving but before Christmas craziness hits La Jonquera full force. We decided to fly past the outlets first this time and head farther south, just east of Girona, to Palafrugell, a small town on the Costa Brava that has the distinction of being home to the largest wine boutique in Europe, vins i licors Grau.

Grau is family-owned, founded in 1951 by Miquel Grau i Lluís as a tavern and wine cellar delivering bulk wine. Children and grandchildren have joined the business, moving and building and expanding to the massive enterprise that it is today. To give you an idea of the size of the establishment, imagine the biggest liquor store in Texas. It's called Spec's. The flagship store is in Houston. Grau is twice as big.

The feature is the wine. Shelves and shelves and shelves of Spanish wine. Liz was so overwhelmed by the opportunity to purchase fine reds of every stripe that she flat forgot to check out the whites and rosés. A wall of dry sherries backed by a wall of sweet. Champagne and cognac and liqueurs and more. And let's not forget the liquor. Every stupid flavor of vodka that Absolut produces. Fine scotch. Small batch whiskey. A playground for the discriminating purchaser of hooch imported from around the world.

One caution. If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill spirit, that bottle of Torres brandy not for drinking but for spicing up holiday baked goods, the groceries at La Jonquera are actually cheaper. The same goes for lesser bourbons like Four Roses. But Grau can't be beat for its selection of wines and for the broad range of fine sippin' whiskey on the shelves.

The corporate website HERE tells the whole story with better pictures than the ones that I've attached below. To visit their online catalogue - not by any means a complete listing of what is available at the store - click HERE.

To learn more about our adventures in France, from walking tours to observations on life as an expat, click HERE.















Thursday, November 30, 2017

RESTAURANT TEN, UZES: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Ten sits just off the market square in Uzes, one of the prettiest villages in southern France. The newly renovated space is airy and comfortable with tables of sufficient size and sufficiently spaced to provide for a pleasant dining experience. Service was cheerful, fully bilingual, and attentive without being overbearing. The food presented well to both eye and tongue. And the rate of approximately 30€ per person for a party of five included starters, mains, a dessert or two, two bottles of local wine, and coffees at the finish. Reasonable if not cheap eats. 

So why am I hesitant to give an unqualified thumbs up?  It took me a while to figure it out.

Uzes is a quintessentially French village in a quintessentially French region of southern France. There are those who will say that the Languedoc is just as beautiful but less crowded and less expensive than its eastern neighbors. I know. I'm one of those people. But the fact remains that for many people, villages like Uzes are their vision of France. Add to that a market day filled with eye candy and if the atmosphere was any more French we'd all be wearing berets, blue and white striped sailor shirts, and singing La Marseillaise.  

Yet there we were. In southern Francce. In Uzes. On Market Day. Eating Asian fusion? Four of us started with artichokes tempura with a dipping sauce. Four of us chose sticky ribs for the main. Well prepared and inventive artichokes tempura. Sticky ribs falling off the bone and tasty. But Asian fusion. Our other choices? Ceviche, gravlax, or fish and chips were featured. 

No, I'm not one of those Francophiles trying to be more French than the French. And I understand why our friends chose a restaurant serving dishes that aren't available where they live. But my admiration for French cooking is boundless. And I just felt a bit out of place at Ten.

Try Ten for yourself. As I said at the beginning, Ten offers good food at a reasonable price in a pleasant setting served by a congenial staff. Just understand that it's a restaurant in France but it's not a French restaurant.

Read more reviews and takes on French cooking HERE.







Monday, November 27, 2017

UZES MARKET DAY IN PICS

By the time that 11h00 rolled around on a chilly November day, the Uzes market was packed shoulder to shoulder. I cannot imagine what it would be like on a Saturday in July. As many of us who live in the south of France full time have learned, the best time to go anywhere that a tourist/vacationer might spend the day is either before June or after September. In July and August, you take your life in your hands.

That having been said, the Saturday market in Uzes sprawls over a good portion of the town, has its share of both treasures and schlock, and deserves a visit.