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Showing posts from June, 2017

ENSEMBLE SCANDICUS: CONCERT REVIEW

Every summer, the Chapelle Saint-Germain de Cesseras holds a concert series, usually featuring early music from Bach on back. We've attended a few and found them thoroughly enjoyable. This Sunday's concert was no exception.
The chapel is located a kilometer off the road between Cesseras and Siran on a narrow track that winds through woods and vines. No reservations. Parking in a field. Tickets are 13 euros and include a tasting after the concert provided by a neighboring domain. The chapel, built in the 11th and 12th Centuries as the parish church of a village that has since disappeared, is quite simple with a dirt floor and a barely raised altar area. Folding chairs provide seating for about 100.

Ensemble Scandicus led off this year's series. Based in Toulouse, Scandicus features all male voices - two counter-tenors, two tenors, and a bass in Sunday's configuration. One tenor played flute and oud, a second tenor assisted occasionally on percussion, and an instrumenta…

LE GRENIER DE PEPE, TOULOUSE: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Walking into the little space that Le Grenier de Pepe occupies just outside of the old town in Toulouse, you can believe that the dodads and gimcracks that make up the decor came down from someone's attic. Old tools, advertising plaques or plaques with humorous sayings, rusty lamps and broken clocks, all make for the type of atmosphere that some roadside restaurant chains in the US aim for but fail to pull off. In Pepe's Attic, it's genuine and it works.

We arrived at about 7:30 on a weekday evening without a reservation. Naughty children. And since we were a party of three, small two-person tables would have to be pushed together, leaving an empty place in a small room that probably needed to be filled in order to make the single sitting pay. After some thought, we were allowed in. We were fortunate. Within fifteen minutes, at least three other parties without reservations were turned away. 

 Le Grenier de Pepe advertises as a galette and fondue restaurant and those are…

MUSEE DES AUGUSTINS, TOULOUSE: A FEW PICS

Toulouse is a wonderfully pedestrian-friendly city. We parked the car on Monday afternoon and didn't fire it up again until Thursday morning. In between, we walked everywhere. One easy walk from our hotel in the center of town led us to the Musee des Augustins. Well, actually, two walks led us there. The first time, we discovered that the museum closed on Tuesdays. In any event, we finally made it through the door and spent several thoroughly enjoyable hours. I didn't take many pics. I'm particularly sorry that I didn't document the lovely central courtyard. But here is a sampling of what's in store should you visit. See if you can spot Mitch McConnell...













LE COLOMBIER, TOULOUSE: RESTAURANT REVIEW

Opinions are most often formed through first impressions and early experience. That's OK. First impressions can be spot on. The deal that appears at first blush to be too good to be true probably is too good to be true. The trick in reviewing restaurants, which by its very nature is 100% opinion, is to overcome your preconceptions, treat each meal as a unique experience, and review what's on the plate in front of you on its own merits.

Chili, for example, comes in many styles and colors. For most of my life, chili was best defined as bean stew. If you didn't like beans, you didn't like the average dish served up as chili regardless of the amount of beef or fatback or tomatoes were incorporated. I don't particularly like beans.

But then there's Texas chili, a dish that I came to late in life. Simple, almost elegant. Beef and chili powder and not much else. You can add onion or dried chili peppers or cumin. But imagine that you are riding herd out on the range. A…