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Showing posts from June, 2018

CAFE DES ARTS, PUISSERGUIER: RESTAURANT QUICK TAKE

Maybe it's not a good idea to judge a restaurant in times of stress. Maybe it is. To be sure, the Café des Arts in Puisserguier is a jumpin' place on market Friday. The sidewalk behind the market stalls are packed with tables and the tables are packed with all sorts of folks, young and old, meeting and greeting and passing the time of day over a coffee or a beer or a more exotic alcoholic beverage. 

At about 12:30, the two bustling young barmaids who had been hawking the drinks transformed seamlessly to waitstaff taking orders for lunch. I don't know the drill for a regular weekday. Maybe there's a menu, maybe not. On market day, the choices were limited but sufficient. The five of us had no problem with the range of dishes to choose from, no problem with the food when it arrived, and no problem with the bill averaging about 16.50€ apiece for beers before, wine with, and three courses. 

As is the norm in these sorts of places here in the south of France, solid food with …

EL RACO D'EN MIQUEL, PONT DE MOLINS, SPAIN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

We go to Spain to shop about twice a year. It's a southern France thing. Lots of stuff is cheaper in Spain - clay pots, for instance. And cigarettes. Everyone who smokes and has a car capable of making the run buys their cigarettes in Spain. You can also find stuff in Spain that you can't easily find in France - sherry, Hellman's Mayonnaise, and rioja come to mind. So, twice a year...road trip to La Junquera, a paradise of malls, groceries, and liquor stores. And food courts. And Spanish food court food is...yes...food court food.

We all have our own takes on what constitutes a good meal while on the road. For some, Cracker Barrel works just fine. Waffle House, too. (My European friends will just have to imagine what one finds in a Waffle House. I'm not going to try to explain.) Others prize out-of-the-way diners that serve juicy burgers, fresh-cut fries, and homemade cherry pie with hand-dipped ice cream. I admit to being of the latter persuasion. I also admit to havi…

WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT - JUNE, 2018: AIR CON, DIESEL, SCIENCE

Installing the first window air conditioner in the living room of our little ranch house in New Jersey in the 1960s didn't change our lives very much. The only unit in the house, its benefits didn't reach down the hall and into our bedrooms. We still slept under window fans. We still sweated in our sleep. My wife Cathey, on the other hand, spent her youth in Texas. She went from an air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned playground...well...not exactly. But AC was definitely a fact of life for her. So when the AC in our old Citroen Xantia went on the fritz last summer, it needed to be fixed. No question. Cathey laid down the law. No AC? No marriage.

Have you ever tried to find AC parts for a 20 year-old car? They exist but they are as rare as politicians with callouses. Hence the search began for a new...albeit used...car.

I searched for a diesel-powered vehicle with a manual transmission. Abundant trunk space. Big enough to carry five adults in a…