and on to Nice, in spite of an addled GPS lady





We sighed goodbye to Vence and the Chateau St Martin, and the helpful garagiste set the GPS for our hotel in Nice. We know the way, but he was so charming we decided to see if the GPS system knew something new, and left it turned on. Perhaps not the best idea we've ever had.
There are a number of exits, twists and turns once you get off the autoroute, and the GPS lady was confused between "bear left" and "turn left." As a result, we visited the nicely paved driveways of a number of charming French people who hadn't been expecting company, and looped, u-turned and reversed our way to our hotel. "Can't we turn that &%¥*% off?" moaned the intrepid driver. The Off button was unlabeled  and not shown in the manual. The Travel Fates continued to toy with us maliciously as we checked in (finally!) and learned that our hoped-for room upgrade had not come through. And then it started to pour. And pour.

A walk in the rain did not raise our spirits.

A walk indoors gave us some giggles, as our hotel is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its - founding? purchase by the family of the current owners? first redecoration in Opulent Romanian style? not clear, but there was an exhibition off the lobby showing famous guests checking in, place settings, chairs from the hotel's original barber shop, folkloric outfits worn by the great-grandparents of the current owner, the hotel's first fire hose... The hotel is a Cherished Local Institution, and it takes its role as such very seriously. Fish for lunch, then upstairs to stare at the sea and watch the rain get worse. We'd booked dinner a difficult 25-mile drive away, and were having doubts about trusting ourselves or our demented GPS after dark, when there was a clap of thunder and the street lights went out.

Time to regroup. After a few phone calls, dinner was moved to Saturday lunch, Saturday night's dinner was moved to Sunday, and Sunday's dinner was moved to - tonight! now! at the two-star restaurant in our hotel!

This last was a lucky break, they were fully booked when we started moving things around, but called us back when they had a timely cancellation. I imagine people not wanting to drive in the torrents were playing Musical Reservations all over the Cote d'Azur.
It's fall, that means chestnuts in the little soup that kicked off the festivities.

My foie gras was light and delicious. Those are morsels of lamb sweetbreads in the middle, and there was house-made brioche to go with it.

His starter drew raves, the outside of two of the croquettes was a potato concoction, and the inside was a soft, different concoction of potatoes and chervil. The other two were filled with langoustines.He had a fish course, I prudently abstained, thinking ahead to dessert. This is seabass, caramelized without the skin, chopped oysters on top, paperthin slices of beet on the plate.
Then he had breast of col vert (wild duck), the leg meat is minced and topped with purée of carrots, and there's also a grilled onion slice. I could live on grilled onions.
And now my main course, veal sweetbreads with chorizo sausage, chanterelle mushrooms, and potatoes.
Here's a closer view of the dear little mushrooms sheltering under a tiny slice of sausage. Awwwww...  

The pre-dessert--and
the real dessert, a Grand Marnier soufflé with citrus pieces, citrus sauce, and flamed in fine rum. Our server set the rum aflame before I could grab it and drink it.
We are planning that it will be sunny tomorrow.

19 comments:

  1. Love the images and the story. The rain, not so much. Just want to mention that if one clicks on the images to enlarge (as you should), you may revealed more than you intended. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.
    AA

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    1. Excusez-moi, above should have read "....you may have revealed...".

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    2. oh, well, the spam is gone anyway...

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  2. Hopefully all that delicious looking food will have made up for your frustrations with the GPS!

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    1. it always does, Sulky, it always does.

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  3. Too funny about the GPS - ours did okay, but barely, there was a lot of "bearing right" and we drove circles around Montelimar and ended in several driveways!

    Having said that, we have had some scary GPS issues in my province. Last winter, a young woman from Quebec ended up in an old logging road in January, and was stranded in her car for 2 days before (luckily) two snowmobilers happened upon her). SInce our logging roads would never be used in January, she is lucky indeed! SInce then, we always use the "main routes" option as the alternative can get you into some scrapes!

    Am so hopeful that the weather is working for you now! The meal looks divine! I am hungry already and I just ate lunch!

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    1. I don't know why we keep trying the GPS, count us among those who never learn. This one starts each trip with a disclaimer about its "suggestions" not being a substitute for the human driver's judgment. Indeed.

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  4. Yes, that darn GPS can drive one batty all right.

    Your dinner looks delicious.

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  5. I'm with the intrepid driver. I loath Mr Lane's TomTom and its recalculating nonsense.

    Gorgeous meal. Can you go chanterelle hunting with the kitchen staff?

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    1. Hi, Lane, the foragers come to the kitchen door with their trophies early in the morning. Too early for me.

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  6. We named our old GPS 'Hillary' after Hillary Clinton, I swear the two voices were the same! If you missed a turn, she would become very irate.

    Glad your dinner reservations worked out, sounds like you are having quite the vacation!

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  7. Hi. LR, the Musical Reservations wouldn't have been my first choice of activity, but, as Himself says, at least we're not starving!

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  8. We named our GPS (voice recorded with british accent) "Nigel", after a friend from the U.K. He constantly reprimands us as he "recalculates". YOur pictures are gorgeous. I am such a non adventurous diner, and I always marvel at those whose palates are far more educated than mine. ( Actually- can one educate a palate?)Can you plan that it will be sunny here? I am getting rather anxious. I do find that looking at your lovely pictures of France is far more relaxing than remaining glued to the ominous Weather Channel pictures...

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  9. Hi, KnitYarns, we're getting anxious about the storm, too. Flights are being cancelled, and people with no plans and no reservations - they thought they'd be on their way home - are pacing in the lobby. Our room tv gets BBC but not CNN, and BBC only started to focus on the storm late yesterday. Before that, typical weekend programming, all cute animals and interesting heroes.

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  10. I knocked again and this time you let me in! (Your blog went private last night when I tried to visit.)

    A plumbing problem reduced our attention to scrambled eggs and salsa for dinner. Yours is much, much more beautiful and delicious. Thanks for the vicarious treat.

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  11. Hi, tiffany rose, I was suddenly inundated with messages about - well, it seemed easiest just to go private for a few hours to clean it up. Glad to be back!

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  12. NYC sounds like a mess; haven't seen too much about Long Island but must have been flooding there too. Subways flooded, Wall St will be closed again today, crane in Mid-town crumbled off a building. Lots without power. We had 65 mph gusts up here, far from the storm's center. Hope your place is OK!

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  13. I should correct-- the crane was on 57th on the new v.tall apartment building and crumbled in half on the top, still dangling there this am. Cars were floating around lower Manhattan in the night; no power there.

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