Eating Well is the Best Revenge

August 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Everyone thinks that buying posters in France is super sexy.  I hate to disavow poster fans, but it’s rarely pretty business.  What I find is usually really exciting, but actually getting to the goods  can be dirty, dangerous, and always involves some risk.

Original Poster piles....

Dusty, messy poster horde

In order to make the best of any situation, I have always tried to live like the French, and have a long lunch.  Work hard in the morning, sit down for 2 hours and read the menu with care, eat things which are hard to find in the states, and then go back to work until 7 or 8.

Grilled Octopus Salad

Delicious first lunch in France

On the last trip, I managed to try some really unusual foods. My first good meal was octopus salad and a bottle of Rose.  It is really hot in the summer, and hot weather demands Rose wine.

After 4 days of work, I caught the train to Bordeaux for a much needed vacation with my family.  A friend loaned us their beautiful beach house, and using it as a base, we were able to explore Cap Ferret, Ares, Andernos and the City of Bordeaux.  Apparently, in this region, oysters are always served with tiny sausages as a garnish.  Here are the oysters at L’Escale restaurant in Cap Ferret.

Serve very cold!

Oysters on the half shell with mignonette and white wine sausage.

Children of course, can be picky eaters.  Luckily the French do a bang -up job with French Fries, although I’m told that French Fries were actually invented by the Belgians.  Here is my son eating French Fries in Cap Ferret. I must point out that while I don’t have a photo of my French nephew at dinner, that what they say about French kids and food is absolutely true- they are adventurous eaters with good taste.  While my son had fries, his cousin, aged 12 ordered prosciutto with melon and duck breast for his meal.

Jackson et des frites

French Fries are better in France

The other thing that really rocks in France is lardons.  We don’t have these here.  We have bacon and we have pancetta.  I guess pancetta is the closest thing to lardons, but it doesn’t really crisp up the way lardons do.  Lardons are a bacon-y morsel, sold pre cut into little baton shapes in plastic packages, very cheap, very fast to cook and absolutely delicious.  Because of lardons, we made pasta carbonara for our kids many nights, although strangely enough, this didn’t stop them from ordering this rich, creamy pasta in restaurants as well.  Here is my son eating spaghetti carbonara in Andernos.

Kid Food

My son with the real lardon version of Pasta Carbonara in Andernos.

Mussels and Fries

Moules Frites in Andernos

Another real treat in France is Moules Frites.  Mussels, cooked in white wine with shallots, and served with a big bowl of French Fries.  This is considered the working man’s lunch, it’s delicious, and it’s usually very cheap- about 10 Euros.  It’s always big enough to share!

Next week, August 23-26 we are excited about our 14th Annual Preview Show.  The event will be catered by Grace Street Catering.  Last  year, I worked with Grace Street owner Erin McKinney, describing the foods I had tried in Provence, and he created a mouthwatering menu designed to bring our clients a fast of the South of France.  This year, I wrote to him as I tried new and unusual foods in Bordeaux and in Paris, and once again, Erin has dreamed up a divine menu, designed to transport you to France. Grace Street’s Menu will be published in the next blog post.

Elizabeth Norris


Vintage European Posters

Founded 1997

2201 Fourth Street

Berkeley, CA 94710

510 843 2201 

Pasta Carbonara
Kids Dream Food in France, Pasta Carbonara

A trip to France is never complete without moules frites.  This is considered the working man’s lunch- mussels cooked in white wine with shallots, and served with their broth, and a bowl of french fries.  It’s a very cheap lunch, and yet it is always unforgettable.


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