Nov 05

Nice France

by in Euro Trips, Travel


This is sad, but this trip was actually back in early June.  I have been lacking in the writing category... big time.   Luckily its partly a happy problem of traveling, but its also that I have run into a lack of focus for the blog.  I have been thinking too much about the direction of the blog. Anyways enough about all of that.   I figured a good way to get back in the swing of things is to post one of our favorite trips.  We did a 4 part trip to southern France (Côte d'Azur), which included Nice, Monaco, Provence, and Cassis.  We found some great flights through Blue Express, which is a low cost airline that has a lot of flights out of Italy.  From Catania you can fly roundtrip to Nice for around €200, but word to the wise be sure to have plenty of time if  you have to switch planes in Rome. Nice was the change up from Italy that we needed.  No offense against Italy/Sicily, but after being on the island for 5 months or so... we were in need of an anti pizza diet.   Right off the bat we found that, with a whole new world filled with Bouillabaisse and pomme fritte.  Its funny though because the influence of Italy is very strong in Nice and we ran into a lot occasions where our knowledge of Italian food and culture came in handy.  In fact in 1942–1943 the city was occupied and administered by Italy during World War II. We had a great time exploring the city and getting all the sights in.  The boardwalk along the Med was amazing " Promenade des Anglais" with many great looking lidos filled with beautiful people.  One night during our exploring we were interrupted by a large group of tourists that lumbered there way to our lookout point and decided to setup camp right on top of us.  Jess and I looked at each other thinking ... "here we go again with Europeans misunderstanding space", but it ended up being a big group of Americans that were on a Rick Steves tour of Southern France.  They apologized for interrupting our moment overlooking Nice and offered us to join in.  As soon as we saw the wine and cheese getting pulled out we were like "Why not?". 🙂  It was a great time as they told us all that they have learned during their travels and they were amazed by our story of living abroad.  Eventually we had to part ways with with our new travel friends and head out for some dinner. Walking along the boardwalk we found a little place that had some American menu items that we were definitely ready for.  Its sad to be in Southern France and order these items, but you have to understand where we are coming from here.... Desperate for a pub cheeseburger!! 🙂  We reasoned that we can eat this American food because at lunch we covered the Southern France stuff with our Salad Niçoise and Moules Frites (mussels with fries).  The sandwiches were great... that review probably would be different if we weren't flying from Sicily. One restaurant was recommended to us by the owner of the place that we rented.  He said that it was a local place that has great food and reasonable prices.... sounds right up our alley!  We went over there one night for dinner and found out that we weren't the only ones that knew of this place.  We ended up only making reservations for lunch 2 days away!!!  The smell in the place gave away that we were in for a great meal.  Since this blog is supposed to focus on the food I will skip all the unnecessary exploring that we did around Nice and fast forward to this meal at Bistrot D'Antoine.  The bistro is an unassuming place on a side street in the old town section of Nice.  You would walk right by it and pass it off as another bistro with the typical awning outside, but the food is anything but typical.  We let the waiter and an old French man (who lived in St. Louis for a while) that we sat near,  guide us on particular items to order and we were on our way. We started with a calamari dish that was very unique.  It was served on a bed of cannellini beans and topped with dressed arugula.  The calamari in the middle was the most tender calamari that I have ever had.  The flavors were fresh and complemented each other in a curious way.  "Why hasn't anyone else thought of serving calamari like this ?" ran through my head.   Jess's entree was the Caesar salad and it was just as meticulous as the calamari.  You could tell that thought went into every choice and placement of the ingredients on her plate.  Jess still talk about this caesar salad.... I didn't get a sample because it was carefully guarded..ha.   Also I was preoccupied with my entree, which was braised beef cheeks in a pot with polenta on the side... Unbelievable! Tender is an understatement with regards to the cheeks.  Dipping a chunk of cheek in the polenta was delicious.  I am going to have to make more polenta at home!  Maybe I'll even try making the cheeks.  I know the Sicilian butchers would have this available.   We finished up the meal with a great panna cotta with berries.  I was worn out.  The meal was exactly what we needed to change things up from the past few months.  It goes without saying that the wine throughout the meal was perfect as well.  We tried a couple different options from Provence during the meal.  This leads us to the next segments of our Southern France trip,  Monaco and then Provence. Below is a video that I put together for Nice.  I wanted to change it up from the pictures.  Let me know if you like it.  We recently caught up on Mad Men, which explains the soundtrack. 😉  Also I added a few still shots from our favorite meal of the trip.  

Calamari Dish with Cannellini beans

Beef Cheeks with polenta

   



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6 Responses to “Nice France”

  1. From Padrone:

    Great video, felt like I was there! Yeh, beef cheeks are terrific…you have to braise them for a long time but they are worth the trouble.

    Posted on November 19, 2012 at 12:40 am #
  2. From Padrone:

    Love this format, Nick…really captured the feel of France. I saw the Mad Men with the song so I kept waiting to see Jess dancing for you, ha! your calamari and Caesar salads are amazing…Is that a cone of cheese? FANCY

    Posted on November 19, 2012 at 1:05 am #
    • From Nick:

      Glad you guys like it.. Monaco is next!

      Posted on November 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm #
  3. From Jess:

    LOL…I still dream about that caesar salad from time to time…delish! Mom, that’s chicken, not cheese. Ha.

    Posted on December 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. Cassis France – Southern France Surprise | Sicily Ciao! - February 9, 2013

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