I love discovering. It is the reason I left home, the endless joy I found in New York, then again, why I left it to discover something new in France. When I woke up at Le Mas de Peint I had no idea where to set out for lunch that day. By chance, a French friend messaged me and said, “go to La Chassagnette, you will not regret it.” Without a reservation, which is a big no-no in Provence, I showed up at noon and was pleasantly surprised to discover the most incredible secret garden dining in the Camargue.
I literally knew nothing about the space, almost missing the humble sign for the turn off on the road. However, once I walked over the little wooden creek bridge into the world of La Chassagnette I knew this was something special. The host invited me to discover their garden, baskets of herbs, fruits, vegetables, aromatics, roses, and some flowers I had never seen before set in an endless view of farm land. All grown by organic standards, he informed me most of what I would be eating for lunch came from right here, what was picked this morning. A chef who lets the taste of nature be the star.
The setting was beautiful, just as beautiful as the edible art pieces that arrived on our plate. A reinterpretation of natural beauty. There was much to discover, flavors I have never tasted, flowers I had never before eaten.
I love this quote from their website about Armand Arnal the restaurant’s chef, “La Chassagnette seems to him an oasis which is self-sufficient and for which there is no concept to develop, except that of respecting its authenticity. ” Sounds like heaven, right?
Tip- try the sparkling sake!
Tucked in the valley below Ménerbes, a small hilltop village in the Luberon region of Provence, lies La Bastide de Marie, the most romantic hotel, vineyard, rose garden and restaurant. There is nothing like watching the setting light in the south of France on a cool terrace softly leave highlighted kisses on the tips of velvety roses as the day comes to a close while sipping estate grown wine in the peacefulness that is Provence. The intimate and rustic restaurant at the property is dripping in romance was one of the best meals from our trip. There is no menu, just a seasonal offering that evening with a few items to choose from your server describes to you. The best way, in my opinion, to eat in France.
I think about this place often, in fact, I dream of it.
Continue reading “La Bastide de Marie”
Talk about COMFORT FOOD. Husk is Charleston’s perfect combination of modern day sophistication and down-home goodness. The second you walk onto the double-front porch and feel the coziness of being home, it’s like the whole experience has you wrapped in a cashmere blanket. The board on the foyer wall lists all the local farms, fishermen, growers who supply your food. It feels like one big Southern family here with roots that extend for generations. On the drink menu they serve things like cider made from the same recipe as its creation 100 years ago or house-made soda concoctions and old classics like Cheerwine Soda from Salisbury, NC, the old soft drink company still run by the same family. With a menu that changes twice daily, it’s so hard to decide what to order! As far as the classics on the menu go, I’m always a sucker for southern catfish, which is outstanding here, but word has it they are the best burger in town. So add it to your must-eats list and feel free to take me with you when you go….
PS- the pig ear lettuce wraps are DELICIOUS, the selection of Madeira wine is fantastic, and their pimento cheese crostini haunt my dreams…
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At heart I’m a good ol’ fashioned southern girl and every now and then I hafta find my southern food fix here in New York! My most recent obsession (introduced to me by her) is Red Rooster in Harlem. Dirty rice & shrimp, cornbread, blackened catfish, fried chicken (or “Fried Yard Bird” as they call it!!) and black eyed peas…. oh heavens lord have mercy.
Tucked away in a gas station in Kansas City, KS is Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ– named by Anthony Bourdain as one of the 13 places to eat before you die which is exactly what I want to do from happiness when I gobble the pulled pork sandwich in a dizzy frantic craze. This is the only time I’ve ever had the control to snap a few photos before the feasting began… but come on- how good does that look?!
Continue reading “BBQ at its Best”
A neighborhood joint, an oyster happy hour, bottles of wine and a sparkling evening at Mermaid Inn on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Thanks to WESTSIDE INDEPENDENT for this wonderful dinner party dedicated to the contributors and a year of success. Cheers~
A restaurant on the Upper West Side, cheeses flown back from Italy, freshly made pasta, house made dressings, fresh herbs and a cheeky waitstaff to make dining out in New York City an experience. If you couldn’t tell from the line out the door that this place is good then the words “butter-sage sauce” should do the trick.