Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cannes and Salade Nicoise

This is not a meal from What We Ate. In fact I can't even offer a
recipe. It's a memory meal, one of those indelible days that involve dreams
coming true and astonishing food and the sense that if life got any better
you'll be in Heaven.

It was 1999. We were on the Grand European tour,
Reynolds style. We began in Paris, a city I'd never visited. The first sight of
the Eiffel Tower caused me to burst into tears.

"I feel alive in this city. I don't want to sleep, afraid I'll wake up and
realize it was all a dream. Our hotel is lovely -- a large and charming
attic room on a quiet street near Notre Dame. We are so

The journal my daughter and I kept has our tickets for the Eiffel Tower,
subway stubs, and chocolate bar wrapper from Fauchon, post cards from the Louvre .. well, pretty much everything we saw or touched is in the coil notebook.

From Paris we took the train to Cannes. Gorgeous people, the types
who should be (and maybe were) famous, strolled along the boardwalk.
Everything was staggeringly expensive, including our hotel
that smelled as though a wedge of Gorgonzola had been left behind the

On August 15, 1999 (carefully noted in the journal) we had lunch at Bistrot
Margaux, a simple restaurant with rough wooden tables, glasses stuffed with wildflowers for decoration and one of the best meals we had in our month in Europe.

Here it is:

Sole Belle Meuniere

St. Jacques a la Provencale

Salade Nicoise

Framboise avec sucre, creme caramel au chocolate, espresso.

I can see the palm trees and smell the espresso as I write this. Could I ever recreate it? I wouldn't want to.

Some things are best left to memory.

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