Monday, July 21, 2014

"Jump in, let's go..."

I loved all of the tricked out "beach buggy's" we came across while living in the S of F, they just make you want to be more carefree and adventuresome, ready to hit the winding road to just see what the summer may bring your way. 

 

Aren't you just dying to load a picnic in the basket and hop into this open-air ticket-to-adventure?


This jeep, a little more polished and perfectly protected with thick rope guard on the bumper would take you anywhere you wanted to go, I'm sure. This rig was regularly sited in front of Le Columbe d'or in St. Paul de Vence, so you know they could order up a fabulous picnic lunch or dinner and go for miles to dine somewhere special, way up in the Alps even, especially with that extra tank of gas and lead of rope on the side.


While decidedly less rugged, this blue and white 3-wheeler Moke is perfect for getting to the beach or the market, and parking would be a breeze. 


If "breeze" isn't your thing, this dainty dandy may be the perfect option to get you "further".



"... Everybody gets high, everybody gets low, 
these are the days when anything goes"

~Cheryl Crow, Everyday is a Winding Road

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chemin de Nietzsche, Eze bord de Mer...

For an entirely different view of the Mer, I highly recommend taking The "Chemin de Nietzsche" a steep, rocky trail that takes you from the sea to the sky. The start of this trail is right by the apartment we lived in while staying in Eze Bord de Mer, so we navigated this route frequently during our stay. 


If you are in good shape and walking at a steady pace, you can make it up to Eze Village in 45 minutes, where you will be rewarded with views such as this one from the patio at Chateau Eza, looking down on Eze Bord de Mer and out west to Cap Ferrat and Nice.



I love this hike because it reminds me of what really makes this part of the world so spectacular, it is where the Alps meet the Med, and the craggy, rugged hills are such an intense contrast the velvety blue Mediterranean. I believe this dramatic geographical situation is the foundation to the incredible views and environments that are available here.


Like most of the impressive hikes throughout France, this one is maintained, with stone steps built in many sections to help one to reach the higher ground. Along the way you may see wild flowers amongst the shrubbery, views of exclusive mansions and perhaps a few butterflies. Be sure to wear sturdy tennis shoes, sunscreen and bring a large bottle of water and a hiking stick if you can find one. This is somewhat of a mecca for many, we were often be stopped and asked where to find the trail head in a variety of accents and languages. If you don't feel like walking up, you can take the bus up to the top (the stop is right by the Eze train station) and then walk down after exploring the art galleries, shops and views in Eze Village (the Medieval hilltown). 


There are a few restaurants there, but aside from the very formal dining at Chateau Eza and Chèvre d'Or, we didn't find many remarkable meals. Instead, I'd suggest you plan on lunching when you get back down, at the edge of the sea (read on).


The trail is named after the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who lived on the French Riviera beginning in 1883. He was known to regularly take this path from the seashore to "the wonderful Moorish village of Eza, built among the rocks". It was here where he composed the third part of his work "Ainsi Parlait Zarathoustra". Or "Thus spoke Zarathoustra", from which you could borrow his mantra "You are treading your path of greatness: no one shall steal after you here" if the going gets tough on the trail.


On the way down you can stop into the Fragonard perfume factory to take a tour or just visit the gift shop to sample some of the scents or pick up a few bottles to bring home, Belle Nuit is my all time favorite scent from Fragonard. Many times when we were hiking up we were treated to the scent of roses that must have been being distilled at the factory.


Once you make it down to the main road, I highly recommend you go to my favorite beach club, The Anjuna, for one of the most delightful and relaxing dining situations ever, right on the edge of the sea. Enjoy the herb scented Nicoise olives they bring to the table with a glass of rosé.


And then, maybe one of my favorite dishes, which is the poached white fish served with a creamy, garlicky aioli,


plenty of steamed vegetables, a boiled egg and even a few snails, this is sort of a single serving version of Le Grande Aioli



The Anjuna is a little tricky to find, if you get to the bottom of the trail, you can cross the street, and then the railroad tracks by the Eze train station to make your way to the rocky beach, when you get on the beach turn to the right (West) and walk until you see the Papaya Beach club (also very good and very fun) and then Anjuna. DO NOT turn to the left, unless you want to join in the fun at the "Naturist" (nude) beach to the east.


This section of the Riviera is covered with big, round rocks and they are a little hard to walk on. You may find it easier to turn to the right at the base of the trail and walk on the road for a couple of blocks until you see this sign on the sea side of the road. When you get here you should be able to find arrows to a tunnel that is on the north side of the road, the tunnel will allow you to walk under the road and out to the beach, when you get to the beach turn right, and Papaya and Anjuna are near. 


I hope you are having some interesting explorations wherever the roads are leading you this summer.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pavlova Perfection....

As much as I enjoy traveling, I always love coming home again, and the homecoming is especially is especially sweet when all of our local fruits are coming into season. One of the things that I'm really looking forward to now is demonstrating how to make one of my very favorite desserts, The Pavlova, at the very-cool E. Smith Mercantile cellar in Pioneer Square on July 17th at 7pm. If you're in town, I hope you'll join me, details are at the bottom of the post. 

Pavlova made with Lillet drenched local peaches
If you can't join me, you can still learn how to make this dessert, because most of the images below are linked to previous posts that are loaded with details on how to make this delectable conversation stopper.

Party Pavlovas
This dessert is top in my repertoire for many reasons, primarily because it presents an alluring combination of flavors, textures and colors that is unlike anything else I've tasted.  I also appreciate that I can make the meringues days in advance {20 minutes active time}, and it takes me only a few minutes to prepare the final dessert just before serving. I love that I can make the meringues, which are the foundation of the dessert, in any size, shape or flavor I choose, from small individual servings to one grand meringue, one could even create numbers or letters with the whipped egg whites. 


Meringue how-to's
Oh, and I am kind of addicted to the fragrance of orange blossoms that drifts though the house as they are baking.


Finally, this dessert knows no season, it is just as elegant topped with pomegranate jewels at Christmas dinner as it is refreshing finished with the ripest, sweetest berries or stone fruits of the summer. 

Large Pavlova topped with Pomegranate jewels for Christmas dinner
The pavlova is named for the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, who inspired a New Zealand chef to create the dessert when she was on tour down under. If you haven't had a chance to enjoy a pavlova before let me tell you the story... it starts with a fluffy skirt of meringue, with a stiff, crunchy exterior, and an interior that is soft, chewy and tender, all scented with a twirl of orange blossom water.


Method for making meringues
Next, it's topped with a silky, shapely bodice of freshly whipped cream and then it is bejeweled with whatever lovely fruit suits your fancy. Another great feature about this dessert is that it travels well, so it's a perfect choice to bring to a dinner party for a dessert.

Pavlovas a-go-go
If you're in Seattle I hope you'll join me on July 17th at 7pm at E. Smith Mercantile in Pioneer Square to watch the demonstration and taste this exquisite concoction along with a glass of Sangria. You will receive a recipe  to take home, plus a little Splendid Market swag. The tuition cost is $65 and space is limited. To learn more about this special venue and to sign up click on The Cellar or you can send an email to info@esmithmercantile.com or call 206-641-7250.

Now I just have to decide which fruit to use... I was thinking of raspberries soaked in Chambord



but then the peaches looked so good at the market today, and they are so delicious bathed in Lillet... 

Large Meringue with Chambord soaked raspberries

...and should I demonstrate how to make individual servings, or one grand dessert?

decisions, decisions, please let me know what you think.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Temples of Bali...

I've been on a crazy~busy, incredibly colorful, fast, fun and eye-opening tour through Hong Kong,  Hanoi, and remote parts of Indonesia. I'm about to take my final leg home to Seattle, out of Seoul. I'm looking forward to having some time to absorb all that we've and done and seen and to share some of the highlights and how-to's with you. 


For now, I'll leave you with some lovely visions of the amazing temples I saw on the busy streets of Bali, where some say there are more temples than houses.


These ancient, intricatly designed, peaceful sanctions are such a stark contrast to the bustling world that surrounds them.








I am hoping all is well with you Splendid readers. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on all of your blogs and summer fun reports starting tomorrow {which is actually today for me!}

International dateline, here I come.