l’Univers Restaurant in Nice

I really enjoyed my first cooking class with this restaurant’s Michelin-star chef, master chef Cristian Pumailso decided to have a second go ’round to learn even more!  With a master chocolatier making dessert on one side of the large kitchen, we were busy prepping the food for the day’s delicious lunch, as follows:

A starter of omelette avec de la poutine (tiny fish-a regional specialty), a main course of veal with des legumes, and of course, chocolate for dessert.  Champagne as an apero and wines during lunch, bien sûr!  The restaurant holds the cooking classes (conducted in French) on Saturday mornings for a limited-size group – reserve early.

(hover mouse over image for caption)

Chambre d’Hôte – A B&B somewhere

I was meeting a friend near Perpignan, and had booked a room at the same place she had chosen, just 15 km.  She had rented a car at the Perpignan train station, but we arrived on a Sunday, and so, the car rental agency was closed.   She would have to go to the Perpignan airport to pick up her reserved rental car; we found the taxi stand outside the train station.  However, it was lunchtime, but luckily, one of the drivers was nice enough to take us to the nearby airport.

Apparently, the car rental receptionist was not so friendly, until my friend started speaking in French  and then, all went well.   She finally got the rental car, and we took off towards the center of Perpignan, or so we thought…..due to road construction, that exit was blocked, and we ended up circling for about an hour trying to find our way – always ending up back near the airport.  This was annoyingly amusing, but getting serious, since our time was running out to be served lunch at most places in France.  We finally found a town square in Perpignan (at least, I think that’s where we were) and had a good lunch at some outdoor cafe. We stratagized on how to get out of where we were, in heading the right direction, over a glass of wine.

OK, the next hurdle was to find the Peu de Causse B&B in the small medieval village of Sainte-Columbe-de-la-Commanderie, 15 km (9 miles) from Perpignan, so onward we went.  I can’t tell you how many roundabouts we took (stopped counting) looking for the B&B village signs (weren’t any). when I phoned the B&B, the owner said it was difficult to give directions from where we were — pardon?

So, you ask, why didn’t we use a GPS?   Well, we had two going at the same time (a Garmin with a woman’s voice and the car GPS with a man’s voice) – a true battle of the sexes, but neither had a clue about the blocked routes! We were even starting to call both of them a few choice names.  We thought about opening the Michelin map iPhone app to make it really interesting, but refrained.  Finally, using a good old-fashioned paper map, we found the B&B.

By now it was “apero” time, so we drank some Muscat (free, small sample bottle) as we sat in the center of the stone-walled courtyard and took a deep, relaxing breath.  We had dinner reservations somewhere, but we would worry later about how to find the restaurant, not to mention returning in the dark of night.  I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, the GPS man and woman would be  “night owls” and therefore, more helpful!

All in all, it was a nice stay in a renovated stone farmhouse, with a delicious breakfast served, in a quiet area near Thuir – personal note:  a car is a necessity…not sure about the GPS though!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.