Monday, August 31, 2009

Birthday


It was my birthday last week and I spent the morning at Broder with girlfriends and then thrifting at some of my favorite spots in town. In the evening the boy and I went on a wonderful date and then this weekend we headed to eastern Oregon near John Day for tepeeing. It was really awesome. I am promising to recap the wedding this weekend but for today I have laundry, dishes and cleaning to do. Thanks to Lorraine for the picture! That bloody mary was delicious.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Luries Go To France: Days Seven, Eight and Nine

Here's the last installment of our honeymoon days. I hope you enjoyed reading about all the food we ate. It was the most fun trip I have ever gone on for a lot of reasons, we had a lot of money saved so we could do nice things, we got along the whole trip and only had a couple of minor melt downs which I think is really impressive since this is by far the longest vacation we've ever taken together and, also, the south of France is truly the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. Particularly Provence but all of it is just breathtaking. I wanted to have all of our stuff sent there and never come back! Ahh, but mortgages and responsibilities and the cat called, so we returned promising each other that we would visit again soon. For more pictures of our journey, the boy put his up on flickr, found here.

Day Seven. Tuesday morning we woke up early. We were both so excited to go to the large market here in town. We ate breakfast at the hotel which was really nice. Coffee, tea, bread, cheese, pastries, jams, cereal and fruit! We were completely stuffed as we headed down the hill to see what all the fuss was about.




This market has been going on for hundreds of years and today it seems to be an even mix of very authentic, awesome local goods and touristy stuff. We picked up a locally made cotton dress for our niece Madison. We also found lavender sachets with provencal fabric for friends. We met a man selling infused apertifs. He let us taste several before we settled on a violet one. There was also a ton of pottery. We grabbed a ceramic water pitcher from a lady selling out of crates spilling from her van. There was also a couple of older men sitting in front of 10 containers of tomatoes and 6 glass containers of olive oil. We knew we needed to take a closer look and when one of the men got up and let us taste the oil, we were sold. He wrapped up the cork stopped container and we were on our way (This container later got confiscated at the airport because it was just cork stopped, I couldn't put it in our luggage but it was too large to carry on. Very sad!) It was amazing to see and meet people who got up that morning, picked some tomatoes, poured out some olive oil and came to the market to sell it. We also bought cheese from an extremely excited man and his wife who had a simple cart with huge blocks of cheese on it. He also let us taste and then we motioned with our fingers to show him how big of a slice we wanted. There was also a ton of crafty things, lots of fabric and notions and even sewing machines! This was my favorite part to look at but we couldn't buy a ton of it so I just got some cute trim. With girts bought for both ourselves and family and friends, we wearily hiked back up the hill to the hotel and had some much needed pool time. In the evening we went back into town and drank a few beers at L'Oxo Bar.


We ate dinner at La Belle Etoile, a place I was originally drawn to because of the colorful linens on all the tables. We drank a bottle of local white wine and started with a foie gras creme brulee which was surprisingly delicious. For our main dish, I had a tapenade stuffed rabbit and Dan had an eggplant plate. It was all so flavorful and fresh, we really loved it. As we walked back to the hotel we stopped by a pizza place and drank some more wine before drunkenly stumbling all the way to our hotel room.
Day Eight. We really didn't have much of a plan for today which was so nice. We had breakfast at the hotel again and then headed into town to see about renting bicycles. The one bike rental place we knew about ended up being out of rentals so that was out. We stopped by the TI (tourist information) to see where the lavender fields were but it seemed a car was needed for that.

We agreed that with the 95 degree weather, if it wasn't easy and relaxing we weren't interested, so we walked up to Cave La Romaine and did some wine tasting instead. We got a couple bottles of white from a young girl who said she had an aunt in Portland (although she may have meant Maine)and as we waited in line to pay for our bottles we discovered the filling station. A wall filled with tubes and empty plastic tubs. Several people were having their tubs filled with wine, the way you might fill a gallon jug with water at the grocery store. We headed back through town to hang at the pool again, too hot to do anything else. After the pool we went to the courtyard at the hotel for a beer. Sebastian, the man running the front desk, said that since it was our honeymoon (Dan had mentioned it in an email when we made the reservations) anything we wanted was on him and insisted that we not only order beers but desserts too. we had an ice cream tiramisu and lavender ice cream washed down with a cold beer. It was awesome.




After our late afternoon snack we enjoyed some down time before heading over to the nearby, Michelin rated and Steve's recommended, Bistro D'O. We started with a cured ham appetizer with a vegetable and anchovy filler and fig jam crustini. For Dinner I had the lamb and Dan had rissoto with shrimp. We just got coffee for dessert but they brought our handmade pink marshmallows for us to have too. It was all really, really good and the restaurant had a great atmosphere. We dragged it out as long as possible but we had to go back to the hotel eventually to pack and prepare for another day of travelling (and our last day in France!)
Day Nine. I didn't journal on our last day, but here are some amazing pictures I took that day! Enjoy.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Luries Go To France: Days Five and Six


Day Five. Sunday was our last full day in Nice. It was a lazy one. We slept until noon which Dan loved. Once we dragged ourselves out of bed we decided to grab sandwiches and a strawberry tart from a boulangerie and head to castle hill. This is the looming lookout that you usually see in a picture of Nice.

The neatest thing about it was that you could walk up from a side street in Vieux Nice, past small art galleries (where local artists sell) and a square with a charming church to a stone walkway that takes you up the hill. It was a warm day but along the way the waterfull comes down and we'd stick our arms in the water to cool down. Near the top is a lookout point just below the main part of the waterfall, we took pictures of ourselves and let the wind carry the water in our direction, which felt amazing.

Once we had reached the highest lookout we were greeted by two huge souvenir stands (horrible) and an outstanding view (worth it!) On our way down we bought a crazy expensive bottle of water and tried to cool down. We were pretty tired after our walk but managed to grab Dan a pair of tennis shoes and some fig room spray for me. At this point we've been wondering around old town long enough we're starting to get the hang of all the little streets. We wanted to make it to the sea again today but out late start made it impossible. Instead we headed back to the hotel, tried to get a start on packing and prepared ourselves for a lovely evening out. We ended up at Casa Mia for dinner. Casa Mia is actually next door to cote marais which is perfect since we loved that street so much. We had some red wine and decided to do a "menu" which means we'd each get a starter, an entree and a dessert or coffee. I had baked cheese and fig jam to start and a pasta with ham and marscapone for the main course. Dan started with melon and cured meats and had breaded veal for dinner. It was totally perfect! After dinner we went back to the wine bar from a couple nites before and had a glass before sloppily heading to the hotel to pack. We are so excited to head to the new town but sad to leave Nice which is so beautiful!
Day Six. Today we woke up at 6 am to catch a 7:30 train which ended up leaving an hour late. We were supposed to transfer quickly in Marseilles to Orange but we arrived in Marseilles just as our second train left.

We ended up having a few hours to kill while we waited for the next one so we loked up our bags and headed to Vieux Port on foot. The old port was lined with fishermen behind carts of freshly caught fish. We took photos and looked around until we finally stopped at a cafe and ate a quick lunch. Once we caught our train to Orange we saw sunflower fields and cute houses as we bounded along in a barely air conditioned train.

Once we arrived in Orange, we dragged our luggage from the train station to the roman theater where we thought the bus to Vaison la Romaine was. Unfortunately we were wrong and after a few paniced moments a telelphone card was purchased and we called the bus people who told us the bus station was actually right out front of the train station we had just come from. A couple celebratory beers later, for figuring out where we were supposed to go, and we were on the bus headed out of Orange and past a ton of adorable small towns, chateaus and rolling hills full of wine grapes to Vaison la Romaine. Our hotel here, la fete en provence, is adorable, comfy and the bathroom is like a tiled spa.


In the evening we went to a touristy creperie where we ordered salads and were treated to these amazing cheese filled dishes. I had the goat cheese one and Dan went for the roquefort. A perfect ending to a less than perfect travel day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Luries Go To France: Days Three and Four

I hope you're enjoying my recap of the honeymoon! I'm getting ready to share all the wedding goodness with you soon too. I can't wait!

Day Three. Friday started with espresso and pain au chocolat from the cafe down the street. Afterwards we stopped into Alziari, an old olive oil shop that's been around over 100 years for a can of their standard stuff and a few smaller tin bottles of their infusions. We walked across the street to pick up some chai tea from Auer. I'm a sucker for their labeled tin cans so we treated ourselves. Once we dropped our goods off at the hotel we hopped on the bus to the Changall museum which is just on the outside of town. We weren't that familiar with Marc Changall but the museum was lovely. I particularly liked his composition and color in the paintings. He was one of the few modernists to celebrate human love so I suppose it was appropriate for the honeymooners. He also has some stain glass instillation pieces in a concert hall at the museum that are stunning. It was probably my favorite part of the place. We had picked up lunch stuff at cours saleya so we ate on the museum grounds.

We had no idea if it was allowed but no one seemed to mind. I had picked out this awesome cheese that was wrapped in several leaves at the market, it was so beautiful I almost didn't want to eat it. Small surprises like leaf wrapped cheese keep happening on this trip which is wonderful. Once we returned to downtown Nice we had to head to the train station to buy tickets to Vaison La Romaine. We got to ride the new tram on the way there and back so it was worth the trip just to check out the future of Nice's public transportation. We also got to stop by Galleries Lafayette and some other shopping places quickly on our way home to get ready for dinner.


We went to Oliveria for dinner, a well recommended place and for good reason. Dan's lasagna was so flavorful and my ravioli was delicious. Everything came with a paired olive oil and we were surprised when we got the tiramisu and an olive oil was poured next to it which turned the powdered chocolate into an amazing sauce.

We decided to stroll down the promenade des anglais after dinner and watched a drunk man in workout pants and no shirt search for skipping rocks on the beach and skip them into the ocean. Dan noticed that this activity really "works the core" and suggested that it was this man's work out routine. I was skeptical. We kept strolling and on our way back the man was sitting on the rocks looking out at the water. His workout was done.

Day Four. Saturday was, again, a beach day. After coffee we ran to the bakery for snacks. On our way there we stumbled into a used book sale happening at one of the open courtyards/plazas. There were some amazing books over 100 years old and then the standard tourist crap and used romance novels.

The beach was totally amazing again. I left just a bit burned. After heading back up to the train station to change out tickets around a bit due to some bus station issues, we went for dinner at cote marais.


Our dinner was delicious, my favorite meal so far. We started with eggplant pate and Parmesan mousse and for our main course I had veal with mustard sauce and Dan had fish in coconut milk. The atmosphere was quiet and romantic as we sat outside on a small side street. We headed to the cours saleya after dinner to look at the crafty street vendors we had noticed the evening before. I was eyeing a brown leather bag, handmade in Nice and decided to go for it. I was going to buy scarves for friends back home but they were a bit pricey. We were so exhausted from our day in the sun that we had a beer from a nearby bar and called it a day. It has been so nice to be so close-in at our hotel.We seem to be near everything and it's been such a treat to speak some french again and not always default to english. My speaking skills aren't what they were but I seem to be understanding people okay!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Luries Go To France: days one and two


I was thinking about how lucky I am that my mother in law (wow, I have one those now!) gave me a travel journal before we left on our honeymoon. It has a soft brown leather cover and a multi colored cotton tie around it. I love it so much and it actually encouraged me to journal every day of our trip to the south of France. So, before I do the wedding round up, I will recap our vacation a couple days at a time with photos and my journal entries. Reader Beware: My journaling focuses heavily on the food we ate.


Day One. Today (Wednesday July 22nd) we arrived in the Nice Cote D'Azur airport at 8 in the morning. It was a long trip and we were exhausted. What an absolutely amazing weekend we had and now we're finally here in France. After our bus ride to the hotel (four euros for a 20 minute ride on the #98-cheap!) we dropped our bags at the hotel and were left to wonder around old town while our room at the Beau Rivage was prepared. we started by wondering down Rue St. Francois De Paule, the street our hotel is on, towards Cours Saleya. "Vieux Nice" is full of well reviewed restaurants, small sweets shops and an amazing market, the Cours Saleya. We saw the flower stalls first, amazing plants and flowers everywhere. As we continued along, the flower stalls turned to piles of sundried tomatoes, lavender sachets, dried herb fins and marinated olives. I grabbed a green olive tapenade and three euros of black olives for later. There was also a ton of produce which we plan to go back for. The beefsteak tomatoes were so huge, it was our of control.

We wandered toward a cafe in our delirious state and it ended up being Au Pain Quotidien, a place I wanted to check out. There were long wooden tables and a windy staircase down to the toilets, where tile gave way to exposed stone behind the stalls. We ordered cafe au lait and a basket of bread with three different jams for spreading. We sat and talked about the wedding and our friends and family and then headed toward the promenade des anglais to quickly see the beach before we headed back to old town. There were so many things to see and places to stop. We found L'Art Gourmand and picked up some macaroons. I grabbed some gifts at the very charming boutique Berenice & Eglantine. They had herbs, fleur de sel, tea and oils that all came in glass test tubes with stoppers. After all this wondering, including an ill fated attempt to get Socca (chickpea pancake) at Chez Theresa, we were near delirious. I picked up an avocado gelato at Fenocchio and we strolled back to the hotel to check in. After a quick nap and a teeny bit of European MTV, we headed our to dinner. We chose Lou Pistou which we gather must usually be busy but tonite it was just the two of us and a japanese tourist. We started with ratatouille and some wine and for dinner I got beef with tomato marinade and fresh pasta while Dan got breaded scallops and fresh pasta with tomato sauce. It was all delicious and the woman who worked there was so pleasant and helpful. Dan kept eating long after I was full because he wanted to "remember the taste of the food." we ended our long day with a beer at a street side cafe and a little people watching. It was a remarkable first day of our honeymoon. we couldn't stop talking about how fun the wedding was and how awesome it is that we're here in Nice.

Day Two. Today was big beach day. We'd been waiting to go to "la plage" and swim in "la mer" for so long! We went to the Beau Rivage Plage after a stop at the cafe down the street for an early morning cup of coffee and grabbing some pastries at the boulangerie. Most of the day was spent swimming and sun bathing.

After a quick clean up at the hotel we headed to Lou Pilha Leva in old town for Socca, Farcis Salad and un demi carafe of white wine. We wondered around after our meal and relaxed a bit until we headed over to Place Massena. We attempted to do some shopping at Galleries Lafayette (the big department store) but it was closed so we settled instead for beers from the Monoprix (chain grocery store sort of like Fred Meyer) and watching Les Boules Finale (boules is sort of like bocce). Dan took about 50 pictures of a man he kept referring to as "The best boules player in the world" however, this was never verified. It was getting late so we left the game and strolled over to 22 Septembre for dinner. We shared grilled goat cheese on lettuce to start and I had chicken in a mushroom sauce with saffron rice for my entree. After our meal, our waiter came by with verbena infused liqueur for us to try and it was awesome. On the way back to our hotel we decided to grab a glass of wine at Resto Wine Notes. While finishing our glasses, this hilariously drunk woman and her male companion came up and sat beside us. The woman started speaking to us as they ordered their drinks but when their wine came the man took one sip, declared it too "corky" and took off. The woman stayed and told us how she loved living in Nice and how her and her daughters had moved their 15 years ago. As she spoke, she held her hand rolled cigarette firmly between two fingers even though it had long gone out and she occasionally would ask us for a light even though we continued to remind her that we didn't smoke. At the end of our conversation (and our drinks) she walked us to an alley way to show us what she called a sign of old Nice. A wooden door where a drawing of a man standing in a barrel was stamped into the cement doorway. Supposedly a sign of the wine merchant that use to do business there. We said "au revoir" and headed back to our hotel to pass out. On our way we talked about how awesome and special encounters like that are. Completely unique to traveling abroad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back!


We're back! There's so much to share and photos still to upload. Here's a teaser from the boy's photos. The wedding was wonderful and amazing and filled with love and the honeymoon was absolutely the best vacation I've ever been on. More to come this week!