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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Petit Beat: Saturday Night Ribs, Fig Tarts, & Rick Steves

Fall has officially arrived...we've drank our last bottle(s) of Rosé, replanted the garden, and I'm starting to dig through my extensive scarf-collection as temperatures have already begun to dip.  Oddly enough, I feel quite ready for the change of seasons.  Coming from Southern California, I've only owned a "fall wardrobe" since living in Italy, and now unpacking those storage boxes feels like becoming re-acquainted with a few old friends.  Well, I wouldn't exactly consider having a chat with my wool coat or anything, but I love the bundled-up feeling of fall that those clothes represent- warm, homey, and oh-so-cozy.  

Here's a bit more of what's been happening chez nous and around town this week.

1. Saturday Night Special
Just when you thought it was all lavender fields, colorful town markets, and rich cheeses, (or am I the only one?), there's another side to France that is not so glamorous but perhaps just as delicious. Surprisingly, the French really do love a lot of things that we've got going on chez America, and one of those things just happens to be lip-smackingly good BBQ ribs.

Now I don't think Buffalo Grill is going to be awarded a Michelin star anytime soon, and they do have a little bit of work to do in the Margarita-making department, but my first experience at this restaurant chain was not half bad.  Actually, who am I kidding, it was fantastic.

Call it a strong case of homesickness, or simply becoming endeared to all the servers dressed up in their Western gear, but I haven't been that happy to see a plate of ribs & fries in a very long time.

2. Fig Tarts
On a sweeter note, I'll never tire of taking pictures of French food.  Every time I pass a pastry-shop window, I can't help but be amazed at what they've created.  We're in the middle of fig season (although the figs seem to be disappearing quite quickly this week) and I snapped a photo of these lovely tarts from our local boulangerie / patisserie.

Hopefully there's still time to make a tart of my own, and I've come across some good-looking recipes from Chez Pim, the Food Network, and Epicurious (with lemon mascarpone cream, yum!).  That, and the coming rainstorm, sounds like an excellent excuse not to leave the house this weekend.

3. Rick Steves' Podcasts
The other thing that I've been really excited about this week is the travel podcasts from Rick Steves. Maybe Steves isn't the "sexiest" thing going in the travel industry, but I first started reading his books way back in '98 (*gasp*) and to me he's the George Clooney of European travel. I love his plainspoken nature & he seems genuinely interested in teaching people about the places he visits.  His feature on Burgundy a few months back got me permanently hooked on the idea of barging through France.

All this to say that I've been listening to his podcasts this week, via Itunes, on Northern Spain and also one on the cultural differences between Tuscany & Umbria.  He usually features local guides who provide commentary during the podcast, and maybe the best part of the deal is that it's all free!  Check out more of Steves and his podcasts on his website.

That's about all for this petit week, thanks for reading and bon weekend a tous

ps. If you just can't pull yourself away from France-talk this weekend, I've got a guest post up today on Stephanie's blog, La Belle in France, about visiting Cassis.  

[Rick Steves photo credit,]


  1. I'm so happy to know that Buffalo Grill is good! I've driven by a bunch but never would have stopped. Now I'm going to go and get me some ribs!!

  2. I'm so excited to hear about the Rick Steeves podcasts; he is my guru.

  3. I know Sara Louise, I was always a bit skeptical of Buffalo Grill, but it's quite good!

    Clarice, thanks for the comment! Rick Steves is absolutely tops in my book too - been on so many adventures with his Backdoor books & city guides, so helpful :)

  4. What made you go in to the Buffalo Grill? I have been by the one in Arles many times and always wonder how it is inside - you are brave! Although I have been to the Mexican place in Avignon several times and that is OK.

  5. I agree, it was a bit of a leap! Actually my boyfriend raved about it from his university days in Marseilles. And I was really surprised the number of people that place draws in - when we were leaving there was literally a line out the door.
    I'd really love to find a good Mexican place too -maybe a road trip to Arles is needed..
    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Tuula, you just get more and more lovely. :-) I love that you found this wonderfully cheesy BBQ joint. :-) Those fig tarts are simply divine and I love Rick Steves too. :-) He's like a jolly uncle that you think the world of but would never go to for fashion advice. :-)

  7. Thanks Krista! So glad to hear that you're a Steves fan too...I love "traveling" with him even if it's only from the comfort of my sofa, xx

  8. If that was me, the fig tart would cure any nostalgia for home but I can understand the longing. Sometimes even in France, I feel like a simple pasta or salad!

    Chez vous sounds like a fun place to be :)

  9. Hi Tuula! There's a little something for your over in Le Petit Village x

  10. Cheers to you! Nothing beats a good bbq ribs and fries. The fig tarts delightful.

    I have just discovered your blog. I have wandered over from Rambling Tart and wanted to say hello. Your blog is great. I'm going to be keeping up with your posts.

  11. Thanks for stopping by Velva! The guest post was a lot of fun & Krista has a really fantastic blog.
    Your blog is lovely as well! See that we have some things in common...think I spotted a few figs & prosciutto on your blog as well :)
    Looking forward to reading more myself, yum! xx