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, www.kpbs.org]