Day 3- Yum! La cuisine!

Finally!  My petite dejeneau (breakfast at 2pm) of a crepe avec sucre and le beurre (with sugar and butter)!

I awoke at 11:20 this morning- I just can’t seem to get on this time schedule and I am awake for hours during the night.  But I use that time to do the reading and writing that I want to do so the time passes quickly.  I left my apartment to find another perfect day!  Warm, sunny and bright blue skies.  The skies here are the bluest I have ever seen.  It has to have something to do with that sunlight that the famous French artists recognized.  I walked from my little street around the corner to another little street, all lined with tiny, beautiful homes of so much old character, to one of the main streets of the town, and into the Provencial Market.  It was buzzing with a flurry of activity!  Stalls filled with all sorts of interesting food and ingredients!  The first stall had at least 20 different types of olives and olive spreads. spices at the market They offered me some olive spread on a cracker, but I just couldn’t stomach it when my taste buds were waiting for some sort of a pastry.  And then fruits, vegetables, a table of 30 different olive oils.  A stall of homemade soaps and then one with perfumes.  Everything so French!  And then five stall tables together making 20 feet of all spices!  Bowls and bowls of spices, sold by the gram.  You could just scoop into a bag as much as you needed.  It made me want to cook, but I’m still in the eating out mood.  There are just too many cute places to try.  I ended up buying some cherries, which it turned out came from a box marked “Canadian cherries”.   But they looked better than any cherries I’ve ever seen in the states.  All big, fat and the perfect red color.  As well as they should have been.   A little bag of the cherries turned out to cost over $6.00!

I left the market in search of my first French crepe of the trip.  The best thing about France- their cafes!  And Antibes has to be the best of the best. Antibes cafe This place is filled with possibly a hundred adorable, thick stone-walled, little cafes sprinkled amongst sweet little gift shops.  Streets and streets of these places, and around every corner.  I can’t help but smiling as I walk the streets and feeling so French!

This morning, well, actually around 2pm, I found the best of everything!  A crepe place right next door to the Lebanese restaurant that has the free Wi-Fi, which meant that I could check my email and send text messages through Skype while I ate my crepe and drank my café Americana! My crepe, cafe and d'leau (tap water) in the orange bottle  By the way, what in the world IS that café Americana?  I carry along a water bottle and fill the little coffee cup to the brim with water to make it drinkable.  It’s way too strong!   I also add as many cubes of sugar that they give me- usually eight- to help get the bite out of it.  But the crepe… yum!!!  The only thing it needed was a little salt.  Which really surprised the garcon (waiter).  He saw me get up and get a salt shaker and before I used it he quickly said something in french which must have meant, “stop, stop- you’re getting ready to put salt on your crepe, you foolish American!”  But he doesn’t realize that in the US we have salted butter which tastes much better than unsalted butter.  And so with a little salt, my crepe was perfect!

I walked out of Old Town today and into regular Antibes to find a gym.  What a difference!  The roads were wider, the cars whizzed all around and even the people moved faster.  And things had a modern look.  I actually found 2 gyms- I’ll join one tomorrow.  It felt good to scurry back home into the fort behind the thick stone walls.  Antibes 9.7 015Very comforting.  And very secure back in my little studio in this old, old building with the old wooden shutters that I lock at night with the heavy, old metal rod and lever.

I had dinner in one of the most adorable restaurants I’ve ever been in!  An inconvenience of traveling alone though is that you usually get one of the undesirable seats in the restaurant.  This has happened to me twice already!  The shop owners obviously don’t want to let me sit at one of the outside tables, since they have seats for 2-4.  So they shuffle me inside where it’s hot and not as exciting because everyone else is outside!  They ask very nicely if the seat they’re directing me to is ok, but they know it’s not.  And even though it’s not my first choice, I smile and assure them it’s absolutely fine.  You don’t want to anger the people that are going to prepare your food.

I was in the mood for greens- I guess because I’ve been planning on getting some greens from the grocery store and sautéing them in olive oil and garlic.  Which has not happened yet.  I ordered a dish of pasta, chicken and gorgonzola and asked if I could get a green vegetable along with that.  Pasta with chicken and gorgonzolaLots of confusion.  I don’t know the French word for vegetable and kept saying “green”.  “Vert”  and motioning something crazy with my hands.  The server finally asked me in a irritated tone of very broken English if I wanted the pasta, chicken and gorgonzola or not.  What the???  I hadn’t been rude to her, there was no reason for her to be snappy with me.  If anyone had the right to be snappy, it was moi!   Shoved back into that hot corner.  But I smiled and told her “oui, oui”  Yes, yes to the pasta while shaking my head in exagerated movements up and down.  Somehow I eventually got my question across and she said, “OK, vegetable”.  And I said “green”.  And then… I don’t know why I had the nerve to take it further, but it was important… “Combien the coute?”  What is the cost?  Oooh… not what she wanted to hear.  She gave me the most impatient, disgusted look and walked away.  I think she even rolled her eyes as she mumbled something in French that ended with “4 or 5 dollars”.  Whew!  All of that because I was in the mood for a green vegetable.  The side order of green vegetablesYou can see from the photo that it was quite a plate.  Not what I would call a side order for sure.  Hot cucumbers with garlic… yeah, that’s about what they tasted like too… some sort of Italian beans that were already in my pasta dish, some other brown concoction that was actually pretty good even though it was cooked to a mushy consistency, carrots and rice.  I know… rice isn’t a vegetable, and I already had a huge dish of pasta.  But I smiled heartily when she brought it and looked pleased.  I just want to be a friendly American.  And the coute (cost) of the legumes as it appeared on my bill was four Euros, or $5.60.  So my 12 euro entrée which is very reasonable here along with the four euro legumes and 2.30 euro wine came to a whopping 18.30 euro or $25.62.  I noticed I didn’t get bread the way other diners did which I didn’t notice till after dinner or I surely would have asked for it.  It looked absolutely scrumptious…. hard outside with light, airy center.  And I didn’t get a wrapped mint either, which I had forgotten about until I was out of the restaurant.  I remember seeing the table of four behind me had gotten four mints with their check.  Now I can’t get the taste of one of those little butter mints out of my head!

Tomorrow is market day.  All over the town!  The clothing market is supposed to be fantastic and there’s a food market of course and an antique/flea market.  I want to make sure I get out of the house before noon tomorrow- preferably around 9!  Don’t want to miss these!