Tuesday Market in Montpellier

There’s a lovely market in Montpellier every Tuesday morning just under the aqueduct. Lush, ripe fruit and delicious vegetables share space with freshly baked breads, artisanal cheese, seafood, beef, and my favorite, chickens turning and cooking on a rotisserie–the juices dripping down on cut potatoes at the bottom. There were also baskets, artwork, clothes, and jewelry, and before I knew it, my bag was filled, a baguette peeking out and the night’s dinner inside.


Tuesday’s market stretches a couple of blocks, but there is one on Saturday that is much bigger. And more crowded, I hear. This one was perfect, and I was able to get dinner for the next couple of nights. The menu? Salad with tomatoes and cucumber, chicken and potatoes, le pain traditionelle (essentially, a baguette), a wonderful bottle of white wine (at the wonderful price of 4 euro), and peaches and apricots with fresh whipped cream for dessert. Voila!



There were samples of almost everything. It was difficult to choose one bread to take home–one was better than the next.



It’s been one of my favorite days yet and talking to the vendors about their wares (albeit in my very bad/nonexistent French) made it all the more cozy. There’s nothing like a local market to make you feel like you’re a traveler and not a tourist. I know where I’ll be next Tuesday…



Restaurant Review: Compere Lapin


After suffering through a wet and wild Jazz Fest, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch and stopped in to New Orleans’ Compere Lapin. Our table was intimate and well-appointed; it was next to a window, which let the natural light in and set the tone for an amazing lunch. Because we went early, the restaurant wasn’t filled, and this was perfect for us. The décor was French country and rustic, with lots of wood, splashes of lapis blue color, signature rabbits scattered in surprising spots, and a great brick wall with lots of small mirrors, reflecting the chefs who were busy at work.

Carey was our server, and was great. He was friendly and graciously answered all of our questions, tolerated our picture-taking with a smile, explained the menu well, and was attentive throughout the meal. A server in the back helped us set up a picture of the house-made hot sauce for their oyster bar. We tasted the hot sauce, which was made with habanero, and it had heat and a kick, but it wasn’t overpowering or too hot–just the right compliment for the oysters.

Then came the food. First, there were biscuits. Ahh the biscuits. Chive-speckled buttermilk biscuits were served warm on a wooden plank with two types of butter, honey and bacon. The biscuits were dense and delicious, and when slathered with the bacon butter from heaven, we knew it was only the beginning of a beautiful thing. This day, we were in a verde mood and ordered two green dishes: the English Pea Ravioli with Ramps and Spring Mushrooms and the Spinach Cavatelli with Fontina Fondue. We loved everything about the English Pea Ravioli. It was beautiful to look at with yellow pockets of ravioli, brown morel mushrooms, bright green pea sauce, with ramps and microgreens to finish. It was almost too pretty to eat. However, eat it we did. The peas had the perfect amount bite and tasted fresh off the vine, the ravioli was perfectly cooked and had a delicate cheese mixture inside. Everything worked together beautifully. The Spinach Cavatelli was hearty and had a crusty Fontina cheese layer on top. This would be great to eat on a cold day.

We are looking forward to our next visit to have oysters and dessert, which we didn’t have room for on this visit. Compere Lapin, though only opened last year, is located in the Central Business District and is a must stop and a welcome addition to the restaurants in our city.

Compere Lapin                                                                                                                                                  535 Tchoupitoulas
New Orleans, LA


Jazz Fest aka Flood Fest 2016


It’s floodin’ down in Nola, all the telephone lines are down. Jazz Fest 2016 was a wet one. Not a lot of music, but at least we got to eat. We set out on Saturday for the fest, prepared for rain but not ready for a flood. However, thirty minutes in, raindrops started falling. Umbrellas up, ponchos on, pants tucked in, the adventure began. Our first stop was the Cracklin’s booth, or Chicharonnes (cracklin’s) as we say in California. These are by far the best we’ve tasted—big chunks of deep fried pork skin served hot in a brown paper bag. These are the one of the things we came for. Lisa smuggled in flour tortillas to make a chicharron soft taco. Standing to the side, and with a few onlookers, she spread the chicharrones on the tortilla, hit it with some hot sauce, and was a happy girl, and who cares about the damn rain now. Next stop, fried green tomatoes with remoulade. Huddling under umbrellas, we set the crispy, breaded tomatoes and tangy sauce down on a wet table and ate them with our fingers.

tacos de chicharrones

We went to the Gospel tent to hear some music and escape the rain for a bit, but before long, decided to venture out for more. The Crawfish Monica was as delicious as always, a pasta dish with creamy, rich sauce, speckled with spicy crawfish. For dessert, white chocolate bread pudding that made eyes roll back in heads. But at that point, the rain was no longer just coming down, it was pouring. And flooding. We stood under a tent with hundreds of our fest-friends, and watched as the water rose, over our shoes and then up to our ankles. Of course that didn’t stop us from eating the food we had with us, but it did slow us down from getting more for a while. When the rain slowed down and we finally came out like a bunch of wet rats, we moved to the stage where Stevie Wonder was set to play, only to learn that the Jazz Fest was cancelled. No music for us. We waded through knee deep water to leave, feet sore and waterlogged, but not as upset as most because it was a blast and we never laughed so hard. We ended up at a local dive, The Twelve Mile Limit, and with a table filled with beer and more food (the pork sliders are to die for), we had us a good old time, Jazz Fest or not.