French Dining Etiquette: Both Hands on the Table Mister!

When dining in France I try to remember to keep both hands visible.

This, I’ve been told more than once, is very important.

Sometimes I forget because it’s in direct contrast to the way I’ve eaten my entire life. In the States we’re taught to place the non-dominant hand in our lap unless it’s being used to help with cutting meat, buttering bread, etc.

In France, though, it’s considered impolite and even weird to do this.

I once asked a French friend why and was surprised by her response.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Why is it so important to have both hands visible when dining in France?” Continue reading

Oppede-Le-Vieux: Le Petit Cafe

I have been attempting to eat my way through the entire country of France for some time now, so it would be perfectly reasonable for me to have a jaded, rather road weary attitude when it comes to French food, n’est pas?

Been there, done that, right?

Not exactly my friends.

After so many years I am still absolutely amazed at the quality of cuisine, service, and wines that can be found in the most unexpected places in this wonderful country.

Is there someone out there championing the cause of the country auberge, the bistrot de pays, the common man’s stomach?

If not, sign me up, I’m your guy.

Why am I on such a foodie high?

Simple.  My wife and I have just dined at Le Petit Cafe in the strangely charming Provencal village of Oppede Le Vieux (that’s Peter Mayle country by the way, and if he hasn’t been here he’s really missing out).

Situated on a charming corner of what appears to be the town’s only drive-able street, Le Petit Cafe is Continue reading

Sold: L’Auberge de Tourrettes

It seems one of my favorite spots in the south of France, The Auberge de Tourrettes, has been sold and is now under new management.

The news hit me like a ton of croissants.


Village view from the the back terrace

The Auberge has held the top spot on my “favorites” list for many years.
This small property on the outskirts of the village of Tourrettes sur Loup has housed my wedding guests, organized superb wine tastings, and provided me with countless delicious meals and glasses of wine.

I always looked forward to a quiet dinner on the small terrace with the ever-present aroma of fresh flowers and the sublime view of the Mediterranean across the broad Loup Valley.

Will it ever be the same?

Will the new owners continue to operate with the same attention to detail and service?

I’ll try to let you know soon….

La Pizza: The best pizza in Cannes, France

It takes quite a man, resolute and in possession of a strong character,  to walk out of a restaurant and proclaim to the world, “that was the best damn pizza I have ever had and ever will have in my lifetime.”

My friends, I am that man.

I first visited La Pizza in Cannes on a cold, gray December afternoon in 2000, and to this day, can remember exactly what I ordered.

One slice of cheese pizza
A fresh, green salad
A glass of Italian red wine

It’s easy to remember my first order because at each subsequent visit to La Pizza (approximately 12 to 15 times) I have never ordered anything but:

One slice of cheese pizza
A fresh, green salad
A glass of Italian red wine

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and let me tell you the pizza at La Pizza ain’t broke!

Now, if you want to go to a restaurant where the waiters are always convivial and make you feel welcome from the moment you step inside the door, then by all means DO NOT go to La Pizza!  But if your main objective is tearing into a wondrous slice of pizza smothered in fresh cheese and spicy olive oil, then this is the place for you.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll actually branch out and add a topping or two to my cheese slice or ask them to put an egg on my salad, but not today my friends.

Not today.

La Pizza
3, Quai St Pierre
06400 Cannes, France
tel. 33 9 61 01 57 31