So here I am in Southern California, finally getting over a vicious case of jet lag that lasted longer than it usually does, but after two nights that did not see me get up at 3 am, we are back at it I say. Still trying to get my bearings right in this area, I started walking the immediate neighborhood and today I took some images for the Blog. Not anything similar to my walks in Jarnac, but still a very nice backdrop of mountains and desert. There is a park across the street with lots of ducks, a small "old town" with shops and offices, we have a post office, banks and everything else we need in walking distance. So, not a bad location to start with. Not going to brag about the weather, but yes, it's going to be 100/38 today. A dry heat it is, similar to our years in Vegas with minor differences, as this area seems a bit more vintage than where we lived before. Walk along and enjoy the images
VIEW FROM THE HOUSE AT 8 AM
LOOKING DOWN THE STREET WE ARE ON
THAT MAKES ME SMILE
THE PARK ACROSS THE STREET
HELLO, I HAVE NO FOOD
I NEED TO FIND OUT THE NAME OF THIS RANGE
LOOKS GOOD BUT NOT AS OLD AS THE ONES IN FRANCE
OH, AN ERECTION ELECTION
I THINK THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IS NOT FULLY BACK YET
Yesterday I had to visit a small business (NOT a bakery), just loose ends to tie up prior to the trip on Monday. I realized that this might be the final walk around town for a while.
So let me post some pictures of that stroll around Jarnac. This way you get some final impressions of this town as well.
Delamain's Cognac vault was open for an airing, they are a smaller, but fine producer and you could smell the Eau de vie quite a while before you passed their Chai. I finally took a picture of the local pastor's court yard, one of our favorites here in town with this big olive tree in the middle.
PRODUCING COGNAC SINCE 1824 (THAT'S 190 YEARS.....)
1993 I think. Working hard. It's NOT a mustache, people. Thank you for pointing out the shadow. If you were to zoom in, you'd see that I am sporting a massive cold sore and was unable to shave for a couple of days. Well, technically that makes it a 'stache then.
Fall of 1970. Grade one at the Volkschule Hinterstoder. 18 kids and Frau Schulrat Seuffert. Taken 44 years ago and amazingly I can remember the name of every single kid in class. But don't know what I had for dinner last night? Long term memory is the last to go they say. Row 2, second from the left. C'est moi.
A transcontinental move is never easy. When we moved to France in 2011, we had a hard time fitting our belongings into a 40' sea container. This time around we make it much easier, partially because we will set up two homes which allows us to enjoy the best of both worlds , versus moving completely. Makes things MUCH easier. I posted a picture of the early packing stage on FACEBOOK a few days back and one of my friends commented about the vodka bottle that I am taking. Judging by the color he thought it might be Raspberry Absolut, but it's Victoria's 30 month old Vanilla she set up back in early 2012. That's almost VSOP Cognac age ..... And I am taking a couple of bottles along for the trip, which I am certain will make my suitcase smell the best of all on the plane. I opened the lid this morning, before I am sealing the bottles with duct tape to avoid spilling. That aroma! Vodka and tons of Vanilla beans. Nothing else. The way Victoria does things. Can't wait for cake.
Lunch for one. While every hole in the wall in the US has a lunch counter for solo diners, in France where lunch is more often a serious event and not a 20 minute food intake, it's different to eat alone.
While I do not mind making my food at home since the girls have left, once in a while I do enjoy eating something different than my routine staple rotation of those five dishes I am capable of making.
We went to the Alambic here in Jarnac very infrequently for coffee or drinks as a family, but we never really dined at the place, most likely due to the fact of our food limitations. I've walked by the place many early mornings over the years, either with the dog or picking up my car from our garage around the corner and the owner/chef always, always greeted me on sight, even if I hardly ever stopped in. A nice gesture by friendly owners.
This past July, their Bar/Bistro (no food service at night except Saturdays) was the local hangout of choice for watching the World Cup and me rooting for Deutschland, in the midst of it.
It was during those weeks that I started to take notice of the food being carried past me and it all looked amazing.
And when they confirmed back then that I could be served food in the bar area even by myself, I knew to come back to check it all out. It may sound as if I have no friends here, which to a large degree is factual and the few buddies I do have, seem to lunch at work or home more so than going out much. Beer and Cognac yes, food, no.
So in the past few weeks I enjoyed solo lunching at the bar a couple of times already and before I am following the family to different pastures soon, I'll go back again for sure.
The owner makes all foods from scratch and while you may not deem french fries judge worthy, I do. Fresh cut, perfectly fried and seasoned, to me they are a test for how good a place can turn out the rest of their dishes. Sort of like Victoria judges a Patisserie by their Vanilla Macaroons. If they screw that up......the rest usually sucks too.
And in case of the Alambic, them Pommes Frites confirm all visuals I had back in July. Best Fries in the Charente by far.
Today's leg of lamb was a huge chunk of perfectly flavored meat on the bone, with tons of rich gravy for the fries, a side of carrot mousse (I hate carrots, but their version is very good) and a mixed salad with enough roughage, Madame Edlinger would be proud of me eating it....
The desserts so far have all been standouts as well, last time it was fresh baked Profiteroles with house made chocolate sauce and today I had a warm Almond cake with chocolate chips and quetsch (plum like) sauce. All made by the Chef himself. A multi talent if you think about it, not many Chefs can master savory and sweet parts of the kitchen on a commercial level.
No website I could find (not really a priority in small town France) and the last update on their FB page goes back to 2012. But Jarnac is a petit village, they are conveniently located in the Bermuda triangle, Le Place du Chateau ( with five Restaurants and Bars to choose from), and you have to look past the 1980's socialist chic decor, because dollar for donuts they serve the best food in town.
AT THE PLACE DU CHATEAU, JARNAC
A LOCAL PATRON
BUSINESS LUNCH CROWD
THAT CHARME OF THE 1980'S MITTERAND ERA
INCLUDING THE PRERQUISITE DOG
BEST FRENCH FRIES IN THE CHARENTE
A MASSIVE LEG OF LAMB
WARM ALMOND CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS AND QUETSCH SAUCE