Friday, June 12, 2015

Les Epicuriales - Bordeaux's outdoor food festival - Allee Tourny

Pop up restaurants- in the middle of Bordeaux
So what is better than sitting having lunch or dinner in one of your favorite restaurants? Do you enjoy the fresh air and the concept of eating outside under tents, awnings or umbrellas?  Add top chefs and your favorite restaurants and you have Les Epicuriales! This is Bordeaux's food event of the early summer.  Pop-up versions of some of Bordeaux's favorite restaurants set up shop along the Allee Tourny and serve up some delicious meals.  It's a great way to try out a restaurant or enjoy one of your favorites!

This event runs this year - June 12 through June 27th. and is open from 11am until 1am in the morning.  There are over 20 different restaurants present and the ambiance is superb. I had the pleasure of wandering through this afternoon - opening day at lunchtime.

You can see from the photos that these temporary garden style restaurants give a whole new look to Allee Tourny - usually an open park like setting just off the Place de la Comedie in Bordeaux Centre.
Lunch menus are very reasonable and range in price from a plat du jour around 10 euros to 17 euros for a complete menu.  Today  I chose to eat at Bistrot de Capeyron.
Entree was Gazpacho - a chilled seasoned tomato soup
Main plat - I chose a nice fresh steak served with fries 
For Dessert - A soup of red berries with mint
The meal was delicious and the atmosphere fun, light and fresh. This Bistrot de Capeyron offered several choices for the menu and each dish I enjoyed I was pleased with both the portion and quality.  The service was fast and friendly also. It was so relaxing to sit outside, protected from the sun...but feeling like you have found a little oasis.You can see from the following photos that each restaurant sets up their own style of dining and offers limited menu choices but oh, so good! Definitely a foodie's paradise!
In addition to just sampling various restaurants there are daily demonstrations and reserved dinners with Michelin-Starred chefs.  Feel free to check out more information on their website:  Les Epicuriales 2015
So if you live near or are visiting the Bordeaux area in the next couple weeks, this event is definitely for those of you who love to enjoy a nice restaurant meal!  Foodies come hither!  For those of you who live too far away, mark your calenders as this event is yearly and definitely another plus for the Bordeaux region!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Weekend Away in Lot et Garonne - Larroquiniere -a beautiful oasis nestled in the Country

Larroquinière - Chambres d'hôtes
Lieu dit Larroque
47130 Port-sainte-marie

Sometimes it's nice to get away for a weekend - not too far - but to breathe in a different area, enjoy just walking around, relaxing, reconnecting with nature and getting away from it all.  We did just that a couple of weekends ago and discovered a gem nestled in the country on the top of a hill, outside of  Porte-Saint Marie, located in Lot et Garonne near Agen. South Western France.

The idea was to rest, relax and rejuvenate.  At this guest house-it's easy to do, as a couple or even,as a family.  As we arrived we were greeted by this colorful welcoming sign. Larroquinière is a gracious, comfortable bed and breakfast guest house, run by a French couple, Manuel and Marie with help from their sons.

We spoke French with them, however they did say they speak some English and have hosted guests from Great Britain, Australia, Canada and other English speaking countries.

Our visit was in late May and the flowers were already stunningly gorgeous and ever so beautiful! Throughout the property - colorful flowers, comfortable sitting areas, and equipment for kids to enjoy - a trampoline, badminton net and a swing. There is also a lovely inground pool. It is with great care, that these owners really want their property to offer something for everyone - be it a quiet romantic corner for couples, tables to enjoy an apero or an area for kids to play and their parents to be near.  This guest house really has it all.
Once we arrived, after we were given a brief tour of the property, we were shown to our lovely room.  This bed & breakfast has 4 main rooms and a family loft which serves as a gite or self-contained unit, where one can cook their own meals.
Our bedroom was beautifully decorated in soft hues and the old stone walls accented in soothing pastels.  An delightful retreat for a weekend away.
After we settled in, we wandered around the property and the surrounding area.  All I kept thinking was how serene and relaxed I felt.  The fresh air, the breeze, the views - just the perfect place to rejuvenate and feel more connected with nature!
Nature surrounded us here - including a small working farm on the property with chickens, goats, and sheep.  It really gives the feel of living in the country. 
We chose to stroll along the neighboring roads and take in the beautiful views of the Lot Valley on one side and the Garonne Valley on the other.  Even though, I had looked up this guest house on the internet, nothing really prepared me for the stunning views and the true feeling of getting away from it all!
Oasis is truly the word that comes to mind, as I think back to our beautiful weekend there.  A place to relax, a place to be refreshed, a place to reconnect, a place to just leave everything behind and appreciate life!
This feeling continued as we enjoyed a delicious and savory home cooked meal made from local produce and farm fresh ingredients.  They offer a full evening meal for 20 euros/person.  One dines with the owners and other guests who are also taking the evening meal. 
The menu varies depending on the season, that night we dined on a delicious entree salad including fresh farm eggs and locally made pate, and a main dish of duck breast served with oranges and potatoes all from the local market. A mouth-watering meal that definitely had the home-cooked touch!
We ended the meal with a delicious sampling of desserts - what the French like to call "dessert gourmand" - or small samples of several delicacies.  For that evening it was- a strawberry smoothie, fresh strawberries with a creme anglaise & delicious shortbread cookies.  Have to say, the meal was very impressive and at the same time, it had a comfortable family feel, as we dined in their home with their family.  What a wonderful way to experience French people and their culture of socializing around a meal. An experience not to be taken lightly.
The next morning, we enjoyed a delicious French breakfast of fresh chocolatines (pain au chocolat), croissants & homemade brioche (sweet bread) served with an assortment of jams & honey - including orange juice and coffee.  The brioche disappeared so fast, I was unable to get a photo of it.  But Marie is definitely a wonderful cook!
A fun part of this weekend were the kittens, recently born, who enjoyed playing around us.  Again, this sense of being in the countryside and just living life was ever present the whole weekend! 
As we strolled around after breakfast, we enjoyed a final look at the farm animals and watched as one of the children visiting collected some eggs.  We ended our stay by breathing in the fresh air and the final views of this beautiful place. It became very clear that it would be necessary to return. How could one not?  This oasis in the country offers it all! A little bit of everything for everyone, and some of the best French hospitality that I have ever experienced!

So if you are looking to get away from it all - be it a romantic weekend away or a family weekend to reconnect - This is definitely the place!!  Manuel and Marie are the perfect hosts!

Larroquinière - Chambres d'hôtes
Lieu dit Larroque
47130 Port-sainte-marie

Lou Messugo

Popular Posts