Crillon Le Brave

July 26, 2012

The fresh air and rolling hills, the winding stone corridors, the hourly chimes of the bell tower and the to die for menus are all part of Crillon Le Brave, the quintessential Provencal destination. What was once ruled by Henri IV’s fiercest generals during wars of the 16th century has now evolved into one of Travel + Leisure’s top European hotels for 2012. And well deserved, my time spent there could not have been better. Lounging poolside, a relaxing massage and the impeccable service was all quite lovely, but of course my favorite was the fantastic food shoot that took place with the help of chef, Phillippe Zemour. After our morning at the market, it was down to business in the kitchen. Known for their elegant and refined style, the menu is all locally sourced offering a true flavor of southern France. Although it was difficult to leave, it’s certainly on my list of places that I no doubt will return to once again.

Setting the table on the terrace

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Artichoke

Gratin of fish soup

Fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Roasted bull fillet, fricassee of seasonal vegetables, fingerling potatoes and bearnaise reduction

Hotel entrance

Roasted shop veal, green asparagus from olivier’s garden, stuffed potato with white truffle

Terrace view

Bocce ball

Roasted shop veal

Pool area

Asparagus

Fresh bread and rosemary

Seabream in salt crust

Seabream in salt crust

The view

Vegetables from the garden in barigoule refreshed, bacon shavings from bigorre, coriander reduction

Crackelin marinated red mullet and squid, nicoise socca and fennel aioli

Fresh vegetables

Fried cherry with basilic

Fried cherry with basilic

Apricot tart

Apricot tart

Lunch at La Coquillade

July 18, 2012

While driving from Crillon Le Brave to Moustiers Ste Marie, I was told to stop for lunch at La Coquillade, another one of France’s Relais and Chateaux accommodations. While I was slightly unsure if I translated the French scribbles into my GPS accurately, I relied on my surroundings, and was positive that we were driving into the middle of nowhere. But sure enough, in the midst of wine country, signs sprouted up and we were in luck. The dining room was actually closed due to a birthday celebration for the owner, but they were kind enough to allow us lunch in the pool area. A perfect mid-day break, we lounged poolside, taking in the gorgeous views while trying some local rosé, a fresh salad and gazpacho.

Heirloom tomato gazpacho

Fresh caprese salad

Salad

Tomato spread on toast

Crepes in St. Tropez

July 9, 2012

You can’t go to France without having crepes, so this was one of my first stops in St. Tropez. After a morning of walking the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town, it didn’t take long to build up an appetite in that strong Riviera sun. I had a great time conversing with the cook who was very enthusiastic about being featured on Camera in the Kitchen, and befriended the regulars, as they too wanted their portraits taken. I couldn’t resist. So we opted for the traditional savory, ham/cheese and the nutella to satisfy our sweet tooth. Definitely a great choice before hitting the beaches.

Ham & Cheese crepe

Salad crepe

Ham & cheese

Nutella

The local regulars

Nutella

Lakeside Lounging

June 1, 2012

This past weekend my girlfriends and I had a wonderful time lounging lakeside in Cazenovia. Dating back to the days of junior prom camping trips, we’ve always been known to prepare far more food than necessary, and 10 years later it’s no different. While we spent an afternoon at the wineries around the Finger Lakes, and a dinner out at Brewster Inn, we still had to ensure ourselves we would not go hungry at the house. Memorial Day essentials– watermelon, hotdogs and hamburgers were in abundance, fruit salads and bagels for the morning hours and snacks like spanakopitas, pinwheels and banana pudding to fill us up during those in between hours.

Morning fruit

Everything bagel and cream cheese

Bagel

Hotdog

Hotdogs, hamburgers and cheeseburgers

Spanakopitas

Watermelon

Banana pudding dessert

Pinwheels

Not too long ago my parents and I spent an afternoon in Skaneateles, a favorite small town of mine, situated in the Finger Lakes region. There are plenty of great spots for dining on the lake, or stopping through the nearby vineyards, but a few miles into farmland and you land yourself at the quiet Elderberry Pond for a relaxing afternoon lunch in the country. A certified organic farm, the fresh seasonable fruits, vegetables and pasture raised meats are right aside the restaurant with a delicious menu showcasing their homegrown fare.

Happy Friday! x

Grilled organic chicken sandwich served on a fresh bun with swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary mayonnaise

Freshly cut certified organic spinach, free range eggs and fresh garden herbs prepared in a savory quiche style and served in a freshly baked tart shell

Vegetable Soup

Crab cakes served on a bed of greens prepared with tropical blue crab and served with chipotle mayonnaise

Salad

Skaneateles Lake

Best of Portland, ME

May 5, 2012

If only given one night out in Portland, my top suggestion would be to spend it at Fore Street Restaurant in the city’s Old Port District by the waterfront.  Although I went sans camera that Friday night, I still had to give it a shout out. Situated along a cobblestone street by the water, it’s a warehouse chic loft space that follows the farm-to-table concept with an open kitchen. Certainly worth stopping by. Saturday morning we popped into Local Sprouts Cafe for breakfast. Known for their local and organic food that comes fresh from farmers and fisherman around the state, it’s more than just a cafe, but rather a center for Portland’s creative community. Paired up with Bomb Diggity Bakery, I was able to enjoy an amazing egg and goat cheese sandwich with some english muffins for the road. Lastly, we couldn’t leave Portland without grabbing some handcrafted micro roasted coffee from Coffee by Design. In the mood for a smoothie instead? Check out Maine Squeeze!

Harbor Fish Market

Harbor Fish Market

Triple mango, coconut with yogurt, honey, orange juice and soy smoothie

Local Sprouts Cafe English Muffins

Local cage-free egg sandwich with housemade pesto, goat cheese and tomato

Local sprouts cafe

Vanilla Latte from Coffee by Design

Barnacle Billy’s

April 29, 2012

Sipping a Barnacle Billy’s lemonade was a flashback to my childhood summer holidays to Maine. A casual port-side hotspot to get your fresh lobster rolls and sit out admiring the fishermen charm of Perkin’s Cove, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Not into seafood? The burgers are a simple but tasty alternate. To burn off the calories, Marginal Way– a scenic trail along the rocky coast– is a great post lunch activity.

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll & Marginal Way

Lobster

Burger

Fresh lemonade