Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flavors of the French Riviera

Watching the Formula 1 drivers race through the streets of Monaco this morning brought back a flood of memories -- food memories. I went to the principality to see the race two years in a row, 1971 and 1972. Today, I watched the race on TV.

I recall a wonderful lunch of Bresse chicken, white asparagus and strawberries at Troigros in Roanne, France, a restaurant with the top rating of three Michelin stars, as I mentioned in a previous post. A friend also introduced me to three great dishes I have continued to enjoy to this day: a salade Nicoise I ordered at an outdoor cafe near the Monte Carlo Casino; mussels mariner-style (moules mariniere), made with white wine and garlic; and pasta with pesto, which we had at a seaside place in Nice.

In those days, after the race, Princess Grace feted the drivers with a banquet at the Hotel de Paris. I saw her that evening through the broad plate-glass window of the hotel and thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Then a Mercedes roadster pulled up and the actor David Niven, in a white dinner jacket,  got out and walked up the steps to the hotel's front door. 

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