Thursday, August 30, 2012

GLUTEN FREE LUNCH


We went to the northern part of the Charente Maritime today, the primary goal was to close our bank account there since French banks do not really operate nationwide.  We'd already opened a new one at the same bank, but in the Charente, hence we needed to drive all the way to Niort.

On our way back we decided to stop in Saint Jean d'Angely and check out a restaurant we always wanted to try. One evening way back we had dessert there , the chef was very approachable about Celiacs, so we really wanted to try his savory food.

Le Petit Bouchon, which traditionally points to a Lyon type restaurant, not so much with high end cooking, but atmosphere and good, fresh food. 
All that points towards the possibility of gluten free! The place is very small inside, maybe 24 seats, the whole place cannot have more than 600 sqft, toilet included. The kitchen is very open and a conversation with the chef is very easy, as he can overhear patrons in the whole dining room. 

Our waitress spoke fluent english, it is really funny that I always start conversations in french and inevitably they say, "Would you rather speak english with me?", Which either means they are proud of their language skills, or more likely, my french still sucks....
Anyway, we explained all dietary restrictions and after a short conference with the chef we settled on an Entrecote with a nice cream sauce for Victoria and my favorite bistro food, Veal kidneys.
Both dishes came with their version of french fries, we would call them home fried potatoes in Canada. All fresh, all well spiced and perfect lunch size.

There are gluten free dessert options, Victoria chose Pannacotta, while I had a not gluten free chocolate cake. 
If you find yourself in the vicinity of St. Jean d'Angely, we broke the place in for you. 

Le Petit Bouchon, 4 Place Du Marche, 17400 Saint Jean d'Angely 





LE PETIT BOUCHON

THE OPEN KITCHEN

FROM THE HALLWAY

COMPACT DINING

SMALL, BUT FINE MENU

ENTRECOTE WITH FRITES MAISON AND A GF MUSHROOM SAUCE

 VEAL KIDNEYS "PERSILADE" (PARSLEY AND GARLIC)

AND FOR DESSERT?

HOUSE MADE PANNA COTTA

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

GLUTEN FREE ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP


Just a quick note to let all of you Las Vegas fans know that Wynn resort now offers Beau Monde's gluten free breads at  many of their dining facilities.
Wynn and Encore, two of the most exciting dining destinations with countless restaurants are now a great destination for Celiacs. 

If you want to know which restaurants stock gluten free bread, please email Beau Monde Bakery: 





THE HOTEL


ONE OF THE MANY RESTAURANTS

THE BEST GLUTEN FREE BREAD

WWW.BEAUMONDEBAKERY.COM

Thursday, August 23, 2012

GLUTEN FREE PRESS


Always great to read how well Victoria's licensees do. The recently opened Kneaded in Regina just got a glowing review.   You can read the full article here:



Sarah Clemens is very busy to bring all those great gluten free baked goods to wheat country Saskatchewan.
I am just plain jealous of her Coffee set up. See that Espresso machine? That Elektra is a dream machine of mine. 
I have to talk with Victoria, now that there is some GF flour on the way, maybe we have to find someone here to open a GF coffee shop in the area....ANY TAKERS?




THE HAPPY BAKER, SARAH CLEMENS

I WANT THIS SET UP HERE IN JARNAC!

STILL THE BEST AND WE SHIPPED A TON TO FRANCE!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LES FRITES



Did you know that Julia Child spoke highly of McDonald's fries? Before they changed the frying oil from beef to vegetable oil that is, to settle a lawsuit over false vegetarian claims.  She mumbled something about Nutritionists......here is a link to that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF31qCrclC0

Well, that's a reason to try them then. If that heroine of all food bloggers likes cow fat, I have to try it. 
The owner chef of that gigantic bus turned mobile kitchen explained that less fat penetrates the potatoes and therefore is better than sunflower or any other banal oils. They are fresh, not frozen and they are crispier.  
A small order with a side of ketchup please. 1.50 Euros, or two bucks. That is less than McDonald's fries here in France. What's the least expensive item from a Calgary food truck?

Hand cut, a bit thicker than I usually like them, but very good. Crispy exterior with a nice texture inside.  Victoria says that if she can eat fries without ketchup or mayo, they are good. There you have it.



FRENCH FRIES FRIED IN BEEF FAT

THAT'S A FOOD TRUCK

ROOM TO COOK

LOADS OF WINDOWS, SO THE CHEF CAN SEE WHAT HE IS DOING

CRISPY AND GREAT FLAVOR

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SUNDAY MORNING WALK


Having a dog is very much alike to having an extra kid. Minus the tantrums. Eat, sleep, play. Our dog knows exactly when I wake up, as she is all ready for her morning business.  The moment I make a move from 5am onwards, she bounces on me panting,  let's go, let's go,  tail swooshing like a windshield wiper. 

Sunday morning walks in Jarnac are the quietest. Though most shops are closed on Monday's as well, there is always activity in the streets. Cleaners, delivery vans, restaurants setting up, shops opening, the market vendors getting ready.
Sundays? Not so. Very quiet, very silent. We usually leave the house around 7.30 or a bit later and all the shutters are closed tight, people everywhere like to sleep in once in a while.
No need for a leash, the dog can walk in the middle of the road, no traffic to speak of. Not even that many pedestrians around at that time of day. Even the church doors are still shut tight, though the bells start their racket at 7am. 

The only places that are open Sunday mornings are the bakeries. Which for Celiacs is not exciting, but I do love my Croissants. Can you imagine, Jarnac has barely 5000 citizens and we have five bakeries to choose from. Plus two supermarkets who offer fresh baked goods as well. In
August some of them were closed for annual holidays, but normally all of them are open on Sunday
And no matter which direction we walk,  there is a bakery within 5 minutes. A small town.
Whatever I do buy, Pain au Chocolat, Croissant, or other pastries, I eat on our way home. 
It's my commitment to keep the house 100% gluten free. So when you come and stay with us, no fear of cross contamination at all.





READY!

OLD MARKET SQUARE

QUIET ALLEYS

ALL CLOSED


EVEN THE CHURCH ISN'T OPEN YET

MAIS LA BOULANGERIE EST OUVERTE

A HOTEL OPENING SOON

FOR SALE. IF YOU ARE UP FOR AN ADVENTURE

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FERMETURE EXCEPTIONELLE


Exceptional closure. Leave it to the French to come up with more ways than anyone to turn a mid week holiday into a 5 day weekend.
This Wednesday, August 15th, is a holiday. Most smaller mom & pop shops are already closed on Monday to begin with, so nothing seems more normal to the french than to write a little note (typed, if it's a fancy shop), hang it in their window and take off to the beach. Or where ever they spend their free time. Which, compared to north american standards, is a lot of free time.

Though I am getting better at relaxing and accepting a slower pace of living, these little oddities of french life still have me thinking. The most amazing thing about it all? Life goes on. Nothing happened. You can still get your hair cut on Thursday. Or buy those shoes on Friday. The world keeps turning. It's a matter of choice to them. And they choose to live more over working too hard.

But trust me, it is a slow and sometimes difficult transition from a life spoiled by convenience, to a life of making sure all is done and shopped before everything shuts down. I know that sounds like a petty thing and I agree. Coffee is good without milk. 

I want to keep going on and make this a broader social commentary, but let's just leave it at that. the French are happy and we are happy too. I got my hair cut last week. 






HAND WRITTEN SIGNS WILL DO

NO HAIR CUTS FOR A FEW DAYS

THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING

AH, LET'S MAKE IT A WEEK OFF

HOW ABOUT TWO WEEKS?


Saturday, August 11, 2012

GLUTEN FREE LAS VEGAS


Been to Vegas lately? Had some great gluten free cupcakes? Or gluten free bread?
Beau Monde , the only 100% gluten free bakery in Vegas is celebrating it's first anniversary this week.
I cannot believe it has been one year ago already that Victoria went back to Vegas to help open Beau Monde Bakery. 

They not only offer great bread and sweets,  their cake creations are fantastic. 100% Gluten free. After all Vegas is the wedding capital of the world. So make sure yo visit them during your next trip to Las Vegas.


BEAU MONDE BAKERY
2380 N. BUFFALO, SUITE 110
LAS VEGAS, NV
T.: (702) 331-1515




ONE YEAR AGO

BEAU MONDE BAKERY

THE BEST GLUTEN FREE BREAD IN VEGAS


 THE BEST GLUTEN FREE CUPCAKES

GLUTEN FREE CAKES

FOR ALL OCCASIONS

MY FAVORITE


Thursday, August 09, 2012

CASUAL DINING IN RURAL FRANCE



We had a few trades people through the house today and by the end of it all, the kitchen was a mess and we did not feel up to making a home cooked meal. Nor were we overly hungry, it was another great, hot day in Jarnac.  So out we go for a bite.

Nothing fancy, a salad or pasta maybe. At the restaurant by the campground. We've been there before and it's reliable. Not going to show up in a Michelin guide any time soon, but the waitress last time was very good with our requests for gluten free everything.

Contrary to what some Bloggers write, compared to the US, Canada, or even Spain for that matter, France still lags in gluten free food entering the main stream. 
Paris is not France. It has it's own orbit. So I eliminate that city for now. Just in case Jenny just Jenny reads my Blog....she found some good GF stuff ready made, but am not so sure about her dining out experiences in Paris so far. http://www.glutenfreegirlinparis.blogspot.fr/

Rural France is light years behind. GF bread? Yet to find a restaurant that offers it. Double check pre packaged meals for hidden ingredients? Yes, if you politely and firmly ask for it. But even then, modified starch is often listed, but what starch? Take a stab at it if you want. 

I am certain gluten free will catch on in a while, but for now it is not that exciting what one can eat when Celiac.
Our very friendly waitress once more came through for Victoria and Isabella, no issues for either. Not the most inspiring food they ended up getting, but the effort was there. The desserts looked pre packaged,  no worries to skip, Victoria made a fresh batch of salted caramel ice cream anyway.

I wonder if any of you readers in France have a place you go to with your food issues. It cannot just be here in the Charente. Has anyone found a spot where GF bread is not an issue? 


AT THE JARNAC CAMPGROUND

AL FRESCO

OR INSIDE

ALL CASUAL

OUR DRINKS

THE DOG'S DRINK

CASUAL MENU IN A  BINDER

ACTUALLY GREAT SALADS

WELL, MOST OF THEM

VICTORIA'S OMELETTE

NOT GF PASTA FOR ME

REAL AL FRESCO DINING

SHOT THIS PIC AT 8PM. THERE WERE STILL SWIMMERS IN THE RIVER.