Going to Grasse

27 07 2009

Side trip from the beaches of the Cote D’Azur to Grasse today.  Why leave the poolside, I ask…until we arrived at the perfumerie.The inside was nearly scentless.  Odd for the site of such haute odor, as it were.

First we had a tour of the facility: flower gathering, petal crushing, essence distillation.  A veritable vegetal delight.  Too bad I’m a carnivore.  It seems they are leaving out a broad contingent of possible sales here.  Goat #5; Rooster Persuasion; Joy de Cat.  I’m sure there’s a market, no?

My Contessa sidled up to a tall counter, a woman in a white coat stood by with a small bottle in hand.  Tiny straws were dipped. one by one into a few dozen vessels, the Contessa taking a shallow whiff of each.

Roses, lavander, hyacinth and many too foreign for me to name.  I was still waiting for the Evening au Demi-Glace.  A little behind each floppy ear.  Eau de Veau would certainly be my favorite.Selection complete, the Contessa pulled several 100 euro notes from her purse and we returned to the car.  A brisk wind blew and tall pink flowers tipped their heads to the roadside.  Unable to resist, I sampled a blossom: nothing like the rare essence confined to the tiny bottles.  Vegetal and bitter.

Like wine, I suppose, anything of featured flora is better under the press.  It gives one pause when considering a new venture, though.

How does one press a cat?


Delices de France

23 07 2009

I am freshly fluffed and feeling fine.

We made an excursion to the open market in Nice today.  The smells were exquisite: artisan cheeses, provencal sausages, crisp white wines, multitudinous flowers conjuring the famous perfumes of Grasse just up the hill….and Socca.

Socca is a simple staple of Southern French fare.  It is ubiquitous in all the open markets in this area.  And, I always get a wedge.  I assume this is because nothing about it is bad for the figure of a small dog.

I watched carefully today as an old man concocted the batter.  Pezzo di torta, as we like to say: piece of cake.

Following is my translation.  I estimate it would serve 4 humans…or 1 dog:

The man put 1 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo) flour in a medium-sized blue bowl.  He added 1/3 cup of a lovely pale green olive oil and 2 cups of water and then stirred the whole slurry with a whisk.  He bent down to let me see the mix: a soft, smooth, lump-free batter that smelled like a rich bean cake.

He then poured a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, round pan, about 13-14 inches wide, like something one would use for Paella (ah, that trip to Spain last summer!). The Socca was only about 1/2 thick, or so.

He popped the whole thing into a very hot oven (I estimate, by the tinges on my whiskers when he opened the door, that the temp was 500 degrees).  He let this bake for what seemed to be 20 or 25 minutes.  Anyway, when it was set in the middle and browned at the edges, he took it out, drizzled it with more olive oil (about a tablespoon, I think, and sprinkled coarse salt and fresh pepper on top.

It was then cut into wedges and each was served on a piece of parchment paper: warm, salty heaven. I guess you could add herbs, or spices to the batter.  There are probably endless possibilities.

Personally, I think it would be a great light summer meal, with a tossed green salad and a glass or two of Provencal Rose wine.  

Alas, no one asked me.

I eat it alone, treasure on the street… a la cobblestones.  Still, heaven.


La Reserv—ation

20 07 2009

Boat travel in any breeze greater that 5 knots should be prohibited—worldwide.  If the vessel lists, I insist: NO PASSAGE.

While I enjoy licking up most things that end up on the floor, keeping time with seasick people is not a highlight.  At least not after the first two or three victims.

It took me a full day to get my sea-legs, and that was AFTER I left the ship. Remember, I have four of them.  You know how one year to a human is like seven years to a dog? Well, one day of motion sickness to a dog is like seven days to a human.

“Feel” that.

The only upside to the trip was the ending: A private car to La Reserve, jewel on the Cote D’Azur.

A warm, salt-water pool, long lunches on the palatial veranda, speed boats (too fast to sway) along the Mediterranean shore.

Doggy spa treatments at La Petite Chien: sugar scrub on the belly, acu-pressure to points north of the tail, ear massage.AHHHHH.  The buffing of toe nails; the fluffing of chin hairs.  Pellegrino or Evian?  I ask you.

The ferry floor is but a dim memory.  On to the beach a la Francaise.



18 07 2009

I love cameras.  Especially the new, digital ones.  If i don’t look good the first time, it can all be erased, just like kicking up a little grass over the morning do, so to speak.

The Contessa, Count and I are making a ton of photos on our trip.  Mostly of me, I might add, against different backdrops.

Nice to be so adored, no?

If I didn’t love road trips so much, I might suggest we simply stay home and use the best picture of me in coordination with Photoshop: the beach, the plane, the train, the mountains, etc.  You get my meaning.

But I DO love road trips.  Emphasis on “road”.  I am not a fan of ferries, though I DO like those cool little fairy-like fireflies along the coast.  Note the difference in spelling–but that’s another story.

We left Rome as you know, at rush hour.  We arrived at a small Bed and Breakfast which, to me, is the ultimate decsriptor for any dog.   and

Really, what could be more perfect?

Next day we were off again, windows down, ears singing in the wind.  We stopped for lunch at a little roadside trattoria: pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.  Heaven.  A bowl of mountain water and a piddle and back to the car.

Napping in the back seat cannot be touted enough.  Fine leather upholstery covered by my favorite traveling sheepskin and comfort aids , fresh air streaming through the open windows, whiskers gently bending in the breeze.  Ahhhhh.

I awoke to the scent of garlic and some sort of unfortunate sea creature being grilled in the distance.  Bags out of the car, a leisurely aperativo on the patio bar ensued .  A little prosecco in my bowl.

View from our room:

View IN our room:

I ask you: Which is the better vista?

Splendido, indeed.  No confusion here.


Fairies and Ferrys

16 07 2009

There are ferries and there are fairies.  Large, rolling ships and tiny, twittering creatures.


So, it becomes clear when speaking about either that whomever is speaking, explains.


“Ferry,” said the Contessa, practicing her finest english.


I rise, bolt upright at the thought of something small and easily chased.  I look around. Nothing but a large, lumbering vessel pulling into port.  I sniff the air for traces of fairy dust. Niente.


The meaning then crystalizes.


God, I miss latin.  Ab origine.  Abusus non tollit usum.


Look it up.



The Drive at Five

9 07 2009

Never get into a car when the sun is near the western horizon.  Overhead: OK.  Set: absolutely.  But to drive at rush hour is madness.  morning rush hour in Rome by ecormany

First of all, there is no possibility for a breeze across the snout because the car is not moving.  The only thing to waft through the nostrils is cigarette smoke from the driver sitting in the car a meter to the left.ROME by ITALYPICS

The din of fifty radios blares through the ether.  It’s hot; it’s stale; it’s boring. by jennilorenbandit

By the time the outskirts of the city are reached, it’s dark, so there is nothing to see along the road.  The mosquitoes are out so the snout stays firmly pressed up against the closed window.

The definition of longing. Longing by DenisGiles

No, to be worth the trouble at all, road trips must begin in the morning just after nine.  Windows down, traffic thinned–nostrils full forward in the breeze under a pair of flapping ears.Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you?  But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the window.  (26~52) by DoodlesNPoodles - on intermittently

Hegemony, take note.


On The Road

2 07 2009

Road trip beginning today.

Stay tuned.

Back next week with plenty of “Nose-Out-Of-The-Window” details…

Dogs Out The Window by Travis Atwood


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