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September 18 is National Cheeseburger Day in the United States.

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris would like to see this great American food innovation banned:

Absolutely!

Before we celebrate, however, Kamala Harris is embarrassed to say she enjoys a cheeseburger. However, she is NOT embarrassed to say she smoked dope!

Compare and contrast:

Okay, that’s enough Kamala Harris for one day.

Let’s return now to the glorious cheeseburger.

When I was in school, the nuns teaching science class told us that, once we leave home, we might not always have the time or money for a nutritious meal. How right they were. They advised us to choose pizza first, if possible. It has a better combination of the four food groups, because there are vegetables. In second place was the cheeseburger, for the meat and dairy combination.

What sensible person can resist this?

Don’t forget the straw:

Sadly, Theresa May’s government banned the plastic straw. They will no longer be on sale come March 2020. That’s from Conservative Party MPs! But I digress.

Let us further celebrate the cheeseburger:

Mark your diary for September 18 …

… and enjoy!

La Table du Chef might be the last Cannes restaurant that I’m writing about, but it is hardly the least, although the kitchen might be the smallest commercial one in the city.

This little gem of a place is located off the rue d’Antibes at 5 rue Jean Daumas, a quiet side street with an antiquarian booksellers, a gentlemen’s outfitters and a pharmacy.

My Far Better Half (FBH) and I first visited this fine restaurant in 2017, in an effort to escape the buskers on rue Félix Faure. Our plan worked brilliantly!

We visited La Table du Chef twice in 2017 — and twice more this year.

2017 — first visit

My notes from our first visit say that their menu surprise — chef’s choice — was €45 for four courses (without wine). The menu changes every two to three days depending on what is on offer at the city’s large market, Marché Forville.

I also noted that there is no refrigeration in the restaurant.

Our dinner was so good that I wrote ‘WOULD RETURN’.

Starter

We began our repast with a creamy carrot velouté (soup) with undertones of fennel. It came with one grilled jumbo prawn — gambas — and chopped chive.

I am still thinking about it to this day, it was that good.

Second course

The second course was a thick rectangle of calamar — squid — with a crab and sea bream (dorade) foam. It was accompanied by julienned red and orange bell pepper slices and julienned chorizo underneath the squid.

We are still wondering how the chef managed to cut such a thick portion of calamar.

Main course

We had duck breast — magret de canard — resting on a bed of truffle risotto topped with a light honey-duck sauce reduction. It was heavenly.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Cassis Bodin 2014 from the Abruzzi family (€38).

Dessert

We had one of the best apple ‘crumbles’ I’ve ever eaten. The apple was diced and seasoned with cinnamon. The apple was placed between three sesame tuiles — as light as a feather — and topped with pistachio whipped cream.

It was an amazing finish to a spectacular meal, and I’m not the world’s biggest dessert fan.

2017 — second visit

We went a few days’ later, taking into account that the menu surprise would have something different, which it did.

My diary notes read, ‘MET OMAR, THE CHEF — worked in London for two years’. He, FBH and I enjoyed a cigarette break together. We were one of the last tables to leave, and he was on his break. In those five minutes, we put the world to rights.

Starter

We had another incredible soup, just as good — possibly better — than the carrot velouté from a few days earlier.

Omar made a creamy courgette soup with chive and olive oil drizzled on top.

It was beautifully presented with delicate stripes of balsamic and chive sauce drizzled down the centre, where he had placed a small round of goat’s cheese topped with tiny bits of gherkins — cornichons — and, possibly, garlic.

It was one of the best soups I’ve ever eaten.

Second course

Omar prepared a fusion dish of sweet and sour salmon with aubergine, accompanied by ratatouille, pesto and olive oil.

What a revelation. This man knows his flavour combinations.

Main course

We enjoyed chicken from a small farm in the Ardèche region. It came with black rice risotto and summer truffle.

Wine

We had a bottle of Chateau Roubine, Cuvée Lion et Dragon 2016, a white AOC Côtes de Provence Cru Classé.

Dessert

As we had never before sampled the sweet, creamy brioche treat named by Brigitte Bardot, we very much looked forward to trying the Tarte Tropézienne with raspberry coulis.

We assume the restaurant purchased it from the Tarte Tropézienne shop near the market. Alexandre Micka, the inventor of the Tarte Tropézienne, has several of these shops around France, which are well worth a visit if you fancy a break from shopping or want a satisfying dessert to take home.

Unfortunately, by the time we got our Tropézienne, it had dried out around the edges. That said, we were grateful for the opportunity to try it.

2019 — first visit

We could hardly wait to return to La Table du Chef and, as we had done in 2017, made reservations for each of our visits.

The price per person for the four-course Menu Surprise is still €45.

Bruno Gensdarme, the young owner, welcomed us and said he remembered me: ‘You were the one who wrote everything down!’

Indeed I did — and with great pleasure.

We sat indoors as it was breezy and cool outside. The décor is one of relaxed elegance.

One table had a foursome of two older, upper middle class French couples. The men had their pullover sweaters draped around their shoulders. All four wore designer spectacles.

Another table of note was the well-dressed French family: Mum, Dad and their two daughters. The elder daughter was probably 16 and seemed embarrassed to be seen with her parents. However, her expression softened once she began eating, and halfway through dinner, her face lit up as the main course arrived. She was a happy camper.

Starter

Omar made another delightful courgette velouté, this time served with a plump, grilled scallop in the centre.

It was perfect.

Second course

The second course was cod fillet served with a lobster accompaniment, garnished with a carrot flavoured Romesco sauce.

On the side was the silkiest cauliflower purée I’ve ever eaten. I would gladly have had a bowl of that. Talk about food memories!

Main course

We had roast loin of veal which came with a luscious fig sauce and a beautiful potato purée.

The meat was tender and perfectly cooked. The potato purée was not the usual runny French one, but creamy with just the right amount of texture.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Côtes du Rhone Crozes-Hermitage, Les Launes 2017 (€39), from the Delas estate in Tournon-sur-Rhone.

Dessert

Someone had the bright idea of serving verrines for dessert!

I am hardly the world’s No. 1 verrine fan, but this was extraordinarily good! It was made of apricot, rosemary-flavoured whipped cream, with a lashing of caramel sauce, accompanied by a wafer-thin tuile. I would love to have taken a box of tuiles back to our hotel, they were that exceptional.

2019 — second visit

We ate outdoors once again, as we did in 2017.

The Cannes Lions advertising conference participants were arriving, and we had a table of four American women sitting near us. One of them was a pure vegetarian — no fish — but not a vegan.

This is not the place to go if you have a laundry list of dietary requirements.

Bruno Gensdarme was surprised when she announced her vegetarianism.

‘You don’t eat meat — or fish? But, but … That’s not good!’ Good man! He was nice about it, too, and did bring her something veggie.

What follows is what the woman missed out on.

Starter

Omar whipped up another one of his amazing soups. This was a thick, unctuous cream of mushroom soup with a seared portion of lobe of foie gras in the middle.

I will remember it for a very long time to come.

Second course

We enjoyed fillet of sea bream — daurade royale — over risotto served with three sauce reductions: red wine, balsamic and chives. It sounds mad on paper, but it really works on the plate — and the taste buds.

White fish and a red wine reduction go surprisingly well, by the way — as does veal or beef gravy.

Main course

We enjoyed saddle of lamb with fig sauce and Omar’s potato purée.

Wine

We had a bottle of Cotes de Provence Cru Classé red, Rimaresq 2016 (€39). Read more about Rimaresq halfway down the page here.

Dessert

Omar came up with another outstanding verrine.

This one was made up of raspberry and mango with a pistachio tuile. Again, I would have given nearly anything for a box of tuiles to take back to the hotel!

Additional notes

If you go, please take a moment to read the articles about Bruno and Omar that are in the restaurant window.

Bruno worked for the legendary chef Guy Savoy early in his career. Gordon Ramsay, incidentally, is another Savoy protégé.

La Table du Chef’s Facebook page gives you an idea of the décor and general atmosphere.

TripAdvisor gives the restaurant 4.5 out of 5.

Needless to say, we’ll be booking reservations when we next visit Cannes!

During our 2015 visit to Cannes, we went to Le Bistrot Gourmand and absolutely loved it.

It is located at 10 Rue Docteur Pierre Gazagnaire, in an unassuming side street just steps away from Cannes’s main market, Marché Forville.

Owned and run by Guillaume Arragon since 2007, the restaurant is known for its discriminating use of seasonal ingredients from the market.

We were fortunate enough to make two return visits since then.

2017

We were relieved that the grumpy older waiter who served us in 2015 had been replaced by a delightful young woman who made her job look effortless, even when the restaurant was buzzing with diners.

Chef Arragon also brought some of our dishes to the table and had a brief, yet friendly, chat with us.

Two days after our visit, there was a fire at the night club next door. In 2015, it was called Les Pénitents, because it was right across the street from the Chapelle de la Miséricorde. The next owner renamed the club Hell. That was where the fire took place. Oh, the irony. It took hours to put out, Nice-Matin reported at the time. Apparently, an electrical fault caused the blaze. God will not be mocked.

Starters

My far better half (FBH) ordered a satisfying plate of mushroom ravioli in a truffle cream sauce.

I opted for their stuffed courgette flowers, which were coated in a light tempura batter and deep fried. They were hot and crisp to the end. I thought their spicy dipping sauce was better than L’Assiette Provençale’s tomato-based sauce. Even so, I didn’t need much of this dipping sauce, either, and left most of it behind.

Mains

Once again, we both ordered the steak tartare with matchstick fries. This was every bit as perfect as it was in 2015.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Côtes de Provence Rosé from Château Maïme.

Dessert

Had the delightful lemon tart from 2015 been on the menu, we would have made room for it.

As it was, we were more than satisfied with what we’d had and didn’t really want anything else.

2019

We had been anticipating our return visit to Le Bistrot Gourmand for weeks.

That’s how good the food here is.

Once again, the young woman and Chef Arragon served us, depending on the course. Chef also took our wine order.

Our bill came to €120.

Incidentally, I checked out the nightclub next door. Hell had closed its doors for good, never having recovered from the 2017 fire. No one has taken it over, either, which is interesting.

Starters

Both of us ordered the deep fried courgette flowers, which excelled themselves. The ricotta and basil stuffing was creamy and not overpowering. I did not eat much of the dipping sauce, although I can understand that customers would want a bit of piquancy.

Mains

Why mess with a winning formula? We both had the steak tartare with matchstick fries and side salad.

We think this is the best steak tartare in Cannes.

Wine

We ordered a wine unknown to us, a red Sancerre: Terre de Maimbray (€44), produced by Pascal and Nicolas Reverdy. Maimbray is the name of the hamlet where their estate is. Their wine was a revelation and we would order it again.

Dessert

It looks as if the lemon tart is gone forever.

We opted for two small cheese assortments, which were very good and went well with the red Sancerre.

Additional notes

You can see Le Bistrot Gourmand’s menu, with photos, here.

TripAdvisor gives the restaurant 4.5 out of 5.

This is an excerpted review from a New Zealander, which gives a bit of insight into Guillaume Arragon. This man and his wife also ordered the red Sancerre:

The owner is staunchly proud of fine, fresh food. He was telling us that he liked the site because it allowed him to have a kitchen bigger than the dining area, allowing him to prepare properly from fresh. I tried the cerviche followed by the tartare. My wife had the linguine. All dishes were superb. Generous portions, tasty and clearly made with a lot of love. The wine list was interesting and reasonably priced, enabling us to have an interesting red from Sancerre to accompany our delicious meal. If you want to try something different from the usual tourist stuff and you seek marvellous, fresh French fare, try this place. Really lovely.

I couldn’t agree more.

The unisex loo is sparkling clean and nicely appointed.

Conclusion

Le Bistrot Gourmand is on our list for a fourth visit.

This is an outstanding establishment which consistently offers innovative and appetising dishes at reasonable prices. When in Cannes, we would rather eat here in preference to a five-star ‘palace’ (luxury hotel) restaurant any day of the week.

L’Assiette Provençale — The Provençal Plate — is a great little restaurant to visit in Cannes.

It is located along the Old Port at 9 quai Saint Pierre.

We first ate there in 2017, and again this year.

2017

We ordered their €30 prix fixe menu.

I noted in my food diary: ‘** WOULD RETURN **’.

Starters

One of our first food experiences in Cannes 20 years ago was enjoying stuffed courgette flowers dipped in tempura and deep fried.

Not many restaurants offer this memorable treat. The restaurant where we first had them, La Poêle d’Or (The Golden Skillet), closed a couple of years later. A luxury boutique replaced it.

Therefore, we relished the opportunity to enjoy them once again. We were not disappointed. They came with a light tomato sauce that, to me, was superfluous to requirements. Stuffed with a mild, soft cheese, they needed no accompaniment.

Mains

My far better half (FBH) ordered grilled Mediterranean sea bass — loup — on a bed of mini-canellonis: a perfect balance of textures.

I had sauteed octopus — poulpe — and artichoke slices. The plate had a generous quantity of both.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Cassis Bodin 2014. The domaine is run by the Abrizzi family in Cassis in the Var.

Dessert

We had a peek at the tarte au citron, but it looked like American lemon meringue pie, rather than the classic French version.

We declined in favour of a refreshing glass of limoncello.

2019

We could hardly wait to return.

We ordered from the €31 prix fixe menu. With wine, the bill came to €107.

Starters

I ordered the stuffed courgette flowers, which they term beignets, although they are far from being doughy beignets. They were light, hot and crispy up to the end. I did not bother with the tomato dipping sauce.

FBH was in a less summery mode that night and chose the royale des cèpes, a creamy, comforting mushroom concoction with cèpes as the star.

Mains

FBH ordered the roast guinea fowl breast, which came with a superb sauce and potatoes.

I had grilled loup, which was done perfectly.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Cassis from Domaine de la Ferme Blanche (€45).

Desserts

FBH liked the cheese assortment.

I loved the coconut crème brulée, which was a great discovery, and one that I would order again. It had just enough coconut for texture and flavour. It was delightfully creamy.

Additional notes

TripAdvisor members give L’Assiette Provençale 4.5 out of 5. Justifiably so.

These are the current prix fixe menus, which, at €26 and €31, offer terrific value for money.

Service is excellent.

The unisex loo is very clean, too.

Conclusion

We’re looking forward to another visit to L’Assiette Provençale on our next trip.

We eat at Le Pistou whenever we visit Cannes.

It is located at 53 Rue Félix Faure, right in the centre of town along with all the classic seafood restaurants.

Pistou is the Provençal version of pesto. Pistou lacks the pine nuts but makes up for it with more grated hard cheese.

We first had Le Pistou’s tasting menu, the menu dégustation — or, menu dég (their term) — in 2015.

What follows are our dinners there in 2017 and 2019.

2017 — first visit

We chose the €38 prix fixe menu.

Starters

My far better half (FBH) chose the foie gras mi-cuit (i.e. pâté, not lobe). It was a generous, thick slice. The foie gras was made in house.

I chose the jumbo shrimp — gambas — in tempura. They were sublime — crunchy to the last bite.

Mains

We both had the Mediterranean sea bass — filet de loup.

This is always beautifully plated. It comes with pea velouté (pea purée sauce), fine French green beans and two small boiled potatoes. The potatoes are turned; each side is peeled lengthwise for a total of seven sides. Peeled into a slim barrel shape, they look very elegant on the plate.

The loup was moist and flavoursome. This is always a winning dish.

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Cassis: Clos d’Albizzi 2014. The estate, now run by F. Dumont, has been producing wine since 1523. Cassis has three grape varieties: marsanne, clairette and ugny blanc. The grapes are grown in the native Cassiden terroir, which adds a refreshing mineral taste. It was the perfect complement to our dinner.

Desserts

We both had their crème brulée with cinnamon.

It had just the right amount of cinnamon: enough for flavour but not overpowering.

2017 — second visit

We returned later during our stay for the seven-course menu dég, which we loved in 2015.

This has to be booked in advance. We made reservations a couple of days beforehand.

First course

We began with a delightful tian — i.e. a raised disc — of layered crab, sliced scallop and smoked salmon on a base of avocado. It was heavenly.

Second course

This was an amazing tarte tatin of diced apple and sautéed lobe of foie gras in puff pastry. Words cannot describe how unctuous this was.

Third course

We had lobster ravioli, probably three small ones — a perfect portion size.

The filling and the accompanying lobster sauce were perfect. However, the pasta could have been rolled out more thinly.

Fourth course

This was a palate cleanser: an apple and rum sorbet with plenty of rum. Delightful!

Fifth course

We had a generous fillet of beef with wild mushroom sauce. It came with creamy potatoes dauphinoise.

End of the road

Unfortunately, we could only eat half of the beef fillet.

We were so full by that time, that we were unable to proceed to the cheese course and dessert.

It took some explaining to the caring staff that the food was great, but our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.

The bill, wine included, came to €174, which included the full price the menu dég: fair enough.

Wine

With our first two courses, we had Cassis: Clos d’Albizzi 2014 (as above).

With the next three courses we enjoyed a Bandol Rosé: Domaine des Baguiers 2013, which won a Medaille d’Or (Gold Medal) in Paris in 2016. The estate, located in Var, has been run by the Jourdan family for several generations.

2019

We put our menu dég defeat of 2017 down to our age. Obviously, our appetites are decreasing as the years advance.

However, we could not miss having a three-course dinner at Le Pistou.

Our bill came to €102.

As I noted in an earlier post last month, Rue Felix Faure has been pedestrianised. We found this somewhat disconcerting, as we were used to the recycling bins in the esplanade across the street. All of that has been removed. The traffic is gone. The levelled, new look esplanade took some getting used to.

Starters

Both of us enjoyed the gambas in tempura (see ‘2017 — first visit’ above).

Mains

One cannot have a more reliable course than the filet de loup (again, see ‘2017 — first visit’).

Wine

We enjoyed another bottle of Cassis, Clos d’Albizzi.

Dessert

FBH opted for the chocolate and vanilla millefeuille.

I could hardly wait to have the cinnamon crème brulée again. I was not disappointed!

Additional notes

Le Pistou’s website has their current menu. Their dishes are always reasonably priced, particularly with the prix fixe menu, and great value for money.

TripAdvisor has customer reviews. I particularly liked this one from 2018, excerpted:

Le Pistou’s menu is a bit more creative and so it stands out from the others on the street. Because the menu was so different, we ate there twice during our recent stay in Cannes and were not disappointed. We each had the €23.50 Menu du Marche. I had the Duet of asparagus and parma ham with pesto, mixed salad, roast quail and foie gras, I’m not sure that it held together as a coherent dish but the components were delicious. My wife had the avocado and crab salad and she loved it.

As a main course the monkfish and turbot duo was spectacular. As advertised, the sauce was a curry sauce but light enough that it didn’t overpower the delicate fish. The filet de loup in a pea sauce was didn’t impress me quite as much but was very good nonetheless. My wife loved the gambas and said that the daurade was excellent. Most of the fish dishes were served with a small portion of ratatouille.

Call me insane (my wife does) but for me des[s]ert is the least interesting part of a meal. Pistou’s roast pineapple and mango spring roll with two sorbets in a sauce flavoured with mandarine impériale was very creative and delicious.

Le Pistou has been good for years. With the current menu it moves out ahead of the others on the street. Well worth a visit.

If you’re ever in Cannes, don’t miss Le Pistou.

We first ate at La Brouette de Grand-mère — Grandma’s Wheelbarrow — in 2017, as it was away from the more touristy locations which attract musicians, flower-sellers and others in the evenings.

La Brouette de Grand-mère is located in a quiet street off Rue d’Antibes at 9B rue d’Oran. When walking down Rue d’Antibes away from the centre of town, look for an apartment block called Les Hespérides, which is on the corner of rue d’Oran, and turn left. The restaurant is at the end of the block.

This restaurant offers the best value for money. Portions are ample and alcoholic drinks are included. That said, the prices won’t be cheap enough to accommodate a student budget.

We have visited this family-run establishment twice.

2017

The prix fixe menu was €46 per person: €92 in total.

We ate indoors.

Starters

The waitress promptly served each of us a glass of champagne.

She quickly returned with a huge terrine dish of homemade pork farmhouse pâté (coarse, rather than smooth). It came with a carving board of saucisson (air-dried hard pork sausage), cornichons (gherkins) and bread. A side salad dressed in vinaigrette accompanied this, which included sliced mushrooms on top.

I know some people will have a problem cutting into a terrine dish from which others have served themselves. Well, we did not fall ill.

One diner wrote a review on TripAdvisor saying that he could not eat the whole contents! No, one is only supposed to cut off a slice!

It was good, something that one’s grandmother would serve.

Second course

The second course was a plate of smoked salmon, drizzled with dill olive oil. The waitress served each of us a cold shot of vodka. Delicious!

Mains

Here one has a choice.

My far better half (FBH) had sauteed veal with a light cream sauce and sautéed mushrooms that looked — and tasted — out of this world.

I opted for dorade in a light cream sauce which was equally delicious.

The waitress brought us each a complimentary carafe of wine. FBH chose red. I had rosé.

Desserts

We both ordered their lemon tart, which we expected to be the French tarte au citron.

Unfortunately, it was American style, complete with a thick layer of meringue on top. It was competently done.

Hospitality

To get to the loos, we followed a little sign that said: ‘La route du bonheur’ or, ‘The road to happiness’. They were not wrong!

Our waitress was friendly and congenial, without being over the top. Her English was very good, even though we responded to her questions in French.

2019

We looked forward to our return this year.

Prices are now €49 per person, drinks included.

The starter and the second course are still the same.

Mains

There were several options from which to choose, which the waitress described for us. There was no slate, which would have helped on this occasion.

I thought both of us had ordered the same veal dish, but no.

FBH had the one I would have preferred: sautéed veal escalopes in a light sauce.

Mine was a veal shank ragout with olives.

We both enjoyed our choices very much. Mine came with portions of a huge veal shank, incredibly tender in a Mediterranean-style tomato-based sauce. It was a huge portion.

Wine

We enjoyed a complimentary bottle of red Burgundy, Côtes de Nuits: Les Enfants Terribles 2017 from Domaine Jean-Luc and Paul Aergerter.

Desserts

We both had chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream, which was just the way it was made in the 1970s. Nothing to write home about, but it brought back fond childhood memories for both of us.

Hospitality

The ‘Route du bonheur’ is no more.

Instead of being at the back near the kitchens, the loo is now at the front of the restaurant. It has a sign or symbol on it saying it’s for men, but it seemed to be the only one there.

I felt sorry for any women having to use it, especially as the water did not work. I found that out only after I put soap all over my hands. Fortunately, there were paper towels on hand.

Not good overall, however.

Additional notes

TripAdvisor members give La Brouette de Grand-mère 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.

The food, drink and service are consistent, as is the quality.

The restaurant also has a Facebook page.

Conclusion

We look forward to a return visit on our next trip. Let’s hope the lavatory situation has improved by then.

My far better half (FBH) and I have been dining for years at Le Rendez-Vous at 35 Rue Félix Faure in Cannes.

I began posting about the restaurant in 2015 and am delighted to report that they still serve HUGE portions! As I wrote four years ago:

Go, go, go! This is one restaurant where you can order à la carte without breaking the bank!

I didn’t have a chance to write about our 2017 visit, so you’ll get two reviews below.

2017

We both ordered the €35.80 prix fixe menu.

Starters

FBH ordered a thick slice of duck foie gras mi-cuit, i.e. pâté, rather than seared lobe.

I ordered their eight — rather than six! — ‘belles huitres’ (‘beautiful oysters’) and was not disappointed.

Mains

FBH ordered a delightful scallop plate — coquilles St Jacques — which came in layers. Seasoned in a Provençal style and sitting on top a bed of rice were a bottom layer of sweet potato purée, then a truffle purée in the centre, topped with scallops sautéed in olive oil.

I ordered Mediterranean sea bass — loup. Unfortunately, because it was a Monday, there was no loup, only whiting (merlan). I did not know that until the waiter brought it to our table and announced it as such. Under French law, restaurant staff must advise of any substitute when a plate is brought to the table. I was so disappointed. I wished they had come by after we’d placed our orders so that I could have chosen something different — like the scallops!

Wine

We ordered a reliable white Cassis Appellation Protegée: Domaine du Paternel (2016) for €42. The Santini family own the domaine and have been making wine for three generations.

Desserts

FBH ordered rhum baba, deemed ‘good’. Decent rhum babas are hard to find, as most of them are from the cash and carry or are prepared the quick way — substituting cake for a raised dough — in the restaurant. There is no quick way around a rhum baba.

I enjoyed a generous crème brulée, which was delicious.

2019

Le Rendez-Vous still has their €26.80 and €35.80 prix fixe menus.

Our bill this year was not far off from 2017’s and came to €120.

Starters

FBH had crab and salmon tartare, which was mostly crab cocktail: okay, but FBH wanted more salmon tartare.

I wanted to have the whitebait — petite friture — that I had in 2015, but that’s off the menu now, unfortunately.

Still, I was pleasantly surprised by my deep fried squid — calamari — topped with an abundance of thin, crispy deep fried onion rings. I noted in my diary: ‘HUGE!’ The flavour was huge, too. Absolutely scrumptious in every way.

As we were finishing our starters, a Danish family sat down next to us: Mum, Dad and three daughters. They ordered three or four starters, one of them being the calamari with onion rings. I really had to resist poking my oar in and saying, ‘You’ve ordered way too much food!’ I was not wrong. They left nearly all the calamari, when that was the best of what they’d ordered. Still, they seemed like a nice family. I was intrigued to see that they played cards between courses and had a beautiful deck of gilt edged playing cards, the likes of which I’d never seen. Again, it took quite a bit of self-restraint not to ask them where they’d purchased them.

Mains

I had frogs legs à la Provençale. Excellent!

However, this would have been the evening to order Mediterranean sea bass — loup. I was somewhat envious when I saw FBH’s plate, which had a whole loup — two beautiful and large fillets. Sigh. They were picture perfect and beautifully sautéed.

While we were eating, an elderly Catholic priest walked in for dinner. He was obviously a regular and received a warm, yet reverent, welcome. That further confirmed to me that Le Rendez-Vous is a quality restaurant.

Wine

We went with the Domaine du Paternel once more.

Desserts

We must be getting older, because we had no room for dessert!

Additional notes

TripAdvisor has mixed reviews, giving Le Rendez-Vous an overall 3.5 out of 5.0 stars.

Verdict

We would certainly eat here again, but probably only once.

I am somewhat disappointed that Le Rendez-Vous has changed their menu to accommodate ‘lighter fare’ but can appreciate that some diners, e.g. the Danish family next to us, prefer those types of dishes.

This Cannes restaurant’s name aptly describes itself, because it truly is a hit with customers!

Le Hit — Chez Jean-Louis is my favourite restaurant in the city. Others come close, but for top ratings on food, prices and hospitality, you cannot do better. Its location is also excellent, as it is a short walk away from the railway station and main bus stop.

Here is a bit about our past and present experiences at 12 rue du 24 août (24th of August Street) in Cannes.

Au Bec Fin

Many years ago there was a family-owned restaurant at 12 rue du 24 août called Au Bec Fin.

I ate there in May 1978, on my first visit to Cannes. It was the first time I’d ever had frogs legs. Smothered in a Provençal olive oil sauce with diced tomato and garlic, they were out of this world. Since then, I have always had frogs legs in Cannes. I consider it to be a good precursor of a return visit.

So, when my far better half (FBH) and I began taking holidays in the city, we used to go there. On our visit in 1999, we had their bourride, which is a Cannois version of bouillabaisse. Au Bec Fin’s came with the best ever rouille (rust) made from aïoli — a garlicky, saffron-infused mayonnaise — combined with plenty of paprika. Rouille is used to flavour the soup. I’ve tried many times to reproduce it at home but mine never tastes as good as theirs did.

Their steak tartare was also the best we’d ever had, and the accompanying skinny fries were out of this world. We have since been able to reproduce the tartare at home. Here is the recipe.

The interior of the restaurant was modest. There were old film canisters and strips of film hanging from the ceiling. Unfortunately, those intriguing ornaments had to be removed, no doubt thanks to new health and safety laws.

There was a charming elderly woman who used to eat dinner there. I assume that was her daily meal and, at her age, probably all she needed for the next 24 hours. They did serve ample portions.

The staff always made conversation with her and other regular locals used to sit with her to chat.

Then, on our 2009 trip, we found to our great disappointment that Au Bec Fin had closed. What a sad day that was.

It became a lunch spot, and, in time, we lost track of it. The Cannes restaurant scene is ever changing, and the transformations the new owners make with their establishments pretty much obliterate what went before.

2017 — Le Hit

On our 2017 visit, we walked down the street and found Le Hit — Chez Jean-Louis.

The menu looked intriguing, so we made a reservation.

We were not sure what to expect, but it ended up being every bit as good as Au Bec Fin.

Jean-Louis gave us a warm welcome, as if he’d known us for years.

We ate there twice that year.

Jean-Louis has reasonably priced prix fixe menus and serves ample portions.

First visit

I noted the day we had our first dinner there: ‘Would return’.

Starters

FBH had salmon tartare.

I had frogs legs prepared in a nearly identical fashion to Au Bec Fin’s. This would have been enough for a main course. Sumptuous! A la carte, they cost €17.

Mains

FBH ordered steak tartare with big, fat chips. There was a bit of salad on the side. FBH said the tartare was too eggy. However, the fries were good, and the salad was dressed in a tasty vinaigrette.

I did much better with my gambas — big prawns — and rice, prepared similarly to the Provençal-style frogs legs. Delicious!

Wine

We enjoyed a bottle of Bandol rosé: La Bastide Blanche 2015, from the Bronzo family in Var (83330 Le Castellet).

Dessert

I ordered a cheese plate with four different kinds of French cheese and a side of salad. It came with a basket of bread along with butter. Superb!

Hospitality

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we were the last customers to leave.

Jean-Louis came over to talk to us after taking cigarette breaks outside the hairdresser’s across the street. He always asked how we liked each course and made small talk, which made us feel welcome.

Second visit

We made a return visit to Le Hit a week later.

Starters

I had frogs legs again and was not disappointed.

FBH ordered their homemade duck foie gras mi-cuit (pâté). It was a generous plate with a few slices — rather than just one — of foie gras, accompanied by a competently made fig chutney. As with the frogs legs, this is a meal in itself.

Mains

FBH had swordfish — espadon — with a delicious ratatouille.

I had the steak tartare this time. Yes, it was too eggy, but the chips were ‘top’, as the French say, and the salad brilliant.

Wine

We ordered the same Bandol (see above).

Dessert

We had eaten sufficiently and did not partake of dessert!

Hospitality

Once again, we were the last to leave.

Jean-Louis sat down at the table next to us, and we had a lengthy conversation with him about setting up a business and aspects of his private life.

FBH asked about Au Bec Fin. Jean-Louis said, ‘This is it! This is the same address!’

He told us that, for the first few years, he served only lunch before expanding into a dinner service. That was probably the lunch spot we had seen a few years earlier.

Incidentally, L’Internaute states that Le Hit was opened in 2010 by Jean-Louis Barthélemy.

Wow!

As I said above, we had no idea anymore because of subsequent restaurants in that street.

He introduced us to his intended successor, who was cleaning up behind the bar before returning to the kitchen.

We had a really good time and, once we left, put the restaurant on our list for a return visit in 2019.

2019

This year, we made two visits to Le Hit.

First visit

We could hardly wait to get there.

Starters

I had — what else? — frogs legs. I noted in my diary: ‘HUGE!’ The price has gone up by only €1 to €18.

FBH ordered the foie gras and salad again, pronouncing it ‘excellent’.

Mains

Jean-Louis came by with a slate listing dishes from that day’s lunch menu. He smiled and said, ‘We still have a few items left over, if you are interested’.

FBH ordered the duck breast off the prix fixe menu.

I had a look at the slate, which Jean-Louis reviewed in detail. One item caught my eye, something I’d never had: andouillette. Jean-Louis warned, ‘It’s tripe sausage, you know. I don’t like it, personally. That said, I only have three portions left.’

Yes, I knew what it was and I was willing to try it only at a restaurant I trusted: ‘Fine by me, I’ll have the andouillette’.

I was not disappointed. Instead of the tripe being minced, the chef had tightly rolled up the tripe and somehow managed to get it in the casing. It looked beautiful and tasted even better. It had very little intestinal taste at all. The accompanying sauce was plentiful and piquant, a perfect complement.

I told Jean-Louis that he was missing out on a real treat and asked him to relay my compliments to the chef.

Wine

We enjoyed a Côte de Provence: Estandon Rosé, which Jean-Louis says his own family enjoys.

Dessert

We did not have dessert that night.

Hospitality

Jean-Louis remembered us by sight. He told us that he had stopped smoking. I replied that we hadn’t, so would appreciate sitting outside once again.

We were among the last to leave!

Our bill came to €113.

Second visit

We ate there again before we left.

Our bill came to €196, so you know we enjoyed ourselves. This was our highest restaurant bill ever in Cannes.

Starters

No prizes for guessing what I had.

FBH enjoyed a beautiful plate of scallops flambéed in Calvados. No skimping here: the plate was full.

Both are among the prix fixe dishes.

Mains

We both ordered a delightful and memorable plate of squid à la Provençale, accompanied by small slices of the best chorizo I’ve ever had. I don’t know if Jean-Louis bought it at the market or if he has a specialist supplier, but the taste profile was out of this world. Sometimes chorizo has a slight tangy or sour taste, but this was rich and smoky with paprika undertones.

As with most of Jean-Louis’s other dishes, this also came with a small side salad.

Dessert

We both had French cheese assortments, which were excellent.

Wine

We enjoyed two bottles of Bandol: La Bastide Blanche 2015.

Hospitality

Jean-Louis and his putative ‘successor’ once again made us feel very welcome.

Both asked during and after each course whether we enjoyed what we had. Yes, we most certainly did enjoy all of the courses! We were members of the Clean Plate Club!

Jean-Louis attention to his customers is top-notch. His assistant, the successor, is also attentive to customers’ needs.

After we finished our second bottle of Bandol and had a bit of a pause, Jean-Louis came up to us and asked in the most congenial way, ‘And what can I get you to drink?’ I had Sambuca. FBH had brandy.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to going back, if all goes well for us and them, in 2021.

Additional notes

Judging from the photos on Le Hit’s Facebook page, we are far from being the only customers to have had a delightful time there.

A couple from nearby Mougins who commented on TripAdvisor in April 2019 were as enthralled with Le Hit as we were. An excerpt follows (translation in the original):

In short that happiness, a warm welcome, an irreproachable service by the Head waiter for a real meal composed of fresh ingredients, and simmered as at home.

The best part of all this is that you do not pay more than some crowded restaurants that have succumbed to sirens vacuum industrial products and reheated by a microwave attendant.

So my wife and I thought we were going to repeat the experience, to see if it was a stroke of luck, and we went back several times.

Well in the end, we are very satisfied, we can assure you that the quality is constant which is rare, not to say exceptional.

An authentic restaurant as we like, that does not cheat with its customers no false pretense, nor darling and even less junk food.

It has happened to us to exchange with other guests who share the taste for the true traditional and tasty food … but also that of the conviviality and the authenticity, in short all the opposite of the shameless and the eternal dissatisfied …

You can go there with our eyes closed, we, since this discovery, we return regularly !

Enjoy your meal in the Hit !

Betty & Hubert

https://www.tripadvisor.fr/ShowUserReviews-g187221-d2692906-r666949554-Le_Hit-Cannes_French_Riviera_Cote_d_Azur_Provence_Alpes_Cote_d_Azur.html#

You can get a better view of the interior courtesy of La Fourchette and can see autographs from the jazz musicians who play there on Friday — perhaps also Saturday — nights.

The unisex restroom is immaculate. It has three different notices asking customers to please leave it as clean as they found it.

Conclusion

Now you know why Le Hit is my favourite restaurant in Cannes.

Next week, we’ll look at FBH’s faves.

Socca — a crepe-like pancake made from chickpea flour — is associated with the city of Nice.

Margo Lestz, who lives there, wrote an interesting article about it, ‘The Superfood of Nice, southern France: Socca’, for The Good Life France.

She tells us that socca batter was first used as a weapon rather than as a foodstuff:

Legend has it that the recipe for socca was discovered when the Turks attacked the city of Nice in 1543. When they ran out of ammunition, the Niçois mixed hot oil with chickpea soup and poured it down off the top of the walls and onto the heads of the invaders. Apparently, it stopped the invading Turks in their tracks and when the defenders licked their fingers they thought – “Hey, this stuff is pretty good! We could probably even sell it!”

At the turn of the 20th century, vendors went along the coastal thoroughfares with portable ovens on wheels to sell this large pancake, which can serve several people:

These could be taken to the port in the early morning for the fishermen, then later in the day, rolled over to where other labourers were working. It was a nourishing and inexpensive Niçois fast food.

Socca is a perfect gluten-free treat that can be eaten with one’s fingers or a fork.

Socca’nnes

Fortunately, during our recent stay in Cannes, I did not have to journey to Nice to try it. The city’s Marché Forville has a socca stand run by Socca’nnes. The chap pictured here and a lady run it. She takes the orders. He does the cooking.

It doesn’t take long for the socca to bake in what looks like a huge portable pizza oven that is blazing hot. The huge pan is coated with olive oil and heated before the batter is ladled on. You can watch the chickpea flour batter batter bubble up and brown on top to make it a bit crispy. The interior is moist and unctuous.

The lady cuts the huge pancake into several portions, then cuts each one further into Chicago box cut squares. (Actually, this is a Sicilian method of portioning pizza.) My far better half and I shared a portion at lunchtime. It truly was filling, so I can understand socca’s popularity.

My only complaint was that it did not have enough salt. I asked for some, and the lady said the batter had enough salt in it already. Uh huh. I declined the offer of additional black pepper.

Each portion was €2.50.

Socca’nnes is at Marché Forville from Tuesday through Sunday all year round. They also have an at-home service available on Mondays and after 4 p.m. on market days. Find out more here.

Socca Chips

Our experience with socca actually started with Socca Chips, which are sold in Cannes supermarkets.

A restaurateur by the name of Luc Salsedo invented Socca Chips. Not wishing for any leftover batter to go to waste, he began experimenting by making wafer-thin chips. He tested various flavour combinations with his customers.

He began making them commercially in 2014 in Saint André de la Roche, just outside of Nice. The three varieties — plain, garlic and rosemary — have been so successful that he closed his restaurant the following year to devote his time to Socca Chips.

Socca Chips has a short video demonstrating how real socca is made. At the end, you can see the comparison between the socca on the plate and the chips in the bowl:

This next video features a 2017 clip from France 3 Côte d’Azur’s popular programme, Enquêtes de région. It shows Luc Salsedo making Socca Chips deliveries to specialist food shops in Nice and ends with his manufacturing plant. The shopkeepers say that everyone loves Socca Chips. One man says that he no longer eats potato crisps because Socca Chips are much better in every way:

We agree. In fact, we also prefer them to tortilla chips.

One small complaint: not enough salt!

We prefer the garlic ones to the plain, although the former could use a touch more garlic. We did not try the rosemary ones.

A 120g bag serves four people as a snack. Prices range from €3.89 to €4.17 a bag, depending on the supermarket. They were cheapest at Carrefour.

In closing, this short video features specialities from Nice. Socca appears at the beginning and at 4:28 Luc Salsedo grants the film crew a tour of parts of his factory. You won’t see how the chips are made, though, which is probably a closely guarded secret:

I wish we had had room in our luggage to bring back more Socca Chips! Unfortunately, they are not yet sold in the UK!

One of President Donald Trump’s favourite meals is meat loaf, which is on the menu at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

According to Nancy Ellison at One for the Table, Trump has long been offering his club members and their guests suggestions on what to order. I have read that he often recommends the meat loaf, but Ms Ellison has more (emphases mine):

His real joy in life is acting the Host. “Try the chopped steak. It’s the best! …You know what’s great – the pretzel bread… This individually wrapped butter is so good. I don’t like those little flower butters. There is always a finger print on them!” The real secret is that Donald Trump wants his guests to feel good, important and to be happy … as happy as he felt when his mother, Scottish born Mary MacLeod Trump fixed Meat Loaf for him as a child. “I loved my mother and I loved her cooking … and, she was a real beauty!”

On the menu – along with the Raw Oysters, Champagne and Caviar – at Trump’s exclusive Mar–a-Lago Club, Mary MacLeod Trump’s Meat Loaf rules, and it is truly a man’s meal; it has all the warmth of a cozy aromatic kitchen and the familiar comfortable masculinity of a favorite armchair – but tastier. And, it makes Donald Trump smile!

I have always wondered whether Mary MacLeod Trump’s meat loaf recipe would be revealed. Thankfully, Nancy Ellison provides it for us.

The readers’ comments specify that the breadcrumbs should be dried, not fresh.

I am always suspect of a meat loaf recipe that calls for beef only. My late maternal grandmother always used an equal mix of beef, pork and veal mince, having been taught that way in domestic science class in high school during the First World War, when it was no doubt a luxury, given that even the United States had rationing.

I thought my late grandmother’s was the best.

But, we shall see about a 100% beef meat loaf.

Having read so much about it, I plan to try it soon!

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