Le Galet, Nice, France

The weekend of July 23rd, and after six months of training, it’s time for Andre’s IronMan!! We head out there on a Friday night and are there until Monday… with the big event happening on Sunday!

Over the course of the weekend, we spend most of the time at one beach club, Le Galet, which has a gorgeous beachfront setting with quite affordable food, given the location!

We tried many of the dishes…

A Nicoise salad… obviously, a must when in Nice! This is one of the better ones I’ve had, the tuna was really fresh and all the veggies were good… including some really nice broad beans!

And the seafood pasta… this was a huge plate that would feed two easily… with yummy seafood mixed into a light tomato sauce and al dente pasta… yum. Check out the size of that plate!

The octopus was also pretty good, mixed in with olives, tomatoes and capers, but we could tell that it was frozen, not fresh… so not as good as it could have been!

Another favourite… the fresh linguine with salmon and asparagus… in a cream sauce. This was actually delicious, they managed to cook the pasta so that it had a salmon essence to it; whether or not you had a piece on your fork, the whole dish tasted of the salmon!

And how could we go without ordering the sea bass? Very fresh, this was the only dish on the menu that was over 30 EUR (again, given the location, not bad!) With sides of courgette and beans, with some mixed rice, this was one of the healthier options that we tried…The takeaway? Definitely worth a visit if you come to Nice and want to stay on the beach, as Le Galet is central, has nice beach chairs (make sure to book in advance) and a good menu that meant we spent three whole days hanging out here!

Phi Beach and Spinnaker, Porto Cervo, Sardegna

Saturday night, out and about, we were told to head to Phi Beach for the sunset… and what a scene it was! There’s a lounge/bar area, a restaurant, and a nightclub, all outdoors, and all facing the setting sun.

The sunset was totally worth the rushing to get ready and get there in time…

Then, dinner. I went for the seafood plate, which had some grilled calamari, grilled prawns and grilled langoustine.

Giuliana went for the lobster pasta, Sara got the grilled tuna and we shared a (pretty funny looking) plate of roast vegetables.

And Alicia got the tuna tartare, which was small but substantial.

Apart from the ten minutes when the electricity went out and we all dined by candlelight (chic but worrying, as we hadn’t received our food yet and wanted to make sure it would get cooked!), it was a lovely night with delicious Sardinian seafood in a lowkey setting.

Beach Bar, Grande Pevero Beach, Sardegna

The next day was beach day… we headed down to Grande Pevero to sit out on the loungers. At lunchtime, we went to the only cafe on the beach, which looked like a little shack… so we were pretty happy with the food selection there!I went for the mixed seafood pasta… with mussels, clams, calamari rings and prawns. It looks simple on that paper plate, but let me tell you, the tomato sauce had so much depth to it… it was really delicious, especially on perfectly al dente spaghetti. The seafood it self was fine.  Alicia had the same, hold the clams, and Sara went for just mussels.  And some proscuitto, melon and mozzarella for Giuliana.  The rest of us had the tomatoes and mozzarella on the side.. . All in all, nothing exciting (except for that subtle, deep-tasting tomato sauce, yum!) but perfect for a beach lunch!Then went back to the beach for the loveliest dip in the water… As it was shallow, there was no threat of an after-meal cramp!

Zafferano’s, Colonna Pevero Hotel, Porto Cervo

A girl’s weekend in Sardinia! It was the first time I’d ever been, and I loved the rugged landscape of the Sardinian coast, along with the sparkling, Caribbean-clear water!

Our hotel was really nice, with six different pools sprinkled around the property. We spent the first afternoon sitting out and enjoying the sun…

… and sat more, wanting to take advantage of every hour of daylight…

We had booked dinner at the hotel that first night, at their gourmet restaurant, Zafferano. And my, was the food gourmet! We all had pastas as a main course – my loringhitas (these skinny, braided tubes) were served with burst cherry tomatoes and crab meat.

But Sara’s was even more impressive… ravioli served with mussels and a seafood puree… I just tasted one ravioli and a mussel, but it was pretty good… not as tasty as my pasta, if much better presented!

But the best part of the meal was actually the dessert. It’s rare for me to prefer dessert, but this one was exceptional! We ordered the peach tarte tatin, and were expecting a small tarte… which showed up with a lot of other bits and pieces!

The tarte is the domed-structure at the top of the picture, with pieces of fresh peach topped in the shortcake crust. This on its own would have been delicious, but alongside this, there was the lavender cream to the left of it, perfectly creamy and with little hints of lavender taste…  the macaron next to this cream was unimpressive, and probably the least-impressive bit of this dessert… but looked nice. In the middle of the picture is what looks like a bit of gel… it’s actually a square of a lemony paste, mixed in with pieces of thyme. Again, what a delicious combination. So. Good. And finally, white vanilla ice cream (the real stuff) topping the biscuit at the bottom, tasting like those cigarette cookies that you sometimes get served with your coffee.

What a dish, it was seriously impressive! The rest of the meal was good, but nothing stunning… whereas this dish really stood out!

Le Bistrot, Aix en Provence, France

The weekend that we were in Aix, the city was overflowing with an extra several thousand people, there either to perform in the Half Ironman or cheer someone on. To top it off, many of the restaurants were for some reason closed on the Saturday night (?!). We got on Trip Advisor and were able to book something that looked okay… and were pleasantly surprised!

List of things not to be missed in Aix en Provence! And the menu… very cool, as each dish has a fun name… usually a French expression. Less funny was listening to the poor waiter explain the menu in English to some American girls, three times…

Finally, I went for the pate de campagne, served with a huge vat of cornichons, and Andre had the foie gras. Then, I had the special of the day, the curried monkfish with rice, while he had the beef.  All delicious, in a very charming setting… and a huge cheese trolley for the end of the meal – I would definitely come back and try some of their other dishes!

Clube Nacional de Natacao, Lisbon

An afternoon hanging out at the racket and swimming club in Lisbon, we grabbed a quite bite afterwards… a veggie quiche and a pasta with smoked salmon, rocket and goat cheese… simple food that hit the spot!

Caviar House and Prunier, Heathrow Terminal 3

After messing up my flight dates and only realizing when trying to check my bag in at Gatwick, I managed to push that flight back a few months and to book a different flight leaving from Heathrow that night… Urgh.

I had been looking forward to a chilled out dinner in Lisbon with Andre that night, but instead was at the airport… so I made the most of it. I went for the special, which included two types of gravlax (regular and dill-marinated), a salmon tartare (mixed with some nice relish), king prawns, small pink shrimps with Rose Marie sauce, an oyster, and some potato salad, covered with a spoon-full of caviar.

If I had had any misgivings about eating seafood at the airport, they were instantly squashed… this was a delicious plate and good pick-me-up before I prepared to board my flight to Lisbon!