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!

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!

Bakewell Tart Shop, Bakewell, Peak District

On our way out of the Peak District, we decided to pick up some lunch to have in the car… and stopped by the town of Bakewell, best known for its famous Bakewell tarts! And stopped in the Bakewell Tart Shop to pick some things up!

Here I am with the famous tarts… as soon as I saw them, I remembered that I had, in fact, tasted them before, and that they really weren’t my thing!

But no worries, we went for the savoury tarts instead! We shared a broccoli and Stilton cheese mini tart (that tasted like pure cream!)

Oh yeah…

and a pork pie.  This thing was a “mini” pork pie, but check out how big it was… with lots of cooked pork inside. Good, but so. Much. Pork.

Food Glorious Food, Peak District

The next morning, we went for a drive in the Peak District… and were very pleasantly surprised, the area is beautiful! And more specifically, with its big lakes, rivers and pine trees, we didn’t feel like we were in the UK but like we were somewhere else, like Pacific Northwest of North America! It didn’t hurt that they were fishing trout in the lake below…

After a while, we pulled over to the side for a quick pit stop… and found the premier biker hangout! Because there are many windy roads and beautiful scenery, the Peak District has tons of motorcycle riders coming through.. and they all stopped at the same rest stop as us! Andre got a bacon egg and cheese sandwich, and I got a cappuccino… I tasted his sandwich… while the cheddar cheese hadn’t melted completely (and really, that’s the best part of the sandwich!), it was otherwise pretty good!

Meet Froggie, by the way, our 2000 Lotus! He looks a bit like a little… well, frog!

The Water’s Edge Bar & Kitchen, Newark on Trent, Nottinghamshire

Saturday, we headed up to Nottinghamshire to buy an old car that Andre had bought – the weather was nice enough that we decided to stick around for a night and check out the Peak District the next day. But first, famished after our long trek up there, we headed to lunch with our new car… to Newark on Trent.

For you non-Americans, Newark, New Jersey is a large, industrial town and not very picturesque – people usually picture it with a layer of smog above. So we were a tiny bit sceptical when the guy we got the car from encouraged us to check out Newark… but we were pleasantly surprised! The town was quite charming, with a waterfront area that we soon found a restaurant on…

With a typical pub-food menu, we went for pretty different things… Andre went for the bacon cheeseburger and fries, while I went for the jerk chicken (apparently marinated for 24 hours) served with sweet potato fries and coconut rice.

Mine was really good, it came with two chicken legs, so I shared with Andre… but the marinade was really flavourful and the chicken itself was really tender… so I was happy! The sweet potato fries were fine too, but the coconut rice… was basically cooked rice, with some coconut milk sitting on the sides (not even mixed in). It was pretty uninspiring.

Andre’s burger was fine, but nothing special. He spent more time picking all the vegetables out of the Greek salad that I had ordered 🙂

The waterfront… as it was a nice day, everyone was out and about, either sitting at the pub or strolling down the banks of the Trent River.

Then off we went towards our B&B in Chesterfield, of course with the roof down…

Chesterfield is best known for its market days and for the crooked spire on Queen Mary’s Church… check it out, it dates from 1362!

The Detox Kitchen, Soho

After a yoga class in Kingly Court, I headed downstairs to the Detox Kitchen to pick something up for lunch. The Detox Kitchen always has a long queue at lunchtime, so I had never had the courage to wait for my lunch there, but today, the line was a bit shorter, so I decided to go for it. And boy, was I in for a treat!

You can have a variety of lunch boxes, but the most common are either a protein and two salads or a protein and three salads. I went for the protein plus two, getting the veggie burger (a chickpea and corn burger that tasted like a big fritter, delicious, with some coriander sauce drizzled on top and a pea and mint puree on the side).

The choice of salads was also good, I went for the slaw (nice and simple, with edamame added) and the roast sweet potatoes, roast in a curry spice blend and topped with a little coconut butter. Yum.

I’ll be back soon to try their other salads and mains for sure!