As some of you may remember, I’m reading one entry of James and Kay Salter’s Life Is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days per day until the end of the year. In the October 25 entry, James writes, “There are days, perhaps many, when you long to be somewhere else, and days when you are. It’s only a kind of daydreaming, but if you could choose three places in the world where you would like to be for lunch today, where would they be?” He then lists three places he would like to be for lunch. In the next day’s entry, Kay lists her three.
When I read this, I thought it would be fun to play this little game. And if you’d like to join, please do in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
First is the restaurant called Entre Midi et Deux in Aix-en-Provence where I used to live as a student. The name means “between noon and two.” And yes, it only serves lunch. I loved this restaurant, with its long and narrow room that can seat no more than 30 guests at a time, for its hearty rustic Provencal cooking. And there’s nothing I love more than a small, busy restaurant run by one extremely efficient waitress, in this case, a kind and strong elderly woman.
The second one is also in Aix, but I can’t quite remember the name, something along the lines of À Deux Pas d’Ici (a stone’s throw from here). Perhaps it’s already closed down. I can’t it anywhere online. My mother and I went there a few times when she came for a visit in the summer of 2010. It was a tiny family-run lunch place on a small, quiet street. Every customer got a big plate filled with small portions of four or five simple dishes that the cook (a mother of young children if I remember correctly) had made that day. You didn’t get to choose, but that was fine by me. The cook was the kind you could trust. One thing that you got to choose, apart from whether or not you would like to sit outside, which we always did, was whether or not you’d like to have their chocolate cake for dessert. It was so damn moist and rich that it would be unforgivably stupid not to.
Third, a family restaurant in Porto I have briefly mentioned before, whose name I have also forgotten. It was near our hotel in the city center but frequented by locals. I loved its boisterousness, motherly waitress, and its homey and generous Portuguese food. My mother and I returned there several times for lunch and dinner throughout our stay in the city, when we ran out of ideas or were too lazy, but mostly, when we wanted good food in a familiar setting. And as much as you want to be elsewhere, familiarity is what you sometimes seek when you’re away from home.
The featured image is of a street in Nice, France, but I chose it because the buildings, the colors, the street atmosphere, and the sunshine remind me of Aix, which, like Nice, is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the South of France and enjoys good weather almost all year round.