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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

A Sunday Supper from the Richard Lenoir Market

Following along on the Spring Market theme from a previous was one of our last Sundays in Paris last week and I couldn't resist going to the Richard Lenoir  market at the Bastille. We were having J. & G. (visiting from Boston) for dinner and as you can see I made a Salad Nicoise, which seemed suitably French. As always I got the fish (Mediterranean red tuna) from Lorenzo's fish stall in the market. I seared it quickly in an olive oil, salt pepper, lemon and lemon zest combination and it was fabulous, even if I do say so myself! The garlic stuffed olives also brought a lot of flavor to the dish.
D and I couldn't resist these dates on the branch. They were great with the comte fruite  (on right) which was a milder version of the vieille comte we also like.

 One of the things I like about going to a larger market is that there are so many specialty products from a variety of regions. There were wines from the Loire, a stall selling nothing but champagne, another with oysters from Brittany sold by the dozen foie gras and other products from the Dordogne and a stall with cheese and meats from the Auvergne - including the smoked ham below. The ham was thinly sliced and wonderfully fragrant.

 As always there were lovely flowers at the market including these peonies. I can't wait for them to come out fully. There were lots of people selling bunches of small white lily of the valley which you could smell as you walked past. We have wonderful farmers markets in California and the fruit and vegetable selections are hard to beat, but I'll miss the variety, quality and breadth of the French food products you can find at the markets in Paris.
  The table set for our meal...
 There's no good reason for this photo, I just couldn't resist the green of the lettuce!