Thanksmoving Day in Nice
While I was eating Picard stuffed turkey*, roasted sweet potatoes** and garlic-laden marinated artichokes*** on Thanksgiving Day, Patty Sadauskas was with English-speaking movers in Nîmes packing up her furniture and the zillions of boxes she’d packed herself to make her big move to Nice. She then boarded two trains to arrive in Nice that evening, stayed in my apartment for one night, then met the movers the next morning at her new Niçois abode.
She called this her “Thanksmoving Day” to an apartment she found, after tons of research, that we all agree was the find of the century. Securing it was the toughest part, but with the help of Garantme.fr (an insurance policy paid by the tenant to secure the rent on behalf of the landlord should the tenant not pay the rent!) and some serious reference letters attesting to her ability to pay the rent and be a good tenant, she scored big time. The rent is incredibly inexpensive, the apartment is large and spacious (two bedrooms), the kitchen and bath are contemporary and fully functioning. Best of all, it has three balconies and is on the 5th floor (with elevator) with 270° views of Nice!
Friday afternoon the apartment was in total chaos while the movers brought in the boxes, reconstructed pieces of furniture that had been taken apart for shipping and placed furniture wherever it seemed logical at the moment. I walked over (about 15 minutes from my apartment) laden with food stuff so she wouldn’t starve and flowers for her new home. There wasn’t much we could do except admire the views. I joked that she may never leave, and guess what? She couldn’t.
The agency failed to give Patty the digicode for the front gate of the apartment. After knocking on several doors and phoning, texting and emailing the agency, she was still out of luck. The gate is open weekdays during working hours, but closed nights and weekends. So, Patty wasn’t leaving without this number in hand, but she didn’t care. She didn’t want to leave anyway.
I spent Saturday afternoon with Patty arranging the furnishings and putting things away as best as we could, all the while admiring the views. As the light changes, so do the views. In dominance from the living room and kitchen floor-to-ceiling windows is an almost-can-touch-it view of the famous “Tête Carrée” (or Square Head), located at the north corner of Promenade des Arts, at the intersection of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Avenue and Barla Crossing. It is a monumental sculpture 30 meters high. It consists of a cubic part of 14 meters on each side housing the offices of the Louis-Nucéra library on seven floors, supported at the bottom by a gigantic aluminum bust stretched over ribs, composed of holes of four millimeters on each side, sandblasted to obtain a matte effect, light gray in color to harmonize with the marble walls of the MAMAC (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice).
It’s pretty funny, to say the least, but beyond that, one can see the gardens of the museum, the Palais Acropolis, the cemeteries on top the Château de Nice, the Nice Observatory, the Hermitage Palace in Cimiez, the Fort du Mont Alban in Mont Boron, an array of other landmarks and even a glimpse of the water shimmering in the sunlight. Patty has died and gone to heaven and it didn’t matter one bit that she couldn’t leave the building. She didn’t want to and as I write this, hasn’t left yet, and still doesn’t know the code!
Sunday I left Patty to her own boxes while I took advantage of the sunny day by strolling along the Promenade des Anglais with the rest of Nice. There are no “chaises bleues” (except for the 2014 sculpture by Sabine Geraudie) or benches on which to perch, but the Niçois found lots of other places to park—on the pebbles, on the edge of the quay and under the olive trees at the entrance to the Beau Rivage beach. People were out, with and without their masks in the open air, the blue skies and the aqua water. Skaters were practicing their routines, pet owners walking their fluffy dogs, parents with their kids in prams and just about anyone wanting some fresh air during this new less-restrictive period of confinement.
Later in the afternoon I had a date with the lovely and smiling broadly April of April in Paris Tours to take her newest and hotest Virtual Tour of Paris. Since I know Paris so well, I made a good Guinea pig and critic to help her perfect the 1.5 hour (and often longer) tour. It’s done on Zoom with as many people as the customer wants with them! So, for one small fee, your friends and family can join you as April takes you on “her ideal day in Paris” starting with some of her favorite spots and ending at you know where…(I won’t give away the surprise!).
I learned a lot on April’s tour—things I really didn’t know about the city, such as how many vineyards exist in Paris, how high Belleville is compared to Montmartre, the number of open-air markets each district must have…by law, and why Marianne, the goddess of freedom who sits atop the statue at Place de la République resembles the U.S. Lady Liberty. She started with virtual “bises” (kisses) (how many we should be giving one another depending on where we are) and we ended with them before saying “see you in 2021 in Paris!”
SPECIAL DISCOUNT TO FRIENDS OF ADRIAN LEEDS: To book your virtual tour for yourself or with your friends and/or family, just click here. And be sure to tell April you read about it in Parler Nice, because she’ll likely give you a NICE FAT DISCOUNT OF 20€ OFF if you do!
NOTES FROM ABOVE:
* I may never roast a whole turkey again! Not only does a turkey in France cost about 80€ compared to the 24.16€ at Picard, but it was easy (no prep except for adding a cup of white wine), fast (two hours in a moderate oven), boneless for easy carving and absolutely delicious!
** The sweet potatoes were purchased where the serious shoppers in Nice go—at the open-air market at Libération. Just take Tramway #1 to the stop named “Libération” just in front of the “Gare du Sud” and there you will find a wonderland of fresh produce, including the best array of “poissoneries” (fishmongers) you’ve ever seen, selling every sort of sea creature at bargain prices. The market is open six days a week from early morning till 1 p.m. (closed on Monday). We simply cubed them, seasoned them, and roasted them and they were divine.
*** The artichokes were also purchased at Libération. I could tell they would be tender and delicious even before purchasing them because they were so fresh. The garlic-laden recipe is the same one I make every February 2nd on “Artichoke Day” (am sure you have read about this in past Parler Paris Nouvellettres®) Here it is now:
ARTICHOKE DAY ARTICHOKES, A RECIPE BY ADRIAN LEEDS
Prepare the artichokes: cut off the stem, chop off the top of the artichoke and trim the points of each leaf with scissors. Wash and place them in a big pot or covered roasting pan with a small amount of water in the bottom.
Cover and steam: Steam them on low to medium heat at least 1 hour, more or less depending on the thickness of the leaves.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing*: 1/3 vinegar and spices, 2/3 olive oil—mix a variety of vinegars (I like Balsamic, red wine, white, apple cider) with salt, pepper, one teaspoon of sugar, lots of oregano and tons of chopped garlic (never enough!). Be heavy handed with the spices. Then, add olive oil. Shake or stir well.
*Note: the dressing is to your taste…so be creative!
Final step before serving: When the artichokes are steamed to perfection, drain off the water and pour the dressing over them while they’re hot, ensuring that the dressing is filling the leaves. Cover them to keep warm and then marinate them with the dressing as often as you can for as long as you can. I use a turkey baster to do the job. Eight hours is best. (Be prepared: the aroma will fill your home delightfully.)
Voila! They’re ready to serve and eat at room temperature.
Eating: Pull one leaf off at a time and with your teeth, scrape off the artichoke pulp. Discard the scraped leaf in a nearby bowl. Keep up this process until there are no leaves left, leaving only the choke and the heart. (THIS IS THE BEST PART!) Be sure to remove the choke (otherwise you’ll choke!) and then savor the heart.
A la prochaine…