Monthly Archives: September 2015

La Marée – Monte Carlo, Monaco

PeanutPimpMama1-300x300While on the train to Monaco for our official reunion dinner, we had two reservations booked at Alain Ducasse’s – La Trattoria and La Marée in Monte Carlo. After taking a consensus of who preferred Italian over another amazing seafood option, we were swayed by the fireworks show displayed over the port (at 9:00pm) which is visible from LM’s terrace. The only catch was that we had to make our dinner reservation (on time). Evidently ten years apart left us with a lot of catching up to do. We were so entranced by our deep conversations that we passed right by the station in Monte Carlo. Anyone familiar with that train line would know that’s pretty hard to do, as it’s the only station that is very well lit and certainly far from residential feeling. #adventureswereahead


A couple beach towns later we found ourselves missing the reservation (let alone the fireworks) and in dire need of a taxi. A couple cars pulled up to our train station like a SWAT team with some very serious looking drivers. They asked us where we needed to go and we asked for a fare quote. The game of negotiation began and we were at their mercy, stranded helplessly and hungry in Menton. Seventy euros later we were cruising through the picturesque coast line. This might have been one of my favorite moments that day as I forgot exactly how breathtaking it is to see all of the lights twinkling in the distance at night. After many laughs and poorly spoken french we finally arrived at Port Palace Hotel. All of my “par-laying” earned me a big and unexpected wet kiss on the cheek from the driver. #ThanksPal #ImNotThatFunny (Pictured Above:The port of Monte- Carlo from the balcony at La Marée located in the Port Palace Hotel. They even left a little room for PeanutPimpMama’s yacht.)

IMG_9229The hotel had a cozy foyer and some scantily dressed Russians waiting for the lift as we entered. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we reached the restaurant level. To my surprise we were greeted by a party of the smaller variety, a bunch of children dressed in costumes. It made for an interesting first impression to say the least and one contrary to the “chic-fish” vibes their website exudes. #chicfishmeetschuckEcheese 

Our poor lonely table had been waiting inside patiently. The real party was happening sur la terrasse with great house music pumping and a couple of magnums and champagne bottles on ice (as to be expected). We were finally greeted by an adult and sat patiently with our menus for our server to arrive. That bread though…It was the only food we had for quite some time. For saying we were a party of six I expected a bit more enthusiasm. Lesson Learned: Don’t turn up late and keep your terrace view of the port…Maybe even catch some fireworks and eat before midnight.


Eventually our group required a second round of rolls. Additional rolls meant another butter to be had, which soon became an issue as we realized they were coveted little beurres to be passed out sparingly. I believe it took at least five more requests with five different people to be reluctantly gifted another one. Evidently there’s more to that gold wrapper than meets the eye.


Oysters, they’re an acquired act aren’t they? Do any children ever wake up and think to themselves, “Ah I’d sure love some freshly shucked oysters and a nice glass of brut champagne.” Or perhaps I’ve spoken too soon? I was about 26 when I finally learned to appreciate them as a latecomer to Oyster-land. On this very special evening half of our table decided to start our repas with some local fuits de mer. These creatures were a good four inches long and about an inch and a half deep with the silkiest of oyster flesh. Startling as they are upon first glance, they went down easily.
IMG_9232This dish (pictured above) was my contribution to the meal. I saw the artichoke salad come out of the kitchen and it was instant love. I just knew…It really was as simple as that. (Now if that could be applied to other areas of my life besides food.) This sturdy little salad was composed of some grilled and chopped artichokes with generous tranches of parmesan cheese and dressed with a balsamic glaze. Amazing how something so simple can be such a strong dish. All I needed was full command of a pepper mill to loosely grind my kernels. #winning
IMG_9238Next out was the “The Black Crimea”. I sensed an ironic double entendre here…What you’re actually getting: An heirloom tomato fort with some of the creamiest burrata you’ve ever had in your life. Seriously I gained ten pounds just staring at it. Breadstick anyone?

IMG_9233Et enfin the fishy-doodles! La Marée is a seafood restaurant with lots of sea creatures on display for everyone to gawk at. Some are dead and some are very much alive. After taking a stroll over to the in-house fish market and having a talk with the monger, we decided that buying our prey for the evening (by the kilo) was not an option. A smaller portion was suitable given the greediness of our current selection of dishes. It’s always nice to try a little bit of a LOT of things. When you order the fresh fish of the day you can select one of three ways to prepare it and of course your starches and veggies are a la carte.
IMG_9244The dessert was a nice note to end the meal on. Pictured Above: “Dessert du Jour”- A white chocolate mousse center surrounded by a creamy chocolate shell and finalement topped with a raspberry coulis and fresh fruit. It wasn’t life changing but it hit the spot.

This wouldn’t have been a proper french meal without finishing with the Chef’s selection of cheeses.


I must make mention of the peculiar artwork at this restaurant. There was a lady staring at us all evening from the corner of the dining room. It took a while to realize it was just a life-like statue of a French Maid. It was the most random installation I may have seen in my entire life but she made for some great after-dinner entertainment. #sofrench


But for real, aren’t we a good looking group? (#cutezies) I can’t wait until the next reunion. #Mexico2016

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Fenocchio – Nice, France


People ask me how my affinity for the French Riviera began. I spent one of the best semesters abroad there, but it seems to have the perfect combination of all the things PeanutPimpMama loves in life! It’s a pretty powerful statement I know. The truth is that PPM grew up near the beach, so there’s that. Plus, how can you not be completely hypnotized by the turquoise Mediterranean Sea? The weather is some of the best in the world, and the way the mountains reach the coastline is truly breathtaking. My all time favorite (of course) is the perfect fusion of Italian, French and local Niçoise fare. That magical mélange here includes some of the most impressive gelaterias I’ve ever seen.

IMG_9218When I studied in Nice back in 2005 my personal gelateria of choice was Pinnochio located right on Rue Massena (close to the old abode). The name of this particular brand “Fenocchio” kind of makes me chuckle a bit. (Pinnochio & Fenocchio…hinting at phallic references? The world may never know.) While both are filled with quite the alternative list of flavors, Fenocchio seems to be more about the gelato vs. a gelato-experience. Stumbling into the stand right after a late lunch was pretty impeccable timing. While the line was a bit overwhelming, the sales girls mean business and they let you know it by shuffling you along at a less-than-friendly pace. (Pictured Above:) Coconut and Speculoos. I’m soooooooooo boring. zzzz OMGzies it was so good though, I can still taste it…Like omg #Ican’teven #butcanI ? #gelatoonpoint #tho


My friends were way more adventurous with their ice cream selections. There were definitely some floral options and savory tastes for the more adventurous palates. It made for some excellent fuel to get the midday chores done before getting ready for the big night out. While some of us went home to for a late afternoon swim, others napped and some of us cleaned our unmentionables in the salad spinner. Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially when the washing machine is on the fritz! This episode of PPM à Nice had a couple of interesting twists and turns to the plot. All is well that ends well!


Thank goodness for airy balconies! A salad spinner…What would LuLu say?!

~PPM  Xxx

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Restaurant Le Romarin – Nice, France

PeanutPimpMama1-300x300Running on pure adrenaline and maybe the remnants of a cocktail or two, we landed in Nice around 7:00am, grabbed THE luggage and jumped into a taxi en route to l’apartement pour le weekend. The last time I had been in this airport would have been Summer of 2008 post-graduation. At the ripe age of 26 I remember feeling too old to have just graduated as I celebrated the completion of my BBA at Jimmy*z in Monte Carlo (until 6:00am). My mind was instantly flooded with amazing memories and I couldn’t wait to exit the airport and drive down the promenade. Moments later we were in the car and it was like nothing had changed, nothing really except that airport! It had some major additions with luxury good kiosks and food options besides PAUL. #wow


Airbnb…Let’s talk about that. We eventually arrived to wake up my groggy friends at our amazing rental which had been recently upgraded. It turned out that our original venue flooded, so we were relocated from Vieux-Nice to and apartment neighboring The Negresco Hotel. (c’est domage!) Airbnb didn’t even exist when we studied there in 2005. Yet here we were ten years later staying in an apartment none of us could fathom a decade ago with wrap around balconies, three large bedrooms, two and a half baths and massive common space with a beautiful kitchen for a wopping 130 euros per night… I’ll take it! Now if only we had time to cook.


That view “tho” … I’m a little jealous of myself right now.


Getting my luggage upstairs was interesting. I somehow managed to fit it in the lift…Closing the door and jumping in along with the case was the greater challenge. I had two options, playing elevator-Tetris or secondly facing the staircase. After settling in the apartment we set out to improve the wardrobe and toiletry situation and grabbed ourselves a delightful breakfast-formule at a local café .

IMG_9150It’s funny how Americans fear bread like the plague, yet we cross the Atlantic Ocean and all avoidance of carbo-bloat is instantaneously down the tubes as bread suddenly becomes a main/sole food group.(Pictured Above): PeanutPimpMama enjoys all of the important food groups including: croissant, bread with butter and jam, latte and a glass of freshly pressed O.J. #nothappeninginNYCnope


Since it was a bit overcast out, I took the liberty to revisit some old stomping grounds. (Pictured Above): PeanutPimpMama’s Niçoise Abode located on Rue Massena. This street is forever bustling with little boutiques and awesome cafés for pizzas and Italian assorted foodies. I admit that every time I have faced this door since 2005 it’s always been a bit surreal. So many memories on this street… So many walks of shame. (Not mine of course!)


The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling through Vieux-Nice. I was always mesmerized by this area of the city with the little winding nooks and crannies of these buildings and all of their hidden-secrets. My wandering-bohemian soul gets lost here.


Ah but my nose always finds its way! With the day slipping by, we walked through the Marché aux Fleurs and gawked at the flowers and restaurants in hopes of finding a nice café to have a late lunch. Nothing really grabbed us with thoughts of socca on the brain. Finally we turned a corner and it was like the heavens opened up and a beam of light shone down on this friendly looking little restaurant called Le Romarin (specializing in local Niçoise cuisine).

imageWe had our socca alright! We had that along with three other platters loaded with Niçoise-goodies. A goat cheese salad was neccessary (Salade de chèvre chaud 11,50€) while in France, plus we were limited to meal times where this might be possible. While I’ve seen way more impressive renditions of this classic French-salade, it added to our array quite nicely. Secondly, we chose a plate of local favorites to share (Assiette Nissarde 15,50€ ) -Pissaladière, Farcis, frites and Ratatouille and some grilled sanguins. We couldn’t skip the traditional (Salade niçoise 11,50€) -a bed of mesclun greens topped with tuna, anchovies, eggs, peppers, olives, radishes, cherry tomatoes and a light vinaigrette.  #noregrets


What would this amazing outdoor lunch be without a cool glass of pink-stuff? Un verre of house rosé was a nécessaire accompagnement pour le bon repas. A “bon repas” it was! Fear not as Le Romarin is approved by the local tourism board as “Authentic Niçoise Cuisine” juuuuuuuust in case you had any doubts.


All kinds of excited for our plans that evening, we cheered to our ten year reunion and a successful weekend in Nice…May we always return!

(At least PeanutPimpMama wants to) xoxo   <3 PPM

The Mediterranean.

A video posted by PeanutPimpMama (@peanutpimpmama) on

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