While 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.)
The 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.
This 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
Next 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?
Et 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.
The 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
For More Information: http: www.lamaree.mc
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