Showers over Windermere from Holbeck Lane near Troutbeck.

Foodie Friday – The French Riviera in Arizona

September 24, 2021

We’ve added a new treat to life in Desert Dream.

Francine is a brilliant Mediterranean restaurant owned and operated by Laurent Halasz – Chef/Founder of Fig & Olive.

It’s a combo of St Tropez, Nice, Cannes, Miami and (a favourite of ours) Mamo in NYC.

Vibrant, exciting, buzzy – great music, sensational bar, terrific staff – Gilles, a top top commander-in chief, leader and problem-solver – and the best steak tartare in the State.

The food is inspired by Laurent’s mother Francine and by his childhood in the South of France amidst fresh, seasonal, flavourful cuisine.

“It all starts with Olive Oil” says Laurent, who built a great NYC restaurant a few years back called Fig & Olive.

Francine takes the concept forward, adding a great night out, and a terrific, bouncy, fun vibe in today’s challenging environment – pure escapism.

We shared dessert with Laurent and his partner Charles last week and were delighted to receive a surprise treat later in the week – Laurent’s cookbook, Fig & Olive, The Cuisine of the French Riviera.  (Find a copy if you can – published by Assouline in 2015.)

Trudy’s already made three dishes (plus the Fig & Olive dressing is now a staple in Desert Dream).  The Mediterranean came alive as we enjoyed this week – a romaine, beet & endive salad, salmon with cauliflower puree, braised endive and asparagus, and a delicious chicken paillard with pickled pearl onions, green beans, wax beans ….

The French may not be able to make nuclear submarines, but they sure know food!



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