Monday, February 25, 2013

Moules in Cancale!!!

Hi, it's Florette again, this time going under cover as an "official" moules taster in Cancale last weekend.  The weather was lovely and so I begged for a "ride in the car", and what better place for a beautiful drive and then eating fresh seafood on the beachfront in Cancale!

All of the restaurants facing the port/beach feature fresh seafood -- particularly oysters and moules for an incredible price, as they are frequently producers themselves.  You win from a price and freshness standpoint, (and certainly I do too, as one of the few things Mommy let's me snarf a couple of moules)!

Though it's off-season at the moment, the seafront is still always lively, with fresh markets, lots of people around, and breaking in their convertibles and motorcycles, and on a clear day you can see Mont. St. Michel in the distance in the bay.   When the weather really shines, tons of people come our strolling or zooming down the seafront in their various classic car convertibles, and wide selections of motorcycles.  I think some come down from England too, and we have seen endless groups of Harley clubs, and a particular group of Honda Goldwing people -- all of their Goldwings tricked-out to the max, and on display for everyone to enjoy.  Having a port facing terrace table is key for the view and the incredible people watching!

I love that part too, as I can walk around amongst the other dogs and show off my latest bandanna.  It IS all about me, after all, and I get lots of stares and sometime kisses!

Last Sunday, I went under cover for some moules tasting in my camouflage bandanna, which I'm sure rendered me invisible for the task.

Of course, one of the first things to do is smell the moules, to verify they're safe for your human's, and of course your own consumption.   I am, of course, an expert in this.  Take a deep whiff, and then claim them as yours!  
Moules smelling technique
My Mommy's favourite place in Cancale is:

Au Pied du Cheval
10 Quai Gambetta
35260 Cancale
02 99 89 76 95
(call for a reservation for a terrace table!  They are always booked solid.

Moules Mariniere for 2
1,5 kilos of fresh moules
1 large thumb of fresh salted butter
1/4 cup finely diced shallots
1/4 cup chopped parsley (flat Italian is best)
1/2 cup white wine
Sploosh of olive oil (to keep the butter from burning and add flavour)
1/4 cup finely dices fresh garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
Debeard the moules under cold running water in a colander.  Make sure you have plenty of fresh bowls on the table for shells shucked, and paper towels for your friends as it gets kind of messy.
In the pot over a medium heat, mix the butter, shallots and garlic and olive oil,  just soften them down and bind them for a few minutes.  When soft and perfumy, add the white wine and reduce the liquid by half. 
Raise the temperature to high, then toss in the moules and parsley, some freshly ground salt & pepper, mix quickly with the sauce -- and slam the lid on tight!!!  Steam the mussels until they are all opened.  Just a few minutes (around ten, depending on their size).  You have to watch this like a pug!
When opened, give another quick stir to blend the sauce with the moules and take it to the table!Serve you friends in shallow bowls copiously, and don't forget to keep covering the moules in the pot to keep them hot and they'll continue to infuse with flavour.  People will keep coming back for more until they're gone!  Then they'll brag about how much they were about to eat.  Make sure you provide plenty of fresh bread and French Fries for sopping up all the yummy sauce.DON'T forget to slip fine pugs like myself a surreptitious moule every once in a while under the table!!!
Best served with a chilly white Muscadet or white Burgundy. 
Slurp, slurp!  Flo' 

Monday, February 11, 2013


Over the New Year's holidays, my humans took me to Biarritz for a couple of days where the weather was glorious, the beaches spectacular -- wide, large and teeming with surfers waiting for the "big one", and in other areas, rocky cliffs with unbelievable views down to the crashing surf beneath.  We got to see some old friends of Mommy's too, and go to their fabulous restaurant on the beach.  It's awesome, has an outdoor pool and sundeck, a real "taco bar", regular live music etc. The pool is really wild, it has a bottom that can be regulated to different depths. Woo-hoo!  The restaurant itself has a very California "surfer chill" feel, with white-washed walls, cool and eclectic mementos scattered around, sinky old leather Havana club chairs and couches around the fireplace that feel like a "hug", and a great bar that overlooks the dining room.  Inside, the food is singularly creative, unusual and scrumptious. On sunny days out front -- sand between your toes, REAL tacos, and a Tiki bar, plenty of great tables everywhere. If it's chilly outside, snuggle up to the huge, cosy fireplace that dominates the dining area. The general "vibe" is just groovy in every way. Very kid/"good dog" friendly. It's an absolute MUST if you're in Biarritz. 
Wear your flops!  Or like me, just go naked...

The Beach House

26, Avenue des Dauphins
64600 Anglet
+33 (0)5 59 15 27 17

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How to be a "Good Dog" in France - and gain access to the finest restaurants

How to hide under Mommy's feet at a fancy party


Hi there, it's Flo' again.  I thought all dogs might like to learn how to attain "Good Dog" status in France, where they still understand that we are far superior to our humans, and deserve a place in the finest restaurants, etc.  A few pointers:

Learn the meaning of the word "NO"; it's a universal vocabulary word, yet even some adult humans never learn it.
  • Learn how to "go to the potty outside"; and convey to your humans "Yes, I need to go outside!" or "No thanks, not right now," when you need to go to the potty, before you really don't have a choice.  Learn how to ask, I promise you, you can train your humans.  Mine learned quickly.
  • Teach your humans how to ask YOU before you go into any establishment; in an appropriate place (with doo-doo baggies for the 'Big Kahuna'), 'Wee-Wee' or whatever command they teach you for either potty action.  Do this on command -- most human men never master this.  Being an empty dog gives you much greater social largesse!  And you'll be a more comfortable dog for it.
  • Do NOT EVER go to the potty inside; unless you are sick or your humans did not provide you the courtesy of giving your host a choice -- in which case, it's THEIR FAULT to begin with, and they have to clean up, and possibly pay for damages.
  • Learn to say "Hi!", with a happy, wagging tail; but sitting and staying right next to your human's feet when entering a restaurant or any public commerce.  Distribute kisses and autographs only when specifically asked.
  • Lie down under the table; and assume the "sleeping-dog position" once you're inside a restaurant. The goal is: you are invisible. When they discover there was actually a "good dog" under the table when you get up to leave, they will fall over themselves wanting to pet you, get 'schmoogle-kisses' and ask how "they can get their kids/husbands to behave so well."  Do not tell them, just show them.
  • Do not get distracted by other dogs or kids; no matter how cute and appealing they are, even if they solicit you.  The only exception to this rule is if their parents ask and your human gives you the "yes" signal. 
  • Do not beg for food, or stand-up to ask for table hand-outs; not matter how great the temptation, nor how low the table.  If the owner offers you scraps, sit, and look to your human to give you the "yes" or "no" signal first.
  • No barking, ever!  Unless you see someone in need of help and need to alert your human, (or need to verbally discuss the Animal Channel content in front of the TV at home). If you're scared or unsure, immediately go hide under/between Mommy's (or your human's) feet - see above photo.
  • No "paper napkin shredding" or "shoelace un-tying" surreptitiously under the table; no matter how bored you get. Trust my experience on this.
These tips are how I obtain and retain not only my bodily functions, but furthermore, my celebrity status as a "Good Dog", loved and welcomed by restaurants and their owners, France-wide, so far.  In addition, I am instantly recognised by name, given the best tables, and an automatic, clean bowl of fresh water in either sterling silver or heavy crystal upon my arrival.  Just kidding!  My humans are regularly allowed to accompany me too.  ;-)


First real public excursion October 2010

Hi, it's me, Flo'.  Here is a picture of me with Daddy at almost 4 months old in Saint Malo, France just starting to use a leash.  As you can see, I'm not much bigger than a thumbnail, but I'm the one on the bottom left of the photo, and obviously, the most important.  We went to one of my human's favourite places inside the ramparts, La Bergamote.  It's a beautiful, family-owned tea room/retaurant (complete selection of Mariage Frères teas) which features delicious hand-made quiches, salads, and of course, the most delectable selection of desserts I've ever gotten to see (but, not have), all in "Texas-sized" portions.  On a sunny day, sit outside on the terrace facing the Saint Malo cathedral.  If you have to wait for your table, go peek inside the stunning cathedral across the street - no, God in France doesn't let dogs inside churches :-(.  If it's raining, inside it's cosy and warm, with great jazz tunes in the background.  NO!  I did not go to the potty on the floor inside the restaurant, even though I was still hard at work mastering the art of "going to the potty outside" in general.  Woo-hoo for me!

If you're ever in Saint Malo, check it out.  But call in advance for reservations (especially for a terrace table, of which there are maybe 3), and to make sure they're open!  They are "good-dog" friendly, otherwise - they wouldn't get my "paws up!"

La Bergamote

3 Place Jean de Châtillon
35400 Saint-Malo

+33 (0)2 99 40 28 14

Bonjour!  My name is Florette Freton and I am a 2½ year old pug living in France with my humans. They love to travel, discover indigenous food, interesting wine, colourful markets, hidden local restaurants, and beautiful spots as well as cook at home for friends. 
Luckily, they love me too, and take me with them everywhere they go, so I’m always at the center of the action... and of course, the life of the party!   

I’ve been keenly observing and smelling all of this from ankle-level (whether travelling or from Mommy's kitchen floor) since I made my debut on planet Earth.  I usually get up to table-level too, though only for socialising and "people watching" after the good stuff is already gone!

I’ve decided to share some of my adventures, smells, tastes and tips as they arise, peppered with my personal commentary, directly as I experience them – from ankle-level. 

I hope you enjoy the “walk outside”, and welcome your comments – whether human or otherwise.