Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Diary #2: Food Cannes Make the Trip

by Leslie Rigoulot

May 12, 1996

Everyone complains about airline food, but I truly enjoyed the "last supper". That's the dinner I had on the American Airlines flight over. Filet mignon, potatoes, salad, salmon, sorbet and champagne: can't beat it. I guess I knew that on my tight budget I had better enjoy it while I could. And I was right. Don't tell any of the other Film Scouts but I have been saving my baguette from breakfast to eat with my home made chicken salad for lunch. Chicken salad, you say? Well, the flight attendants on American do this all the time. While still in the US, you buy tins of chicken with flip tops, pick up packages of mayo, salt and pepper at the local Burger King and then if you want to get fancy you add a lunch pail size box of raisins. Voila! Lunch is served on the balcony. Not exactly lunch on the terrace of the Majestic, but serviceable. It helps to be able to buy a soda or a snack but the stores in France have a unique philosophy: close when you want. Very few shops post hours and even those are flexible. I learned this the hard way. (Do I ever learn the easy way?) Planning to get a few things from the little grocery next to the hotel for dinner, I ducked around the corner to check out the menu of a friendly restaurant. After realizing that the menu was out of my price range, I turned to see the grocery locked up for the night. But there are lots of Vietnamese-Chinese places with reasonable prices and to my delight, great food.

Across the street from the Hotel Touring is the Cafe Casanova, home away from home. They serve European pizza which resembles a communion wafer with tomato sauce and cheese. If you want extras, stay away from the olives. We must add sugar to ours, because the ones here are very bitter. But the staff is very accepting of my lack of French. Oh, I've given up asking questions in French, because people tend to answer in French. And how am I supposed to understand that? Gad, I sound like the ugly American!

All the Film Scouts went to Cafe Roma for our second staff meeting which provided me with a chance to try the Veal Milanese. In Germany we called it Schnitzel, which is breaded veal. Henri poured the wine, everyone recounted their computer troubles with signing on, and I savored every bite. Looking out on the plaza at all the fashionable folks, I couldn't help but remember what my Dad used to say when finishing a great meal, "Wonder what the poor folks are up to tonight!?" Well Dad, we are having chicken salad, on the balcony.

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