Category Archives: Fun Food Friday

Fun Food Friday — Manofica — Best Pizza in Toulon, or Best Anywhere?


Munching at Manofica

Ursula and I had earlier passed an establishment back on Quai Cronstadt that had what looked to be some very delectable pizza. Today I’m going to introduce you to what could be the best pizza we’ve ever had at a place called Manofica. The charming restaurant also gives you options to dine either inside or out, and offers up some exquisite views of Toulon Harbor and the marina just outside.

Looks good!

Some fellow Vision of the Seas passengers were dining there, and they told us we were in for a treat. We were.

Ursula at Manofica

While looking at pizzas already served gave us our first clue that we were in a real pizzeria, the fire oven gave us a second:

Manofica’s fire pizza oven

If you’re in for a little imbibing, it appears Manofica has you covered there as well:

Manofica’s well-stocked bar

Time to peruse the menu:

Manofica’s menu as of 15 May 2022

Since it was just after 2:00 p.m. and dinner aboard Vision of the Seas was a mere four hours away, we opted to share a Pizze Anna. This choice gave us for di latte (a soft, very fresh mozzerella-style cheese made from cow’s milk rather than buffalo), creme de parmesan (a cream sauce made with the rinds of a parmesan), tomate cerise (cherry tomatoes), jambon cru (raw, cured ham similar to prosciutto), copeaux de parmesan (shaved parmesan), roquette (rocket, also known as arugula), basilic (basil, of course), and huile d’olive extra vierge (extra virgin olive oil). Since we asked to split one pizza, the staff at Manofica were nice enough to divide our pizza between two plates:

Manofica’s Pizze Anna

As you can see, the crust is light, airy, and perfectly blistered. The combination of toppings gave a great compliment to the crust rather than overpowering it, and avoided making the crust soggy. Here’s a view of the other half:

Incredible Manofica crust perfectly prepared with an excellent combination of toppings

Ursula proclaimed Manofica’s Pizze Anna the best pizza she has ever tasted, and I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment. It was a remarkable treat at a not unreasonable price presented in a wonderful setting with a great view of Toulon Harbor. And now it’s time to say goodbye to Toulon, take the ferry back to La Seyne-sur-Mer, and rejoin Vision of the Seas. But before we go:

The marina adjacent to Manofica

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Fun Food Friday — Delightful Mexican lunch at The Pink Store


The Pink Store restaurant

The Pink Store is a place to go for arts and crafts, tequila, mescal, and a whole lot more. Want a drink? There’s a full-service bar with some of the best, and strongest, margaritas on the planet:

The Pink Store’s bar

On this visit, made on 19 April of this year, we brought along two cruise buddies whom, quite by accident, we found live right here in El Paso. We met on an Alaska cruise last year (Part 1 of cruising Alaska off-season here: Cruising in the Age of Covid-19 — Part 1). Here are Bob “O” and Cory “M” Bustillos posing with Ursula “L” at the Puerto Palomas touristy sign:

Ursula “L”, Bob “O”, and Cory “M”

And here they are as we set down for lunch:

Bob and Cory at The Pink Store

By the way, not only does The Pink Store have indoor dining:

The Pink Store dining room
The Pink Store dining room

You also have the option of sitting outside:

Outdoor dining patio at The Pink Store

Now I’m going to have to apologize. I snagged a photo of the chips, salsa, and pico de gallo:

Chips, salsa, and pico de gallo

But we were so engrossed in our conversations that I totally missed the guacamole and queso fundido con rajas (melted cheese with poblano chile strips). Don’t be grossed out, but I didn’t remember to start taking pictures of the food until we all had already started to dig in. Here is the partially eaten remains of a Plato Mexicano, with included rice, frijoles, taco, red enchilada, and chile rellano(my recipe for that here: Get Stuffed on Chile Rellenos):

Plato Mexicano combination plate

I had The Pink Store’s chimichanga:

Chimichanga plate comes with two chimichangas containing shredded beef

As did Ursula:

Another chimichanga plate

Cory’s Plato Mexicano lasted long enough for me to get the shot above, but Bob didn’t give me much of chance to get my act together:

Title of this movie: Gone in 60 Seconds!

Next week we’ll continue looking at what The Pink Store has to offer in the way of arts, crafts, furniture, and more.

Слава Україні! (Slava Ukraini!)

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Fun Food Friday — Goldie’s Conch House


Goldie’s Conch House — King of Conch

Both Ursula and I encountered cracked conch on a trip to Grand Cayman Island many years ago. It was at an all-you-can-eat (AYCE) place called, appropriately, The Cracked Conch. There is still a Cracked Conch restaurant on Grand Cayman, but it’s not at the previous location, and it may not be under the same ownership as it’s no longer AYCE. So, since the Bahamas are practically synonymous with cracked conch, Ursula decided we were going to have lunch in Nassau at a restaurant she found online. Thus, we found ourselves at Goldie’s Conch House.

Both indoor and outdoor dining

Ursula was also anxious to try a local drink called sky juice, which is made from gin, coconut water, sweetened condensed milk, and spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. I’ll just say that sky juice did not disappoint either of us:

Bahamian sky juice

I cannot say likewise for the rest of the meal, which we started with conch fritters. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that fritters are not my favorite way to eat conch, as I find this concoction is usually heavy on the stomach, and seldom arrives at the table as the crispy concoction one would expect of a “fritter” anything. Alas, Goldie’s version did nothing to change my mind. They were to me a bit bland and extremely heavy on the palate. On the upside, there were plenty of them; so much so that we didn’t even attempt to finish them. The accompanying sauce was tasty, but being mayonnaise based did nothing to mitigate the inherent heaviness of the dish.

Goldie’s conch fritters

Fortunately, the cracked conch was an improvement. It wasn’t the best we’d ever had, but it was passable. The conch could have done with a bit more tenderizing (you have the pound the heck out of conch to get the most out of it). Some pieces were tender while others were chewier than they should have been. The batter was light, which was a huge improvement over the conch fritters, but it wasn’t as crisp as I like. To be fair, the humidity must have been way up from the heavy rain so that might have been a factor. I’m inclined to give Goldie’s a second chance to see if that was indeed the reason.

Cracked conch, lime, and fries

The fries were okay, but far from European pomme frite standards. Let’s just call them far better than the grease-soaked mass served up at Five Guys (one visit several years ago was more than enough for both of us; we’ll never make that mistake again), but certainly not up to par with McDonald’s (and let’s face it, fries about the only reason to ever enter a McDonald’s).

Goldie’s cracked conch

All in all I’d give this visit 3½ forks out of five. And who knows? Our visit may have just been on an off day.

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