Carolyne Kauser-AbbottTaste

Enjoying a Southern California Taste of Provence Menu With Friends

Occasionally, there are opportunities to connect with contributors in person, outside of “Perfectly Provence.” This week was one of those times.

Provencal Connections in California

On what was a bit like speed dating trip in Southern California my hubby and I drove to San Diego for one evening. The hook for him was the USS Midway, and for myself, it was a chance to reconnect with Susan Guillory. She is a gal who considers herself a Francophile to the core. Susan runs a small marketing company by day, but her alter ego is the Unexplorer an “out of the closet” travel writer.

Susan and Carolyne at Hotel del Coronado

While we did not have much time in San Diego, Susan was determined to show me her town. We headed to Coronado, a sand spit of an island, just over the bridge from the downtown core. Our destination was Hotel del Coronado (“The Del”), an iconic beachside resort with everything from a Starbucks coffee counter to outdoor spin classes. However, the modern elements do not detract from the classic beauty of this hotel, which first opened its doors in 1888. In sharp contrast to the blinding California sun, dark wood panelling surrounds the lobby walls, and brilliant crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling like a beacon. After a windy beachfront stroll, we enjoyed a view of the shimmering Pacific Ocean while we finished off our $6 coffees. Imagine what the rooms cost!

Hotel Del Coronado San Diego

As the sun dropped into the Pacific Ocean, we headed back across the sweeping bridge to sample local craft brew at Karl Strauss. Follow Susan’s travel stories on her Unexplorer website and look for her Provence experiences here.

Tasha Powell Manhattan Beach

San Diego’s weather did not disappoint; the next morning was like a sparkling diamond ring. However, it was time to leave and head towards Los Angeles. Our destination was hip Manhattan Beach, with its charming boutiques, bustling restaurant scene and sandy beachfront. Tasha Powell (read her story here) is an accomplished chef, food stylist, photographer and passionate Provence fan. This lady has many projects on the go, including her culinary vacation collaboration with Barbara Pitcher – read about Pitcher & Powell culinary holidays. Tasha greeted us with a generous cheese and charcuterie board, and homemade miniature Tropezienne tarts – she is Cooking with a French Twist.

Tart Tropezienne Cooking with a French Twist

The sunny skies and shimmering ocean water are enough to answer the question of why so many people choose to live in California. However, it was time to leave the coast because we had guests arriving from Tucson. And, I had grocery shopping to do in advance of David Scott Allen’s arrival for a culinary-focused weekend. David publishes Cocoa & Lavender each week there is a new recipe, photos that will make you drool and a story that will make you smile. In person, he is just as interesting, funny and at ease in the kitchen as one would imagine.

David Scott Allen

Menu: Saturday Night Dinner

Cauliflower Saffron Soup

Roasted chicken thighs with fennel and clementine (Ottolenghi recipe)

Green salad with a light vinaigrette

Raspberries with a sour cream and brown sugar sauce


Cocoa and Lavender Cauliflower saffron soup

Our Southern California “Taste of Provence” was over, but the common Provencal connection remains strong.

Photo credits:

Tart Tropezienne by Tasha Powell – Cooking with a French Twist
Cauliflower Soup by David Scott Allen – Cocoa & Lavender

Cocoa and Lavender Cauliflower saffron soup

Cauliflower Saffron Soup    

This creamy soup is easy to make as a savoury starter dish. The silky texture comes from the butter.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Servings 10 people


  • 8 tbsps Butter or olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions chopped
  • 2 large heads cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 tsp Saffron threads coarsely crumbled
  • 8 cups Chicken or vegetable broth more if needed
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh Chives chopped


  • Heat butter or olive oil in heavy large stockpot over medium heat.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté until very tender but not brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower pieces; stir to coat and sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add saffron and stir, then add broth.
  • Bring to simmer over high heat.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until cauliflower pieces are very tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Working in batches, purée cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth.
  • Transfer cauliflower purée to large saucepan. Season to taste with salt.
  • Bring to simmer before serving.
  • If the soup is too thick, add some more broth.
  • Ladle soup into bowls.
  • Garnish with chives and serve.


The soup can be made a day a head of time and refrigerated. Just reheat at a slow simmer before serving.
This recipe serves 10-12 as a first course.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Please share this with friends and family.

All rights reserved. Perfectly Provence articles and other content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten (including translations into other languages) or redistributed without written permission. For usage information, please contact us.
Syndication Information
Affiliate Information
As an Amazon Associate, this website earns from qualifying purchases. Some recipes, posts and pages may have affiliate links. If you purchase via these links, we receive a small commission that does not impact your price. Thank you in advance for supporting our work to maintain Perfectly Provence.
Previous post

Discover the Perfectly Provence Contributors

Next post

Market Fish Recipe: Fillet of Red Mullet with Pea Risotto

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

Carolyne Kauser-Abbott

With her camera and laptop close at hand, Carolyne has traded in her business suits for the world of freelance writing and blogging. Her first airplane ride at six months of age was her introduction to the exciting world of travel.

While in Provence, Carolyne can be found hiking with friends, riding the hills around the Alpilles or tackling Mont Ventoux. Her attachment to the region resonates in Perfectly Provence this digital magazine that she launched in 2014. This website is an opportunity to explore the best of the Mediterranean lifestyle (food & wine, places to stay, expat stories, books on the region, travel tips, real estate tips and more), through our contributors' articles.

Carolyne writes a food and travel blog Ginger and Nutmeg. Carolyne’s freelance articles can be found in Global Living Magazine, Avenue Magazine and City Palate (Published Travel Articles).


  1. blank
    April 23, 2017 at 10:57 am — Reply

    We had such a great time with you over that weekend! We look forward to more good times in Tucson, Calgary, or Palm Desert – or, of course, Provence!

    • blank
      April 27, 2017 at 3:18 pm — Reply

      Ditto! Looking forward to our next culinary encounter.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.