Last fall I tagged along with my husband on a work trip to Toulouse, France (as one does when one's spouse has meetings in such nice places). It was our first time in Toulouse, and it was stressful. I feel like the first trip to any new city is a kind of sacrifice to the travel gods, seasoned with blunders and bad maps and jet lag, especially when you don't speak the language or have a credit card with the right kind of chip inside.
But in the middle of dripping rain, closed shops, and terrible hotel wifi, our fortunes turned glowing. The reason, of course, was food, and a hospitable table spread with the comforting food of the South of France: terrines, dark soup, good bread, and a perfect lentil salad.