Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mother-in-Law Sunday lunches

Sunday lunch is a tradition. Going home to the parents. Bringing chocolates or flowers. Eating a blanquette de veau. Drinking oneself silly. (ok so that one is just me and my miniscule alcohol tolerance.)

I really shouldn't complain. I really couldn't be any more spoiled as I sit on my behind in the formal dining room at b's parent's house in the countryside eating course after course of excellent food prepared by his mother's skilled hands.

Here is what it looks like:

Puff pastry with garlic and parsley escargot (yea, snails)
Mille feuille pastry rolled with chorizo sausage
Mini red bell pepper and basil loaves


Smoked salmon and muscles on a stick with fresh dill

marinated yellow, red and green bell peppers


Mache lettuce, mushrooms, sugar beats, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, croutons and duck breast

Hungarian royal wine and white burgundy wine

Slow roasted garlic and rosemary leg of lamb with gratin dauphinois (thinly sliced potatoes cream and cheese)

St Emilion red wine


The oh-so-skilled hands

Chocolate cake with whipped cream and fruit salad (strawberry, mango, apple, pear)

Followed by coffee, chocolates and nougats.

half hour nap

1 hour walk
30 minute train ride, 25 minute bus, 1 small salad, 1 big recovery sleep

And today's inappropriate French joke:

"a man who has a cheating wife need only be concerned that someone else knows what he has settled for" - classy huh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paris in the springtime

These are tulips.

Yes I didn't know tulips could do that either.

In magical Frantasyland tulips last 2 WEEKS and they BLOOM all the way open.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The return of rognons

Remember when I said that b tried to get me to eat rugnons (pronounced like funions).

Yea, this time I have photo evidence.

Would you eat that? That thing in the sauce is meat!?!

The Bread tour or Tour de Pain

It is no secret that bread is taken very seriously in France.

In the beginning b tried to eat baguette with my Mexican dinner. It didn't go well.

Within 3 minutes, on foot, of my apartment there are 4 bakeries. If you extend that to 8 minutes you can add 7 more. And we're talking full order bakeries. 20 different types of bread plus miles of dreamy desserts.

Everyone gets bread every 2-3 days - because that is how long bread lasts here without preservatives. There is a square bread that with preservatives that (creepily enough) lasts for weeks called Pain de Mie - it's like the vache qui ris of the bread world, that is to say, everyone loves it because it makes life easier, but it has no taste or nutritional value.

I have tried all the bread at our favorite bakery

baguette tradition
avec le grains de sesame
de la foret noire
aux lardons
au fromage

all that translates to "a freaking lot of bread"

This is my new favorite. It was so good I forgot what it was called.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Women who creep me out....

Anna Wintour

Ségolène Royale, former and possible future candidate for the French presidency.

the director of my French Master's Program

They seem so sweet on the outside.

Ed or Franck

Creepy huh?

This is Ed

or Franck. I can't decide

I cannot resist things that are 1 euro and last week when b and I went to pick up Sunday newspapers (after la piscine) I found this at the Presse (newspaper stand). Well he didn't have the top of his cranium, nor did he have eyes. Just a skull, jawbone and 32 teeth to plug in. And then I had leftover M&Ms, and really, what better place to put them than in the open skull sitting in your living room.
But this week at the Presse there was the top of his skill and part of a brain with two beady eyes for 3,99. (rant: why must French switch the "," and "." in money? Or if we are going by seniority, why did the Americans?) And even though it was no longer 1 euro, I could not resist.

But now Franck is creepy. So I had to remove the new expensive parts and just leave him with an open crâne filled with M&Ms.
Sometimes I forget how beautiful Paris is. (Yes, really) My regular day is surrounded by narrow streets with high walls and gray sky (winter Paris). I can see the Eiffel Tower from my street and it is this sparkly reminder, but it's only if i take the time to look.
Sunday we went muséeing to a free photo show at the Petite Palais. This was my view when I turned to get my coat.
I have to say, I like that I forget. It makes it a beautiful slap in the face when you turn your head to see this out the window.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

yogurt of the day

We have "dessert" yogurts too

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And for shits and giggles

This is an advertisement for glasses.

Can I get a "What?"


Therapy talk: We are predisposed to repeat the relationship of our parents.

Me talk: I am going to have both the good parts and bad parts of my mother including repeating her disasterous love life until I can "break the cycle".

heh Yay.

Can anyone reccomend a healthy relationship book?

Les grandes magasins

Printemps, Galerie Lafayette, Le Bon Marche are the grandes magasins (big stores) in Paris. They are like a Nordstrom or Nieman Marcus except inside they have other stores without walls. Like on the women’s clothing level they have Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, The Kooples and Zadig & Voltaire in sections of one level. All of which you can normally find in individual stores on the street.

And like most big department stores they have holiday scenes in the display windows over Christmas. I KNOW it is just past Christmas and we just took our wreath down but they are so stylish and funny how it is supposed to be for the kids, but really it’s not.

These photos are from when the theme was Russia.

And one for the kids!

Monday, February 14, 2011

party food snapshot

Would you like some cheese with your meat? Or some bread with your cheese? Meat anyone? Or maybe some cheese?

I see you...

Thought of the day:

You know that game you play when you are a little bitty kid. The one where you cover your eyes and no one can see you? I think I've been playing that game since I got here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reflection on a window

Reflection on a window of our lunchtime scene in the Alps.

Because everywhere I go, move or think about is posh. South of France anyone?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


My plant killing skills are second to none.

My hit list over the last 3 years was: red&yellow flowers gifted from B's mom, basil, strawberry, basil, bamboo, thym, parsley, ficus, basil. And there are 2 mint plants that keep dying and coming back. I wish basil was the same. The only way I have found to not kill the plants is to leave them on the patio and ignore them (except the basil).

This one was a luncheon gift.
Rule of thumb 602: You must always bring something when you are invited over somewhere. It can be drinks, dessert or (always a safe bet) flowers/plants.

So I apparently ignored this plant so well that it is not dead. AND it is blooming.

Thought: I don't suppose that works with children?
If they are anything like my plants I will put them in a pretty and completely uncomfortable pot and then water them so much they get jaundice.

Explaining Mondays

Ok so this is the way shopping goes (in explanation of why and what shops are closed on Mondays)

The supermarket is open Mondays.
The bakery with the good multigrain bread is not.
The bakery up the street with the good 'tradition' baguette is.
The butcher and the primeur (produce: veg & fruits) are closed.
The bank is not open on Monday, but it is open part of the day on Saturday.
And the post office is open Saturday half day, not Sunday, but yes on Monday. (And the post office is also a bank).

Totally clear, right?

You could make tacos on Sunday except the only place to get real cheddar is at the supermarket. So instead you could make soup, but the bakery with the good baguettes is not open so you'll have to settle for multigrain.

But the flower shop is open every day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Monday morning

Yesterday we went to walking in the park and then to have a quick drink (impromptu date). And finally, B and I went to see The King’s Speech (which was great, by the way, I highly recommend it). And somehow I lost my brand new bracelet from R who just brought it back from her travels for me the night before.

So today… I retraced all of our steps from last night. This, might I add, is a fools errand because if it dropped on the street the chances of anything shiny or anything of any value at all staying on the street is 0. It’s like the chances of B going more than 2 days without cheese or baguette. Hilariously impossible. Not only because, who wouldn’t pick up something shiny left on the ground, but because there are people trying to survive. Like people who sit on the sidewalks with handwritten signs (7 in my 45 min walk this morning). And people who sift through the trash every night and even during the day for anything sellable or edible. It took me a while to figure out why in the morning, the trash set out the night before would be literally spread out around the can. In the beginning I thought it was the neighborhood riffraff. And then one morning I left early for work and I saw people, at every trash. But I go on with my search anyway because I can’t just sit back and do nothing and I’m really heartsick about losing the gift.

I go to each location with no luck. I pass the opera house, gleaming in the morning sunlight. The kind of sun I haven’t seen in 6 months.

And finally having finished my task, I head to the gym to do my workout. And no I’m sorry to say but I have yet to turn into Sydney Bristow from Alias. I can’t do things alone. I’m not sure why.

But I am still going.

After the gym I decide to walk back home and am reminded it is Monday because 85% of the shops are closed. UGH. And I think – as if France does this only to piss ME off – FRANCE, WHY? WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE EVERYTHING SO DIFFICULT?!

Because it’s about me! Of course, it is all about me.

Daily torture

Yep, it totally says 28Euros for a 4 person cake.

And they taste good too.

PS sorry for the crap quality of the photos.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

La piscine

So I dragged b (boyfriend) to the swimming pool about a year ago and now he is hooked. Does this happen to anyone else? You have to push and pull your man to get him to do anything new.
So these are the rules of the pool:

Généralités sur l'hygiène¹
A Paris, à l'exception de la piscine naturiste Roger le Gall dans le XIIème, le port du maillot de bain est obligatoire, et les garçons doivent s'en tenir au slip de bain (caleçons ou bermudas sont interdits). Le bonnet de bain lui aussi, sauf à Pontoise, ornera impérativement toutes les têtes.

In Paris, with the exception of Roger le Gall, the nudist swimming pool, wearing a swimming suit is required, and boys must wear speedos (underwear and bermuda shorts/board shorts are not accepted). All swimmers are also required to wear swimming caps.

I live in Speeeeedo land.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where we live....

So this is one side of Paris. And 45 minutes by metro to those tall buildings there in the center is a place I really like, called Montmartre. And just to the left of that is where we live.


So of my friends in France, I only have 2 who have had children. As opposed to my friends back in the good old U.S. who have all had children and are on their 2nd, 3rd and surprisingly common 4th child. (yay for Utah spiking the water and replenishing the earth!) (And yay really for people willing to have babies)

And so my french friends told me after having their children they had to go for physical therapy (rééducation).

Of what, might you ask?

per·i·ne·um (pr-nm)

Magical, Frantasyland has physical therapy for the perenium. (If you don't know what that is, think peeing yourself when you laugh really hard, only doing it a little every time you sneeze.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Through a window

I don't know why, but I like structures. I obsessively took photos of stairs for a long time.
I also like doors and sometimes windows.

I could theorize on why, but I think it's really that through something similar I can then see what is different.

everyone uses stairs
everyone uses windows
everyone in the world

But they don't look like mine where I'm from. Or at least where I used to be from. They are a different shape or form and they are often Old. And what surrounds them is often vastly different.

This is from last week. We took the train to our friend's house in St. Pellerin a village in Province.

It's where B and I go when we need a break from the rush of the city.

It is the fields upon fields upon green fields that will always remind me of the French countryside.

Ice Cream Professional

From the inside out: chocolate, pistachio, yogurt

I know the good places to get ice cream. Trust me.

Macarons may be very à la mode (by the way if no one told you by now "à la mode"does not mean "with ice cream" like they tell you at church activities - but like it says ice cream is, and will always be, in style).

So this ice cream is probably from my favorite chain. It's called Amorino. And oh how I love pretty and edible things. You can choose up to 4 flavors for your "flower" and this is just the small.

Then there is Grom - soft serve but SO full of flavor. Like so much full of flavor that you should only get the small and even then you have to REALLY like the flavor. They are chic and snobby. And apparently buy the places where their ingredients are made in order to guarantee the flavor...including the lemon grove of the owner's mother. But, the lemon is to die for.

And the winner is this tiny little place at metro République where they don't even speak French. My friend, who is not an ice cream professional, tried to tell me that the best ice cream was in the neighborhood of her work. I did not want to believe her. But I cannot contest after having tasted. It is an Italian woman and her daughter and not only was it delectable the first time I went, but I went back less than a week later and saw the daily delivery of fresh fruits for the making of all the different flavors. If it wasn't 30 minutes from my place, I would go there everyday. Everyday.

If you come and visit me, I'll take you there.

Pourquoi pas? or Why not?

Do you want to go to the park?

Do you want to have pie?

Do you want a slap?

"Pourquoi pas?!" They say.

"Sure. I have nothing better to eat pie or to have you slap me. Either will do me just fine."