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Everything posted by therese

  1. Great blog. I took my daughter out for dim sum yesterday morning in your honor.
  2. Thanks, doc. Digital images have changed my attitude towards photographs in several ways. There's the immediacy of them, of course (assuming your camera's equipped with a big enough screen---I recently got a new one that I chose in part because of its nice screen), but there's also the opportunity to zoom in on some detail that wasn't initially the subject, but that ends up being interesting. This zoomed image is an example of something that I didn't notice when I was taking the photo: I'm taking the photo from inside the boulangerie where I purchased my last evening's (and next day's) baguette, Desgranges, and my intent is to capture the lovely piece montee and the cakes in the foreground. But in looking closely I noted that there was some writing on the window. It's backwards, but clearly refers to an award for best baguette in Paris, 2005. It reminded me that I'd seen a similar image on my first day in Paris, sitting at lunch with D: This shop (La prairie de coquelicot) was right across the street from the restaurant, and was included in shots that I took of the neighborhood. You can see a pretty red poppy (a favorite of mine, and edible, or at least the seeds are) in the window.
  3. Hey, cool, that's exactly where I had aligot, and where the waiters did what you describe.
  4. Very rich, very filling. I've never made it at home, but ate it in France a few years ago at a restaurant that featured fairly elaborate tableside service, with the server doing quite a bit of stirring and "pulling" of it before finally drizzling a rope (for want of a better word) of it onto my plate. I refused seconds, not because I didn't like it but because a second serving would have been altogether too much food.
  5. Roses are edible. Lilies of the valley are poisonous.
  6. Yep, that's it. The rose (whether in a fist or not) is pretty widely associated with socialism, French-style or other. For those of you who didn't notice it, the rose (clenched in a fist) is on the sign overhead that says "Parti Socialiste." There are two on the left side, flanking the "1 AR" and two on the right, flanking the "2 AR".
  7. The subject of the first picture is pretty obvious. A similar item is present in the second picture but not nearly so obvious, but anybody familiar with French politics will know to look for it.
  8. A couple more bonus pictures that illustrate what was going on in Paris while I was there. At first perhaps not obviously food-related, but the photos have actually got something in common. In one instance the common item depicted is edible, in the other it is not. This man is selling muguets, or lilies of the valley, the traditional gift on May 1. I'd meant to take some to John Talbott for our lunch date, but was running too late after dealing with hotel housekeeping and so didn't manage. I took this photo later in the day, on my way to Parc Monceau: This photo was taken Thursday, right around the corner from the creperie La Dentelle, on Rue Montorgueil: Any guesses as to the common element? One is edible, and one is poisonous.
  9. You mean this thing? An excellent question, actually, and one that I'm not entirely qualified to answer as I cannot recall the description on the menu. Some fancy-ass name for a savory tart that escapes me at the moment. Anyway, I did taste it, and it was cold and wet and altogether unpleasant. And here's a bonus photo for you showing the "light supper" served before landing: The dish on the right is a sort of salad plate comprised of orzo with green beans and potatoes. The muffin-y cake thing wasn't too bad, as there were cherries towards the bottom. All in all, I was really glad that I'd packed food.
  10. I agree, well and truly. Two weeks in Italy next month, and then I think I may actually have managed to sate my travel bug, at least for a few months.
  11. I'd once again scored a bulkhead seat, and this time it was in the upstairs sections of one of AirFrance's old long haul 747s. So I was in the very front of the plane, and the seat next to me was empty (with cause---it was so broken down that the arm rest had been repaired with duct tape), and apparently these seats were first or business class at some point because they were very large and reclined quite a bit. So, first class seating (well, if you discount the grime), but most definitely coach food. When I'd checked in at the kiosk I got a message saying that my special meal request had been honored, and when I'd gotten settled I told the flight attendant that there should be a meal for me somewhere. In the end I was given one of the usual meals, salmon ravioli in spinach sauce. Here's the meal (which I didn't eat, apart from the not bad fromage blanc with mango and madeleine, preferring the food I'd packed earlier that day): Uneventful flight. Took the MARTA train to Decatur, where my husband met me and we went out to dinner at a nice local place called Feast. So, that's the end. Please feel free to ask questions or comment.
  12. Up very early to go see the Tour Eiffel in the dawn mist, fortified with tea and madeleines beforehand. Showered, packed (including my lunch, trying to decide whether or not airport security would consider radishes a threat, and whether or not I'd need to put the cheese sandwich in my one quart/liter ziploc bag), and met with hotel management to get reimbursed for all the stuff that had gone missing (114 euro, in cash). The AirFrance bus was full, so instead of waiting for the next one I recruited a couple from Florida to help defray the cost of a taxi. After checking in I headed directly to the gate (which is a long way), and by the time I got there it was time for lunch. Very slim pickings at the one cafe/bar, so I just got a beer and ate one of my sandwiches and drank an Actimel (one of several I'd stashed in my one quart/liter ziploc bag). [edit to fix typo]
  13. I arrived at the Centre Pompidou too late to score a seat for Egoyan's lecture before the film, as there were quite a few members of the press there and there was a large contingent of firemen on hand to make sure we didn't exceed the maximum capacity of the room. So about thirty of us cooled our heels, waiting for about 10 minutes for the lecture to finish and the press to leave so that we could take our seats. Although the movie itself is nothing to do with food, it does speak to a lot of what motivates me when I travel and dine (which are in many ways the exact same thing for me): the anticipation of an experience, documentation of an experience, and finally the re-living of the experience, either by repeating it (as is the case for the madeleines and crepe with frangipane) or discussing it (as I'm doing here). Egoyan manipulates the viewer in some unexpected ways, and if you get the chance to see it ("Citadel"), do. After the film we went downstairs to mingle, and were offered red wine in plastic cups, cherry tomatoes, Cheetos-equivalents, and little foiled wrapped cubes of mystery cheese. Here's a shot of the crowd: And here's a guy immediately outside the venue (so we were standing next to him) who probably wouldn't have minded some foil-wrapped mystery cheese: Trip home by metro at about midnight, where I tried the cidre. Much too sweet for my taste, but very pretty:
  14. So, turns out I'd stumbled onto a branch a fairly well-known place, Desgranges. Here's the baguette: And here's the other stuff I got at Champion (ham, cheese, radishes, and cidre of a sort I hadn't had before): A light supper of bread with ham and radishes with cheese before heading out to the Centre Pompidou. [edit to fix a typo]
  15. Finally having made it to the cashier's line laden with my various purchases (some of which I'll show you later), I realized that I'd forgotten to get bread. And in fact had not even noticed bread as I'd passed through the store. But the man standing right next to me in line was clutching a couple of baguettes under his arm, so clearly I'd just overlooked it. And retiring sort that I am, I asked him where he'd found it, and he explained that he'd gotten it next door, that there was a boulangerie just one door down. So I made my purchases, double bagging since they were on the heavy side, and headed next door to find the following lovely oasis (I asked before taking photographs): A charming young woman waited on me, and my baguette was still nice and warm. I tucked it under my arm and headed home to get ready to go out for the evening.
  16. I usually try to bring back some sort of aperitif that I've not seen in the U.S. This is actually getting harder to do, what with our shrinking world, but I did find this item: You're supposed to add a shot of it to a beer, and I think it will be a refreshing option this summer (though I'll have to remember to chill some beer, as we usually drink it room temp). Seems like it would be good with other fizzy drinks as well, or maybe just white wine. Somebody's probably already invented kir Picon. I also got these, for breakfast (and my soul):
  17. My plans for the evening in place, I headed back to Porte Maillot to take care of some errands. One of these was sourcing food for my dinner, as well as for meals the next day (including the flight---I was booked via Delta on an Air France code share, and past experience told me to expect the worst). I headed back out to Champion, where I got to join a large number of very harried locals who were busy trying to cobble something together for the evening. You might wonder why I hadn't purchased anything earlier in the day, particularly at Montorgueil, and the easy answer to that is that I just didn't want to have to lug too much stuff around with me. So, I ended up buying a number of things, including some gifts to take home. I usually get some sort of Haribo kid candy, and I couldn't resist these. I don't have a fixation on eggs, really I don't: They're actually quite good, with the "white" being a firm marshmallow and the "yolk" being a tangy fruit gummy. Like Oreos, you can eat them in a number of different ways: let them melt, chew them all up together, bite the yolk off and eat it separately from the white (probably my favorite technique). I once ate lunch sitting next to a table full of Haribo factory workers who were visiting Le Grau du Roi (I was at a spa in Port Camargue at the time) for the day. They were very nice, and very happy to talk about what a great place Haribo was to work.
  18. You're all still reeling from the idea of frozen sushi, aren't you? It's probably not as bad as it sounds, but then that leaves quite a lot of wiggle room. I spent the early part of the afternoon doing non-food shopping, eventually making my way to Centre Pompidou. I remember reading about this building when I was still quite young, when it was featured in National Geographic. I first visited when I was an exchange student (one of the very few tourist sites I visited during that period), and had not had the chance to see it with my children last year and so returned. Because I didn't have plans for the evening I checked out the program and found that Atom Egoyan's "Citadel" was showing, and with a lecture to start and a reception afterwards to boot. So I bought my 5.5 euro ticket and headed over to the book store, where I found Jean-Jacque Sempe's "Monsieur Lambert" together with the suite. Very much on topic, as both take place almost entirely within the confines of a restaurant, Chez Picard. Very well done, and for those of us mostly familiar with Sempe's work in The New Yorker an interesting change.
  19. Lunch finished, I strolled down Rue Montorgueil, checking out the various lovely items for sale. No photos, as it was pretty crowded, and not only have I taken lots of pretty pictures of markets over the years, I was also being a bit conservative with my camera battery, as one of the items taken from my room as my camera charger. I did finally give in though, when I found something that I hadn't previously photographed, but had heard of, here on eG in fact. That something was a Picard frozen food store. Freezing's a great way of preserving all sorts of stuff, and these seemed likely candidates: I can't say that I some of the other items really sounded like such a very good idea: And these were just funny:
  20. Fortunately, though it sounds like your mother experienced something similar but worse (and I did count myself lucky). "Egging" here is generally restricted to buildings as targets, and then usually only on Halloween. Anyway, woke up Thursday AM to TV news re-hash of the debate the previous evening (which I'd seen a bit of before going to sleep), and an entire day of no real plans in front of me. There was a restaurant that I'd been to on my last visit to Paris with my children that I wanted to try again. More shades of "A la recherche du temps perdu". It's located right off of Rue Montorgueil, and serves crepes. Very cute, and it was a lovely day (I arrived early---all these empty seats were soon full): I started with chouchen: Skipped a starter, as I already knew that I wanted dessert, and chose a "complete" (ham, cheese, and egg) for my main. This was not quite as good as the last one I'd had, but still very nice, and the egg was nice and runny. Accompanied by dry cider. This picture reminds me that I want to get some buckwheat flour and try making these at home: Dessert was frangipane, and again I found the crepe a bit thicker and less crispy than ideal. A bit heavy-handed with the frangipane as well, but I can't really complain since I really liked the frangipane: Coffee to finish: And the check (note that I could have eaten pretty much the same meal for half the price if I'd stuck to the formule rather than ordering a la carte): So far as I can tell this restaurant is run by a family, and the guy making the crepes was not the burly white-haired man of the previous visit, but this much younger guy (and yes, I asked whether a photo was okay):
  21. Hmm, bit of fun. Well, it doesn't fall into my definition of "bit of fun", but then I've probably got an atrophied sense of humor. This egg actually struck me (in the, um, upper thigh/lower abdomen area), hard enough to hurt but not hard enough to bruise. Apparently hurled from a car that had either slowed or was actually parked, presumably in wait for a single female (this the opinion of the older French couple strolling towards me from the opposite direction). Fortunately it wasn't rotten, and only my trousers were soiled. And fortunately they're machine washable, so no harm done apart from the mild shock of it. Waste of a perfectly good egg.
  22. I ended up skipping dinner entirely on Tuesday evening, and woke on Wednesday with several projects in mind. The first involved shopping, as I needed to replace a number of items that had gone missing from my room (and of course couldn't be replaced the previous day as it was May 1). So I spent the AM cruising the shops on Rue Ternes, realizing a bit late that it was nearly time to dine once again with John Talbott, at Les Fables de la Fontaine (I am the "charming guest from one of the Southern states"). Meal exactly as John describes it, except that he left out the lovely little bits of meringue in the dessert. As if often the case I enjoyed the starter and dessert more than the main (which bordered on too salty, but then that's pretty common in France). Beautiful space, excellent lunch. I only took one picture, and only did so because it was really just too pretty to resist. My starter: Lunch over, I caught the RER to Rambouillet, spending the remainder of the afternoon and dinner with my ex-pat ex-best friend from high school and her three lovely children. Dinner in her garden of melon with prosciutto and grilled chicken and some other things that I don't recall. No pictures to share, as they all include children. Last train back to Paris, where I found this waiting for me, with the compliments of the hotel manager: The red folder that looks like it holds a CD actually contains chocolate:
  23. So, we've solved the puzzles about the toothpaste and the cider press (or apple smusher), but what about the egg? How was it that a broken hen's egg ended up on the sidewalk of the Rue de Rivoli? The Rue de Rivoli runs parallel to the Tuileries (or does at the point where the egg is found in any case), and the depicted sidewalk on the opposite side of the road is actually covered by an arcade. The street level businesses are posh shops and hotels and restaurants, and the clientele is presumably fairly affluent. No grocers in the area, no markets with hens, no political protests occuring despite the date (May 1), and it's early evening. Shops are closed, strolling crowd fairly light.
  24. Some hysterically funny reviews of Email Diamant Rouge (if you read French). Apparently some people are not all that delighted with licorice-flavored toothpaste.
  25. Yep, and not just red but very bright red, pretty much the same dark pink shade that's depicted on the label. It's billed as a product that will make your teeth especially shiny and white, but apparently there's some evidence to suggest that ones teeth only appear whiter as a result of the paste staining the gums and lips a deep red. I didn't really notice that (although I'm going to go home and try it out), but certainly did notice the licorice flavor. Fortunately I really like licorice flavor, so this is actually a pretty cool find for me.
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