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Everything posted by therese

  1. Why it's a cider press! ← Yes, or "un pressoir" as my hosts described it. Except that I think it's technically more of an apple smusher rather that a true pressoir, as that should really be something that separates the juice from the pulp and would likely have some sort of screw mechanism. I haven't seen it in action so can't really say.
  2. So, a hint about the farm equipment: If you lived in Normandy, what agricultural product might you spend time crushing?
  3. Hurled, yes, but not as part of a political protest.
  4. To clarify, I think that the correct term for the farm item really is some sort of mill, but my hosts used a different name.
  5. Yes, it works like a mill, but the name doesn't actually use the term mill ("moulin"), and most of us wouldn't think of the end product as having come from a mill. Neither dropped by a shopper nor fallen from a nest. It is a hen's egg, by the way. And there was a third question up there as well, the one about the toothpaste.
  6. Tuesday also largely pictureless (except for one at the very end, which has a story to go with it), but in no way slow-moving. I got up early at D.'s, enjoying a breakfast of tea and madeleines (which I'd remembered to buy the previous evening at the corner shop, as we returned from a visit to D.'s mother's house 'round the corner, where we'd gone to say hello and borrow a bowl in which to whip cream). I first tasted madeleines when I was 17 and living in Deauville, where they were occasionally offered for breakfast. My very favorite breakfast was a sort of breakfast cookie, a large square one about 10 cm on each side, about 1 cm thick. Great for dipping in tea. I haven't seen them recently---do they ring a bell with any of the local readers? I'd actually purchased some madeleines for my 16 year old son to take to school for French class the day before I left on this trip, explaining to him the Proustian significance which I'm pretty sure he did not relay to his classmates. They were from a very nice bakery here in town, Alon's, and vastly superior to the supermarket product I ate on Tuesday, but in this instance it was mostly about context. The train from Deauville left at 9:30, and I was on the train by 9:10. We pulled into Gare St. Lazare right on time at 11:46, and I sprinted for the metro, making it Porte Maillot and my hotel by a few minutes after noon. I was in a hurry, you see, because I needed to be at Opera by 1:00. Not because I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Le Pen (this being May 1, and May 1 in between elections to boot), but because I had a lunch date, and I really despise being late. So, in the course of changing into the sort of clothes that a person might reasonably wear to a swish landmark restaurant with somebody she'd never met, I realized that a number of things had gone missing from my room while I was in Normandy. A housekeeping snafu as it turned out, but an irritating and inconvenient one, so I was late after all. But not too late, and I was able to offer as an excuse both the tossing of my room as well as the hordes of skinheads and police presence in the area. Lunch was at Cafe de la Paix, with John Talbott (who reviews it here. The carrot soup was bleah, the joue de boeuf okay, but not as good as the baby fava beans and green peas that accompanied it, and the fraisier for dessert was lovely. Very pretty room, and pleasant if not too attentive staff. People watching just amazing. Over coffee we were unexpectedly joined by a very small but very distinguished visitor, M. Souris. Lunch over, I headed back to the hotel to address the issue of missing belongings with the duty manager (which of course required filling out some forms) and then off to visit the sights in the neighborhood, starting off with Parc Monceau, then Arc de Triomphe, then Champs-Elysees (where I stopped for a glass of wine at Flora Danica, and was subsequently reminded of the charming French custom of "draguer"), down to the Tuileries (closed by that point, as it was dark), and along the Rue de Rivoli. And Rue de Rivoli is the setting for my only food-related photo of the day: Can you tell what it is? Can you tell why it's here, in this unusual (in my experience, at least) location?
  7. No pictures to share from Monday, apart from the breakfast confiture. But it was an interesting day food-wise, though in some unexpected ways. We spent the morning visiting a chateau in the neighborhood, and returned home for a lunch of boiled fish, boiled zucchini, and boiled rice. Dinner that night was at D's apartment in Deauville, and guests included people that I'd known in high school (when I was an exchange student there) that I'd not seen since. Lunch conversation turned on precisely what to make for dinner that night, and eventually I made a few suggestions, and in the end it was decided that I'd actually do the cooking. So I did, shopping with D. at the E. Leclerc supermarket in Deauville. We had melon with prosciutto to start, followed by risotto and roast chicken with lemon and rosemary (rosemary from the garden depicted upthread), followed by cheese, followed by strawberries and raspberries with creme chantilly. We skipped salad in the interest of time, and bid our guests adieu at midnight.
  8. Dinner Sunday night stared with aperitif of Ricard, followed by a meal comprised largely of these: Close inspection demonstrates that they are still alive, as oysters should be. We also had bulots, prepared earlier in the day by D's friend. And that was pretty much it, so good thing that I like shellfish, and do not survive solely on a diet of hamburgers and freedom fries (as D had warned that her friend assumed to be the case). Breakfast included some lovely home-made jam, shown here with the wax seal still intact:
  9. The boat trip up the Canal St. Martin ends at Parc la Villette. And as it happens, that's very close to our next stop, Hammam Medina Center. For those of you who aren't familiar with hammam, it's a sort of spa that's traditionally related to both public baths as well as ritual bathing. This particular one is not connected to a mosque, and is really just a very extended (and damp) version of the "ladies who lunch" experience (some hammams are "mixed"---this particular one only accepts men on Saturdays). And lunch is exactly how we started the afternoon, after changing into bathing suits and robes. D had tabbouleh, and I had a salad plate, with tuna, hard boiled eggs, and various raw and blanched vegetables. Nothing amazing, but then one does not want a heavy meal before embarking on the hammam experience. We finished in time to catch the 5:20 train to Lisieux (we'd packed our suitcases that morning and had taken them along with us), where we dined at D's friend's country house: The garden on the bank beside the house is an herb garden (which means that this photo is on topic, but it's also foreshadowing). My bedroom was the corner room closest to the photographer, with the window open. One of the buildings on this property houses the following item: Here's a closer picture of the business end of it: Any guesses as to its purpose?
  10. My pleasure, actually, in not in a perfunctory way---I enjoy the anticipation of and recall of experience at least as much as the experience itself. And yes, Proust is my favorite author.
  11. Sunday was my day to make the days plans. I'd actually made these arrangements before I knew whether D would be able to make it to Paris, so they were things that I'd enjoy alone as well as in company. We awoke early to breakfast on coffee (for D) and tea (for me), both from the dispenser near the ice machine. Strawberries and Actimel completed the meal for me. I forgot to mention another purchase that I'd made at Champion the previous morning, toothpaste. I routinely buy toothpaste when I travel abroad, as I end up with unfamiliar flavors, etc. This one ended up being one of the most unusual ever: Anybody know what makes it so unusual? The morning's plan was a cruise on the Canal St. Martin. There are two companies (so far as I can tell) that do these tours, and I chose the one that starts at the Musee d'Orsay: Paris Canal. The cruise takes 2.5 hours, and includes pretty interesting commentary (in French and some English, two tours in one for me as the English content wasn't the same as the French content). Cool scenery as well, including the many locks (which I find ridiculously fascinating, probably due to having lived in Keokuk, Iowa at a crucial point in my cognitive development) as well as this canal-side kitchen:
  12. Parts of Montmartre pretty much choked with tourists, but it's not difficult to get away from the worst of it. We eventually stopped at this pretty little bar, La Maison Rose, for a drink. I think I had a kir. Somewhere in this neighborhood, we came across a restaurant that looked promising, and I asked D if she'd booked for dinner (because I was pretty sure she hadn't, and it was Saturday), and if she hadn't we could just do it here. But she was unwilling to commit, as she thought it might be too far from where we were spending the early part of the evening. Said early part of the evening was great fun, a play called Arrete de pleurer Penelope 2. Not high brow, but very funny, particularly for somebody who happens to belong to the demographic portrayed. The show's at a smal theatre called Theatre Fontaine. No intermission, so I had a drink at the bar beforehand: Dinner ended up being quite a distance away, in an area that D knew from having worked nearby (La Motte Piquet). Something like Chez Pierrot, right at the entrance to the metro (a location that is not without its charms when you're very, very jetlagged) where I took the formule at 10 euro something, choosing leeks in vinaigrette, steak (saignant) with puree, and fromage blanc with strawberry sauce for dessert. A Fernet Branca for me afterwards, and then back to the hotel for a well-earned night of slumber.
  13. I like it. The flavor is nice, and the idea of it conveys summer. I'm pretty flexible about the mixer and the garnish both, and don't usually make suggestions along those lines. Here in the U.S. I often have to specify both, as even a bar that stocks it doesn't use it too frequently.
  14. D arrives and drops off her bag and we head out to see Paris. In the course of planning this trip (which was very last minute) I'd already made a few plans for Sunday, so I gave D free rein to plan Saturday. Unfortunately D is simply not into food in any way: she doesn't cook (more about this later) and although she likes to eat she's not particularly discriminating about it. We remain friends in spite of this fact. She also doesn't drink much alcohol. The plan for the afternoon was to visit Montmartre. Assuming that I'd be tired she'd found a sort of tram that shows you various sites, along with commentary, but as it turned out the first tram of the afternoon had left by the time we arrived. So I convinced her that we really needed to eat lunch, and we sat down to eat here: Had we eaten inside we'd have had a nice formule to choose from, but as we chose the sun we were limited to salads. Not necessarily a bad thing, and mine was perfectly acceptable: I did have dessert, having spied floating island on the list: It was very good, with a nice liquid (if too sweet) base and very fluffy meringue. After lunch we went back to catch the tram, only to find that the entire thing had been booked by a group. I was not unhappy, and suggested that we walk down to take the funicular. When the funicular turned out to be out of order we walked. Again, just fine with me.
  15. Back from Paris now and home and work life tidied up in the week since, so finally a chance to post some photos from that trip. This was my second trip to Paris in the space of 14 months, but a very different experience to the first, as the children weren't with me. So, day by day... My direct flight on Delta from Atlanta left on time and arrived early. Coach, but I'd scored a bulkhead seat in an emergency exit row (so plenty of leg room) and had ordered a special meal, seafood, which arrived early and was comprised of a quite reasonable piece of cold poached salmon with dilled potato salad, accompanied by the usual free glass of wine (do other U.S. airlines do this on transatlantic flights? one free drink with meals?) and an Ambien 30 minutes later. I slept. I'd booked Le Meridien Etoile at Porte Maillot via Priceline ($140 per night), and as Ptitpois and John Talbott point out it's actually quite a good location. I did not, unfortunately, manage to eat at L'Orenoc, but otherwise found the hotel very nice indeed. Ice machines and a pay coffee/tea dispenser next to elevator, and the minibar fridge (exquisitely sensitive----I took care to not touch a single item, and yet it still recorded three items consumed) had a shelf free specifically for your own items. I'd arrived via the AirFrance bus directly from CDG (the bus stop is directly across the street, and while I'm mentioning it I'll point out that the metro and RER are one block away, and there's a taxi stand in front of the hotel). I'd emailed the hotel two days before to request early check-in and two twin beds, and both requests were honored. My old exchange partner from high school, D, was to meet me later that morning, so I used the short time in between to go shopping for food. I ended up at the Champion just off Rue Ternes, where I purchased cherry tomatoes, yogurt (Actimel, actually, very convenient for this setting), carrot-strawberry juice, and these: Pretty, and pretty much identical to berries that I get here at home (from Florida).
  16. My grandmother didn't make those red apple rings, but she did use red hots to sweeten and flavor her apple butter, so red hots might well have played a role. The apple butter was not, in the end, bright red, but instead a very subtle red, and certainly prettier than plain brown apple butter.
  17. It's a bit apples and oranges in the end, but we generally managed to drop a fair amount of money at Soto on the a la carte menu. The omakase menu was more, but then we didn't usually spend anything like four hours eating off the a la carte menu (and the two bottles of champagne didn't help with the bottom line either). I didn't find the prices outrageous (by upmarket Atlanta standards, anyway), and he clearly had no problem filling the restaurant every night (at least every night that I was there) when he offered the a la carte menu, so I wasn't the only one. Filling the restaurant for the omakase menu every night an entirely different story, but New York presumably offers a much larger number of clients who don't have to get up and go to work in the morning.
  18. The a la carte prices at his restaurant in Atlanta were the same, which is one of the reasons people were so excited about the multi-course prix fixe. We considered it a splurge restaurant (despite non-existent decor and generally inept and slow service), particularly when we took our kids (so of course it was the kids' typical birthday choice).
  19. I also loved "The Makioka Sisters" (and I also can't believe Hiroyuki hasn't read it!). Have you read Tanazaki's "Some Prefer Nettles"? Lots and lots of food there as well, particularly food as in indicator of social class, etc.
  20. In response to mark922's query (and not the original poster's---you might want to consider starting a new thread for this question), Sunday night is far and away the worst night for dining in Atlanta. One Midtown Kitchen is open, and fine (so far as I know the guy that was sous under Blais is still there, and does a fine job). Trois is another restaurant in that group that does a nice job, and is a bit more upmarket (though prices quite reasonable by Atlanta standards). Dress up a bit. The Globe is very good, and very convenient to your hotel location. Restaurant Eugene is excellent, and on Sunday night's offers something called Sunday supper that's three course prix fixe featuring food that's both more traditionally "southern" and less expensive than the usual menu (which is still available). Woodfire Grill is not as conveniet for you, but very good, using local ingredients (actually all of the restaurant's I'm suggesting emphasize local stuff). Pura Vida is excellent, with very cool tapas and great mojitos (and wine, but I almost always get a mojito there because I crave the sugarcane used to sweeten it). The biggest upside to dining out on Sunday night is that you probably won't need to reserve.
  21. I've always bagged the horizontal (by which you mean parallel to the cutting surface, right?) cuts. Not much point unless the onion's really large, and even then you can still produce pieces of the correct smal volume even if they're not a uniform dice. I've clearly managed to suppress my OCD when it comes to cutting onions, and I'm very proud of it.
  22. Very much looking forward to this blog, Hiroyuki. Thank you for taking the time to do it, and perhaps we can offer some support along the way. Thanks also for the photo: "Snow Country" is one of my favorite books. Perhaps I'll be inspired to read it again.
  23. Okay, now a specific query, this time re a bar rather than a restaurant: Has anybody been to Club 79?
  24. Cool. I'd notice that the hotel had a restaurant, but didn't pay too much attention beyond that. Very good information.
  25. And it describes the finished product so very nicely.
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