samedi 29 décembre 2012

La Fruitière - Jura, France

This region of France is known for the Comté cheese. Here one buys the comté at a local fruitière which is a  fromagerie or cheesemaking house. Each day the farmers deliver their milk to their local fruitière. It will be crafted into Comté within 24 hours maximum of milking.
There are normally 3 different kinds of comté , comté fruité - aged at least 6 months- comté doux - aged at least 8 - 10 months and comté vieux - aged 12 or more months.  I prefer the one that is aged as it is a bit stronger in taste, but the flavors of the cheese are more pronounced.

This particular fruitière had 3 of these copper vats  and each made 5 large molds of cheese

Checking the curd production - all done by hand.

copper vats

We had the pleasure of visiting the local fruitière in Pleure and were treated to a guided visit of how the fromagère* makes Comté.  He explained it takes 2000 litres of milk to make just 5 large rounds of Comté.  Milk is delivered each morning at 3 am by many different farmers - hence it is a cooperative.  Only the Montbéliarde or Simmental Cows are used for making Comté. The cheese is still produced using traditional methods. The unpasteurized milk is poured into huge copper vats which is standard for making Comté. No preservatives or additives of any kind are added. The standards are very strict for making Comté cheese.  There were just 2 guys in here making the cheese, mostly done all by hand except the machinery for mixing and pouring into the molds.  They make 5 molds at a time and during the winter about 16 per day. Production is increased during the summer as more milk is produced.  The Cheesemaker explained the cheese tastes different depending on the season, as the cows are eating more grass in spring and summer than in winter when they have a diet of hay.

After it is poured into huge industrial molds, each is given a label and then put into the cellar where it will affinage *** a minimum of 120 days. On a rotating basis, they check the molds rubbing them with a briny liquid mixture of gros sel* and water to the tops and sides, then returning another day to turn the mold over by hand to coat the other sides.

Not an easy way to make a living, but the fromagère was proud of his work and took time out of his busy morning to show us his traditional cheese making methods. If you have the chance to visit this area, be sure to inquire about visiting a fruitère to see how Comté is made.  Well worth the visit and something not to be forgotten.

Rotating the molds in the cellar
labels added to each mold referencing day of production, month and region

Look for the green label and the bell on each comté 

* cheesemaker
** large salt crystals


jeudi 27 décembre 2012

Poulet Fermier

 While in the Jura, I wanted to buy a really good farm chicken. At the local butcher, I opted for the "poulet noire de Bourgogne Fermier" which is raised for a minimum of 81 days in small flocks, has total access to outside, and its diet is only plant based.

The salesclerk pulled it out of the case and lo and behold, it had its head and feet still attached!! I don't know about you, but I am not used to all those parts still connected!  I asked her very shyly, you are going to prepare that for me, aren't you?  She looked at me funny, and said, yes, but of course, and off she went to do her chopping......( I guess most people have a cleaver in their backyard in these parts)

Two minutes later she was back with the chicken all wrapped and tied and ready to go. I cooked this baby up and I have to say it was one of the best tasting chickens I have ever eaten.

Next up, is the "poulet de bresse" from this region.

samedi 15 décembre 2012

Les Papilles

 If you are looking for a great meal at a decent price, you must try Les Papilles over by the Luxembourg Gardens. The owner is a former rugby player and serves up dishes from the southwest of France. There are 2 cooks that work in the tiniest of kitchens - you have to go out to turn around in it!! They cook and serve in beautiful copperware pots and they have an amazing wine selection from some of the smaller vineyards for both tasting and purchase.  I highly recommend the choices of the day.

I have eaten here several times and the portions are very generous. This resto has never failed to disappoint. Be sure to make reservations for lunch or dinner or you will be out of luck.

Boîte à Sardines

These days the trajet" to and from work is anything but pleasant - like so many of us that have joined the urban sprawl only to spend an hour each way in public transport to work in the big city. It's a price we pay for the more competitive jobs and money that go along with this choice.(I know, so of my EAB friends are smirking over this mention!!)  I love being squished in the train each day, face-to-face with other commuters who cough and blow on you like it's nothing. As we were welded against one another on the train, I overheard a man say on his telephone I am like a boîte à sardines**  - well said!!

P.S. The clerk in the grocery store was very curious as to why I was taking photos of sardine tins!!

* commute
** tin of sardines

samedi 8 décembre 2012

Japanese Book Store

 If you are looking for a neat bookstore to visit in Paris, look no further than Junkudo, on rue de Pyramids in the 1st. Yes, everything is in Japanese, but they have beautiful "how to" books on collage that are simple enough to follow by looking at the elegant images in the books.  They have agendas, beautiful handmade cards, and some of the most gorgeous origami paper I have ever seen - which of course comes with a hefty price.

If you are looking for an unusual gift, this is a go to place. They carry all those neat "Japanese" office supplies to help with organization. They also carry an assortment of bento boxes. The staff speak both English and French, and Japanese, of course.  Something for everyone - Happy Shopping!

lundi 3 décembre 2012

Everything sounds better à la francaise

My children keep asking me to buy Pain de Mie for breakfast. I thought to myself, wow this must be some fancy bread they want. Lo and behold, I go to the shop to buy it, and wouldn't you know, it's plain ole' paper plate tasting white bread!! I've been tricked.....  everything does seems to sound better in French....... c'est la vie!!

jeudi 29 novembre 2012

Beware of the Attack of the Self-Cleaning Toilets

 All over Paris, one can dash to one of those self-cleaning toilets found along many streets. I am not proud to have used one of those, but hey, in a jiffy, it works. In the states, it's easy to plan your routes if you need a toilet - they are everywhere!! From the grocery store, to department stores to all chain stores in between - people from other countries must think Americans have bathroom issues!! Here in France, it is not that easy. Toilets are not everywhere and often times you have to pay or buy a drink to just use the toilet, thereby having to find another toilet an hour later.  So welcome, the automatic toilets. There is a trick to using them, and if you are not careful you will get sprayed with cleaning chemicals just like my poor daughter did.

She went into one of these toilets with her sister. Her sister finished and opened the door while Rachel was still using the toilets - well.... opening the doors triggers an automatic cleaning system where water and chemicals are sprayed all over the inside of the toilet. The next thing I know, Rachel comes walking  out soaked from head to toe, crying,  "I'm all wet". Trying not to laugh too hard, I said, "Oh no, Isabel opened the door while you were still in there!!" So tourists beware....... do not open the door until you are completely finished and wait for the green light before you enter or else you will enter during the cleaning process and you know what will happen.......ATTAACKK!!!

samedi 24 novembre 2012

Le Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier is a masterpiece of an opera house and I have to admit I have been here 6 years already and just now making it inside. It was built on the orders of Napoleon III as part of the great Parisian reconstruction project carried out by Haussmann in the late 1800s. This is a not to be missed visit on your agenda. You can choose to do a self-guided tour or take a tour with a guide (tours are given in English at certain times.) There is a fabulous staircase in the center one can walk up and down and feel like a princess entering her castle. There are beautiful costumes showcased behind glass with notes on what opera they were used for.  I loved looking at the gorgeous costumes and was most fascinated by the people who work behind the scenes, from the costume designers to shoe designers, to the wardrobe assistants to make-up artists. There is an entire area inside dedicated to these workers with loads of images and write-ups. I am sure it's a bit glorified, but who wouldn't want to be among those silky gowns and gorgeous headdresses...... I haven't yet been to an opera, but desperately want to go to have a peek inside the auditorium to see the ceiling painted by Chagall. It was closed the day I went as there were rehearsals going on.

There are operas for children as well as adults. However, I recommend booking early as the more popular operas sell out quickly.

I love this image - Beautiful dresses waiting to be worn.......

Private boxes - hmmm wonder what it's like inside.......


dimanche 18 novembre 2012

(An old post that was moved around)

The living situation in France brings a whole new meaning to the world "small". Obviously people are smaller in both size and stature here, and their definition of "personal space" is completely opposite of mine, but come on!! 140 CM for 2 people!! Basically this is the size of an American twin/double. I told my husband he better stop making extra trips to the bakery or we are going to have to get an extend-a-bed to fit him!!

I am still trying to imagine how anybody over 170 pounds fits in these french tubs. If you have wide hips, forget it. I am sure the pompiers* have been called on more than one occasion to yank someone out of the tub. I do like the fact the toilet area is separate from the "douche"room, however, being the claustrophobic I am, having the toilet in a space the size of a closet just doesn't go over real well with me. Even when you are there for just a bit, there is no ventilation, thereby causing one to continuously keel over from the sheer odor. I am sure my whole family will be diagnosed with some form of rare cancer from all the "odeur de maladie spray"** we use every time we exit the "closet".


**air freshner

samedi 17 novembre 2012

La Merde

(This is an old post that I just moved around)

Sooner or later I was going to have to write about this "la merde" - it even has a feminine article before it to portray a more polite tone. I have stepped in "la merde" more times than I care to say. This stuff is everywhere!! For a country that prides itself on being one of the most beautiful, I just don't get it. And it's not like the city has ignored the situation. There are posts all over town to clean up after le chien complete with a sac à plastique to facilitate the job. (Just like at home!!) I believe picking up dog merde is truly beneath a french person - after all they come out dressed to the nines to walk their le petit chien - what pretell was anybody thinking that someone so elegantly dressed would dare pick up "la merde". They just obviously ignore it hoping it well disintegrate or something. As the author of the book, A Year in the Merde said he wore sac à plastique over his shoes for the year, I may soon follow in his footsteps or "plastic" footsteps so to speak. 

So we carry on and continue to be on constant "merde"patrol as we walk the streets. As I hear my children run on ahead and yell, "Mom, merde here", I realize, "oh shit"...... I have taught them a bad word, but then "merde" does sound alot better than the English equivilent............
Just a quick shout out to Elizabeth over at the Mustard Ceiling for helping me to spruce this blog up a bit. She does complete websites as well as make-overs so if you are needing a bit of a la carte work on your blog head on over to her site.

Ville Fleurie

   I cannot even imagine what the flower budget must be in each town or village in France. The french appear to appreciate their green spaces which is duly noted upon in all the gardens and parks just in Paris alone. Flower plantings are everywhere from parks to small gardens to all the "ponts". The changing of the flowers gives way to a new passing of time every few months. It is fun to see what will show up in the gardens next. Spring is probably my favorite month to see all the flowers as they are in abundance with eye-popping vivid colors begging to be smelled, photographed and admired. I took note of this flower planting the other day in Le Pecq where I live.  There was probably a crew of 15 men working on planting bulbs in the freshly prepared soil for the following spring.

Each year towns can apply for a "Ville Fleurie" rating. This rating encompasses the best use of green space, quality of life in the town, ways of conserving water, planting trees and flowers. As I watched the men plant, I noticed that our town had a new "Ville Fleurie" sign with 4 stars!! I was ecstatic as this is a high rating for a town.  While Le Pecq is not a charming town so to speak compared to its neighbor St. Germain-en-Laye just up the hill, it boasts a beautiful green space along the Seine, lovely plantings and a water treatment plant that not only treats the water coming from the Seine into potable drinking water, this site is also home to many bird species and native flowers. One can even take a tour of the site to see how the water is treated. So the next time, you are driving through any town or village in France, take note of their "Ville Fleurie" award as it is quite a distinguishable notoriety to have.

* bridges
So cheers to you Le Pecq for the "Ville Fleurie" 2012 rating!

dimanche 11 novembre 2012

Tarte Tatin

I have wanted to make this Tarte Tatin since forever admiring these beautiful caramel visions of lusciousness.  The story goes that this tarte was actually made in error. The two Tatin sisters were busily making an apple tart and forgot to put the pie crust in the pan first. So they decided to put the crust on top of the filling, bake it and invert it after it was done cooking. Well, the rest is history.....

So today, this was it. I found a simple recipe to follow - and made a beautiful caramel for what would be the top, added my apples and a crust and voilá - a beautiful Tarte Tatin was made complete with a beautiful caramelized bottom. It was dripping with beauty..... and the taste - superb!!

beautiful caramel color
the finished tarte Tatin - beautiful!!

mardi 6 novembre 2012

Life in the Slow Lane

There are so many quaint towns in Brittany to see and discover one needs to just get in the car and go west from Paris. The drive is about 4 hours but if you like to meander through small towns like me, the drive is longer but you are then treated to charming villages with scenic views of village life. I love sampling the local fare and there is no shortage of that in Brittany -from moules to Coquilles St. Jacques, crepes sucrés or salés, cidre, caramel buerre salé, Kouign Amann it is surely a gastronomic affair.

Brocante Treasures
Then of course is the hunt for just the perfect item for the home to be found at one of the many brocantes along the way - hint - another reason to set the GPS on scenic route!!!  

The beautiful coastline of this area is not to be missed and is definately worth extra driving tIme.

dimanche 28 octobre 2012

American Diner

Just a stones throw from the Paris Opera is a fun place called Happy Days Diner. The inside is decorated like a real 50s diner complete with old vintage signs and a juke box!! One even sits in the old-fashioned booths with their logo stitched into the seats. - that was cool! The food is totally American! If you are missing that got to have it hamburger, nachos, milkshakes, onion rings, this is your place!! I didn't try any of the food, so I can't give you my opinion on it. However, we did have the Chocolate Viennois* which was very good. There was so much whipped cream in there, I wasn't sure I had any hot chocolate!! There was even marshmallow fluff served on top of the whipped cream.  I like my hot chocolate a bit richer and more chocolatey than this, but maybe they were going after what Americans were more used to rather than their French counterparts. But all in all a good deal at 3,50 euros.

* hot chocolate with whipped cream

Literal Translations

The french language is full of descriptive phrases. It seems every word can have more than one meaning. I am not adept enough with the language to understand each circumstance to use a particular word when there is more than one choice or situation. Today I heard two different phrases that I am just crazy about and I love how they are used to describe a normal situation.

I was sitting on the bus when I overheard the chauffeur* ask the car in front of him if he could move up a bit as his back end was sticking out. However, in french, the words he used were, " S'íl vous plaît, avance un petit peu, Je jette mon derrière." If you were to do an exact translation, it would say something like "excuse me, can you move up a bit as I am throwing my backside." Je jette mon derrière  - I love this expression!!

While reading the free Paris morning paper, I was reading about the floods in Lourdes and how the river was overflowing it's banks. The french wording was: "La rivière est sortie son lit" - literally "the river has left its bed."

I love the mixture of words used - beautiful poetry with words!

* bus driver

dimanche 21 octobre 2012

Indian Quarter

I love venturing out to explore new, non-touristy quartiers* in Paris, and the Indian Quarter in the 10th is no exception. I love Indian food and all the yummy spices that go along with it so we decided to venture to Krishna-Bhavan Vegetarian Restaurant on Rue Cail (Metro line 2). I don't think anyone can eat as inexpensively and well than here.  You can have your choice of many Indian Vegetarian dishes - the servings are generous -  so be forewarned.... I ended up ordering way too much food. The meals are served on metal trays, if that puts you off.... well, sorry, can't help you.. The food is good and the spices used are authentic.  Top off with a cup of Cardamom tea and you are good to go.

If you are anxious to explore more, there are plenty of shops on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis to check out. The beautiful displays of Indian dresses are worth the walk along this street alone. Purchase 6 or 7 colorful Indian bangles for a song.  There are two big Cash and Carry's here - one on Faubourg Saint-Denis and the other on Rue Cail. Here you can find an abundance of Indian products as well as English/US products - real baking soda and powder and black beans!! It is fun to wander the aisles. All the products are not labelled in English so can be a bit difficult if you are not sure of a spice. However, the staff at both locations were very helpful.   If you want fresh Jasmine, head to the small florist shop on Rue Perdonnet, every Friday he has fresh Jasmine flown in from Chenai.  You purchase it on a string and the aroma is breathtaking.  I actually wanted to buy some on Wednesday, and he said no, come back Friday when it's fresh.

If you are feeling  a bit more bold, visit the Temple Ganesh on Rue Pajol. When you are first invited in, you must leave your shoes outside the door. So you can imagine, I worried the entire time of the ceremony that my shoes would be stolen and I would have to walk around Paris shoeless.  For a donation of about 8-10 euros you can participate in an Indian ceremony. You are given a basket of fruit and then the man gave it to me and waved his arm around the room.  This gesture, I interpreted, which should not have been an open interpretation, that I distribute my fruit around the room to the different "God"statues. The "priest" took the roll of ashes from our plate, said a blessing and smeared it on our foreheads.  Then we gathered with the other attendees for a short ceremony. The "priest" walked to each "GOD" statue and chanted prayers. I noticed that my fruit was the only fruit among these "God" statues.  When the "priest" got to one of the larger statues, he tossed my banana away in disgust before continuing his chant.  It was all my daughter and I could do not to laugh, we were beside ourselves and so very embarrassed. Don't forget this entire time, I kept sneaking looks out the door to the "rough" passer-bys who I was sure would steal my shoes, although why would they take some crap from Target I don't know.  After we endured this 45 minute chanting/prayer time, it was over and we were offered this huge plate of warm rice as a thank you.  I smiled took my rice and found my shoes, safe and sound, and we went on. Definitely an unforgettable experience and one not to be missed. After we found out, we were supposed to make a donation of the fruit to the "Gods"- just not in the place we put it.

This area may leave you feeling a bit uncomfortable as it is quite ethnic and a bit rough and tourists do look out of place. However it is a lively quartier worth a second and third and even beyond visit.

* neighborhood

mercredi 17 octobre 2012

Quaint in the 7th

Had a yummy, simple lunch at Les Deux Abeilles in the 7th today in a residential area behind the Musée Quai Branly with an old friend. This charming Salon de Thé is run by a mother/daughter team. When you walk in to the place you feel as if you have gone back in time to your grandmother's kitchen or dining area. It is cozy and comfy and the food is simple, yet wonderfully presented.  They have continuous service up till 7 pm. You can also go in and have an afternoon coffee or tea and one of their wonderful homemade desserts or take some home to enjoy later. Check it out - worth a visit!

samedi 13 octobre 2012

No French Accent here - Click!

Trying to deal with bureaucratic issues in another language is my least favorite thing about living in France. I completely understand how people feel when they come to the U.S. not speaking any English and try to manoeuvre an automatic phone system.

When I first arrived in France I would spend up to 40 minutes redialing and listening over and over again to the automated prompts writing each section down until I had the whole message in front of me - then I was to exhausted to continue!!  Now, I have wised up a bit, I just use my two little translators!!

In any case, trying to call the Post Office and having a package redelivered was a joy this morning. I had to say the number of the colis* in to the phone and then I would be redirected. Well, apparently they didn't understand my accent, so the automated response went something like this - "we cannot understand your pronunciation so we now wish you a good day - au revoir" and they disconnected.

C'est la France!!

*colis: package

dimanche 7 octobre 2012

Le Chineur

Today, I was "le chineur"*. I love going to brocantes, antiques shops, flea markets to poke around - one  never knows what treasures you will find.  Twice a year they have a big brocante in Chatou. Vendors and people come from all over to this event. I struck up a conversation with an older woman who very kindly gave me an extra ticket she had (It's a 5 euro entrance fee). We chatted for a few minutes on the navette** to the brocante - me in my horribly sounding French - although she did say very kindly - "where are you from, you have a cute french accent?" We parted ways and she wished me a bon chiné.***  This brocante is expensive and normally hard to find a real deal, but nevertheless, I did find the cutest table, then forgot I had to get it home on my bike...... Oh well, where there's a will, there's a way. Click here for information on the brocante. The next one is in March 2013.
Balancing Act

*chineur: bargain hunter
**navette: shuttle
***Bon Chiné: good hunting

29 Euro Perfume at Marionnaud!!

Just till tomorrow, get a 30 ml size bottle of your favorite perfume for 29 euros!! Click here for more information. Some stipulations apply. What a deal!!

vendredi 5 octobre 2012

Colorful Pillows and Teapots to add Flavor to the Salon

These pillows are so pretty and colorful and will brighten any living room. These are also part of the "Antik Batik"  Collection at Monoprix. I just love these "India-inspired"colors and patterns and a bargain at 12 euros each.

Antik Batik Pillows

I also stumbled upon these cute teapots also part of this "Antik Batik" Collection. 

10 euros each at Monoprix!!

This Little Doll is So Cute!!

Monoprix has a new line of clothing and items for the home called "Antik Batik" I picked up this cute little doll for 12 euros. Make a great gift for a little girl.

Antik Batik Collection 

and More Chocolate!

Claire enjoying - what else.....Chocolate!

Stopped in for another recon mission to Monsieur Chocolate in the 15th - beautiful displays of chocolate in all matter of things from a huge chocolate Tour Eiffel to tennis rackets, guitars and even beautifully made chocolate heart necklaces perfect for Valentine's Day or any day to show your love. Beautiful displays of a variety of chocolates fill the shop and envelop you in smells of vanilla, chocolate, praliné, cinnamon, to name a few. Because the shop is so small, the aromas, I found, were much more intense. I chose the moelleux chocolat, one rasberry filled and the other chocolate-ganached filled along with some yummy mini brioches for the morning. Nothing made it to the next morning!! We peeked in to their kitchen and it is literally no bigger than most of the master bathrooms at home - they said they make everything in that tiny space. This neighborhood chocolatier is a definite go to for some yummy goodies and chocolates to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Chocolate Tour Eiffel

mercredi 3 octobre 2012

Free Make-up Sessions at Yves Rocher

If you are visiting Paris area or living here, Yves Rocher is offering free make-up sessions at some of their locations up to 14 October. Click this link for more info and follow the link to "Make-Up Days

Free Mini Eye Pencil!!

Nocibé is giving away an mini eye pencil if you show them the Direct Matin (free mag) found at all metro stations  - run to walk for this give away!!

samedi 29 septembre 2012

Shopping for Chocolate

Most women come home laden with shopping bags full of clothes, I prefer bags of sweets and goodies from any new bakery or chocolate shop I come across. I recently purchased this pastry app from David Lebovitz and decided to embark on some of his suggestions.

I decided to visit  Jacques Genin Chocolate Shop in the 3rd. When I went inside I wasn't impressed with the starkness of the place,- very modern. But, I wasn't there for the asthetics, I was on a mission to get really good chocolate and caramel - and oh, did I!!

Peppery, cinammon, honey, mint, coffee, these were some of flavors making sweet melodies in my mouth as I tasted each small chocolate. I purchased the smallest box of 9 assorted chocolates for 11 euros - the saleslady even offered to do the choosing which was a good thing as I was wide-eyed as a kid in a candy shop with all the choices. She put it in the cutest metal box that can definitely be up-cycled again!

Then on to the caramels which they are known for - all I will say is wow!! Who knew you could have a mango-passion fruit caramel!

Next up just a few blocks away was Du Pain et des Idées - a line outside the door let me know this was a good one. The inside was adorable, old-fashioned charm and the buttery smells were amazing. I asked for some tartes de fine de pomme and chausson de pomme and their mouna which is a brioche infused with orange flower water. The tarte and chaussons were wrapped in layers and layers of buttery, flaky dough, filled with real apples, cinnamon and caramelized on the bottom - sinfully delicious!!

The mouna bread was equally delicious, warmed a bit - the orange and butter flavors lolling about in my mouth.  Grab the pastry app here and happy tastings!!


jeudi 27 septembre 2012

Chasse aux Diamants

If you happen to be visiting a Holiday Inn in France or one in a few other locations in Europe, pour fêter their 60 anniversary, they are hiding diamonds in rooms. At a value of approx. 30,000 euros per diamond, this would make for a fun weekend getaway. Click on link below for more information:

My Tail's Between my Legs....

Nothing like feeling two feet tall and getting kicked to the curb... This is exactly how I felt after leaving a local Orange Company (for mobiles and Internet). On days like this, I need to remind myself why I stay here in France and yet continue to be treated like an outsider. But, I will not get beaten down by them. I hold my shoulders high and walk out leaving myself to nurse my wounded pride. Do I find a new Chez Orange to try my troubles at or walk boldly back in to the same one, hoping they don't recall me as "Le stupid American"........

mardi 25 septembre 2012

Tartines Sous La Couette - Breakfast in Bed!

If you happen to be in the Paris are on 7, 21, October or 4, 18 November and you have a Paris address, you can enter a contest to have fresh baked goodies delivered to your door. Click here for more information. When you are at their site, follow these instructions:

Click on: Je Participe
Fill in your information - put your local address of where you will be staying
Click: Je m'inscris

et voila! Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones!
Bon Chance!!

lundi 24 septembre 2012

Sunday Market Day

A poulet roti is always in order on a Sunday, (yes, I know it's Monday)......just ask for au jus and some pomme de terre and you have a yummy easy meal to go. If you are coming to visit the City of Lights, there are endless rotisserie places - but beware!! Not all are good - if the chicken looks like it's been spinning for hours, it probably has been. Often times, the potatoes are awful and I choose to just make my own - easier and much tastier. Ask for a small "poignée" of the mini pomme de terre at your vendor of choice, and once home, slice, add olive oil and garlic and cook in oven for 40 minutes and voila!! your "pomme de terre"will rival anything at the rotisserie. Bon appetit!

mardi 18 septembre 2012

Today, I feel vindicated!! I was able to communicate well enough to get a refund - well for some reason, they deducted 10 euros from total - her babbling french left me two phrases behind and completely clueless.......but I did get the rest of my money back - yeah me!!

dimanche 12 août 2012

Well, I obviously have not been true to my word and haven't posted a thing in 3 months!! Well, it's summer and I am not actually in the City of Lights at the moment, but I thought I would give a few high fives to some yummy restos here in Paris.

First, over by the Luxembourg Gardens -  Metro: Luxembourg is a fabulous restaurant called Les Papilles at 30 rue Gay Lussac. The owner is a former French Rugby player. I cannot say enough about this place. Everytime I have gone here, the meal has been fabulous. The menus is mostly Southwestern France with fantastic wines that are paired just so with each meal. The owner will gladly help you choose the best one for your meal. Peeking in the kitchen, you wonder how they are able to turn out any meal at all. The space is 2 x 2 with 2 people in there - they do have it down to a science. Meals are cooked in copper pans and presented at the table. There is a beautiful room downstairs where wine tastings are held. There are some good wine finds there. About  €23 pp, but well worth the visit!
 This is a must for any visitor!! Word to the wise - reservations are a must for lunch and dinner or you will find yourself out of luck!

Switching over to a more ethnic flare, we head over to the Indian Quarter - Metro: La Chapelle. I love this area - the beautiful saris in the windows, the food, smell of jasmine, a feast for the pallet. There is a fantastic vegetarian restaurant not to be missed called Krishna Bhavan - and for the price of €6,50 one can have a complete meal - really where in Paris can one possibly eat a decent meal for that price! Everything is very good - be sure to order their cardamom tea too. After eating, head down the street to the Cash and Carry for exotic spices and cardamom tea so you can fix your own at home.If you want  some real local flavor, head over to Temple Ganash - oh - that's another story...... Happy eating!!

dimanche 3 juin 2012

One of the best places for Hot Chocolate and yummy pastries

If you are by St. Germain de Près, near  Rue d 'Ecole des Medicins, this is an awesome little pastry place. They have the best hot chocolate in town!!  - Also confirmed by the cute little 80 something french lady sitting across from me. If you arrive in the late afternoon for a "gouter", it may be a little hard to find a seat. You are often seated at tables with strangers, but don't let that worry you - easy enough to strike up a conversation or just smile at your table mates - it is well worth a visit more than once.

dimanche 29 janvier 2012

Cabinet - Le médecin is in

Doctor visits here give a whole new meaning to letting it all hang out! paper gown, you want me to be bare naked?!!?Oh la! The Dr. doesn't even think twice and there isn't anybody else in the room with you. Hard to have a conversation to explain your problem while lying bare naked or worse, standing up, thereby having to cross your arms in just the right places to hide everything that is "moving south".

One of the first times I went to the Doctor here, my french was really bad (and still is) and he spoke no English at all. I didn't understand what he was asking me and he took out a book of female anatomy and pointed to different pictures in the book while trying to ask me questions. Needless to say, I was mortified! Another visit, this time to a rather attractive young doctor, who also asked me, once again to undress and again turning myself into a contortionist to hide all the lumps and bumps. We are just a bit more modest across the pond, but I just can't seem to break loose. Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! I guess that's why one finds about an equal number of lingerie shops as boulangeries in this country.