My first trip to a French toilet included a bit of apprehension. You see, the majority of the toilet paper that I see around here is pink. I mean, it's not a huge problem for me, just another one of the things I needed to get accustomed to along with getting pushed by old ladies at the marché and making sure to say "bonjour!" to every single stranger that passes by me. When it was my turn to purchase TP for the apartment, I searched high and low for plain old fashioned, white. I found black, red, pink, orange, and lavender. I grabbed the orange pack because it was the pas trop cher (cheapest) and headed to line. That's when I noticed two words: Parfum Pêche. This country, the land of perfume and eau de toilet, was trying to scent...something that should remain unscented. I quickly replaced the peach paper with unscented pink and ran home. Well, here we are, weeks later, and look what I have discovered in our W.C.
You are only able to turn 23 once, and I did just that last friday. I woke up to (the now officially a tradition) pain perdu en lit (french toast in bed) for which there are no pictures of me since part of the tradition requires me to feel no need to get dressed for the event. The first time Matthias made this for me was last year on my birthday when I asked him to prove to me what was so different between the french toast he had ordered at an American breakfast spot that my friends and I had taken him to and "real" french toast. To be honest, I still don't think there's a whole lot of difference between the two but I will say that Matthias' version definitely tastes superior. He generally eats his with a simple sprinkling of granulated sugar on top but I had one with rose confiture and one with miel (honey) as well. The leftover egg mixture got made into scrambled eggs which is another great part of the Matthias version.After taking a post toast nap, we went on an adventure. Our end goal was Le Trocadero for an amazing view on a sunny day. We passed through Parc Monceau on our way. I guess they'd prefer it if you didn't relax or enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding you here. Luckily, there were still some rigorously fenced off paths for us to walk along and lots more signs telling us not to do things. This thing was also on the way: and we finally arrived here: After being all kinds of touristy we went to the Modern Art Museum and saw the Jimmy Durham exhibition opening. It was aight. If you're into super artsy intermedia, which I am sometimes. We decided to walk home from downtown and start getting ready for our evening. The only details that I knew where that we were going somewhere to eat. So we got dressed and jumped on the metro to travel to the far south corner of Paris. We arrived at Aquarius and I saw Végéterien printed on the window. Matthias had managed to find an all vegetarian restaurant whose name corresponded to my zodiac sign for my birthday dinner. He deserved like at least 10 points. Oh, but it got better. He ordered me a glass of ROSE CHAMPAGNE and a HUGE PLATTER OF FAKE MEAT only to finish with my all time favorite custardy dessert PANNA COTTA (called Créme Italien here.) Thoroughly stuffed, we got back on the metro and exited one stop away from our apartment. We stood on a corner for a while and our friends Céline and Marie met us there. We entered Chez Moune which Matthias informed me was the oldest lesbian club in Paris, dating back to the 1930's. We got drinks and Céline's girlfriend met us with some of her friends, one of which was also celebrating her birthday. Through the loud music and huge crowd of people she leaned over and asked me if I liked champagne, as if that was a valid question to ask anyone in France, and I obviously exclaimed, YES! So she had someone bring over an ice bucket with a bottle inside. You can imagine my joy. If not, it looked something like this: and then i did this:
I swear that I haven't forgotten about you, dear blog readers. I actually have two very close to being finished posts written that I just haven't perfected yet. Also, this mini update.
When Matthias was in California with me, sometimes he would suggest going to get a drink at a bar. I always gave him crazy looks and tried my best to ignore him when he did this. In America we don't go to bars to have a drink, buddy, we go to bars to get smashed and hump each other on the dance floor. I honestly couldn't comprehend what the hell he even meant. Now that I am in France with Matthias, we go get drinks a lot. It doesn't matter what day it is or what time it is, there's always a need to meet up with someone, walk into one of the 5089u3409850123-001924y098 cafés and bars in Paris and sit and talk, while consuming a beverage (generally containing alcohol.) It's kind of hard for me to be so idle for such long periods of time. I mean, when you pay Paris prices for a drink, you're not just paying for the drink, you're paying for the privilege of sitting in a warm swanky Parisian establishment basically for as long as you desire. But even though it's strange and takes some adjusting to, I really love the concept and I think most of my memories from being here are in fact, from getting drinks with friends. Everyone should meet for drinks! as long as you make sure to have an important meeting scheduled for later in the day that you absolutely have to leave for...
I'm a self professed America criticizer. This makes it easy for me to sit through French dinner conversations as well as modern theater pieces about how much Americans suck. I do not feel offended because I agree, a lot of Americans do suck. Yesterday, when I was purchasing Aubergines, the man selling them to me asked me where I was from and when I replied "California" he told me Bush was crazy. I tend to believe that he was more stupid than crazy, but I agreed with the man and had to hold back from declaring "Vive la France!"
Something else happened to me yesterday as well. Something that I didn't have much control over...something I didn't really think about until after it happened...I made an apple pie. Now, I don't necessarily like apple pies. I'd never made one before and my grandma didn't bake them for me when I was young (we made key lime instead.) I've even stated previously on this very blog that I don't believe in baking...but for some reason I picked up a pre-made pâte, diced up some pommes and drizzled on the buerre, sucre, and jus de citron. Belinda's boyfriend poked fun "that's the only thing American's know how to make!" but it was a damn good pie and for a fraction of a second, it made me proud to be an American...having Obama instead of Bush helps out a lot too...
Ok, yea, I know I just made a post about how I never go out to eat but now I'm going to write a post about a place where I went out to eat, so just stop judging me. Thanks.
My friend Bruno's boyfriend was in town and had just had his anniversair so Bruno made reservations at Le Loup Blanc: restaurant atypique. When we arrived we ordered drinks to start. I got a pêche Kir which is a flavored white wine. Some olive tapenade with super skinny breadsticks were brought out to snack on in adorable little ramekins laying neatly on a black slate platter. Our menus were brought out and I think we all got a little shock when we first attempted to open them and realized that they were bound with sheets of metal. Upon lifting the metal slab I was greeted by a list of meat dishes, followed on the next page by the seafood, and lastly a whole page of vegetables. There were 4 froids (cold) options and 4 chauds (hot) options.
Now, next to the meat & seafood dishes there were three prices listed. Technically, the vegetable dishes were counted as sides, so the idea was to choose your protein and then pick either 2, 3, or 4 side dishes to accompany it with the price increasing for each additional side. There was also a note that if you were a vegetarian, you could simply choose 4, 5, or 6 sides as your meal. I was reading this all in French and I was pretty sure I understood, but in the back of the menu they had everything printed in English so I read through it quickly to make sure that I had it all figured out. Of the froids dishes, everything sounded delectable. There was one that was just tomatoes served several different ways, including tomato sorbet, there was a melon salad with coconut milk and lime sauce, mandarin and greens with a rosemary sauce, and a quinoa tabbouleh. For the hot, it wasn't too hard to find my selection, it was Fondue of something and the something didn't really matter. I passed on the mashed potatoes, artichoke and I can't quite recall the last one.
I generally feel a little silly ordering in front of a large group of French people, but imagine the horror of listing off six different items. It's not that it was any more difficult because of the amount of words involved, it was more like humiliation of being the greedy American boy who was ordering almost 1/3 of the entire menu. I will say, it was all worth it if for nothing more than that amazing tomato sorbet. Lucky for me, I even got to finish off somebody else's who was a little offput by the nonstandard preparation of the most delicious fruit/vegetable around.