PINK PIG MERINGUES

Even when somewhere else, the usual housework, errands and tasks must be attended to weekly.   I had to do the usual food shopping, laundry and paper work.  Boring!  Here’s a picture of some of the things I bought in the local Supermarché.

Yesterday we took the bus to the Museé L’Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries.  It is the most beautiful park.  The museum was beautiful and quite manageable.  If you saw the movie Midnight In Paris, you probably saw Owen Wilson standing in a large room surrounded by Claude Monet’s Les Nymphéas, Monet’s Water Lilies.  There is a link here:  http://www.musee-orangerie.fr/homes/home_id24799_u1l2.htm

Downstairs there are some incredible paintings by Monet of course, Paul Guillaume, Jean Walter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Picasso, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, Alfred Sisley, Maurice Utrillo and other artists.  I have included a photo here of La Maison Bernot, 1924 by Maurice Utrillo. It was just delightful to browse and enjoy each and every one.

We walked back from Place de la Concorde which is quite a hike, but it was good to get in the walk.  Along the way, we caught a model shoot near the Pont Alexandre III bridge.  She was a beautiful girl with several photographers snapping away.  I have put up some pictures here.

When we returned some friends wanted to drive around Paris do a little shopping and have something to eat.  We drove through Paris trying to decide where we should eat when we ended up right near the Forum des Halles area and we ended up in Au Pied du Cochon.

We started with some Kir Royals and ordered a bottle of wine.   Their specialty is grilled pigs feet.  I ordered the grilled salmon and my husband ordered the steak.

The meal was wonderful, delicious actually. Everything in the restaurant has a pig theme.  The large brass door handles are a pig’s hoof.  The bar is all etched with pigs, the menu is pigs and at the end of the meal, a dish is served with pink pig meringues.  Can you believe it?  Seriously, everything was delicious.  I must admit I in no way expected the waiter, who was extremely friendly, to serve a dish of pink pig meringues!  Yes, I have included a picture of them here.

Really, in no way would you have believed me.  I can’t make this stuff up you know. But first, I have a photo of us with our friend Candy.  She is the most well-behaved dog everywhere we go in Paris.  But then, everywhere we go in Paris all the dogs are very well-behaved.  They are welcome everywhere.

So as promised here is the picture of the pink pig meringues, only in Paris honestly. Imagine taking the time to make these.

Have a nice weekend.

Au revoir

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ÎLE SAINT LOUIS

We took the bus today to Notre Dame Cathedral and to the Island of Ile Saint Louis.  I wanted to visit the church to try to go to confession if I could, but that would not be for another several hours to my dismay.  I also needed to get a gift for someone. My husband wanted to go to a favorite little restaurant we usually frequent which would be a short walk over the bridge from the Ile de la Cite.

This is the picture I took when just about center of the bridge walking over to the island.

We were sitting and enjoying a small glass of wine, a baguette and our appetizer.  I ordered the aubergine and my husband was enjoying the rocket salad.  There were two gentlemen seated on the banquette to the left.  Across the way was a table of four, two women and two men.  It was quiet except for the usual amount of conversation.

Suddenly, the younger gentleman from the table of four leaped up and started talking in a quickened and loud voice at the gentleman to my left.  He was an older gentleman, and he immediately started looking at the younger now standing.  He was very excited and rambling on about how excited he was to see him.  I couldn’t understand everything he was saying, but you could tell he was really beside himself. They started taking photos together and the younger was giving books to the older gentleman.

I called the waitress over to give us a clue as to what was happening.  She explained in a very low voice that the older gent near me was a very famous actor who has been in many movies, a famous star of television, stage and a highly respected politically, by the name of Guy Bedos.  She went on to tell me that the younger was saying, “I’m so honored to meet you, I have been a fan of yours forever, I love all you movies, I love all you’ve done, etc.  He had bought two books for himself which he proceeded to give to the actor as a gift.  Mr. Bedos was quietly accepting all the gracious compliments and accepted the books as a gift as well.  You can google him if you like to see the many movies and stage work he has done.  The picture I have posted of him here was taken as he left the restaurant and started to briskly walk away. You can see he is carrying the books just given to him by one of his beloved fans.

We proceeded to enjoy our quiet and leisure lunch in one of favorite little quiet places and afterward did a little shopping.

We went to the cheese store.  My husband was dying to buy the wild boar which he loves, and I a small piece of cheese.

There is a chocolatier on the corner where we stopped to get some chocolates.  

We took a taxi back to the apartment but not before stopping to get some eclair au chocolat which are also filled with chocolate!

Below you can see I treated myself to a hot, steaming cup of té vert (green tea) with a small piece of afternoon dessert.

Are you crying? Seriously, the food here is absolutely beautiful and incredible.  I find myself looking forward to each new day with it’s endless choices.

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ORDERING TWO STARTERS

Last night we went to dinner with friends in Le Quartier Marais.  They drove to the apartment to pick us up and about a 30 minute drive with traffic. . We were going to a restaurant called Le Caruso at the corner of 3, Rue Turenne and Sainte Catherine.  It was such an adorable little restaurant with a very authentic Italian menu.  The products were from Italy and our friends told us that the food here was very good.

After ordering some wine, we each gave the waiter our orders.  I ordered the starter of baked eggplant and then pulled the rug out from under the waiter when I ordered another starter of minestrone soup.  He could absolutely not understand why anyone would order two starters, especially when everyone I was with ordered a starter and an entree.  No, I had to go and order two starters.  He must have asked me twenty seven times, “Madame, avant, avec ou aprés?”  Madame, before, with or after?  It took about ten minutes for him to understand bring the eggplant, then when the entrees are served bring the soup please.  He really did not want to make a mistake, he was so concerned. He even addressed the people I was with to make sure I wanted to indeed order two starters and no entree.  Perhaps he was asking them because maybe he thought I might be insane.  It was so funny really.

After a short time, we were served our starters.  The baked eggplant was really delicious.  I found myself a little anxious to see what would now happen when he returned.  Yes, I turned around and the entrees were being served and so was my bowl of soup, which was huge.   I was so happy it turned out right and it was plenty  of food for me which I thoroughly enjoyed and finished.

Everyone enjoyed their dinners right down to the cappuccino and tartlette aux pomme chaud,  (hot apple tart) the food was great.  Our friends had treated us to this dinner, which was very nice and generous.  We would definitely go back to Le Caruso.

My friend Miros thought she had lost her black beret when we parked and got out of the car.  After dinner she asked her husband to pull the car away from the curb a little so she could look under the car.  She was right, there it was.  When she got back into the car she was laughing so hard.  She said she could start a new trend in Paris, wearing a beret with a tire thread!

During the drive back to the apartment I realized how very beautiful this city is indeed.  It was very quiet, very little traffic and such a crystal clear night.  Because of the late hour, we were able to drive down the Avenue des Champs Élysées and take in the specialty shops, cinemas and the manicured chestnut trees..  We stopped at a traffic light in Trocodero and there we were right in front of the Eiffel Tower when it started twinkling, it was just midnight.  I snapped a quick photo from the car window which I have posted here.

Our friends came back to the apartment where we consumed a little more wine and some chocolates.  We sat around laughing and talking until about 1:00 am.  They wanted to me to skype our daughter so they could say hello and maybe get to see our granddaughter.  With the six hour time difference, we figured we would give it a try.  We were lucky to have caught her at a good time and we were all able to talk and see each other including the baby.  We had such a very nice evening.

Miros was a judge on the television show here in France, the French version of American Idol.  She is a very talented and beloved singer and voice coach.  When she recently went to Guatemala and agreed to have several concerts there, the tickets were immediately sold out.

Now, you are in the know, do not order two starters in Paris.

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SNOW IN PARIS AND TROCODERO

Sunday morning we got up to see it was snowing in Paris.  How delightful, I just love the snow so much.  I saw on the news it snowed in many places in Europe including Rome and London and hundreds of flights were cancelled due to the weather.  Here in Paris we only got about less than an inch and it disappeared soon after.

Saturday we went to Trocodero see the Musée National de la Marine.  We really enjoyed the museum.  I have posted several pictures here.  I particularly enjoyed the incredible paintings by Joseph Vernat.  He traveled in the late 18th century painting seaports.  There was so much to see here so we just strolled for several hours taking it all in.

As you can see from the picture here, people were actually walking on the frozen fountain, how crazy was that.

I made the cauliflower steak when we got back to the apartment, but I cut it in the wrong direction so it fell apart a little.  Perhaps I was supposed to start cutting further in from the edge.  But, it turned out really good especially since I had it on a boule levain, a delicious crusty, French sourdough round loaf of bread.

I couldn’t wait to return to Paris for one of my favorite things which is not available in the states.  That is the Yoplait Perle de Lait Coco, the most delicious coconut yogurt.  I have included a picture here of the package. I can’t wait to get up every morning to have it for breakfast.

The audio guide at the Musée National de la Marine said that this was the last piece of the boat which belonged to Marie Antoinette.  I have included a photo below.

I failed to mention the beautiful view from way up high on Trocodero before entering the museum.  The last photo I will leave you with today will be from there and you can see the ponds and fountains are all frozen due the recent cold weather here.  It is expected to warm up again in a few days.


I would be remiss if I didn’t wish a great big Congratulations to our home New York Giants on their Superbowl win!  We started to watch at about 11:30 and got to bed at 5:00 AM this morning.  GO GIANTS!

Well I must go as we are getting together with friends today.  Have a wonderful day.

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WHY DO PEOPLE GET SO MAD?

I just realized that when you tell people you decided to become a vegetarian they get mad.  Why is this?  Why is a hunk of meat on a fork being put in my face with the request, “Try this or taste this!”

A remark was made to me yesterday here in Paris that I was being ridiculous.  Why am I being ridiculous?  Because the decision was made in the U.S., I should change that because I am now in France?  Does that make any sense to you?  I am the same person with the same thoughts here or anywhere I go.

I am writing this because I think it is just hitting me today and thinking about all the recent remarks made to me about being vegetarian and obviously it is making me angry now. Just respect my decision, please.  Don’t force anything on me, and please keep your remarks to yourself.  If you know someone or meet someone who has made the same or similar decision, get over it.

Thank you for allowing  me to vent a little.

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SHARING SOME THINGS

The Tartlette aux poire, honey & vert thé

A little over four months ago I decided to turn vegetarian.  There were several reasons for this current decision having been eating meat all my life.   It seems some people find it either very difficult or very easy.  I found it to be extremely easy.  I am truly a very good cook, but that was before I had to find my way around a new and very unfamiliar diet.

That was before I left the U.S., but now I’m here in France.  In anticipation of this, I learned the words for vegetarian and other related terms, but I think this is going to be difficult.  I recently joined a vegetarian group here in Paris and there is a meeting next week which I look forward to attending.  It will be nice to meet others who are of same mind.  I will get some helpful tips and I have already started receiving emails regarding French vegetarian/vegan restaurants here in Paris, so I plan to give them a try.  It should be fun and I am sure I will learn quite a bit.

I have also gone almost completely organic.  I look for the word BIO here which means organic.   I am lucky to have an organic farm right near our home.  We joined the local farm CSA, Community Supported Agriculture which is a relationship between the farmer and the local community.  Several years ago we bought a share which helps the farmer plan in advance his garden for the next season.  It helps him to buy equipment, seeds, pay for labor, etc.  As a shareholder I am then provided fresh organic produce all year round.  A bonus to this concept is it is also good for the environment.  You can check out the local organic farms by searching for a CSA near you.

As I mentioned, I am new to this and find my thoughts searching for animal proteins in other foods on a daily basis.   I have recently been quite successful in preparing lots of legumes either in the form of salads or soups.  I have also learned to incorporate various seeds including flax, nuts and avocados which has been no problem at all.  All vegetables are now my best and very dear friends.  I recently saw a recipe for making cauliflower steaks.  You just put a little olive oil in a hot pan, add some chopped garlic and heat a little, then slice the cauliflower about 1/2″ thick straight down from top to bottom.  Do not remove the core.  Brown on each side until tender.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I did get the cauliflower yesterday along with a jar of roasted peppers to go along with it.  If I were at home I would roast them myself with some toasted pignoli nuts and a little olive oil.

We had lunch out today on rue Cler.  I ordered a cup of vert thé (green tea) and the grilled salmon with herticot vert and an arugula salad. The protein need was met with that meal easily.

The tea bag was made of a sheer cotton muslin fabric which caught my attention.  I wanted to know what it was because it was so delicious. The little peach colored tag was labeled Fuji Hama, by Mariage Fréres.  Last winter I went to one of the many locations of Mariage Fréres and bought about six different varieties of their tea.  Actually I cut all the labels from the front of the bags as I finished them and brought them back with me this time to restock.  I will definitely add the Fuji Hama to my list.   The location of the one I am looking forward to revisiting was Rive Gauche, 13 rue des Grands Augustins, in the 6th.  It is a Tea Salon, Restaurant, Tea Emporium and, would you believe also a Tea Museum.  The aromas are amazing from all the many tea offerings.  They are stored in huge black cannisters and they open the lids under your face for you to take it the tea scents.  After you buy several 100 grams or larger bags they are handed to you.  You then walk over to what looks like a teller window with a bars which is where you pay.  You can see a small picture of the black cannisters on the shelves at their link here:  http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/UK/vt+tea-counters.html

We stopped in a few shops on the walk back and I went into the boulangerie and bought two baguettes and a tartlette aux poire to enjoy later this afternoon back at the apartment.  I just am so happy to see the lovely paper wrapped around the tartlette into a pyramid shape, no bag necessary.  I stopped in the Famille Mary which is a bio miel, organic honey shop.  They sells everything organic.  I bought a beautiful jar of honey with orange and lemon for my tea. http://www.famillemary.fr/boutique/liste_rayons.cfm  They had a large display in the middle of this tiny little shop called TONImel Express Concentre de vitalité.  Propolis, which is a substance that honey bees collect from tree buds.  In French, the woman asked if we would like to try one.  It is for vim, vigor and vitality.  Well, honestly did you ever use the word vim?  Why not, she broke open two ampules and gave us two tiny little straws and we drank away.  Honestly, about twenty minutes later we both felt great.  We will be buying this by the truck loads, as it was like a little fountain of youth.  Don’t believe me, read away little darlings here:  http://www.famillemary.fr/boutique/fiche_produit.cfm?url=GeleeRoyaleBioTonimelExpress&type=2&ref=web_083710&code_lg=lg_us&pag=1&num=2&tri=0&marq=0

Ah, so much to say, so much to write, but I must go and bid you all adieu.

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A WARM WELCOME BACK FROM PARIS

I am most happy to say that we arrived back in Paris yesterday.  The first thing we had to do was go food shopping which is always so much fun here.  I wanted to post this picture of our favorite little shopping cart which mostly everyone uses here to tote their groceries home.

As you can see in this picture I  just bought two French baguettes and the white bag contains some of my favorite pastries.  Picture me quite excited.

I’ll write again soon as right now I have the dreaded jet lag and need to relax and eat something.

Continue reading

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SPOLETO AND TODI, ITALY

When we left Rome we drove to the small town of Todi which we visited last March.  This time we looked at an apartment there.

It had these four beautiful arched windows in a lovely courtyard with palm trees and lots of greenery.

In the next photo you can see the real estate agent showing us the apartment which was once a monastery.

The apartment was located near the center of the town but not on the main street.  It was lovely with four large bedrooms, open floor plan and the most gorgeous beamed ceiling.

I have included a photo below although it is not great it shows the shape of the windows.

There was an iron spiral staircase to a lower bedroom which was quite unique.

From here in Todi, we have an appointment with another agent who will be giving us a private tour of the city of Spoleto including the fortress, town, shopping, church etc.  The house is on the crest of a hill very high above the town with four bedrooms and about 10 acres of olive trees and grapevines with its own pergola and separate house.

I will include below some photos of the house we looked at also.

The town of Spoleto was beautiful and we loved walking around the town. We drove to Cascia on our way to Perugia to visit the cathedral of St. Rita.

Sainta Rita de Cascia is the patron saint of impossible things and lost causes.  Her personal story is an interesting one.  We were stunned when we walked into the cathedral to see her lying on an altar enclosed in glass.

This was the entrance (hallway) when first entering the apartment complete with a baby grand piano and a brick walkway. The flooring was the original terracotta.

The photo is of the agent who also does the tours below.  She was such a lovely woman and her driving skills was nothing short of a race car driver while speaking Italian so fast.

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CITTA DEL VATICANO, ROMA

Spent the day in the Citta del Vaticano in Rome with friends.  The weather was really nice and it was just as awesome as ever.  We love Rome, it offers so much to do and so much to see.

We (three women) spent time shopping on the Via Cola di Rienzo.  We love this area to shop as it is away from the tourist area and offers such a wide variety of shopping, with prices are pretty reasonable.

We did a little shopping on the Via Veneto then visited the office of someone we know to meet up to have lunch together.

I can’t tell you what fun it is to drive around Rome with a friend in her little car yelling at other drivers and zipping along.  The ability of the drivers is astounding considering all the scooters buzzing alongside.

 

We visited the crypts under the Vatican and again the crowds near Pope John Paul II  is something to see.  On May 1st, he will be beatified here in Rome with over 2 million people expected to attend.  We could see the preparations already being made.

 

 

I have to run as today is Ash Wednesday and we are now going to San Francesco d’Assisi for our ashes.

 

 

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WE MADE IT TO ROME

As you can see we made it to Rome.  Here we are flying over the Swiss Alps.

We met our friends at the airport who flew in from New York.

I can’t go into much detail as I am pressed for time and was happy to have the internet here so I wanted to post some pictures.

Yesterday in Rome the children were celebrating Carnavale.  So I managed to snap this picture of these two little girls on their way to the Piazza del Popolo where they were going to have their own carnavale party.

The celebration will be Tuesday night, the night before Ash Wednesday.

They look so cute with their masks on.

We came upon a market which is common on Sundays in Rome.  I happened to notice a woman with a purse that was so unusual.  I asked her about it and she said she makes them herself.  It was a Noah’s Ark purse.

I have always wanted to take a trip on the Appia Antica.  The Appian Way built by the Romans, you remember the expression all roads lead to Rome!  Well, we started the drive up and it was absolutely amazing.  It is the beginning of ancient Rome.

This is where we started the drive and I have included a photo of the sign.

We stopped along the way as we were thirsty and found an old Roman fountain.  Since the water always drips out the bottom, the dogs stop and drink from it too.  You must put your finger on the spout and then the water starts streaming out of the top, which is where people drink from.  Ingenious right, leave it to the Romans.

That water was delicious and so cold. 

We had a very late dinner with friends last night in Rome.  There were nine of us.

We are blessed with the friendship of others.  We were invited to a friend’s apartment in Rome last night before dinner and it was wonderful.  We have many blessings that we are grateful for every day.

Today we are going to the Vatican and hopefully I will be able to see my friend there.  The Sister has been so kind to us over the years and we are sincerely hoping we will get to see her once again.

Below is a picture of the beautiful umbrella Pino trees of Rome.  You know you’re in Rome when you see these trees.

The weather was 68 yesterday and today looks to be even better. Until next time, be well.

Posted in ROAD TRIP ITALY 2011, SIGHTSEEING, THE WAY I SEE IT | 2 Comments