I’m sitting in a pair of rose pajama bottoms and a tank top, drinking a cup of coffee from my favorite pottery mug, listening to the terrifying sounds of Cthulhu in my walls, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be home typing on my blog. In theory, blogging from an iPad sounded like a great idea. (We’ll have less to carry! You won’t have to be paranoid about your computer!) But in practice, it was like trying to blog on a Speak N Spell.
Anyway. We’re back. I’ve been suffering from jetlag and other issues…but I’ll cover that later. This blog is all about the food. Frenchie Food.
Now, I have to say, we never ate at one of those fancy schmancy places. We had a chance to eat at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant at our hotel (The amazing Trianon Palace in Versailles) but we just couldn’t stomach spending $200 Euros on one meal. That’s like a MILLION dollars or something in American money. We just couldn’t do it. Plus, we were too busy.
Mostly, we stuck to finding little cafes that had both French and English printed on the menu. And there were thousands of them. Some better than others. You can tell that Paris is a home for beleaguered world travelers because there are restaurants everywhere to serve them.
TWO THINGS I LEARNED
1) Brasserie is a CAFÉ, not a bra shop. I’m relieved because a baguette simply couldn’t cover my cha chas. Two baguettes maybe could. And a croissant. But then I’d be attacked by pigeons.
2) Bathrooms in busy downtown Paris restaurants are gross.
After we figured that out, we were on our way to eating. Here are some highlights:
There’s just plain more REAL food in Paris. Like things aren’t packaged and ziplocked and flash frozen and reconstituted. They’re like REAL. Freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast every morning was a revelation. Sandwiches made on bread they baked that morning…amazing. Eating a crepe made fresh before your eyes…awesome.
SWEET & SALTY
Sweet things are less sweet; salty things are less salty; there’s more vinegar and less sugar in mayonnaise and ketchup. I think this goes back to the food being real. If food is real and less processed it doesn’t need tons of sugar and sweetener. In fact, we’re sure they used real SUGAR and not corn syrup. One taste of a dense glace (ice cream) and you’ll be astounded that the ice cream you’ve been eating from your freezer isn’t real at all. It’s like discovering that you’ve been celebrating Christmas all wrong and it’s way more awesome!
FRENCH LIKE MEAT AND SAUCES AND FRIES
Now I don’t know if this was for tourists, and I think it probably was, but it was like every French dish (beef burgundy, baked chicken, sausages) came with fries and a salad. No salt on the fries. And there was a lot of meat, everywhere. For a girl who waxes vegetarian 70% of the time, that was a lot to stomach. Literally. And every salad had the same dressing on it—what I like to call the…
INTERNATIONAL SALAD DRESSING
(See above picture of the sandwich and salad.)
Every salad had the same dressing wherever you went, with slight variations. There were no options. The dressing basically (from what I could taste and from asking) had Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, maybe some garlic. I’m going to whip some up soon.
BREAKFAST BUFFETS ARE GREAT
Best breakfast buffet was at the Trianon Palace of course, but all our hotels offered pastries but also cheese, vegetables, smoked fish, etc. I don’t feel as freaky anymore for eating curry for breakfast.
A surprising thing to me was that I started to miss the variety of food at home. Every menu we saw was pretty focused with few choices. I sorta like the menus here with cuisine from all over the world served at one restaurant. And I would’ve liked some smashed garlic potatoes or some other kind of side dishes.
GOOD, BUT I CAN’T EAT LIKE THE FRENCH FOREVER
There’s a diet book for women called something like “Eat Like The French and Lose Weight”. I can see why. With sauces that are so rich, salads topped with sliced beef, pates served at breakfast, you don’t need to eat A LOT. After a while, I just wanted some plain old rice, or a taco or something. I couldn't eat like the French, but I sure could hang out at a cafe and just watch people like they do.
I’ll take some ideas home with me. I’m going to start baking bread again. Maybe buy an ice cream maker. I’m going to make crepes with eggs and ham and cheese. First cook the crepe, then cook the egg RIGHT ON TOP OF THE CREPE. Magic! Then you fold it all up. Crepes aren’t just for Nutella and strawberries and crème, apparently.
As soon as my stomach gets back to normal, I might also cook some beef burgundy or escargot. I know HOW to do it, I’m just usually too LAZY to do it.
First things first though: Kealoha is going shopping today for a bag of oranges and then we’re toasting our return home with some good, pure, REAL juice.
Bon appétit, or as we like to say in our house, eat up ya dirty bastard*.
*We only say that when my mom visits. Just cuz, ya know, humor.