Friday, September 17, 2010

Paris and London: What we ate, what we drank

Because I don't want you to miss this post, I'm copying it here from the Romanian Wifery page...bon appetit!

For our first anniversary, Bela and I decided to take a quick trip to Paris and London on our way to the states. It was a whirlwind time, and while Bela had been to both cities before, we still fell in love with them together. Here are the details about what we ate and drank in these two lovely cities.

The first meal we ate in Paris we failed to document. Which is a tragedy because it was beyond words heavenly. As you will begin to see is a pattern, I don't remember much of what Bela ate, as is the case with our first lunch, but I have an impeccable memory of that which I partook. So, this lunch, we stopped at a little bakery. Bela had a sandwich. I had a loaf of bread with melted brie in it. The grilled cheese of heaven.

After doing some sight-seeing, we decided to take a pause at one of those little French cafes you hear so much about. While they are not cheap, the ambiance is completely Paris and it was lovely to sip my coffee and watch Parisians pass well as quite a few tourists.

Dinner our first night in Paris was spent in the Latin Quarter. We basically stopped at a touristy type place, but the food was great. White wine. French onion soup unlike any I have ever eaten, it melted in my mouth. And, for me, boeuf bourguignon. I'm at a loss for adjectives to describe how good it was. Notice, both the rice and potatoes for my sides. With a side of bread. The French love their carbs.

The next morning we stopped at a little cafe/bakery and had coffee and rolls. The raisin one was the butteriest mouthwatering goodness I've eaten ever. The coffee was good, too.

For lunch we stopped at a sweet outdoor cafe where kids were playing soccer right in front of us and may or may not have just missed hitting us with the ball more than once. Anywho, we had crepes. I can't remember what kind, but we had crepes for lunch and crepes for dessert. And beer to drink. It was fabulous.

Later in the afternoon we had a snack of lemon crepes. Eaten on a bench in a Parisian park on our way to the Louvre.

And then, our First Anniversary Dinner. While we roamed the streets I had spied a little place called 'Cru'. It was tucked off the road in the middle of a courtyard. We decided to try it.

At first, they asked us if we had reservations, although at that point the place was empty. When we said we didn't, they checked and decided they could take us. So, we sat. As you can see, it was very modern, very bare bones in it's style. Even the water carafe and wine decanter were modeled to look like plastic bottles (but they were glass) and the cups like a glorified dixie cup (but they were glass, too).

So, we set about ordering. Bela, who knows French, asked some questions about what the cuts of meat meant. I decided that I wanted chuncks of meat in Thai seasonings while he wanted thinly sliced meat. One thing was stumping us, though. What did they mean when they said that the meat was 'cru'? We asked the waitress, who in broken English tried to explain, but decided to just ask what the right word was.

Raw. The meat was 'cru', or, raw.

We looked at one another and blinked. Do we stay? Do we dare to venture down this road of raw meat, tartar it is called? Shrugged our shoulders and said: when in Paris, do as the Parisians! And happily cuddled up with a basket of bread and a creme fraiche spread.

Our food was delivered. Honestly, I thought mine looked like a glorified hamburger patty. But, it was better than raw hamburger. Perfectly cured and seasoned. Bela's potato wedges were just so cute...and we both agreed that my meal was better than his. Although, again, I don't remember what he ate.

Dessert, although undocumented, was even better than the dinner. Raspberry cheesecake in a cute little circle shape is what I ate. You'll have to ask Bela what he had.

After a day and a half in Paris, we took the train to London and spent the day with friends. Bela was craving authentic fish 'n chips, so we went in search of them. Which shouldn't have been too difficult given as we were in London and the English are famous for their fish 'n chips. Turns out finding more affordable fish 'n chips in a tourist area in London is what can be a challenge. We ended up finding a little place in a flea market type area. I'll be honest. They weren't the best ever, but they were good enough. (And, who wants peas with their fried fish and potatoes, I ask you? I never want them, even less as a side with greasy food. Bela ate mine).

After several hours of walking and sight-seeing, we decided to stop at a pub and rest a bit. It was a fun, quaint place, with several elderly gentlemen dressed up in their old military uniforms. Bela had a beer that they make on site, while I had something called Pimms...and it was so good! It had this English liqueor as well as lemonade and fruit in it. A must have if ever you are in England or see the bottle for sale in a duty-free shop.

To round out the day (and I must say, by this point I was exhausted. We'd just run around 2 major cities in 3 days) we stopped at an Asian restaurant. It's a chain in England, I guess, and the food was great. At least what I had was great. I still dream about it..some kind of curry chicken thing. That's mine in the big bowl. I don't remember what Bela had, but, it was good too. Just not as good as mine. :)

Soon after dinner we said good-bye to our sweet friends and headed our tired selves to the airport where we spent the night waiting for our early flight to the states. Wish I had pictures documenting that adventure. We stayed at a little coffee shop in the airport and the Middle-Eastern man who ran it was so nice. I fell asleep I don't know how many times, my head swinging back against my chair, mouth wide open, and as we were leaving in the morning he asked me: did you sleep well? And sold me my cup of coffee. (He really was nice, not sure if I made him sound that way or not here...)

And that is what we ate, and drank, while in Paris and London.


Julie said...

Oh April,
That is so funny that you remember everything you ate and drank. When we went to Japan last year as chairpersons of an organization we are part of, I took pictures of everything I ate, because it was just so beautifully presented. I mostly had no idea what it was because I don't understand Japanese, but I was determined like you in Paris "when in Japan, eat what the Japanese eat." It was quite exotic and after about a week we were in Kyoto and I saw a McDonalds. Ordinarily, I would never look twice at McDonalds, but all of sudden, it sounded so good and homey. I at my Teriyaki burger with gusto. When Elizabeth was interning in Cambridge, I came over for her 21st birthday and we spent 40 hours of insanity in Paris, mostly because I have no idea if I will ever be back and so I wanted to see everything I could possibly get in. Breakfast crepes were eaten while walking. I am glad your time was a little more relaxed. It sounds like a great first anniversary with memories for a lifetime.

jo said...

hmmmmm so wonderfully delish!!!!

Jeff and Aimee said...

Okay, I'm drooling all over my keyboard. (Except for that raw stuff...eww.)

Laurie Brandriet Keller said...

hi april, we are neighbors on blogspot. you are next on my "next blog" arrow. i love your paris/london food log. come to see me sometime. it was nice to meet you. xoxo from the prairie.

Laurie Brandriet Keller said...

hi april, we are neighbors on blogspot. you are next on my "next blog" arrow. i love your paris/london food log. come to see me sometime. it was nice to meet you. xoxo from the prairie.

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