Monday, October 15, 2012

Oysters for Breakfast

I love oysters.  Any and all oysters, and I'm in heaven in France as they have the most wonderful selection of these delicious bivalves.  I've eaten oysters from the West and East Coasts of the US, Canada, The Gulf of Mexico, the UK, France, Ireland, and they all have their unique attributes.  I love them all.  What I've never done?  Eaten oysters in an airport.  Until now.  Traveling through Charles de Gaulle airport the other day I stumbled upon an oyster bar setting up for the day.  Unfortunately they weren't serving yet.  Luckily for me when I arrived in Heathrow the same chain was stocking a nice selection of British oysters.  (I wish I would have been awake enough to write down what they were!)

A quick six and I was smitten.  They were a bit creamier than their French cousins, with a tangy mineral edge.  I wish I could have stayed for more, but my plane was boarding!  What a great option for the oyster loving traveller. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chipotle London - Baker St. and MORE!

When we first visited London we made a point to visit Chipotle as the Paris Location was not open yet.  See here.  Once our most beloved Damon opened the Paris location we were happy.  Very happy.  You can see my comprehensive post here.  Oh how I love Chipotle!

When we went back recently we made sure to visit the Baker St. location.  

No line since we never seem to eat at "regular" times.  Good for us!
I swapped the normal amount of carnitas for extra guac.  Mmmmmmm.
Everything was great as usual, and we thought we were all cooler than school since we've been to all three European Chipotle restaurants, but then we saw THIS!

Chipotle was hiring for three additional locations!  I just checked the website, and there are now FIVE locations listed for London!  Along with the Baker St. and Charing Cross Road locations, there are new Chipotle's in Soho on Wardour Street, St. Martins Lane in Covent Garden and Upper Street in Islington.  Time to book some Eurostar tickets for a long weekend!

Happy Chipotle Londoners!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012


The city looks so small from afar.  The beauty of Paris is dampened only by the ugly smog that sits in a layer over the city.  (I suppose the fire in the foreground doesn't help.)  Looking back into Paris I'm reminded that it's probably a good idea to get out of the city to fresh clean air on occasion.  I'm afraid we don't do that enough.  Perhaps this weekend?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Magnet Monday!

I've been meaning to do this for a long time.  Over the last 20 years or so I've been collecting magnets.  It's a lot less bulky than let's say, garden gnomes, Elvis clocks, ceramic pigs or something of the sort.  Plus they are easy to move, and the kids love to hear about where and when we collected them.  And now that I've successfully infected them with the magnet bug, wherever we go we try to pick the perfect magnet to celebrate our visit.  Some day they will have quite a collection themselves.  Sadly some of my favorites have broken this past year, and before any more do, I want a lasting history of sorts of my life in magnets.

This is perhaps my favorite, and if you have children you can probably relate.  

My Mom is wicked smart, and darn it!  She WAS pretty much right about everything!  I hope The Girl thinks the same of me some day.  I can only try my best.

It may take me years to get through them all, but I promise that every one will have a story.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Now THIS is My Kind of Car!

I've always been a sucker for fins, and this is one good looking example of American engineering at its most creative!

I saw this beauty on the 29th of July parked in front of the Place Trocadéro facing the Tour Eiffel.  I had been on a walking tour of highlights of the 16th, and had forgotten that the Traversée de Paris was happening that day.  This is a twice yearly event where you see the period costumed owners of about 500 classic cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, war time vehicles, buses and even tractors promenade across Paris.  We got to see quite a few of them head down Avenue du Président Wilson, and I just have to say, they really should bring back turquoise as a modern paint color option!  It really is quite a spectacle, one I think I'll put on my calendar for the winter edition. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Note To Self...

Next time I plan on walking around Paris all day and I've checked the forecast and it calls for rain?  Perhaps rain boots would be a better choice.
Anyone know if I can throw my filthy Converse in the washing machine?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chipotle London - Baker St.

We're off to the last Chipotle in Europe we haven't been to yet!  We're in London for the Olympics and instead of hitting the big Olympic venues today we're headed to Baker St. for carnitas!

Pictures to follow!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chipotle Paris...A Dream Realized...with Pictures

Those who know me know that I have an unhealthy obsession with Chipotle.  OK.  Maybe a healthy one.  There have been times in my life that I wouldn't go 7 days without at least guac and chips, but most likely a carnitas burrito bowl.  I credit Chipotle with the fact that my kids are smart since I ate so many good fats in the form of lots and lots and lots of guac when I was pregnant.  

Today Chipotle opened in Paris, my current city of residence.  I have been waiting for this since before we even left VA.  I've badgered Corporate, and I'm sure Rusty and Joe at @ChipotleTweets would like me to take a long vacation.  But it was all worth it.  

Today I picked up Cousin Joey at CDG and headed into the city for our first taste of what I consider the best American "convenience" food (I refuse to say "fast") to be exported to France.  I was not disappointed.  

This was taken from the car.  I'm pretty sure I almost shed a tear.  Can we safely say that white shirts and dark denim are in this season?
Hey look!  A line!  This is so unusual for Paris!
That guys' hair is almost as awesome as the fact that I'm about to get a burrito bowl in Paris.  Oops.  I meant an Assiette de Burrito.
Our take.  The prerequisite carnitas burrito bowl for me, guac and chips and three carnitas soft tacos for the Cuz.  And Bohemia.  I should mention that my cousin lives somewhere you can't drink beer.  The horror!  The carnitas were spot on, and the salsas and guac had the right amount of kick.  No need at all for the Tabasco.  And there is something about the flaked salt they use on the chips that makes them irresistible.
The view from the upper floor eating area.
The typical Chipotle stark iron and concrete design.  Done well.
A view of the eating area.  A large space with not a huge amount of seating.  But it seemed to work well.  There were spaces for large groups, and it didn't seem cramped.  The window seats look out onto the hustle and bustle of Boulevard Montmartre.
That's right!  Chipotle is in France.  Woo hoo!
I love the menu.  For something so American to now be translated into French using French ingredients in just lovely.  Though I think my husband is going to have something to say about the lack of the traditional white rice.  I thought the brown rice was pretty good though. 
The crew was just amazing today.  They have a number of London "ringers" in to train the local crew and they were perfect.  Excellent customer service in both French and English.  If they can train the Paris team to their standards it will be fantastic.
Goodbye my new friend Chipotle Paris.  I look forward to seeing you often.  Perhaps tomorrow for lunch?
I was lucky enough to meet and chat with the manager, who seems like a great guy.  This was a big move for Chipotle.  The clientele seemed to be at least 90% local, so the word must be getting out that Chipotle has quality food, served quickly.  I wish the best to Damon and his crew. you think I could convince them to open one in my neighborhood???

Chipotle Paris
20 Boulevard Montmartre 75009
Open 7/7 11h00-22h00
Metro Richelieu Drouot on the 8 or 9 
Or by Bus on the 20, 39, 48, 67, 74 or 85
(Seriously people...with that many ways to get to Chipotle what is your excuse?!!)


YES I AM YELLING! Waiting in line now...let's hope it's good!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chipotle London & Almost Paris

Rusty of @ChipotleTweets has confirmed today that the Grand Opening of the first (of hopefully many) Paris locations is a go for the 24th of May. That's next week! I couldn't wait though, and while in London we hit The Charing Cross location. The food was WONDERFUL, and Chris the Chipotle Guy even sat down with us for a chat. I love my carnitas, and I can't wait to have a nice bowl covered in medium salsa next week in my 'hood!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak was a big part of my childhood.  I loved all of his stories, and used to sing Carole King's Really Rosie songs until my Dad probably wanted to tear his hear out.  I've even got them in iTunes now and have brainwashed my children.  Right now One Was Johnny is playing in my head.  

A funny thing happened yesterday morning.  My kids have something called a Little Touch LeapPad that they used to love to play with before we moved to Paris.  However when we unpacked it last September the batteries were dead.  I never managed to get around to replacing them.  (I believe it was # 8,943rd on my To Do List.  I just completed # 227.)  While I was sitting in the playroom yesterday morning I suddenly decided I was going to pull it out and change the batteries.  When I did, I noticed the book Where the Wild Things Are was on it.  
I felt warm and happy for just a moment, and had a few Happy Thoughts for the man who created so many things I love.

Later in the day I learned of his death.  

I got goosebumps.  I don't think I'll know what possessed me to pick up the LeapPad yesterday, but I'm sure glad I did.  

Rest In Peace Maurice Sendak.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Typical Airport Food, French Style

I can safely say you would not find the pictured airport snacks anywhere in the United States.  At CDG the offerings include Champagne, a dozen choices of stinky cheese, foie gras and caviar.  God I love this country.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What a Difference a Week Makes

Spring is springing up all over Paris.  (Or should I say spring has sprung?)  Seriously, the pollen is making me nuts.  Or at least that's what I'd like to blame my runny nose and sore throat on.  I can't be sick again, can I?  Were the 293 illnesses I've had in the nine months I've lived here not enough?  Do I really need to catch EVERYTHING going around France?  I know, rhetorical question.

Back to spring.  Paris in the spring really is gorgeous.  Cliché as it is, if you have the chance to visit Paris in the spring, jump on it.

This was the view from my window last week.

The first hint that spring was on the way.
And this is my view today.
Now that's more like it!
The lack of color was really starting to get to me, and the grey skies that lasted for months?  Totally depressing.  Now I just wander around the city taking pictures of the blue sky.  Sooner or later I'm going to step in dog poop.  

In my 'hood.
Palais Garnier in the 9th.
Porte Saint-Martin in the 10th.
Église de la Sainte-Trinité in the 9th.
Winter in Paris was tough, but as long as I can have a few days of blue skies thrown in with the normal slightly overcast/smoggy skies I will be happy.

Happy Spring Friends.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The New Paris Chipotle...PICTURES!!!

All right friends.  Last week was so gorgeous I walked for an hour across Paris and when I realized what direction I was headed in, I made a quick detour to see the beauty that is the new Chipotle Paris.  Knowing that the proof is in the pictures, here's where I will be spending many euros, hopefully starting in May!

Vive le burrito!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chipotle Progress!

Just drove by the location of the new Chipotle in Paris and the sign is up! Hooray for progress!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Scorpions? Really???

We are sitting in a restaurant in Calvados listening to the Scorpions Greatest Hits album. Yes, the entire thing. Really???

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sea Urchin. Afternoon Snack or Science Experiment?

I love pretty much everything from the sea.  Big fish, small fish, calamari, octopus, shellfish, oysters of every persuasion, and even sea urchin thanks to a great boss I had a million years ago who used to drag me to his favorite sushi place in Sacramento, CA and make me eat it topped with a quail egg.  (Man that place was good.  Fried Crispy Shrimp Heads anyone?)  

I have been buying my seafood while in Paris from the same guy at my local marché because his lines are long and have the most women in full length fur coats on any given day.  (And really, in Paris you can count on the old ladies in mink to lead you to the best shops, just not the best plastic surgeons, but I digress.)

The problem is this guy is mean.  French is very hard for me.  Like mind numbingly mental block every time I open my mouth hard.  I can read some French because of my Spanish background, and understand most culinary French, but I just don't seem to retain much practical French from my formal classes.  My teacher is great, but between the plagues my children bring home and obligations at the kids' school, I am lucky to get to class more than twice a month. My fish guy doesn't like that I can't communicate well in French.  Sometimes he gets mad and huffs about while filling my order, but mostly he just laughs at me.  And not just a, "Stupid American lady doesn't know French" laughing under his breath chuckle, he actually leans over to the other guys and makes them all laugh at me too.  (I swear someone even pointed at me once.  But since the French don't point I must have been hallucinating.)  Since I have no freaking idea what they're saying about me I usually just smile and hand over my cash and take my fantastic seafood home with me.  Not today.  

I was running late and not sure if my oyster guys would be out in my neighborhood.  Oh yes, I have oyster guys.  And they like me and nicely correct my French and then wait until I've left to make fun of me.  (I'm assuming.)  But they always throw in a few extra oysters for "the shucker" (insert joke here) so I'll buy my oysters from them until they pack up ship in the warmer months.  But today I was looking for calamari and sea bass.

So I scurry in as the market is shutting down and see that my regular guys are just about packed up.  Then I see in the distance another guy who is still with a customer and head his way.  No calamari or whole sea bass left, but he does have three choices of great looking oysters, and then I see he has sea urchin.  Yum.  I start speaking in my crappy French and guess what, he smiled at me.  Oh Dear Heaven on Earth how have I missed this nice man?  He let me butcher his language and then we spoke a bit of Franglish and managed to discuss the differences between the oysters, get some packed up and move onto the sea urchin.  I asked if I could pick them up and at the same time we both said in different languages, "A heavy one is better."  I have met my soulmate.  I am going to be dropping some dime on his seafood.  Off I went with my catch.  I will be back.

Turns out my oyster guys were indeed at their corner, so I HAD to get another half dozen (8 because they're nice) and turned those into Puglian Broiled Oysters, but that's my next post.  
Here was my take from the new guy.  I've got them split by type three on the top and three on the left and then right.  It turns out my favorites of the day, the spéciales de claire on the bottom were briny with delicious cucumber notes.  Man I could eat oysters everyday.
The Boy and The Girl were fascinated by the sea urchin and wanted to know everything about it, so that significantly delayed my afternoon snack.  We watched National Geographic videos on YouTube, read all about them on Wikipedia, poked it and prodded it and used the word "gonad" about a dozen times.  (Science is fun!) Then we dispatched the darling with my poultry shears and the children made horrified faces and stuck their tongues out.  
Ewwww!  (My Husband would now be singing, "The Circle of Life" a la Elton John and as usual I would roll my eyes, but he's out with our favorite bartender Will at Verjus eating Crispy Basque Pork Belly and Fried Chicken.  Lucky man.)  Needless to say the kids didn't try any, but darn tootin' sea urchin is delicious.  I only ate one piece and will make a tiny bit of Uni Cream Sauce for some pasta tomorrow.  Just a bit of cream warmed through, the uni scraped through a fine mesh strainer and chervil to garnish.  Breakfast of Champions!

Monday, January 30, 2012

More Chipotle News!

Here it is!  Official confirmation that Chipotle is coming...and soon!  

Now off to figure out where it will be.  And how I can be first in line!

Mmmmmmm.  Carnitas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Cars

I think it's funny that I've developed an obsession with photographing cars in Paris.  Pre-Paris I drove an old Volvo station wagon, so I'm obviously not a car "person."  The fact that Parisians have these gorgeous cars and then park them on the street is just crazy to me!  I regularly see people "using" their bumpers to get into parking spaces, I just can't imagine parking this car on the street.
Come on now.  That is one gorgeous American made classic.  

Or these two guys.  What are they thinking parking in a bus lane?