Tag Archives: jef

Gastro-not-so-economical, Part II

Lyon. My second oeuf en meurette, which was even better than the first. It was the starter for...

a huge piece of pork, smothered in gravy, served with mac & cheese by a different name. If I'd just come from the U.S., I might have been disappointed that this dish resembled American food, but since it's been months, it felt nice to have comfort food. The macaroni tasted just like my dad's!

Lyon. My second oeuf en meurette of the day, and the best one yet.

Paris. Prawn and pumpkin ravioli in a coconut cream sauce. Subtle, creamy, fantastic.

Paris. I was jealous of this salmon carpaccio with capers and red peppercorns that Jef ordered.

Paris. We each ordered a café gourmand, which the menu described in English as "coffee with many babies desserts." Clockwise from the coffee: tart apple sorbet, an île flottante (eggs whites floating in custard), pineapple drenched in a cream that tasted like the frosting of a tres leche cake, a baby rum cake and a baby sesame chocolate pastry.

And now I’m done bragging about the wonderful meals Jef bought me.


Gastro-not-so-economical, Part I

You know how I said that our walk from the Marais to the Eiffel Tower was approximately really far? I used Google Maps to calculate a more precise figure. We walked at least 6.5 miles that day. The cheap flats I was wearing are destroyed, as are my legs (probably because of said flats).

48 hours later, my hips and heels still hurt. If I had it to do over I wouldn’t have changed—the only thing uglier than a tourist wearing running shoes in Paris is a tourist wearing Crocs in Paris—and it’s not as if Paris is lacking in public transit. I realize it’s my own fault, but still. Ouch.

Despite walking plenty every day of our vacation and over a quarter marathon that last day, I realized when I returned home that the effort of putting my body into my jeans resembled scenes in old movies where girls tighten each others’ corsets. As any girl with a healthy dose of self confidence will do, I blamed the dryers at the laundromat…until I stepped on the scale. Three weeks in Lovers’ La La Land was enough to increase my body weight by over 3%! (And, no, there is no baby inside of me (yet).)

Thus, I have been reflecting upon all of the fantastic meals that Jef bought me. Eating was one of the best things about our trip. I’m too poor to go out for French specialities on my own, so Jef spoiled me rotten.

So today, dear readers, I thought I’d share some of the best things we ate. 50% to make you jealous, 50% to rationalize gaining kilos (plural) in a mere three weeks.

Dijon. Okay, so, I didn't really eat this one, but Jef sure did. It's a Burgundy regional specialty: andouille à la moutarde—that is, mustard-smothered pig intestines.

Dijon. This doesn't look like much, but it's one of the tastiest meals we had in France: meaty, cheesy, open-faced sandwiches served with a light split pea soup, beets and greens.

Beaune. We had a great lunch in a charming place in an old wine cave, but this tiramisu was the most photogenic element. It was kind of like an American ice "cream" confection from the freezer section, except it was French so it was in fact creamy and delicious.

Dijon. This Burgundy specialty, oeuf en meurette (an egg poached in a red wine sauce with bacon and toast) became my new favorite French dish. I ordered it three times in four days.

Lausanne, Switz. It may not look like much, but this lunch we had of farmer's market gruyère and hearty Swiss breads was great. We ate it on a sunny square while we watched cool Swiss kids chase pigeons.

Annecy. This French Onion Soup is the Real McCoy, and sacré bleu was it fantastic.

Annecy. We shared a Savoyarde fondue. Assuming Jef remembers how to use pi to calculate volume correctly, we (mostly Jef) consumed over 450 cubic centimeters of cheese.

Annecy. Bacon and potatoes are hard to mess up, but this Michelin-rated lunch did them especially right.

Annecy. I did have a few healthful things in three weeks. One of them was this gorgeous display of veggies.

Believe it or not, I have more good food to show off, but it’s my birthday and looking at these pictures has made me hungry, so I’m going to go buy myself a birthday sam’ich. Stay tuned for more droolage.

BIG news!

After our wonderful three-week vacation in Lovers’ La La Land, Mr. Jeffrey Stout proposed. And I said yes.

It was so over the top adorably romantic that if I’d seen the same thing in a movie, I would probably roll my eyes at it. Bear with me. You’ll squeal in delight.

Jeffrey knows me well enough to understand that I’m too much of a control freak to let someone else choose something that I’m going to wear every day for as long as we both shall live. Wisely, he decided to forgo the element of surprise by taking me ring shopping in the Marais neighborhood of Paris on the last day of our magical vacation. (Well, that and he needed me around to translate.)

If there’s anything better than strolling around my favorite part of Paris hand in hand with the most wonderful boy in the world, that thing is strolling around Paris hand in hand with the most wonderful boy in the world in search of an engagement ring. I tried on a few new fancy designer rings, but they all lacked personality.

After wandering around in lovers’ bliss for a few hours—can I tell you how grateful I am that Jef was happy to take a break from the task of shopping for an engagement ring to follow me into an exhibit about French Women’s Suffragism?—we found Our Ring in a lovely antique jewelry store. I got coffee nearby while Jef stepped out to “check on something.”

Later that evening, we walked from the Marais to the Eiffel Tower (in case you’re not familiar with Paris, that’s approximately very very far), getting distracted along the way by window displays, fountains and monuments, getting Jef’s first French McFlurry, and shopping for a lock (stay tuned).

Just as my feet felt like they couldn’t possibly take me any farther, the Eiffel Tower was above us. It’s gorgeous at night, lit up in a fashion appropriate for the City of Lights. Even late at night it’s crowded with tourists and with vendors carrying around hundreds of wee Eiffel Towers on keychains, but also with Parisians doing exactly as Jeffrey and I were, drinking wine and gazing up.

And suddenly, Jeffrey was down on one knee, saying all sorts of nice things about me and asking me to be his forever and ever.

And we sealed it with a kiss.

But wait! Our cuteness didn’t end there. After a celebratory dinner, we walked to the Pont des Arts. It’s a lovely pedestrian bridge with a great view of Paris made even lovelier with a charming tradition: lovers inscribe their initials onto a padlock, lock it to the bridge, and throw the key into the Seine. So we did just that.

It was hard to get a good picture at night, but I promise we scratched our logo into the lock. Yes, logo: (E)JMS2. That's the Eiffel Tower in the background.

And now I'm going to wear this every day forever and ever! (There are bits of actual butterfly wings inside that glimmer a gorgeous turquoise in the light.)