Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 ans

I’ve been in France seven years. Some days it feels like I’ve been here forever and other days I feel just as “foreign” as when I arrived. It’s been a journey full of joys, frustrations and many other things and I can’t imagine not having come to this country.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay, but for now the journey français continues…

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How long until chivalry kicks in?

I was waiting at the bus stop when an elderly lady with a cane shuffled up and stood near me. The bench was occupied by 2 middle-aged women, another woman who looked to be in her 30s and a guy in his late 20s or early 30s. None of them moved.

I waited a good 10-15 seconds and then I turned to look at the guy. He was staring in the direction of the old lady then glanced up to see me giving him a look. He immediately asked the old lady if she wanted to sit down. She accepted and thanked him.

Perhaps he would have done the same without my non-verbal prompting, but what was he waiting for?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Low-income Lizzie

I’ll state up front that I’m not a fan of the British monarchy (or any monarchy). The Brit and I have, on occasion, disagreed about its usefulness, or lack thereof in my opinion. But I think even supporters of the out of date institution must be taken aback by the latest news about the top royal across the channel.

Apparently Queeny tried to get funds meant for low-income families, schools and hospitals to pay for heating her palaces. Read about it here or here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Reminet no more

Le Reminet used to be one of our favorite restaurants in Paris. It was owned by a nice couple from Normandy. The husband was the chef and seemed to put calvados is almost every dish. Everything we tasted was amazing…Until they sold the restaurant to the current owner.

A couple of years ago we went to Reminet for dinner and noticed that the food just wasn’t as good. We asked the waiter if the restaurant was under new ownership and when he recovered from his shock, he answered that yes, the restaurant had been sold a couple of months earlier.
 While the food that night wasn't horrible, it wasn’t anywhere near the level we were used to. So we stopped going back. I read a positive review on another blog, so the Brit and I decided to give it another try. Maybe they’d improved during the past couple of years. It turns out the opposite had happened. This time the food wasn’t good, it was pretty bad.

The Brit had stuffed courgette (zucchini) with grilled prawns. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t anything to write home about. I had filet au boeuf with mashed potatoes. I ordered the meat medium, but it was well done. So well done that the Brit had one bite and couldn’t eat any more (we usually share our meals). He suggested that I send it back, but I’m not one to make a fuss and even though it wasn’t very good, it was edible. Plus the quality of meat was disappointing (especially given the price) and I figured that having the same bad meat less cooked, wouldn’t make much different.

After we finished eating and the waiter cleared the plates, he asked if we enjoyed our meals. I pointed out that the meat was overcooked and his response was a cavalier equivalent of “oh yeah?” before walking off.

When we arrived, we planned on having a main course and dessert, but the main courses were so disappointing that we skipped dessert and made our way to Mariage Freres where we knew the sweets would not disappoint.

Overall, the best thing about our meal at Reminet was the wine. I won’t say that people shouldn’t go to Reminet. But I will say that if you want a good meal in Paris there are definitely better options.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Instruments and exotic animals

Today around lunch time I came across this scene at a restaurant across from the Pompidou Centre:

And an hour later I passed by this where Rue Aubry le Boucher and Place Georges Pompidou meet:

It’s days like this when I love this city.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rant: He’s a connoisseur

During our long weekend in Florence, the Brit and I had dinner at Osteria di Giovanni. Everything was wonderful except…there was a loud, obnoxious American dining at the same restaurant.

It was bad enough that he was speaking very loudly at (I can’t really say he was speaking with them) his two companions, but at one point he complained to the waitress that his filet mignon “had too much tendons”. He said that he was a connoisseur of filet mignon and his piece of meat should be like bubble gum, but it came from too low on the cow.

His companions appeared to be quite embarrassed while I and people at other tables starred at him in disbelief. The waitress offered dessert as compensation for the too-low-on-the-cow-filet. When she brought a slice of chocolate cake, the jerk’s response was “I don’t want it”.

A few minutes later he left the room with his glass of wine. His companions got up and apologized to the people at the table next to them and on the way out they apologized to one of the waiters. Mr. Connoisseur was not only oblivious to the discomfort of his fellow diners, but he clearly didn’t notice or care about that of his companions.

He and people like him are the reason American tourists have a bad reputation abroad. To Mr. Connoisseur and anyone like him, please stay at home with your bubble gum filet mignon.