Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Oh, the French Food

In Tokyo, food wasn't really a challenge, but sometimes there were just things I really didn't want to eat.  Back then I had the excuse that I was pregnant.  Who knows what kind of crazy things a pregnant woman can't eat?  I milked that excuse for everything it was worth. 

France?  France is different.  With the exception of the superfluous fungus that was added to my salad on the first day, everything was great.

Breakfast Pizza
Jet lag and I don't agree.  A long time ago, back at summer camp, I didn't sleep for the entire summer.  (Robin, Tristan, Jim, Dave, and Leon may recall this time, or may dismiss it as a crazy dream.)  Ever since then, lack of sleep has made me either giddy or insane.  Day one of my trip, I spent doing things like forgetting how to say my phone number in French AND ENGLISH.  I went to bed kind of early that night, then didn't wake up until after the hotel breakfast was over.  Dan was at work so I was on my own.  

I braved my way out of the hotel at 10am and found the nearest cafe.  It had pizza.  I walked in and ordered one slice of cheese pizza.  The lady at the cafe asked me I wanted it to stay or go (in French).  I didn't know those words yet, so I looked confused.  She asked if I spoke English.  I do speak English!  She asked me if I wanted it to stay or go and I answered to stay.  She asked me if I would like anything else and I asked for orange juice.  Remember, it's breakfast time.  She looked at me like I was crazy and asked if maybe I would like some coffee or a dessert.  No!  I would like my cheese pizza and orange juice for breakfast.  

Breakfast of Florida Italian Champions!

Turns out the little packet next to the pizza is not parmesan cheese.  It's pepper oil.  I didn't realize this until after I dumped it on the pizza.


The dish of Toulouse is duck.  Dan has experienced various duck based foods such as foie gras and the ever popular fast food duck restaurant.

Duck Me!

From speaking with my friend Brent's wife, we learned that if you are ordering meat in France, it is difficult to get it Well Done as we understand the concept.  Being a person who likes cooked food, I felt disheartened when I heard this.  But, over the years, I have tried to eat more pinkish colored steak and do believe that it may have more flavor than my traditionally, completely cooked steak.  I prepared myself for whatever level of cook-ed-ness would come my way. 

When we went out to eat with Dan's co-workers, the moment presented itself.  One of the meal options was duck with pommes de frites.  I ordered it.  I was asked, "How would you like that cooked?"  I looked directly at the waiter and said, "Well Done."  He questioned, "Well done?"  I said, "Yes, I would like it cooked until it is dry and flavorless," and made a flourish with my hand. 

As a side note, the whole flourish with my hand really was a result of the way dinner seems to occur in France.  You must start dinner after 7pm.  Some restaurants don't open until 7:30.  Then you have an aperitif.  After a few sips or entire consumption of said aperitif, you actually order some food.  Then you eventually consume said food, but only with the appropriate dinner wine.  Then after dinner you have a digestif.  Then you have desert and coffee.  

I may have had a couple of glasses of red wine on an empty stomach prior to the actual ordering time.   But sure enough, dry tasteless demand along with hand flourish resulted in overcooked meat.  

Completely Tasteless

The French, they welcome me with giving into my demands of tasteless duck!

The kids think crepes are terrible.  Dan made me some for my birthday last May.  They were decent.  The kids did not like them.  Then they thought some more about crepes and considered them again.  We bought a crepe for Alex one day at the Manhattan Beach farmer's market.  It was acceptable.  Now they have a theory that crepes are better in France because Dad doesn't have much experience making them, farmer's market guy hasn't been practicing for long, but in France, they have been making crepes forever.  We felt that in order to be good parents, we should test this theory.  For the children!

First we found an appropriately cute, cave-like crepe restaurant.  Because crepes taste better when consumed with the proper ambiance.  

Dan in the crepe cave

We tried savory crepes. 

Goat Cheese and Tomato
The Toulousian

We tried sweet desert crepes.

Dan's chocolatey crepe

My crepe, on Fire!

We showed the kids the pictures later.  Alex was quite confused and against the idea of a crepe on fire.

Other Non-Flaming Desserts

We went to what we thought was a gelato shop for dessert although it actually tasted more like ice cream.  Ice cream scooped into amazing flower shapes.  

Flower Ice Cream - only looks like a flower

After dinner one night, we went to another restaurant for desert.  We found ice cream.  The interesting thing was that at 9:30 at night, there was a kid about Will's age who was out with his parents eating the same desert as us.  9:30 at night!  Our kids are typically asleep by then here in the United States.

Late Night Treat

Kids Food
We attempt to let the kids be involved in experiencing French food even though they haven't been to France yet.  One particular item that Dan brought back to the children were some Macaroons.  The children have been recently inspired by a blogger named Ebi-kun  who has been doing some taste testing videos of some unusual foods.  They have taken to mimic him and did a blog test of the Macaroons along with their reactions.     

Macaroons.  Will we like them?  To the youtube channel!

Dan Food
Look, there are even various sports bars for Dan to eat while he is riding his velo.

Chocolat Endurance Cake

Currently, the kids have been enjoying their once a week treat day by going to the McDonald's near their school and getting McFlurries.  They were encouraged to know that in France there is also a McDonald's near their school.  

McDonald's Ordering Kiosk
Fancy McDonald's Muffin wearing Oreo Top Hat

Boring American Food

From tasteless duck to boring American food, I think we will all be ok.  And maybe some day we will actually work up enough nerve to try the foie gras.  The boys and I, I mean.  Dan loves all foods.

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