Monday, February 4, 2013

Eating & Snowing, Primarily.

The week before last was a busy one, characterized by two main themes: Eating and snow.

It started with a long meeting put on by the regional Tourism Office, where I pretended to understand everything that was happening while watching the guy in front of me draw doodles on his notepad.  Then I stood around awkwardly by myself afterwards at the cocktail reception waiting to talk to the Director of Something Something.  Later, it snowed like crazy and I went on the previously discussed Porsche date, where the week of eating out began.

A fun dinner with Maygan, Kyle, and two new friends at a little restaurant we like that specializes in duck.  Here you can see a wall (made of wine glasses) surrounding Kyle's dessert, which our waiter built in order to prevent Maygan from attempting to take a bite since she said she didn't want dessert.

But eventually he came around, bringing us tiny spoons that were meant to communicate the proportion of dessert we were allowed to partake in.  And he quacked every time he came by our table.

French onion soup with the French!  Nick, one of our guides, has a French girlfriend who organized a surprise dinner to welcome him back after a two month trip home to California.  Nick said one of the first things he wanted was French onion soup, and this restaurant, Pied de Cochon, is famous for theirs. 

The signature melted cheese came in three extremely different levels on the cheese melting scale: A soft melt, a crispy melt, and straight crispy.

Oh deliciousness, I have found you.

Just when I thought I couldn't handle any more deliciousness (not possible, obviously), we went to dinner at an Italian restaurant, Cacio e Pepe, to visit my friend Ludovic, who is one of the most fun and friendly people around.  Here you can find hands down the most delicious Italian antipasti platter on Planet Earth.  Don't look directly at the burrata, lest its creamy perfection overwhelm you.

On Friday, we celebrated one of my favorite French traditions, the Galette de Rois, which is where the Gulf Coast area gets the Mardis Gras tradition of King's Cake.  It always happens in January because this is when the Epiphany is celebrated - When the three kings brought gifts after the birth of Jesus.  You will see these delicious flaky pastries in all the bakeries this time of year.  It always comes with a paper crown, and there's a tiny figurine, "la feve", hidden somewhere within the dense bottom layer.  

The tradition is that everyone gathers around a table, and the youngest person gets under the table.  You cut the Galette de Rois into enough pieces for everyone, and the youngin' under the table says who gets the first piece, second piece, and so on.  When all pieces are distributed, we all eat together, and someone, upon finding the "feve", becomes King for a day.

Congratulations, your majesty!

By the time we left work, a nice layer of snow had already coated the ground, and it was still coming down.  It snowed a little the week before, but this as the first time we'd really seen it stick.  I kept giggling with excitement as we walked home, and for some reason it kept coming out as a high pitched "ho-ho-ho-ho!"  I've never done this before, but it KEPT coming out over and over, so we decided it must be my snow laugh.  I can identify with Santa more than ever.

It kept on snowing all night long in a steady stream, so it was fun to watch out the big window from my bedroom.  I chose to stay in Friday night considering the mass amounts of eating out that had occurred nightly up until this point.


And then...lo and behold...Saturday morning brought scenes meant for postcards.
It was unreal, and I'm kicking myself for only bringing my iPhone instead of my real camera.

These new Hunter Wellies (and their fleece linings) proved their worth as I ran around making marks in untouched sections of snow and sloshing through snow puddles on the street without a second thought.  

We had a lovely Sunday brunch at Chez Casimir, and I kind of pinched myself at the winter wonderland outside of the window while we dined on French cheese and omelettes and a dutch oven of slow cooked beef and vegetables in this cozy bistro atmosphere.  Pinch, pinch.

I started to ask at one point if they thought the icicles hanging from the awning outside were real, and then I realized that most people around the world don't decorate with fake icicles like in Texas, where we have to make our own winter.

I was happy to have a reason to be forced out into another neighborhood to see more snow-covered goodness.  More winter wonderland pictures can be found here.

Sunday night, I bargained with my friend Rick to come over and put together IKEA furniture in exchange for a fajita dinner.  A grill pan is the only way to go in a BBQ-less city.

Grilled peppers, onions, chicken fajitas, Texas salsa, and guac made for a great taste of home.

The results of Rick's IKEA craftsmanship...Ta-da!!  After 2 years living without a couch in either of my apartments, there's finally a place to sit.

AND somewhere to put clothes!  The small closet in our entry way is barely big enough to contain winter coats let alone my summer & winter clothes, many of which are hidden under my bed until we see sun again. These two additions to my room make for much, much happiness.  

"No money is better spent than what is laid out for domestic satisfaction." - Samuel Johnson

"...and baguettes and travel." - Julie Neis

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