More French Food and Desserts!

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We have tried a few new patisseries lately and took a few pictures to share with you.

Michael and I also went out to dinner the other night to try a new restaurant called L’Odevie and it was amazing! I must ask you to please excuse the horrible pictures. I decided to take our older, smaller camera so we could try to hide the fact that we were photographing our food, because I really embarrass Michael when I do this, and the pictures can out dark and blurry.

We took Brooklyn with us to dinner and she was a huge hit. It is no surprise that Brooklyn pretty much always dresses like a princess. In France, the kids clothes are very plain, can be dull in color, and fancy dresses like Brooklyn likes to wear are non-existent. So when she wore her sparkly and sequined dress, everyone commented on it from the waiters to the other diners. This pretty much happens wherever she goes. I’m pretty sure she thinks she is a celebrity.

Most restaurants here have a package you can get where you get an appetizer, main dish and the dessert for a little cheaper than if you ordered them separately. This is what we ordered that night so we could try lots of good French food.

To start, they brought us a little plate of hors d’oeuvres. It was an unexpected surprise and very good.

For my meal, I ordered frog legs as my appetizer and let me tell you, they were amazing! Seriously amazing! And yes, they really do taste like chicken! They were lightly breaded and fried, so they were a little crispy, and baked in a garlic and butter sauce. Yum! For the main dish I got a steak with sauce (crème fraiche and cognac) and moreilles mushrooms. It was excellent and is what I usually order wherever we go. I didn’t take a picture of this one because by the time I remembered to take a picture, I had already cut most of my steak into smaller pieces (I know, not very French of me) and it looked like a big bloody pile of dog food. I like my steaks rare! And for dessert I got the Café Gourmand, which is a little taste of everything on the dessert menu.

Michael ordered oysters for his appetizer, scallops for his main dish, and a caramel profiterole (like an ice cream filled crème puff with whipped cream) for dessert. He said his meal was also really good.

Brooklyn got a kids meal that was steak haché (very similar to a hamburger patty) and chopped vegetables. Make sure you check out the picture of this. It is very interesting to me how fancy this kid’s meal is and how different a kid’s meal here is from one in America.

The French really have the good, fresh food thing down and we are definitely taking advantage of that while we are here!

Spain and Carcassonne, France

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In January, Michael went to Sitges, Spain for work and Brooklyn and I decided to tag along. Sitges is a town on the ocean so it was a beautiful place to go! Unfortunately, Michael and I were both really sick, but we still went because Michael had tests to do and had already paid extra for the hotel for Brooklyn and I to come with him. We also knew it would probably be the only chance we would have to go to Spain while we were living here.

The night before we were to leave, I was up ALL night throwing up. The French sicknesses here are fierce! Much worse than American ones, I guess because we aren’t used to them. If you know me well, you know that I do not like needles. At all. (Am I right Molly Gordon?) So much that I refuse shots when I am sick, especially the one’s given in the rear end. I have NEVER received a shot in the rear end. I was always too scared and would rather suffer being sick than to take the shot. Well, let me tell you, I was so sick that I let the doctor give me the shot. In the rear. I was so sick that I wanted that shot! It was definitely worth it because I was able to stand up, without throwing up, for long enough to take a shower and get in the car for the drive to Spain. I was so weak and nauseous for days that Brooklyn and I had to stay in the hotel room. Towards the end of the week I did take her to the beach, but that was really the extent of our week in Sitges. The hotel was really awesome with beautiful views of the town and the ocean and when we arrived, they had a stuffed bunny and a fun bath pack waiting for Brooklyn. She was very excited about that.

On the way home, we stayed in Barcelona for a day and walked around town and got to see the huge and magnificent La Segrada Familia. Long story short, they have been building this church since 1882 and building still continues today. It has many different architectural styles and one side of the church differs drastically from the other side. We also spent an afternoon at the aquarium which was fun.

The next day, we stopped for a few hours in a town called Carcassonne, which is the most medieval village we have ever seen. The town is still surrounded by a huge brick wall and you can really imagine how fortresses used to look and operate. It was very interesting to explore this village.

And then we went home to rest from being so sick. :) The End.

April Fool’s Day in France

FishApril Fool’s Day in France is a little different than in the United States. Here in France, it is called “Poisson d’Avril” (This roughly translates to “April Fish!”). It began many, many years ago with little kids trying to attach a paper fish to the back of another person’s shirt. And when the person notices the fish, the prankster yells, “Poisson d’Avril!”

So today when I went into a patisserie, I noticed that they had fish cakes for the occasion. I didn’t get one, but they are the same as the King’s cakes I’ve posted about, so I’m sure they are really good! And why you might ask, did I not get one? Well, that is because the homemade doughnut sprinkled with powdered sugar and filled with fresh raspberry filling was calling my name. Have I mentioned before how much I love patisseries?

Lichtenstein and Switzerland

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I’m finally getting up the rest of our pictures from our Christmas trip. Towards the end of the trip we drove through the country Lichtenstein, which I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard of before this trip. It is a very small country and we only stopped long enough to eat lunch and get a few pictures. We liked Lichtenstein because it has the most honest people in the world. How do we know this? Because we left one door to the car wide open in the parking garage for over an hour and no one stole anything.

We also drove through Switzerland, but only stopped for a few minutes to snap some pictures. The weather was pretty cloudy and we had been traveling for a while and just wanted to go home. The drive through Switzerland was very nice though, with all the huge mountains covered in snow.

While we had a wonderful trip, we were happy to go home and get ready for Christmas.

Hiking in France

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This past weekend we finally had some warm weather and couldn’t wait to get outdoors. Weather in France has been very mild (which the French say means a hot Summer) this winter compared to last, but not mild enough to be outdoors.

We hiked Saturday in Saint-Maurice-Es-Allier and Sunday in Beauregard-L’Eveque and had a great time. Brooklyn loves to hike and is finally doing a lot of the hiking on her own and not riding in the hiking backpack. Saturday’s hike was up a mountain with beautiful views and on Sunday we did a mostly flat, but very long, hike through the country with farmland and beautiful views. We also went back to the farm near Montpeyroux so Brooklyn could feed the animals and ride the donkey.

So we had a great weekend! What did you do?

Pizza Francais

escargotSo things have been kind of crazy. Michael was in Finland for three weeks for work. THREE weeks! I’m surprised Brooklyn and I survived, but somehow we did. I was too busy with Brooklyn and my new French class (post on this soon to come) to feel too sorry for myself while Michael was over there watching the Northern Lights and having gourmet food cooked for him at every meal.

I’ve made two French friends here and they like to come over for dinner so I will cook them American food. They seem to like everything I have made for them. It’s strange the things they have never had. Things that are very normal to us like tacos, meatloaf, sweet and sour meatballs, chicken broccoli casserole, and chicken pot pie to name a few. I also make desserts like pineapple upside down cake (although I can’t find maraschino cherries here), peach cobbler, rice pudding, no bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies, coke floats, banana splits, and ice cream cookie sandwiches to name a few. Ingrid’s favorite has been the peach cobbler and Lauren’s has been the meatloaf.

So the other week, the same week I started my new French class, Ingrid and Lauren came over for dinner, but I was too tired to cook so I decided to order pizza from Cham Pizza. This particular pizza place is the only place I can call and place an order in French. I’m pretty sure they recognize the number because most of the time they will say my order before I do (We always order the chorizo pizza). This time I decided to order an extra pizza since there were going to be three of us. I decided on an Escargot pizza. I thought that French people liked to eat escargot so it would be a good choice. No. Total stereotype. So much to my surprise, the girls informed me that French people don’t really eat escargot. At least, they don’t eat it any more than us Americans do. Lauren had had them before but Ingrid never did and had a hard time eating just one! But we all ended up eating a few pieces and it was ok. Not sure that I would order it again, but it was interesting. I mean, where else are we ever going to be able to order another escargot pizza?

Innsbruck, Austria

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Innsbruck, Austria was, by far, our favorite city that we visited on our trip. Innsbruck is a little ski village right in between the huge Alps. The combination of the huge river that runs through the city, the beautiful buildings, the Alps and the snow on them, made Innsbruck our favorite stop.

We started our visit by taking a very interesting tram up the mountain. The tram had individual cars that hung down, but attached at the top, so that when they went up the steep mountain, they could change levels. We even went down a tunnel and back up and in the tunnel which was a little scary. There was only a really short part of the track where the trams could go around each other. Everywhere else they share one track. We figured out later that the tram was on some sort of circular pulley system so it was impossible for the trams to collide. Once we reached the end of the tram line, we took a cable car to a ski lodge where we ate lunch. A good lunch! I had a cheese dumpling with sauerkraut, Michael had Pork Schnitzel, and Brooklyn had frankfurters. I had an apple and pear tart for dessert. We spent a little time outside with Brooklyn making a snowman and then we headed up the mountain some more.

We took another cable car to the very top of the mountain where the views were even more amazing than the ski lodge. It was much windier at the top so we didn’t stay long.

On the way back down the mountain we took Brooklyn to the zoo. The zoo was on the mountain so we did lots of hiking to see the animals. Some of the animals were hiding because of the cold, but we got to see lots of animals up close like beavers, otters, moose, farm animals, and a bear! Brooklyn was a little scared of the big bear getting so close, but we still managed to talk her into getting a picture near him. Brooklyn is currently OBSESSED with bunnies, even asking us to call her Bunny (which is strange because she usually fusses at us when we call her by something other than Brooklyn), so she was really excited to find a bunny hat in the gift shop.

After our trip up the mountain, we went to the center of town to see the beautiful Christmas market. Michael got a really good fried potato that they cut in a spiral, all still attached, and Brooklyn got to ride a pony. We wanted a quick dinner this night, one reason because Brooklyn was asleep in the backpack, so we got a quick slice of pizza. I got pepperoni, which was exciting for me, because you can’t find pepperoni in France, only chorizo. Brooklyn slept in the backpack the whole time we ate, and I must admit, it was nice to eat dinner in peace!

Next stop, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Colmar, France and Germany

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On the last day in Strasbourg we drove to a small town about 45 minutes away, called Colmar. It was very similar to Strasbourg, but they had more things to do for kids. Brooklyn got to ride a kid’s ferris wheel and a kid’s roller coaster, and had a great time!

The next day we were off to Germany. This, I think, was Michael’s favorite day because he got to drive on the Autobahn! Our little Beamer isn’t much for speed and topped out at 200 kph, but it was still quite the experience. What surprised me was that transfer trucks were allowed to be on the Autobahn. They did have a speed limit, but I still thought that was odd. Also, some people still went a fairly normal speed. Michael had a great time and was only a little jealous when a Ferrari roared by.

We stopped at a Beergarden for lunch and had some really good German food. They gave us pretzels to start with and we had the pork snitzel and a turkey soup in pepper gravy. Yum! We chose this beergarden because they have a herd of reindeer and Brooklyn enjoyed seeing them very much! We spent the rest of the night walking around downtown Munich and wandering around the Christmas market. We ate dinner at a sushi restaurant that had a conveyor belt and Brooklyn really enjoyed getting us new plates when we saw something we wanted. We ended the night by going to the Hofbrauhaus. Michael had been to one of these restaurants in Las Vegas and wanted to go to the original one too. The restaurant is a huge building with lots of tables with bench style seating. You basically sit wherever there is room, even if it is with another family. They have a band that plays music and the beers are HUGE! I’m glad we got to go experience this place, even if it was only for a little while.

My favorite part of Germany was going to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. It was neat just driving there and getting to see the snowy German countryside. Right before we got there we saw a white church surrounded by snow that was so pretty, it looked like a postcard. Before we got to the castle, we took some pictures of Brooklyn in the snow. If you look very closely, you can see the castle in the background. The castle is called Schloss Neuschwanstein. Don’t quote me on this, but the shortened version is that the King of this castle passed away before it was finished so only 1/3 of it was finished. Crazy, huh?! Especially considering it is still humongous! After his death, they opened it to the public. We didn’t get to see a lot of it, but what we did see was very neat. This castle is also the inspiriation for Cinderella’s castle.

Next stop is Austria!

Strasbourg, France

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This past week we traveled to Strasbourg, France for three days. Everyone kept telling us that we must go to Strasbourg at Christmastime and see the Christmas markets, so we did!

Strasbourg is extremely close to the border of Germany so the town has lots of German influence in the buildings and the food. We really enjoyed seeing the city, especially the old part called “La Petite France.” Strasbourg has canals running through the city and while we were walking along, we realized they have a lock canal to get the sightseeing boats from a lower body of water to the higher canals. It was very interesting to watch. To me the best part of the city was the decorations. The stores do a fantastic job of decorating the buildings with huge wrapped presents, animals, and greenery, to name a few. My favorite was the pigs, of course, and Brooklyn’s favorite were the winged horses. Michael’s favorite was when we weren’t shopping. :) There were many Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, but I wasn’t very impressed with them, hoping for more handmade gifts and ornaments, but it was still nice to see.

I’m not sure that I would want to visit Strasbourg in the Summer, but I am still glad we came. And now we are off to Germany!

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