Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Paris mothers, friends, and Mexican food

Aside from making funny music videos, Bobby and I have been getting back into our daily routine since coming back from our trip to Porto. The one hour time difference makes getting up in the morning difficult, though, truth be told, we always have trouble waking up in the mornings. Many of the little stores in our neighborhood are closed for the rest of the month since the owners are on vacation. The cheese shop, the boulangerie with good desserts, a nice fruit stand by Bobby's lab... all closed. During the month of August, most of France closes down as people go on vacations. Most people head to the Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts. We were hoping to take a weekend trip to a nice surfing spot (Biarritz, by the Spanish border), but the August hotel rates are nearly double the normal rates! So while the rest of France vacations, we will hang out in Paris this month.

Bobby and I have been going to the University canteen together for lunch. We eat wonderful, delicious food for super cheap prices. Over the past week we have had salmon, tuna, pork, chicken, different cheeses (one of which was way too advanced for us. Yuck!), ratatouille, thyme-roasted potatoes, steamed white asparagus, and all sorts of other wonderful foods. The best part is, of course, the desserts. Between the two of us, we've eaten chocolate mousse, creme brulée with lavender, creme brulée with vanilla bean and bourbon, vanilla custard, citrus cake with raspberry sauce, and some crazy caramel-dried fruit-thingy. Yummy! After we eat our huge, cheap, awesome lunch, we head to the cafe to get a café to go. Françoise works behind the counter. She is a really nice French woman who remembers everyone's name. She always greets us with a "Bonjour Bob, Bonjour Carla! Ça va?" Though she may not know it, we consider her our French mother.

We had our good friends Kate and Ollivier over for dinner on Saturday. Bobby and I like to have themes for our meals. The first time Kate and Ollivier came over, it was Indian night. On Saturday, it was Thai night. We had Don Yum soup (the Thai name is actually Ton Yum, but we call it Don Yum since the recipe comes from our friend Wes, whose first name in Donald. Confused? Good.), Spicy Sesame Rice Noodles, and rice. We drank a chilled bottle of white muscato wine, which was perfect for the warm weather. Kate and Ollivier brought over dessert, which were huge meringues covered in chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles, which we had with some of the port Bobby and I bought in Porto.

Aside from our families and surf, the thing we miss the most about life in the States is Mexican food. It just doesn't exist in Paris (or most of Europe, for that matter). We've done our best to make it ourselves with ingredients we've received in care packages from our family and friends, but it's just not the same. We did try one 'Mexican' restaurant in Paris when we first moved here, and it's the reason we haven't tried any others in the last 5 months. We walked into Arriba, which was near our first apartment in the 11th arrondisement. The waiter said 'Bonsoir', to which I replied '¡Buenas noches!'. He gave me an odd look and seated us, which should have been our first clue that we were not going to eat real Mexican food. The second clue should have been the tabasco-like bottle on the table. I ordered a burrito which came shaped as a flat cube. Don't they know burritos are roundly-rectangular?! The 'salsa' on it was basically tomato sauce and the rice and beans were not at all Mexican. Oh well, at least we tried. We'll just have to make do French food until we visit the States. Now, if only I could make Wahoo's fish tacos...

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