Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts

15 July 2012

moving out of the paris apartment, a music festival in évreux, splitting paths

tfinp01after having bought that important bottle of fresh milk, you scurried off to gare du nord to the eurostar platform to pick up your favorite londoner. and then whisk her home for a lunch à la bonne franquette. a meal completely unprepared, but improvised by whatever is in your fridge.

you’re happy because what is better than having a meal on your balcony is having a meal on your balcony with a friend.

tfinp02the camera is passed from the square window and the photo is reversed.

tfinp03since you are moving out, you haven’t properly stocked your fridge.

but there is leftover pâte sucrée.

also a handful of cherries.

into the oven at 180C.

then you notice some liquid cream – but unfortunately, no whisk to make it a crème chantilly. regardless, some sugar is stirred in, then it’s poured over the baked cherries.

cherry pits are all that remain.

tfinp04also a packet of biscuits roses de reims are in the cupboard – that charlotte à la fraise that was planned but never got made – oh well, no point of saving it for that pink cake now, might as well dip them in tea and milk.

both of you are meeting up with friends later in évreux for a music festival.

cathy! guess what i bought for everybody for the festival!? she says with excitement.

you can’t even begin to guess. but there’s no need to, as she is up and rummaging through her bag.

tfinp05les lunettes du soleil! sunglasses! she exclaims with pure glee.

tfinp06it’s time to head out for your last night out in paris.

but before that, you force her to be your model with a pair of the sunglasses and quite possibly the most amazing backpack you’ve ever seen.

tfinp07she tones it down for paris.

tfinp08you swing by the maison de l’afrique to visit your little photo exhibition.

tfinp09then it’s outside for some fresh air.

tfinp10a little break on the steps of the pantheon.

tfinp11then the italian says that line you love to hear so much: on mange chez moi? let’s eat at my place?

ouiiiiiiiiiiiii! is the only correct answer in this case.

tfinp13mushrooms, pasta, cream, salad – that is the dinner menu.

tfinp14stirring, laughing, slicing, talking, boiling, giggling, draining, gossiping – all these gerunds go so well together.

then the camera is put away as you all head out to some nearby bars to watch a eurocup match.

tfinp16the next day, you and the londoner wake up to your last morning in paris.

tfinp15one last breakfast on the balcony. 

tfinp17one last stroll in your neighborhood.

tfinp18you discover a hidden garden.

but what, do you think, is better than a hidden patch of green in paris?

tfinp19a burst of english orange in hidden greens in paris grays.

tfinp20you discover a wall that screams, “make a photo of me! take out your camera please!

tfinp21how can you resist?

tfinp22what’s the complementary color of orange?

tfinp23blue. with the self-timer turned on, silliness takes over.

tfinp24one last coffee and hot chocolate at your favorite neighborhood cafe before you say goodbye to the 20th arrondissement.

tfinp25then it is direction évreux.

tfinp26apéro begins. you note the growth of the avocado plant by your former roommate.

tfinp27he hasn’t changed much.

tfinp28this is the ambiance you love most. miss most. crave most.


then it’s concert time.

the camera is put away – yours at least, since music festivals are not the best place for big cameras. but also since you want to dance, not make photos.

RDTSEhowever, you do want to show one photo made by a friend: it’s when you all brought in a homemade cake and sat in a circle and ate it after singing happy birthday to your favorite tom-de-terre. 

so now let’s fast forward to the end of the weekend once the festival was over.

tfinp30it begins with waking up at noon. and realizing the boulangerie is open for one more hour. so while the others still sleep, you and the londoner tiptoe out to buy the petit-dejeuner.

tfinp31you + the londoner = a bad combination. this always happens.

tfinp32you check in on the other apartment. your former roommate still hasn’t changed much…

tfinp33hours roll by.

tfinp34it’s a lazy sunday afternoon. silliness spills out onto the streets.

tfinp35hunger starts building up for those who had breakfast before noon.

in france, in évreux, on a sunday afternoon, there is only one thing open.


tfinp38it’s the ambiance that really counts, anyway.

tfinp39then a goodbye. to the river iton. to évreux. to your friends.

tfinp40you won’t see them for at least another year.

tfinp41and now it is direction paris.

tfinp42a goodbye to the normandy countryside you love so much.

tfinp43finally, on metro ligne 4, at strasbourg saint-denis, you and the londoner split. she goes direction porte de clignancourt to catch a train at gare du nord, and you go direction porte d'orléans to catch a train at gare montparnasse.

opposite platforms, opposite directions, but this doesn’t mean your paths won’t cross again.

01 February 2011


stras00 in france, when something happens extremely quickly. when time flies. when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time.

they say either, c’est speed! or c’est rapide!

no “oh it was a really quick weekend”

just simply, c’etait speed! c’etait rapide!

and that’s the perfect way to describe your weekend in alsace. two weeks ago.

it was rapide. as there is a subtle difference between rapide and speed, rapide being less intensive than speed.

stras01you start with breakfast, as usual. tea. butter. bread. homemade mint jam. a chinois (a brioche rolled with pastry cream and chocolate). and honey. from alsace, of course.

stras02a brisk walk around strasbourg. note the material of the cathedral: grès des vosges – sandstone from the vosges mountains.

stras03you feed the ducks with your friend.

stras05and you make a new friend, the otter. la loutre.

stras06and then you leave. goodbye strasbourg.

stras07and hello les vosges.

the mountains. the countryside. the best.

stras08here, the roads are unpaved.

here, the nearest neighbor is five kilometers away.

here, you really learn about the alsatian culture.

stras09the vosges is a department in france in the lorraine region.

but part of the vosges mountain range dips into alsace region.

and there’s also a place des vosges in paris.

confusing? then you’ve got hautes vosges and the grand ballon.

and haut-rhin. bas-rhin. then you accidently start mixing in the rhône. and then you throw in the alps since you’ve got the rhône.

and then you stop. it’s too confusing. french geography without maps or visual aids is not your thing!

stras10a dog not in a city is a happy dog.

same thing as a girl from a city of six million who is now in the mountains of france with a population of…  five.

stras11remember the cathedral? the grès des vosges? here it makes a comeback in the form of a kitchen sink in a house heated by wood. a belle maison, you gawk.

stras12you breathe.

stras13and you wait.

stras14for this.

stras15le coucher du soleil.




stras19back inside, your enthusiasm to learn is matched by an enthusiasm to share. and so the feast begins.

“have you tried cancoillote yet? it’s not from alsace but it’s good.”



and you never say no.

stras22“who wants soup?”

and before anybody has a chance to respond, containers of frozen mushrooms suddenly appear.

mushrooms. from the mountains. picked and frozen in the summer and defrosted in the winter for a soup. a soup of nothing but champignons, cream, milk, and spices. a soup that made you wish you lived in les montagnes as well.

stras20repeat. but with blueberries. wild ones frozen and defrosted for a quick blueberry tart.

stras20agrès d'alsace – not sandstone this time, but traditional pottery from alsace. betschdorf is the name of the town drilled into your head.

if you understood (and remember) correctly – the walls of the carafe are thick and heavy so the water retains it’s temperature.

stras23if. you are ever lucky enough to be offered magret de canard fumé.

aka smoked duck breast.

don’t think.

eat it. eat it. eat it. eat it.

and hope that the person never stops slicing pieces for you.

it’s that good.

stras24before you are à table and can finally eat the mushroom soup and blueberry tart, you hop outside to watch the the sun hand off the sky to the moon.

stras25a salad is quickly brought together.

stras26and it’s time to eat.

note the green stem of the wine glasses.

if you ever see a wine glass like that, know that those glasses are only for white wines from alsace.

anything else is a catastrophe. a wine from bordeaux? no. a wine from burgundy? no. a wine not from france? don’t even think about it.

but that rule is broken. accidently. but that’s a secret, okay?

stras27you taste a fromage de tête. which is not a cheese, but a pâté instead.

wikipedia explains it better.

stras28on mange à la bonne franquette is the phrase you learn. it’s how you eat when you aren’t expecting guests. you bring out everything that’s edible in the fridge, pile it on the table, and eat. no planning. no prepping. no fuss. just getting together and eating.

stras29one last look at the sky. with stars embedded in your memory but impossible to capture with a lens.

stars30the next morning, you have one last walk around strasbourg.

stras31your favorite time to explore a city is early when everyone is still sleeping. even the sun.

stras32except you. and the lights. 

stras33suddenly, your weekend is over. but not before tasting some madeleines from your favorite salon de thé in strasbourg.

stras34 goodbye alsace.

stras35hello paris. a nice walk, a missed train, and some french poetry. goodbye paris. hello evreux. where you head straight to bed.