Saturday, April 21, 2007

moving. . .

i've decided to move my blog elsewhere.

you can now find me at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

sanctuary! 04.13.07: notre dame de paris


brat in the belfry.

yet another beautiful day in paris.

we started the morning at the internet café. from there we made our way through the latin quarter, past the church of st. stephen the martyr, crossed the bridge to the square in front of notre dame de paris. the light on the water was so bright -- my pics are a bit overexposed.

we got into a long, but quick moving line and made our way into the church.

this was my second time at notre dame. i went to the cathedral for the first time about 5 years ago. it was my first work business trip. on my first free moment, notre dame was one of the first places that visited. my first impression of the great church was one of amazement -- i had been to the vatican and the great churches of italy and spain. i had visited the old cathedrals of england.

what amazed me was the sense of purpose that i could feel emanating from the walls of the church. this was not a church built to celebrate the gloriousness of His presence on earth. this was not a church built off the spoils of conquest or war. this was a church built to convert. to educate. notre dame is graphic in it's own right -- austerity is the first word that comes to mind, but it's not really the word i'm looking for.

on this trip, we made our way through the church. again, i was filled with the same sense of piety and purpose. we went into the treasury room and got to look at the fragments of bone in the reliquaries. but the most amazing part of the cathedral wasn't inside.

we spent about 45 minutes in the line to get to the roof.

i can't remember how many steps we climbed to get to the roof, but i do remember that my leg muscles felt like they were going to explode.

on the roof, there were grotesque gargoyles on every corner. we made our way around the roof, our bodies as close to the wall as possible, especially on the narrow corner edges of the rooftop. the gargoyles loomed above the street; some eating small animals, others grapes.

we made our way to the belfry, home of quasimodo's bell. eileen went up the rickety wooden stairs. i stayed inside, much to the convenience of the other tourists who wanted their picture taken next to the famous illustration of quasimodo swinging from the bell.

Monday, April 16, 2007

paging lynndie england. . .come in lynndie england.

eileen at sacre coeur.

so. . .we're back. and i have a lot to post, but not now because i have to shower and go to work. if you want a sneak peek, check out the pics i posted on boogr flickr.

Friday, April 13, 2007

04.12.07: bar fontainebleau, hotel meurice

i decided to take eileen to the bar fontainebleau at the hotel meurice.

beautiful old hotel -- i think it was built in the 1800s. i think someone told me that during the occupation, the nazis took over the hotel and made it into their paris hq.

they might have thought that we were hookers at the hotel. kind of funny. they hesitated at first when we asked for directions to the bar and i think i distinctly heard a hushed prostituee. i think.

anyway, all perceptions were easily dispelled when we placed our order. funny how that works.

i ordered a meurice millenium. i know, it is 7 years past the turning of the new millenium, but what the hell. rose champagne, jus de rose, and cointreau. eileen had la fontainebleau: calvados, apple juice, and get vert. we also ordered a small plate of appetizers: an amazing ravioli that was simply prawn tartare in a prawn gelee, a pea soup that does not sound exceptional unless you were there to taste it, some gnocchi with asparagus in a buttery foam, and an anchovy salad.

the dessert tasting plate was also amazing: pistachio eclairs, little mini cakes with cherries, a rose flavored marshmallow topped with a fresh strawberry, and the coconut macarons. for the finish, i had a glass of armagnac, darroze 1978.

i've got a pic of the savory plate, but, alas! we devoured the dessert once it arrived!

04.12.07: la tour d'eiffel

i almost chickened out at the second level.

as we rose up, up, up above the city of paris, we could feel the ascent. both eileen and i have a fear of heights. mine is definitely much more acute. with all of the people shoving, i was ready to just call it a day and wait for eileen on the second level.

eileen was in line; i watched the line make the slow creep to the summit elevator and started to acclimate myself to the height. so i jumped back in line.

the line moved slowly, so we amused ourselves by laughing at the really old people trying to cut the line. it was like geriatric gymnastics. climbing over, swinging under -- i'll bet those oldies hadn't moved their bodies like that in years.

some other funny observations: old asian women are shovers. it could be the buffet line in vegas or the line for the eiffel tower. doesn't matter.

so we made it to the top of the eiffel tower. amazing view of the city. for a city filled with green spaces, unless it's a wide open field, you're not going to see the green. paris looked compact, all beige buildings pressed together by street angles. other beautiful sights? the fourteen-year-olds on a field trip making out at the top.

nous sommes à paris...

eileen and i are in paris.

will post pics later, when i'm back. am quickly remembering how wonky the french keyboard is -- i keep hitting "q" when i want to hit "a."

we got in at around 2:30pm yesterday. we quickly freshened up and ran around.

of course, we had to get something to eat. grabbed a bite at le comptoir de relais st. germain. eileen had a delicious looking veal with buttery pasta, artichokes, and carrots. the veal had been rolled then roasted to a golden brown with crisp, fatty edges. i had the house charcuterie plate -- blood sausages, some head-cheesy looking sausage, some sopressata, paté, and some fatty duck lardons. the charcuterie was made in house. killer plate; can't wait to post the pics.

walked around st. germain. made our way to the river seine and we walked a little before crossing over to the right bank. made our way to the entrance of the louvre. it was getting close to around 4:30, so we didn't go in. i really hate the glass pyramid.

made our way to the carousel de louvre and from there, to the jardins tuileries. we could see the eiffel tower in the distance. of course, it looks deceptively close, but we decided to make our way there anyway.

we crossed the seine yet again. we walked along the quai d'orsay, passing the beautiful pont alexandre iii. someone told me that there is a restaurant or bar built into the bridge. need to find it. we made our way through the little residential streets, passing the quatar and south african embassies until we finally made our way to the tower.

if it weren't for eileen, i probably would not have gone up -- i may never ever make my way up the tower ever again. don't get me wrong. it's worth doing. but after a 45 minute wait in line just to get a ticket plus 15 minutes more waiting to get into the elevator to the 2nd level plus yet another 45 minutes to get to the summit, that's a lot of time.

Friday, April 6, 2007

i am stuffed.

monday night: dinner at wd-50. pretty good. loved the beef tongue, but doesn't everyone?

tuesday night: pan roasted pompano with puttanesca sauce. i guess it's my version of what a puttanesca sauce is. two tomatoes, a chopped onion, few cloves of chopped garlic, some chopped roasted peppers (i cheated and bought 1/2 pound a citarella), some olives, 3 or 4 anchovy filets and some dried pepper flakes. savory + salt first -- sauteed the garlic, onion, red pepper flakes. threw in the anchovies for a little bit, and then the tomatos and roast peppers. oh, yeah. threw in some white wine for good measure.

brian got home a little late and made a snack of the pompano. he might have also eaten the fish for breakfast.

wednesday night: ate the leftover pompano.

thursday night: brian brought back some turkish curry powder that he had bought at the spice market in istanbul. i haven't gotten around to using it until now. i browned some chicken in ghee, set it aside. sauteed some onions and garlic in a pan, added the curry powder. threw in some salt and dried hot pepper flakes. added some water, white wine, and the chicken. after the liquid started boiling, i threw the pan in the oven and cooked the chicken slowly at 350-degrees.

friday night: well, we had a disastrous lunch at morandi's. god awful. talk about soul-less italian food! and the ambience! christ! i felt like i had walked into one of the epcot global village restaurants -- welcome to southern italy, suckas! but i digress. we were so unsatisfied with the meal, we ran to citarella and bought groceries for dinner. we bought some scallops with their roe. i think i'll fry that up tomorrow. but for tonight's dinner, we found a lobster that was almost 3lbs.!

i've always been a little scared of killing my own meal. i've never gone hunting. the only prey i've killed are soft shell crabs (death by sautee) and uni (death by evisceration). the damn lobster was too long. i practically had to fold him in half and stuff him into the boiling water. a little blanched broccolini tossed with lemon and olive oil to accompany and voila! fifteen minutes later, we were in lobster heaven.

we finished the meal with some cheese for dessert. we found an australian triple cream called seal something-or-other. the texture and flavor is brie-like, but there's something in the milk. paired perfectly with a glass of corbieres.

enough eating for now. next week, i'll be in paris with eileen, so who knows what i'll devour!