Friday, October 30, 2009

BioBoa - Les Aventures Vegetarienne - Paris

This fancy little place situated right close to the Opera Metro stop and only a short walk from the Louvre caters to both meat and non-meat eaters. And as you French readers know, is also organic (Bio). Would highly recommend this place!

Bio Boa

3 rue Danielle Casanova 75001 Paris

Tel : 01 42 61 17 67

Open : Mon-Fri 11:00am-6:00pm
Closed : Sat, Sun, National Holidays, 2weeks in August

Budget : Smoothie 6€
Set Menu 1(Vegecheese+salad+dessert) 12.7€
Set Menu 2 (Soupe+Sandwich) 8.2€
Set Menu 3 (Hot plate+drink) 13€
A la Carte 10-25€

You order your food at the counter and are then given this cute little tray and some food tags. Then you can choose from plenty of shiny white tables or pop a squat in the window on the bar stools.

Ryan and I both got the veggie burger (there was a choice between tofu or mushroom and we chose mushroom). Turned out to be pretty great. Nice thick, almost sweet bun melted cheese, and a patty that seemed to be made of mushroom, quinoa, carrot and all kinds of yummy flavorings. Little side of greens and sprouts which we topped with balsamic vinegar.

Ate it all! Other things on the menu: Zucchini Risotto, Wok Veggie Fried Rice, Mushroom stuffed Crepe, Hamburgers. They also serve fresh juices, smoothies, and soup.

Plus! They have like 4 huge cases of pre-made take-out stuff!

lentil salad, green salad, pasta salad with chicken, beet salad, chickpea salad...these are just a few I saw.

chicken sammies, tofu sammies, veggie sammies. All tiny and cute and ready to take to a park and eat.

Soy puddings, yogurts, and other fancy little desserts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Heart-Attack Paris

My alarm goes off and I groggily slap it into snooze. I lay in bed for 3 minutes trying to get back to sleep but realize this is futile as I have to pee. Sighing I switch the light on and swing my legs out of bed casually glancing at the clock. Wait what?! 6:48 a.m. ?!!!!!!!!

I'm the biggest idiot alive. My train is set to leave from the station (which thank god is close to my place) at 7am and I set my alarm for 6:45? Needless to say I tore my pjs off and yanked on my clothes at lightning speed. I threw my few toiletries into my already mostly packed bag and tore out of my room, neglecting to lock it on the way out and slamming into every wall and doorjamb on the way - sorry to wake you Lizandro.

All but threw my bag down four flights of steps, ran across the playground, up 2 more flights of steps, out the gate, which I did lock, and up the street. It was cold as hell and I was already heaving like a mother in labor at this point and ready to pull my hair out. The pain in my lungs was so intense that it was all I could do to speedwalk, pulling my over-sized luggage behind me. I had originally packed everything in my little red and white polka-dot bag only to find out that my prehistoric tripod was 3 inches too long to fit.

Then came the fun part. The day before I had decided to walk around the train station and decide the best way to get my bag up there and also just explore a tad. The longest way to the station seemed like the best idea at the time because it has the least amount of steps and the calmest incline. Had I gotten up at 5:45 like I thought I was, this would have worked out great. But no...I ended up having to take the "quick" way. Up 4 very long steep flights of stairs.

At this point I was practically in tears, my lungs felt like they were going to explode, and I was in the process of giving myself a heinous bruise on my right knee - a product of arms that are too weak to lift my suitcase without banging it against my knee to give it a little added oumph for each step.

As I heaved my bag up the last step I strained through bleary eyes to make out the little neon green hands on the clock-tower. 6:58 a.m. Gasping and sputtering I limpingly dragged my bag across the bridge and into the building - jaw slack and breath coming out in tremendous gusts - ignoring the stares of the gentle French people sipping their espressos - and lugged my bag down the last two flights of stairs onto track C, fully expecting to see it's caboose blinking happily in the distance already on it's way to Paris.

Somehow, and I don't know how, because it was surely past 7 a.m. the train was still standing on track C, doors open. With my last little burst of strength and heaved the bag into the train and pulled it into the car, plopping down without a care in the world if it was the right car or seat. I made it. I made it.

I was soaked in sweat. Still gasping for air. Palms violently red. Make-up rings under my eyes. Rat nest for hair. Strapless bra not sitting quite right. Clutching my chest.

I made it.

As the train started to roll down the track and the pain in my chest was still burning heartily, I went over all the words in French in my head that I might need to use should I be experiencing a heart attack. I sat slumped over in my chair - flexing my hands to try to dull the throbbing pain - telling myself over and over - just breath, it will all go away.

I don't know how long the pain lasted but it sure felt like a long time. Eventually the pain dulled, and eventually a wracking, croupy cough replaced it.

After a while I was able to get up and make my way to the bathroom - brush my hair, put some water on my face. Realize I forgot my toothbrush and bras in my room. Be ever so thankful that most everything was packed the night before.

I slept most of the way to Paris but I was awake to get this - early in the morning as we sped by.

Pretty glad I explored the day before, probably saved trip really.

This is my portal in and out of the city of Limoges. Built in 1929 it's name (Gare de Limoges - Benedictins) is derived from it's placement. It was built on the site of an ancient monastery.

It's said to be one of the pretties landmarks in Limousin.

Trusty clocktower that almost made my heart stop.

It's also kinda unique because of the way the station sits on top of the lines.

I really just went out because the light was so pretty.

So glad I scouted the day before!

If that aint enough for you! Watch this!

That's my train station!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween for little Hellions

It seems that the French do not really celebrate Halloween. Not too big of a deal for me honestly, but I imagine Ryan will be displeased to hear this as he will be here during that time. The kids in class told me that some of them dress up but not all of them and the teachers told me that the teenagers and adults in France for sure don't dress up or have parties really. One of the profs said that it was big for a few years but has become less and less important every year. It's an imported holiday that doesn't really do it for them I guess. They already have Christmas decorations up! At first I was they don't even wait until Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving!
Despite this - the kids seem to enjoy doing Halloweeny activities rather than actual work - no surprise - so I did a little Halloween story with my younger kids this week. I found the story online, real short:

The House on the Hill in the Old Forest.

I went trick-or-treating with my best friends _______, _______, and _______. Our pillowcases were full of candy, and it was getting late, so my friends wanted to go home.

I wanted a few more chocolate bars so I turned to my friends and said, “Let’s knock on a few more doors and then head for home.”

They were worried because they thought it was already too late. “Let’s go home now,” they said to me. I told them not to worry because we could take a shortcut through the old forest.

So after a few more houses, I took my friends to the path that went through the forest. We walked about 20 minutes, and then, suddenly, I felt very strange. I couldn’t remember the way! It was dark and foggy. We were lost. And to make matters worse, it started to rain. And then, it started to pour. Lightning lit up the sky and thunder rang in our ears. We wandered around in the rain for over two hours. We were very wet and very cold. And then, at about midnight, I saw an old abandoned house on a hill.

“I think we’ll have to spend the night in that old house and wait till morning,” I said.

My friends didn’t think it was a good idea, but they were cold and wet, so they agreed. We walked up the old wooden steps to the front door. The door creaked open and we went inside, sat down, and started to eat a chocolate bar, when . . .

So here is where the story leaves off and here is where I made the kids tell me what would happen next. I started with the sentence "We heard a noise in the house." And then kept asking "Et que-est ce nous allons faire?" (what are we going to do?). They looked at me with confused little faces or stared down at the paper looking for the answers.
Each class has one or two good students who will start the ball rolling with "maybe it's a ghost!" and from there when I ask what we will do EVERY class said "we should run outside." "But it's raining," I say. "Ok, we'll go inside and look for the ghost!" they say. Every class followed the same pattern.
So then we spend the next 10 minutes searching the house - which consists of the children yelling out rooms or hiding places in a mix of French and tentative English, while I furiously write the corresponding sentences on the board to make the story flow, rather than just being "toilet, la chambre, le frigo, le grenier!"
For each place we look I act out the movements. If we look in the attic I pretend to walk up stairs and look around and then I say. No ghost. After the first few times the kids catch on and after I act it out they all say, NO GHOST! I let this progress naturally until they decide as a group that YES! A GHOST!
One group found the ghost in the bathroom in the toilet, one found the ghost in the refrigerator and gave it candy, one found it in the TV and threw the TV outside and the last group found it in the garage and beat it up.
Im proud of my little hellions for participating - but honestly they were hellions this week. So hard to control because they were pumped for vacation.
Me too!
Next post will be from Paris!

Cucumber Goat Cheese Sammy and Upcoming Projects

For the past few days I have been trying to finish up the rest of the goat cheese I used in the Creamy Goat Cheese and Zucchini Pasta from the last post and this has been satisfying me to no end every time I eat it.

I was pretty unsure about cucumbers in my sammy but it turned out to be a great idea! Also I would recommend watercress or spinach and for you nut eaters, some chopped walnuts would add more crunch.

The last few days have been rainy here so I haven't been taking pictures but then yesterday it just cleared up beautifully and I was able to work on my current project: my first video! I'm pretty excited about it. Im going to shoot some more stuff this week in Paris and hopefully by the end of the week after this week I will have 2 videos for you! It was all supposed to be one video but I've decided to split them into two for several reasons which will probably be apparent when you see them. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Zucchini

I know what you might be thinking. Do you really think Goat Cheese covered pasta is a good idea for your lactose intolerant guts to be digesting Lacey? I know, I know. BUT. I'm in the undisputed kingdom of cheese and truth be told - I lurve me some cheese. So yeah. I'm gunna eat some cheese every now and then. PLUS, Goat cheese has less lactose, as does aged cheese. The best cheese for a lactosy is aged hard goat cheese (moisture equals lactose). I ignored my giggling guts and popped some lactose pills and thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

12 ounces (3/4 of the box) linguine or other pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
kosher salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1.Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and set it aside, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
2. While this is going on heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the zucchini is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
3.Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until creamy. Serve the pasta topped with the zucchini, lemon zest, and the remaining cheese.

It looks pretty to serve it this way - but then...

stir that baby up so it gets all melty!

Leftovers for days to come!

And for dessert? I tucked into the apple pound cake that I bought at the Frairies des Petits Ventres. Really good. Kinda like applesauce bread but more pound cake like and buttery.

Apples to Apples

Have I mentioned that I've been somewhat over consuming baked goods lately? Have I mentioned that banana bread and pumpkin bread are not to be had here? Have I mentioned that the most popular filling for treats is apple?

The morning after the Frairies des Petits Ventres there was an open air market in the Place de Mottes that was called Les Goutes de Haute-Vienne. A taste testing market if you will. Jams, wines, breads, fruits, veggies, candies, sausages (leftovers anyone?) and of course baked treats.

I just had to try the apple shaped apple tart thingy. The lady in front of me took all the light ones and I ended up with this slightly burnt one, but Im not one to discriminate when it comes to treats.

I was awesome. Pretty much a self contained apple pie. Crispy, buttery, flakey, outside and mushy, cinamonny inside. I believe they were called Buchons.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Frairies des Petits Ventres a Limoges 2009

I had the great great pleasure last night in celebrating the Frairies des Petits Ventres with all the locals in downtown Limoges. It's an annual festival that is always celebrated the third friday in October. From what I have read this is a festival that has been going on since the Middle Ages! It takes place on the tiny street of rue de la Bucherie (Butchery street).

This is a picture of the street a few weeks back the first time I saw it.

And here it is on the night of the festival. It was wall to wall people with grills and tents and vendors table's lining the side.

This is a huge huge event in Limoges because literally the whole city was packed into this one tiny street. Its so well known in fact that I didn't see one poster or advertisement posted for it. I heard about it first from Yohan I think and then read about it later in a travel guide from the Office de Tourisme in Limoges. Had I not read about it though I could have very well stayed in my room reading a book and missed it without even knowing.

The basic gist of this festival? All the butchers on this street and all the patiseries get to show off their stuff. It's an all out carnivores dream really. Limoges and Haute Vienne are known for their meat products so this is a festival for them to celebrate meat I suppose you could say. And celebrate they do!

Oh gosh...spreadable meat.

Pang would have liked this thick bacon sammy on french bread.

French people love their tongue. None left!

But don't worry! There was plenty of things for little ol' Lacey to eat. Plenty of treats that is, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I waited in line for a good half hour to get a crepe, being pushed and prodded and swaying with the crowd. I elbowed my way up to a table and bought a little apple tart. I thought about getting french fries at this one table but opted for an apple pound cake looking thing instead (which I haven't tried yet). They sure like their apple desserts here - gee whiz! I love it but I could really go for some banana bread!

my crepe being made!

There was a performance of some traditional dancing that was pretty interesting. It was at this point when I cranked my ISO way up that I rediscovered the grainy picture feeling that I so loved when I was shooting film years and years ago.

All this time I spent there I was totally on my own - didn't go with anyone - yet I was still having a blast - still totally excited to be there - at a festival I could only kinda partake in - smooshed and pushed against a thousand different strangers.

These guys really had the right idea!

When I finally decided to leave I started walking towards the top of the street. I kid you not, this is no exaggeration, to go the length of half the street it literally took me almost half an hour. To the muddled sounds of "oh la" and "merde" I slowly, painfully and slowly worked my way up the street. It was impossible to move as an individual. You went with the crowd or you were trampled.

I could see the end - it was 50 feet ahead of me - and I bumped into Nadia, Yohan and Victoria. Nadia and Victoria are Argentinian girls that are teaching Spanish here. Yohan is Nadia's boyfriend, and he's a real life Frenchy. They had just gotten to the festival and were ready to plunge in so after almost half an hour of struggling to get out I turned right around and went back in!

I spent the rest of the night pushing around with them until we finally decided to get out of the crowd and go for a walk. We walked down to le Vienne - the river - and chatted and strolled. Yohan said his place was about 10 minutes away and invited us over for a drink. 30 minutes later we got there. He claims this is a French thing - habitually misrepresenting times and distances. As usual the walk was all uphill and about 15 minutes into it I was regretting not going home as it was already midnight.

Finally made it and plunked down on the couch, made friends with their adorable cat, and got something to drink and felt a bit better. We watched something that Yohan just raves about called Happy Three Friends. It's pretty much exactly like Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons. Little cute animals that do really gross stuff to kill each other. He laughed hysterically. Pretty great

I finally decided it was time to go home and at about 1:30 am I snapped this picture of the aftermath of the festival. Notice the obliging French man who is giving the peace sign.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Books and Botanicals

Found this cool little book store the other day and was dying to go in. It was closed. Oh what's that you say? Closed? In the middle of the day on a Saturday? Typical.

But, unlike many of the other cool shops I have found - this one is right around the corner from my place so I can get back to it super easy. YAY for not having to wind up and down a bigillion little alley streets that all look alike looking for the ONE postcard shop I wanted to find (your welcome Ryan, I spent 45 minutes looking for this shop again only to find it on a day it was closed and have to come back another day, got some cool postcards though).

This one in particular interested me.

Since there was no shopping to be done on this particular day we decided to visit the Botanical Gardens which are right behind the Cathedrale and feature an Orangerie as well. I hope this Orangerie blooms in the spring before I leave France.

This is actually a separate garden right next to the Botanical gardens but whatev.

This is Lizandro. He's Colombian and he's here in Limoges teaching Spanish at the same College (middle school) as me, but he's also teaching at the lycee (high school) in addition. He lives in the room right next to mine at the school.

Hopefully the flowers will be wild and wonderful before I come home in the spring and I can snap some pictures and spend my days lazing around on a bench with a book.