Eating in Paris

There are a lot of things I say that I don’t mean. Like…

“I’m on my way now.”

“Just five minutes away.”

“I’m gonna start dieting today.”

You get the point?

But there is also a list of things I am very reliable for. Like remembering really obscure quotes from movies. Taking 900 photos while on vacation. Owning an odd amount of nail polish. And more importantly? If you ever, ever need a breakfast/lunch/dinner date, I am your woman.

But speaking to this blog, one thing I promise to always be reliable for is bringing home food porn. (: Starting with Paris.

Let’s begin. 

They say you glow when you’re in love; and by looking at this photo, I think it’s safe to say that that statement is fully warranted. After two long months of separation anxieties and coping mechanisms of flirting with generic coffee, I was finally reunited with my love, Starbucks, and it was the sweetest reunion ever. (: And yes, Starbucks totally constitutes for food porn. Just ask every Instagramm-er out there. Better yet, look up #latteart.

aIMG_3081_Snapseed
(So maybe I’m not exactly glowing, but my eyes do look a glossy. Tears of joy?!) While we’re on the topic of all things American girls love, I bring you my next goodie.
IMG_3095_Snapseed IMG_3091_Snapseed
That’s right. Paris not only has Starbucks but also CHIPOTLE! It was like I died and went to foodie heaven. (: My order? A burrito bowl with extra white rice, half steak, half chicken, medium salsa, tomatoes, corn, salad dressing, and a wittle bit of sour cream. My taste buds didn’t know how to handle this surprise treat, but they were so delighted that the excitement transferred beyond control and translated into flailing arms, random shrieks of OMG’S, and eyes opening as wide as a pair of Asian eyes can. I was given some dirty looks from Parisians at the other tables but you know what, true love has no shame.
brightIMG_3903_Snapseed
After curing a case of food-sickness, I got on the Parisian bandwagon and devoured dined Parisian cuisine. For one of the meals, we went to BREIZH CAFE because it was recognized for its phenomenal crepes and cider. I think the entire city of Paris believed the hubub because Breizh Cafe was ridiculously crowded. There was a maximum time limit per reservation for one hour. If this was America, those servers would be making BANK with that many turned tables a night.
IMG_3876_Snapseed IMG_3874_Snapseed
We ordered a bottle of pear cider for the table and it was plenty for the four of us girls. The taste of alcohol was subtle and just sweet enough to complement the meal.
IMG_3880_Snapseed IMG_3882_Snapseed
My beautiful dinner dates! (: This meal — and Paris, in general — was SO, SO much fun with these girls. I’m so happy I got to experience such a beautiful city with such beautiful people. Two are from my program, and also my hometown, and the last girl on the right is actually currently studying abroad in Paris right now so we met up with her for dinner. (: She was the one who actually introduced us to this cafe! IMG_3894_Snapseed
The menu was long and complex like anything that’s in a foreign language, so we decided to order a bunch of dishes and share so we could try them all. Family style! (: For starters, we ordered a salmon crepe. How CUTE is its presentation?!
IMG_3886_Snapseed
IMG_3890_SnapseedIMG_3896_Snapseed IMG_3898_SnapseedIMG_3900_Snapseed
The ultimate symbol of accomplishment.
kpIMG_3907_Snapseed
Although the items were a bit pricey and portions were rather small, Breizh Cafe was a really enjoyable experience, from the food to the service to the ambience. (: It was unique and lively! Would I go there again? Eh, probs not… dat green tea ice cream, doe.

We went to another Parisian favorite, CHEZ JANOU. PLEASE do yourself a favor and go here. Oh, and did I say that Breizh Cafe was crowded? That was NOTHING compared to Chez Janou. Their waiting area + bar + foyer was comparable to a bathroom, and everyone was bumping and grinding on each other waiting for a table. Not even exaggerating. I wish I had proof because I’m pretty sure it exceeded maximum capacity by way too many and was the EPITOME of a fire hazard. And if your table was even approximate to the front, forget intimacy or even a decent conversation, because the people waiting will bump and grind all over your table, too. We made our reservation for 10 pm, and weren’t seated until close to 11pm. I know, I know, why did I tell you to go there? Because it’s awesome. And the people are hilarious. And the food is delicious. And they give out unlimited chocolate mousse. Yes, you did read that right. Just trying to save the best for last, that’s all. (:
food1 food2
Lamb shanks with green beans.
food3 food4
Duck with a side of potatoes.
food5
And this is the massive bowl of chocolate mousse. It was bigger than MY HEAD! And I, unfortunately, have a very big head. They kind of just PLOPPED it on our table and told us to dig in. We really wanted to do them proud by eating the most they’ve ever seen because then maybe they’d give us bumper stickers or put our pictures on the wall or something… but we could barely even put a dent in it. Not a whole lot of accomplishment going on here. But I probably made up for it later that night. Anyway, if you like good, timely service and your own personal space, then stay far, far away from this place. All your fears will come alive! But, if your love for chocolate mousse trumps all, then… I think we can make for good friends in the future. (:

Hope I delivered a fine share of food porn. Ciao for now!

Advertisements

The Lord provides…

 

“…How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” — Matthew 7:11

We asked for a church, and the Lord delivered so much more. (:

Attending a church in Italy — let alone finding one — was more challenging than I anticipated. There were travel excursions planned the first three Sundays in Verona, so we went through a hiatus of no communal worship or service, and I could just feel my soul longing community. Fortunately, through a friend who studied in Verona previously, we got in touch with a few American Christian churches in the vicinity.

We decided to check out a home church made up of two American missionary families. They invited us to evening service — and supper, as well! Kind folks they are. (;

Each week we gather in the family room and sing along to the music/slideshow on the tv screen, listen to a sermon, followed by a home-cooked meal. (: Last week we met two hours earlier to spend more time together. We ate bread, drank tea, played board games, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Sundays with these people have been some of my favorite memories while living in Europe. Sometimes I leave church feeling so overwhelmed with the Lord’s love shown through these people. I’m learning more and more why the Lord calls the church beautiful and why he stresses the importance of unity and love within it. Time with the body softens our hearts, allows us to be vulnerable, reveals Christ love in the flesh, reminds us of our purpose, fills us with truth, love, and encouragement, and in turn, reenergizes us to be light in our mission field. And that we can’t do it on our own, He never intended it that way. We need the body.

Living in Europe — apart from CFC + LWAC — has definitely developed a new appreciation for a church to call home. For services to regularly look forward to. For a community to worship with. For brothers and sisters to walk life with. For the word preached to prune you. For leaders to hold you accountable. For prayer meetings and revivals to remind you that the Lord wants to transform you. Being here has increased my love and appreciation for the body. 

Thank you, Jesus, for your provision. (:

Overdue.

So many things I want to share with you all — like how I went to Belgium, or how I found an amazing church, or what I’ve been cooking, etc — but it will have to wait until I return from Paris next week. When I do return, though, get ready for a long overdue rampage of recollections.

Til then, here are some of my favorite photos from last week.IMG_2945_SnapseedIMG_2673_SnapseedIMG_2658_Snapseed

 

Well, Now We Know…

… Just because gelato is on your way home, doesn’t mean you HAVE to stop by and get some.

… If 80% of your diet consists of gelato and nutella, your skin isn’t SUPPOSED to look good. (And your clothes aren’t supposed to feel looser.)

… Don’t purchase anything on the main streets of flea markets. Don’t even let them entertain you by bargaining a few cents, whatever you want will still be half the price a few stands over.

… To just put that freaking water bottle in your purse before you leave the house, because you will get thirsty and be forced to pay 2.50€ for a glass if you don’t.

… Just because euros come in different colors and sizes, does NOT mean it is ACTUALLY Monopoly money — so stop spending it like it is. In fact, it’s monetary worth is much higher than the American dollar.

… And don’t even think about dismissing the value of a coin, it’s not just change for the meter anymore. Coins can be 1 or 2€!

… Don’t wait until the last minute to buy plane/hostel tickets. You will get a much worse deal than your smart friends who bought it a week ago.

… Don’t go to a currency exchange located in THE central hub for tourists. That “standard” 9% maintenance fee is a scam. Not to mention completely avoidable.

… Don’t order a cheese pizza if the price tag says 9€.

… That 1 + 2 does, matter of fact, equal 2! This isn’t rocket science, people… But I still had to learn these lessons the hard way.

“Well, now we know…” | That phrase used to be comforting, but 98234 rookie mistakes later, it is not so gracious. It is now delivered in an unfriendly tone, and mocks me with the low number in my bank account. Well, now we know…” See the difference?!

People can learn from their mistakes, right….?  Idk, I’m gonna go ponder this over a tub of gelato. Ciao!

black & white | a photo diary

In my Photography 101 class, black and white composition has been the conversation of late. We took a field trip to Scavi Scaligeri to study the variety of techniques and styles, we watched documentaries and studied works of Henri Cartier Bresson, the father of modern photojournalism; and most recently, we went on a photo walk to apply what we had learned.

Inspired, I decided to take a stab at B & W myself — digitally altered, of course — to show my new found appreciation.

IMG_2778_Snapseed IMG_2779_Snapseed IMG_2786_Snapseed IMG_2788_Snapseed IMG_2790_Snapseed IMG_2792_Snapseed

And this last one is for sh*ts and giggles. “Tua mama.” Italians can be low-brow, after all.

IMG_2793_Snapseed

The Magical Finger Foods

There are times in Italy when I discover something so magical that after experiencing it, I get this urgent need to share it with the world. And by the world, I mean this blog. 

Yesterday was one of those instances.

After spending the afternoon indulging in cappuccinos and gelato, and writing love notes to friends back at home, the hot dog and I were famished and ready for a real, proper meal. You know, a meal with more meat than greens, served with multiple sides, followed by a second course — plus an appetizer and two desserts.

We decided to eat out, or mangiare fuoi, because although our fridge WAS stocked, none of the food in it was good to eat. Everything was either coated with a layer of mold or had a lingering sour smell. Yum. (We kind of have a hard time throwing things out. But it’s not our fault! Our house mom has this complicated recycling system that we are too lazy can’t seem to to figure out.)

Plus, we were feelin’ sushi. (;

BUT NOTHING WAS OPEN. So we aimlessly walked up and down Porta Nuova, bantering about all our favorite sushi rolls and all the horrible things we would do just to be able to eat some, until we finally compromised and decided to eat at the next place that smelled edible. I know, we’re easy. Food is our kryptonite. Our RD, Claudio, had recently sent us an email listing a bunch of different places to check out that offered special deals. One on the list, L’Orologio, which was the restaurant we had our very first dinner at! (: The listed special was that from 6pm – 7:30 pm, order one free drink and receive unlimited food. 

Unlimited food? I mean, we couldn’t not check it out.

So we strolled in — entirely confused on how to even go about the situation. We didn’t know how to ask if what we had heard was a legitimate deal, if we were misinformed, where to find the free food, if they had bibs, buffet, all you can eat — unfortunately, those weren’t in our Italian 101 vocab list, yet. So we kind of just hovered, awkwardly, trying to gather what the norm was based on the seated guests. And not a single person paid any attention to us! I mean, we were pretty freaking obvious that we hadn’t the slightest clue what to do. We might as well have been wearing dunce caps and neon signs saying “help.” But nope, no one noticed or cared. So after standing in the middle of the restaurant for an inappropriate amount of time, we decided to take the situation in our own hands. We found a menu and an open seat and sat down, our brain muscles juicing, trying to quickly concoct a plan on how to find the all-you-can-eat… And then, at that moment, we saw the bar of finger food.

(Cue heavenly music.)

When we finally grabbed a servor’s attention, he kindly informed us that the kitchen was closed until 7pm, but we were welcome to help ourselves to the finger food if we ordered a drink.

All that finger food? If we buy ONE drink? The restaurant had no idea who just walked in.

IMG_2750  IMG_2745 IMG_2741 IMG_2742

(Okay, so these photos don’t really do justice to how magical this situation was. But use your imagination a bit.) For 2.50 we got this and alllla dis. We shamelessly went back to the bar four times, and one guest even (jokingly) took my plate away when he realized that sad number.

Then once our stomaches were stuffed with bread and oil and tomatoes, we got gelato. And then we came home, put on our fat pants, laid down and proceeded to finish an entire box of honey nut cheerios in one siting — I’m not even kidding you. But is that so wrong? Is it wrong to finish an entire box of honey nut cheerios in one sitting? Is it wrong to eat gelato twice in one day? Is it wrong to steal chocolate coins from Lorenza’s kitchen?

I think I have a five-month food baby.

Another reason why I love L’Orologio:

IMG_2746
Free wi-fi? Please and thank you. I can finally upload my awaiting Instagram pics!!! #FirstWorldProblems

On a not-so depressing-or-embarrassing note… I finally booked my flights for Belgium and London. Cheers to traveling + more food adventures + photo ops + potentially gaining some dignity and culture and maturity!

Ciao bao.