Friday, October 16, 2009

Cold Turkey.

...And in other news. I quit smoking.

Now, before you all start in on that round of applause, please note for the record that I am not at all proud and/or happy about my new so-called life as a non-smoker. In fact I'm down right pissy about it.

Eventhough I rarely smoked more than 6 cigarettes a day, you gotta understand something: I loved those 6 ciggies! They were mine. Mine! Mine! Mine! In fact I love smoking. I love the smell of it. I love the feel of it. I love delicately rolling a freshly lit ciggie between my index and F-U finger and waving it around like a flaming wrath-of-god magic wand. And really, there's nothing like that sensation of hot poisoned air rushing into the depths of your lungs. Naturally there's only one thing in the world that would convince me to give it up all that: FrenchBoy.

About two weeks ago, on our way home from London, we were standing outside Gare de L'Est in Paris while I smoked a cigarette. Every minute or so, some shifty character would come by and ask us for spare change. (Anyone's who's spent time outside a Gare in Europe knows just how shifty-shady these characters can be.) After about 5 minutes of this, FrenchBoy and I were both fed-up. As I prematurely extinguished my smokey-treat, Frenchboy said something to the effect of "You should quit smoking." or maybe it was "I thought you said you were gonna quit smoking." Either way, given the company we were keeping at that very moment, it seemed like a really good the time. And since it was the last ciggie in the pack, I just decided to quit then and there. That said, if I had known in advance that the smoke outside the gare was to be my last ciggie, I would have savoured it. Or at least finished the damn thing instead of putting it out only half smoked.

*insert deep sigh here*

So, two weeks sans-ciggies and I'm OK. I haven't tried to strangle anyone. In fact it's been easier than I thought it would be. I've been keeping myself insanely busy with work. Lots and lots of mind-frying paperwork. Oh, and audio books. It seems that the key to quitting smoking, at least for me, is to focus intensely on incredibly boring and repetitive tasks for hours on end. But whatever. It's working.

I have however gained 2 kilos in 2 weeks, so, it looks like I won't die of lung cancer after all. Instead I'll live forever as a fat-ass.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Burger With a Side of Nostalgia.

Everytime I have a friend or family member that’s coming to France for a visit, the first thing they ask is “Do you want me to bring you anything?” And it’s a fair question. Any expat can tell you that one of the hardest things about moving to a new country is all the food items that just aren’t available at your local grocery store—or any grocery store for that matter. But as the years pass, the list of food items that I miss gets shorter and shorter. First I started hating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Then,about 2 years ago, stores started stocking taco shells. If the local supermarket starts carrying strawberry Twizzlers, I can officially stop asking people to smuggle candy into the country for me.

That said, the one thing that The French just cannot seem to get right is a freakin’ cheeseburger. When you order a cheeseburger in France it is always a surprise: Will it arrive with 1 or 2 slices of bread, or maybe no bread at all? What the hell kind of cheese will they put on it? And most importantly--Will there be a half cooked egg on top of it?

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So my friends, each and every time I am in Paris I make a quick stop at the Hard Rock Café. Yeah yeah, the first time I went I thought that too. It’s just too corny. But then I learned something about myself: when push comes to shove, I am likely to put up with all sorts of humiliation in order to get my hands on a really good Cheeseburger.

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After I got over my initial embarrassment of being an American in Paris going to the Hard Rock Café, I really started enjoying eating there. I would look forward to it for a week in advance and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. And then, halfway through my HRC Cheesburger I realized why:


I love the Hard Rock Café because it reminds me of the golden years of MTV with Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn, when it was all music all the time. I mean where else on earth can you go grub on a cheeseburger while watching non-stop videos of Billy Joel, Depeche-Mode, and then U2 (circa the era where Bono had that crazy mullet) while a smashed up guitar once played by Eddie Veddar (circa ‘10’ before he started looking like a drunk sailor) hangs on the wall above your head?

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Also the Purple Haze cocktail will get ya super drunk. Seriously what’s not to love about the Hard Rock café?

So here’s to nostalgia…and American cheeseburgers. Savor it, cuz this is about as patriotic as I get.

Friday, October 09, 2009

You Cannot Eat a Louis Vuitton Bag.

How on earth can I cram 6 weeks worth of blogging and photos into like 3-4 posts? I dunno but I’ll do my best. We’ll start with the good stuff: Food.

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So, FrenchBoy and I went to Kong. (Warning: Loud obnoxious music on Kong website.)
Those of you who are Sex and the City whores already know exactly where it is. For the rest of y’all, Kong is a restaurant on the 4th and 5th floors of the Kenzo building (kinda facing Pont Neuf).

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Philippe Starck designed the entire interior which is apparently supposed to be Manga hipster kitsch. In the final series episodes of “Sex and the City” which are partly set in Paris, SJP’s character Carrie meets with her boyfriend’s ex-wife here.


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As expected, the service was just OK, and the food was lack-luster. (side note: If you want a good burger---go to the Hard Rock Café. More on that later.)

Next stop Nomiya.

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I’ve always been insanely lucky, but I totally hit the jackpot when I was able to snag two seats in the Nomiya dining room. What’s Nomiya? Text stolen from the website:
"Enjoy a unique lunchtime event with family or friends. Gilles Stassart and his team invite you to sit at their table in the extraordinary ambience of the Nomiya dining room, where you’ll discover a moment of culinary bliss and creativity. There, on the rooftop of the Palais de Tokyo, in this ultra-contemporary architecture, you’ll relish in the breathtaking panoramic views of Paris and enjoy a truly unforgettable experience."

What they fail to mention is just how difficult it is to get a reservation. Ya see, bookings are released one day at a time, one calendar month in advance at exactly 10 AM. Oh, and there are only 12 places available, so if you log onto the website at oh say, 10:01, you are proper screwed so better luck next time.

Anyhoo, we got two seats and showed up for our fancy lunch. On the way up to the rooftop we got a chance to take a brief rest on the Palais de Tokyo rooftop garden complete with the most real-looking fake grass I’ve ever seen. (I took as many photos as possible so that I could steal and then duplicate all their landscaping ideas at the Barbie Dream House.)

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Next we hiked up to the actual restaurant which is in fact a little glass cube that is temporarily affixed to the top of the building.

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To say that the view of the Eiffel Tower is stunning is well, retardedly obvious.

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"Yep. Only 12 seats. Shall we sit boy-girl-boy-girl?"

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Right after I took this photo I snuck up behind the sous-chef, and in my best Fat Albert voice imitation yelled "Hey, Hey, Hey! I'm hungry b*tch. Where's my lunch?" It was super funny. Unfortunately it only took place in my head and thus there are no witnesses to this event.

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Eiffel Tower hat!

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Ok, long story short, the food was yummy and interesting. Our handsome young host was gracious and warm and very easy on the eyes. The other guests were a really interesting mix of middle-aged professionals---all Parisian. That said, they were all really delightful and the conversation was fun and easy even if FrenchBoy and I were a bit of a curiosity. Which brings me to my final topic of discussion.

How is it that when FrenchBoy and I go to fancy lunch we are almost always the only people under the age of 45 in the restaurant? OK, OK, Metz isn’t exactly a foodie paradise, but come on! We can’t be the only 30-somethings ‘round these parts who like to eat. And don’t try to tell me it’s cuz the restaurants are too expensive, because I just spent a month awash in a sea of skinny Hipster chics sauntering down la rue with their mini-LV bags while talking on their slick iphones. I love handbags as much as the next gal, but you cannot eat a Louis Vuitton bag no matter how hungry you get. I'm just sayin'.

Peoplez get your priorities straight here!