Monday, November 30, 2009


The Eiffel Tower lit up at night is one of the most magical things I've ever seen in my life. When I approached it this last time I visited Paris I stood with my mouth open long enough for Jon to call me a crazy broad for being so enamored with it.
I want to sit underneath and drink champagne with good friends on a big blanket and stare at it all night....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chef's Out

The other night Chef only made it to the first work shift of the day and peaced out for the second to go to a big footbol (soccer) game in Paris with Joe, the Sous Chef.

It was to be a night remembered. Apparently nights like this one only happen every couple years; ones without any yelling, hardly any customers or cooks and getting out before 11:30. I think getting out early could be my favorite thing ever.

It made for a fun night of silliness and laughter....
At one point a handful of the guys were singing "hi-ho, hi-ho" in French and it was so funny!! They likewise thought our version in English was quite hilarious.
Don't worry, all the food still came out great ;-)

chopping mushrooms with absolutely no elbow room....for fun

Jeremy wearing the BIG chef hat instead of our Burger King ones out of rebellion

Baptiste pretending to be the Pope

Michel kissing a St. Pierre

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Big Night

Gina and I had the pleasure of dining where we work last night in celebration of her mom coming to visit and to experience what it's like to enjoy what we prep/cook all day. It was fabulous and we got the "VIP" treatment from our Chef.
He actually insisted on driving us home after dinner in his new Jeep truck spatting French at us the entire way as we nodded, laughed and tried to catch phrases we could understand and respond to. He is quite the character!
We arrived to dine at 7:45 and ended up enjoying our meal until 11:30!
Check out all the food we ate....

Matt pouring us some Veuve Clicquot to begin the food marathon

Amuse Bouche
left to right: foie gras with red wine sauce, brandade (salted Haddock, potato, cream) with butter sauce, pumpkin soup with truffle, goat cheese mousse/avocado mousse/beet vinaigrette

Second favorite dish of the night: pan fried brie and truffle wrapped in something called a brick (kind of like phyllo dough but less annoying) with salad and, more truffle

St. Pierre flavored with saffron, mango slaw, veal jus, and pork favorite dish of the night!

Pigeon with foie gras, wild mushrooms, tourneed pears in white wine, maxim potato cake, chestnut puree (yum) and duck jus with vanilla bean (this was my least favorite)

Filet of beef with a crepe and "maxim" potato cake with mushrooms, bean sprouts and truffle, celery root puree and a mousse of some tuber I don't know the name of
(Gina and her mom ordered this)

In order of deliciousness:
1. top right- mixed berries with torched sabayon
2. center- chocolate ice cream (tasted like an In-n-Out milkshake)
3. Top left- chocolate lava cake
4. bottom left- vanilla bean creme brulee
5. bottom right- caramelized pineapple with caramel glaze

Mignardines with our cafe: baby madelines, hazelnut chocolates and riz au lait!

Hmm..."RG" again?
How would you feel about your initials being apart of almost every rooms decor in your restaurant?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

France Fact II

They wear coats.
Velvet coats.
I know you may think it's silly for me to tell you this is a "France Fact," but, to me it is. The other day on the metro I saw a man wearing this coat pictured (blurry from Gina's iphone) with a colonial looking white scarf and black rimmed glasses. It was quite a site.
After that spotting I ran into coat after coat made of all sorts of colored velvets on the streets of Rennes. Today at the farmers market there was a woman decked out from head to toe in velvet. Hat, coat and pants.

As a disclaimer, I have nothing personally against velvet in particular...just don't think I'll be purchasing such a coat while here and most certainly won't be going on any dates with French men in long black velvet coats with colonial scarves.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Encouraging Words

Thanks for the picture Gabe!

My Dad spoke at church this past week thanking the congregation for all their prayers and support and giving an update about where he's at with his sickness. It's really moving. He starts speaking a few minutes into the November 8th sermon and this link will take you to the page with audio and video from The Home Church.

I hope it's as encouraging to you as it was me!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feelin' Queasy

Cool hat right?

I don't know what happened. I went a year and a half at the CIA fabricating all sorts of meats, poultry and seafood without flinching and not until now am I growing a weak stomach. I actually had to push away the peanut M&M's I was snacking on when I started this post. (probably a good thing)

It all started back in Brest when I had to clean an entire case of crabs. I remember them climbing onto my cutting board almost catching my hand as they were snatched up to be tossed into the boiling water. Then cleaning them I was mortified dealing with their eyes and all the hair (yes, hair) and the goop. You'd think I had never seen a crab before in my life.

I thought it would be a phase but since then it hasn't been much easier. Apparently it's that time of year when the crustaceans of the sea are pregnant so most of the lobsters and langostines we're receiving are full of eggs like the lobster pictured here. Even after the arms were cut off its tail was convulsing with all the eggs falling off in chunks. Eww.

It goes beyond crabs and lobsters. I'm cutting off dozens of duck heads and feet and gutting them too. The other day Gina and I were doing it together and she asked if I had felt that "tube thing with the ripples." "You mean it's throat?" I asked. "Ya, you know that's the quacker right?" All I could do was laugh...and then got grossed out.

Pigeons are another favorite at the restaurant and they're what I'm fabricating in this awful picture. Who knew pigeons bled that much? The first time I did this I forgot gloves and the whole time kept picturing myself in a horror film. Then, that night as I went to sleep, I contemplated becoming a vegetarian.

I'm hoping I get over this since it's just no good. There's no reason for my behavior. It's not even that I feel sorry for the creatures, it's just the living and then dying that I have to deal with and all the blood and mess. I want to be like Julia Child and embrace every aspect of I just dreaming? Is it a gene that I lack? I suppose time will tell...


Is this an inappropriate picture?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Today my Dad gets to go home for good from the Valley Medical rehab hospital and sit at the table in the backyard and eat lunch and go out to any delicious restaurant he chooses and then sleep in his own bed!

God is so good.

I wish I could be home to make him a chocolate cake like the one in this picture (from six years ago!), but... for now we'll have to celebrate in different countries.

Good job Dad, you deserve the bravery award for the year...or better yet, make that for life!

Monday, November 2, 2009

France Fact I

Nobody gets between the French and their boots, nobody.
I've never seen so many boots of different kind in my life walking around.
Short, tall, black, white, brown, leather, plaid, scrunchy, smooth, buckles, pointed toe, cowboy-ish....I could go on all day.

I have a new found love for boots. Thank you France.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saturday Farmers Market

It's huge, wrapping around streets and taking up two large buildings filled with cheese, meat, prepared foods and bread vendors.
The streets have table after table of the freshest produce and the brightest, most beautiful flowers.

After trying dozens of these delicious jams I chose Fraises-Framboises (strawberry-raspberry) Yum!

The only thing that surprised me was how much of the same ingredients I saw over and over. How do the residents of Rennes choose where to buy their eggplant, apples, pumpkins or mache when literally every 100+ vendors sells close to the same thing?
I was overwhelmed with options.