Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spontaneous Romania

Before I left for Fall Break, my friend Ian asked if a few of us wanted to go to Bucharest. I have to say, it was never really at the top of my list of places to go, but it was cheap to fly there, even cheaper to stay there, and absolutely dirt cheap to eat there. My money is a little thin towards the end of the semester, so I thought it would be a good trip. (God forbid I stay in Perugia!) I dropped Grant off at the airport that morning, and waited until 6 that evening to fly out. It was a very long day in the airport, but I realized that it was really good for me to get away right after Grant left so I would be distracted. The flight there was one of the hottest, stuffiest planes I've ever been on, thankfully it was only two hours. Landing in Bucharest was jolting. It's hard to imagine how different Eastern Europe is until you actually go. The fading Communist era is still easily felt. Bucharest feels heavy, burdened by the juxtaposition of western commercialism and the stifling effects Communism had on the country.

Ceiling of our hostel.

The best Kebab I've ever had at Nice to Meat You.

This is the second largest building in the world. Do you know what the largest building is? We didn't. It took a Greek businessman to tell us after hours of wondering. It's the Pentagon.

Lovely park on a beautiful day.

The pastries were not the best in Bucharest.

Cheese plate. So yummy!

Polenta with sour cream and farmers cheese.

Amazing Romanian meal- Cabbage leaves stuffed with beef and rice and peppers. A side of polenta. It was so delicious!

Hungarian goulash.

Circle of heads in a gigantic park.

Romania was a very interesting country. I definitely want to go back when there is more time to explore outside of Bucharest. The food was delicious, the people generally friendly, and a lot to do in the city. My friends and I had a blast with our friends we met in our hostel- probably one of the most fun weekends I've had here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Put Down That Map and Get Wonderfully Lost

I actually did other things than eat in Paris...Seriously. I swear. We wandered all over the city and really got to see what Paris was all about, aside from the magnificent sites.

Giant clam shell for Holy water.

I love me some Space Invader.

Amazing Notre Dame. I absolutely love Gothic architecture, the weightiness of it makes the churches feel so powerful. Overbearing in a very beautiful way. 

Culinary Paris Continued

I was obsessed with food in Paris. I ate my way around it and loved every minute of it. The bread was particularly fantastic. I have to say, the French do carbs (aside from pasta- Italy will always take the cake on that one) like nobody's business. The smells emanating from every single boulangerie, fromagerie, etc. were impossible to ignore. Here are some more food pictures. 

The cheese on the left were cured with ash around them, and the ones on the right were infused with lavender. 

Beautiful goat cheeses with pepper and dried apricot coatings.

Very interesting lunch one day in Paris- we ordered andouillet sausage, which I thought would be no different than andouille sausage, which I love. Don't make the same mistake we did- andouillet is made only with the intestines and stomach of pork, without any added seasoning, so you really taste what you're eating. The mustard sauce it was in was delicious, and I wish I liked it, but it was (no pun intended) hard to stomach before we knew what it was, let alone after we looked it up when we got back to the hotel. A little disappointing, but now we can say we tried something people think is gross!

Banana, coconut, Grand Marnier, and nutella crepe. Divine.

Cheesin. Hard.

Beautiful homemade marshmallows in a whole array of flavors. The red one is cassis.

Phenomenal peach beer! I'm a huge fan of Lindeman's currant beer at home (thank you Eulogy for introducing me to it!). This is definitely going to be my go-to beer when I get home now.

Round two at Dominique Sabrion- coffee eclair, cream puff pyramid, and a beautiful strawberry cake

Cream puffs stacked with homemade cream, no big deal.

Such stunning produce!

My incredible salmon in dill sauce with rice. I inhaled it.

Cafe Gourmand, best idea ever. Four mini desserts with a coffee. Coffee ice cream, pistachio macaroon, tiny canele and a rich dense brownie.