Wow, I hope none of you mind the fact that this blog is essentially turning into a food blog and should be entitled "Mastering the Art of Cooking [in France] on One Burner". Anyway...it's been a busy week and is only going to get busier, so I'd better get this out while I have a little time to spare.
Last Friday ended up being our grande voyage (great voyage -- great meaning long, not awesome). In the morning, we started off walking into town (heading essentially north) in search of Boutique Solidiarite, which we had gathered from our internet searching, was a charity thrift store (similar to Good Will but not as mainstream). Well, we got there only to find it closed with a sign on the door (which we later translated...it said something bizarre about an artist looking for men and women, fees announced), but we did not despair, because it was 1:00 and obviously, they had to shut the store down for at least an hour for lunch. So we walked around attempting to find a kebab stand to get some lunch for ourselves. Eventually we found a Steinhoff's, which is a kebab chain which we hadn't heard great things about but figured we had to try, right? Michael decided that he wanted to try something new, so I ordered a forestier frites (it obviously came with fries, but we had no clue what a forestier sandwich was). As it turns out, it was pretty gross. The picture to the left shows the sandwich after we've eaten off most of the fries but the sandwich consisted of bacon lardons (cubes of bacon), large chunks of hamburger patties, and 2 slices of mushroom with mayo and hot sauce. Ok, it wasn't really gross, quite delicious actually, but had had to consciously not think about how much fat I was ingesting. After lunch we went into a little wine store with a very nice owner who humored me by speaking very elementary french, then invited us to go to his wine bar three streets away where he has tastings; we will have to go sometime. By this time is was just after 2:30 and we assumed that if the thrift store must be open if it was going to open. Alas, it was still closed; we aren't sure if it's closed permanently, the strange sign on the door about the artist doesn't seem like a good sign to me. We started to walk back home and decided to keep going past the apartment in another attempt to find Emmaüs (the thrift store that we tried to find earlier in the week) and this time we found it. It was quite a bit farther than we had expecting and we were actually on the wrong road; we realized that google hasn't updated it's maps of Metz lately and we had been walking on the new 4 lane highway which was recently built parallel to the road we wanted to be on. We remembered the camera this time and were able to get some pictures of the landscape (more will be posted to a new facebook album). Miraculously, they were still open at 4:45 and we were able to walk around. In my muddled french I asked a clerk where the bikes were and she told me that they didn't have any then but would have some next week, on Wednesday. It was dissapointing that we weren't able to get bikes but at least we found the place, found out the hours, and had some idea of when they would have bikes. The walk back was looooong and exhausting. When we made it home, we calculated that we had walked 12.5 miles so far that day and probably ended up with an even 13 after walking to the store for groceries.
The highlight of Saturday was dinner :-) but really, what's new about that? We made Chicken Provençial and it was really an awesome meal, I'd suggest it to anyone at home (I got the recipe off of epicurious.com). We made it with chicken legs but the recipe actually called for breasts and aside from the sodium (from the olives), it is fairly healthy. We also made some parsley potatoes to go along with the chicken (pictured with the recipe on epicurious).
Michael finally got a pretty hefty assignment last week for Continuum Mechanics and has been busying himself with that a few nights each week, so I decided on Monday to go to the 1000 level French class over at GTL. It is a much smaller class (me and 3 boys), which I enjoyed, and I've had some more experience with the language than they have, but it will be good to start back where Mrs. Kennedy left off in high school. After class I made a salad niçoise for dinner which is a green salad tossed with lemon vinegarette and topped with hard boiled egg, capers, anchovies, tuna, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, and niçoise olives. I will post a picture to the facebook album but it's not pretty enough to post here; it was 9:00 pm by the time I started plating and at that point, I just wanted to EAT!
Tuesday was fun! GTL held a game night on Tuesday night and Manas, the student body president and one of Michael's Mechanical Engineering classmates, asked me if I would make crêpes to feed the crowd. We had gone to Cora the night before and bought all of the ingredients, so I got up early on Tuesday and started the crêpe makin'. On one burner, it ended up taking 6 hours (with a break in the middle for lunch and French class) and 6 batches of batter to make the 140 crêpes that we ended up taking over at 7. I am really sad that I didn't take any pics of the endeavor, but I had a good time and was really happy to have something to do for the day. When we took the crêpes and our saute pan (to re-heat) over to GTL I got pretty intimidated at the sight of all the French students who came out for the game night, since they actually had the experience to scrutinize my crêpe making skills; I'm taking it as a compliment though that the French students seemed to enjoy the crêpes, some coming back for fourths, fifths, and in one case, sixths! We also met the "other" married couple, he is not at GTL at the moment but studying at Supélec (getting his duel degree), which didn't start classes until last week. Leah, the wife, managed to get a job as an english assistant in two elementary schools (she was able to start looking for a job last November), so she will not be quite as bored as I will. They were a very sweet couple (and got married only 4 days after us!), we will have to spend some time with them.
Today has been another crazy day, it was laundry day, and the kitchen was still a mess from yesterday's explosion of crépes. We also met up with Josyanne (academic director) so we could re-do our housing subsidy application and she informed me that she may have a job possibility for me (which I'm not going to explain in detail, lest I jinx it). We also decided to walk down to Emmhaüs again, since it is Wednesday and I would really like a bike now but will really need a bike if I get a job (fingers crossed). The whole three and a half miles down the road we grumbled about how horrible it was going to be if they didn't have any bikes and we had to walk all the way back home but thankfully, they had bikes and we both found one that suited us. The one in front is the one Michael picked out (although the eventual owner is yet to be determined since they are exactly the same size), it is a Peugeot. For those of you not famlilar with Peugeot, in the states, you can buy their salt and pepper grinders, in fact, Michael and I have a set; here in France, however, they make all kinds of things, you can still buy pepper grinders, but they also make bikes and cars and I'm sure much more. The bike in back is mine (for now), the brand is MBK and the seat needs desperately to be lowered and the front tire needs air, but it is a nice bike. Both bikes are 10 speeds and together cost us 50euro; they made the trip back home much more bearable. Dinner when we got home consisted of another sausage, this one a white sausage (I'm guessing chicken) with cheese, mashed potatoes, and brocolli. And for those of you currently concerned with the state of my liver, please take note of the glass of milk behind the plate :-P
Have a lovely night everyone. Tomorrow will be busy getting ready for our trip to Paris on Friday, it will be so nice to see Harry and Camille!