Friday, August 12, 2011

A Pre-Cruise, Cruise through Paris

Although you would think 3 nights in Paris would be too short to really see the city, I feel that we filled our days with meaningful Paris experiences that allowed us to get the most out of the short time. It's hard not to fall in love with the city; Kyle and I became just another one of Paris' groupies. Lucky for us, we also had the most amazing tour guide in my Auntie Charlotte.

One night, as we sat eating yet another life-changing meal instead of packing in another museum or church, Kyle and I decided that food is the best way to experience a new city/culture. You can learn so much about the people and the land by what they eat. And we certainly did a lot of "learning" while in Paris.

As a final hurrah before heading off for our cruise, we tested our sea legs with a dinner cruise through the Seine River on the Bateaux Mouches. The dinner boat floats through the heart of the city, passing the main landmarks like Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and more. It was a magical way to see the city, especially as the sun began to set and light the city with a fiery glow.

We started with an amuse-bouche to whet our appetites: a crostini topped with a dollop of slightly salty cod roe cream.

Wine was mandatory with the meal--and I mean that literally. The dinner automatically came with a bottle of champagne, and then another bottle for every 2 people. Meaning, for our group of 5 people, we got 3 bottles of wine. The champagne was no cheapo Cook's or Korbel--no, no, the French would have none of that. This was a fantastic bottle of bubbly to start off the night!

We decided that we needed to be adventurous and try out both the red and white. This red was superb and went beautifully with the food; although, let's be honest, even a bottle of Carlos Rossi when looking at the sun set on Notre Dame would taste pretty good.

Kyle and Auntie Charlotte got the quail thighs cooked in quail jus as the first course.

Auntie Charlotte taking a dainty bite of the tiny quail.

Mom and I decided that we just had to try one last bite of foie gras. It was paired with a peppery baguette and hit the spot.

Dad got the carpaccio of smoked swordfish, topped with a soy sauce reduction and white vinegar.

Our family takes our food seriously--notice my mom also taking a photo of my dad's food. Not to mention, what the hell my dad is doing?!?

Second course: tender veal cooked with summer vegetables

Kyle got the free range chicken with "ratte" new potatoes and asparagus tips.

I love this photo because it shows every table, lined with bottles of wine and happy eaters.

MMM, one last bite of stinky, raw-milk French cheese. I miss those cheese courses--we need to incorporate that more into our American culture.

A delicious lemon tart

The black forest gateau, which my aunt said is her favorite dessert.

Strawberry tart...mmm, I love French desserts

The mango and semolina cream was so elegant and refreshing.

Two happy, and very full, tourists.

The days are long in summer, so the boat circled around the river for a while to try to outlast the day in order for the guests to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, all lit up. The day won, so we got off the boat and wondered over to a nearby bridge where at 11PM on the dot, the Eiffel Tower started sparkling.

It was too beautiful and perfect a moment to leave behind, so Kyle and I passed up the convenient metro that was next to the bridge. Instead we walked back to our hotel and took in one last drink at the famous Fouquet's.

Now on to the Mediterranean...

Happy Eating,

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