Saturday, November 02, 2013

paris 2 of 3 :: strolling, sipping and supping

Amazing graffiti I happened upon in Paris.
Sorry for the delay on Part 2. I've been busy trying to help the Lloyd Hall kitties. Quick update: Punkin' turned out to be a total love bug and snuggle-monster. He love-love-loves relaxing inside and gets along well with other kitties. Punkin will be up for adoption this Sunday in the Operation Ava window, along with many other lovable kitties from Green Street Rescue and elsewhere. Please stop by and meet him. Adopt, don't shop!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program, the 2nd of my 3 Paris photo bomb posts. When you are in Paris, you can't help but become a flâneur, or someone who strolls the streets. I've been coming to Paris for 30 years now, and I still uncover new neighborhoods, and evolving snippets of beauty, like the incredible street pictured above art on Rue Scarron.

Paris is more than the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Beautiful everyday objects punctuate its streets, like this door ornament...

After finishing up at Paris Vegan Day, we presenters were starving. So Fran Costigan, Frederica, Claire and I hustled over to the Loving Hut post-haste. Loving Huts vary in quality but Paris' is my favorite. The food is top-notch, which makes up for the cranky service. This simple coconut-vegetable soup was so warming on a cold, Paris afternoon.

We all ordered the same main – the vegan quiche. It was perfectly balanced. Most quiches are heavy on the tofu and have a weird, too-wet texture and taste bland. This was just dry enough, was infused with flavor from all the veggies, It took us all through until dinner.

I tried to keep up with my running/marathon training in Paris but it was hard because of the jet lag – and all the stairs which awakened my IT band issues. I went on a few excellent long runs on the Promenade Planttée and to the Bois de Vincennes where I saw these ephemeral swans.

Back to food. Another evening, Fran [who by now was Françoise], Elisabeth and I met for dinner at Bhavan Khrishna, a vegan Indian joint near the Gare du Nord. As usual, I had the ginormous mushroom dosa. So did Fran! [We have the same taste in food.]

Eliisabeth opted for a delicious Indian spring roll-type main, along with yumy coconut curry.

As I ran one morning, I came across the Love Locks bridge. You and your sweetie write your name on a lock, affix it to the bridge and toss the key in the Seine. And you will live as a couple happily ever after. Or at least until the French government decides to cut off all the locks. Incidentally, this fad is popping up all over the world.

But what would be Paris without at least one Eiffel Tower photo. Here's a selfie I took after a long run. Excuse the sweat and the early morning, pre-coffee visage. And there's a funny story behind my bright peach shirt – which is no longer bright. The laundry detergent in the apartment I stayed in was notoriously strong. This once-neon shirt is now a dull, muted orange, and a couple other articles of clothing were also affected. So motto of the story: if you rent an apartment in Paris, BROD [bring your own detergent!] or use less French detergent than called for.

Back to food! The impeccably polished Aurelia and I met for lunch at the impossibly chich Cafe Pinson in the Marais.We both ordered the sweet potato falafels, which were served with a creamy dipping sauce. The side dish includes potatoes, pepper and eggplant. It's a humble but tasty combination and is quite popular in Paris in early autumn, I had it at several different restaurants as a side.

Here's the ever-gorgeous Aurelia at Cafe Pinson. If you are thinking about moving to France, you must check out her new book, Living Abroad in France It is extremely well written and researched and is jam-packed with generous tips and tricks.

Here's my French food haul – I restrained myself. I bought a few cans of Tartex pâté, since I can't get it here. Also snagged a few bags of tea from Palais Des Thés – I drink a lot of tea in the evening during the colder months, mostly rooibos. In addition, I discovered bottled, powdered vanilla, which I have never seen before.

I also bought 2 cookbooks in a health food store across the street from my appart'. I can't wait to try some recipes. As a cookbook author, I find it extremely relaxing to cook from other peoples' cookbooks.

Last but not least, check out these vegan motorcycle boots I scored. They look cute with skinny jeans, leggings or with tights and a dress.

This was my favorite graffiti of the trip was a street stencil that says, simply, "The earth is my country." My sentiments, exactly.

Amazing, the vegan airplane meal on the way home was damn tasty, It was pretty basic, as you can see, but all of the flavors were balanced, warming and filling. Oh, and free wine is always nice. You can see that they also served the potato-eggplant-pepper side in the center dish,

Reverse culture shock rant
Reentry to the US was particularly hard for me this time. Why? I miss the little nothings – les petits riens, For example, generally speaking, in France, people sit down to eat meals, with – gasp! – other people at actual tables sans TV and cell phones, mais avec an awareness of the food they are consuming and an appreciation for the companionship they share. Their lives are real, three-dimensional lives that don't center on social media and FOMO. They bask in the sun. They kiss and hold hands. They sit on park benches and reflect. They make an effort and take pride in their appearance, not because they are superficial but because they know that self-care, inside and out, is essential to one's self-esteem.

Oh, and here's the big one for me, the French say hello, please and thank you. And they think you're rude if you don't do the same. Living in Philadelphia, a large East Coast city, I've gotten so used to doing without these polite little words I was brought up to always say, that it was refreshing to see another way of life.

Next post, I will share my review of a fabulous new, 100% organic [bio] vegan eatery in a cool, up-an-coming Paris neighborhood.

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Anonymous said...

Enjoy your account of Paris Veg Fest. Now that I know there are vegan options in Paris (scarce in France, in general), I am even more excited to one day visit!


foodfeud said...

Great post! Those boots are freaking amazing! So cool. The love locks bridge is a cute idea, too.
All the food looks great. I was in the South of France as a vegan and it was kind of rough, and I was in Paris as an omni and that was many years ago. I'd love to return knowing that France is embracing veganism more.
But, yes! my AirFrance meal was vegan too and not bad at all! (Plus wine :D)
I hope Punkin finds a great home. He looks like a sweetie.

Vegyogini said...

Paris me manque tres fort.

Joey said...

Fingers crossed for Punkin! I would so love to have a cat-friendly home.

Those boot are amazing - where did you find them?

Franco said...

I am lucky enough to live quite close to Paris (5 hours by train) so I try and go there whenever I can and perfectly understand what you mean! I really love the casual way Parisians sit at a café and sip their coffee, than meet their friend and talk and eat just like that. It's a wonderful way of living! Going back to Paris this January, will surely have a look at the places you tried.

Jess said...

Who makes those motorcycle boots?! I want them!!

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