Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Last Supper

My final day in Paris was fairly uneventful (though my suitcase finally showed up - that was exciting!). After a leisurely morning, we headed out around noon.  I set off on my own to tour Sainte Chappelle and wander the streets of Paris.  What I had been looking forward to most, however, was dinner.  There was one restaurant I had been wanting to try, Le Potager du Marais, where they do vegan versions of classic French dishes.  My mom and Peter joined me, and we were lucky to get a table right away (the restaurant is extremely small).  I started with the vegan French onion soup, which was delicious!  Full of croutons and topped with a surprisingly yummy vegan cheese.  Mom and Peter split a baked potato with an olive tapenade that was also quite tasty (I snagged a bite, of course!).  For dinner, we split two entrees, the hazelnut loaf and the pink lentil balls.  We got the almond rice for one side, and the mashed potatoes for the other.  We all agreed that the lentil balls were the tastiest item, but everything was delicious. For dessert, we shared ginger creme brulee, something that is hard to come by as a vegan version.  I have to say, they did a pretty good job!  It wasn't overly sweet, which I appreciated.

Thankfully, my trip home was not nearly as eventful as my trip out.  There was a minor glitch with my ticket, and I had to rush to catch my connecting flight, but otherwise, all was well.  The food was not as good as United's, but Lufthansa was awesome about checking in with me and making sure everything they gave me was vegan.  Plus, they give you free wine with dinner.  Lufthansa definitely wins in terms of customer service!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris is very different from Christmas in the states. Many businesses are open and it's much more low key (other than the revellers at midnight).  We got up at 7:45 and Amelie and Sira opened their presents (the ones that Santa brought to Paris, at least).  Our morning was relaxed, with pancakes and French pastries for breakfast. We ventured out around noon and meandered up to Sacre Couer for some excellent views of the city. Dinner was beef/tofu bourginion before our trip to the ballet to see Sleeping Beauty.

Today was a gorgeous day in Paris - sunny and close to 50 degrees. A perfect day to tour the sculpture garden at the Rodin Museum. We had a late lunch at the Saint Germaine. I was convinced that I would only be able to have vegetable soup. But I asked for a vegan salad to go along with it in my halting French and was quite pleasantly surprised!  First of all, the happiness delicious - pureed with lots of greens and eaten with lots of bread. But the salad was the gem of the meal. Steamed green beans, carrots, peas, and other veggies over lettuce and cabbage, dressed perfectly with a mustard vinaigrette. It was amazing!

After lunch, we headed to the Musee D'Orsay. What a wonderful place!  Created from an old train station, the building alone is worth the trip. But the art is pretty good too. The girls had had enough museum time for the day, so they headed home while Mom, Peter, and I took in some more of the museum. We bought some fresh veggies for dinner on the way home (I love all of the fruit and vegetable stands here!) and cooked up some pasta with garlic, olive oil, and veggies. We had dinner with the kids while Melissa and Darren went out for some adult time. Dessert was hot chocolate, and now it's story time!

In other news, I think my suitcase is lost and gone forever....

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pay Phone

I've spent a lot of time on a pay phone trying to locate my suitcase. Not how I wanted to spend my vacation.  In between, however, the trip ha  been great!

Yesterday was a lazy morning, as we all continued to adjust to the time difference. Hence began the ongoing saga with United Airlines. I spent some quality time at the pay phone while the rest of the family ate pancakes. I made up for my lack of breakfast with a big bowl of Mueseli. It's so much better here!

We finally headed out in the early afternoon. Melissa and I visited a few thrift shops while Didi and Grandpa went ahead to the ice skating rink. The lines was really long, and the ice really wet, so we rode the carousel instead. We then walked to Notre Dame, but admired it from the outside as the line to  get in was ridiculously long. We'll see the inside tonight when we go for Christmas carols before midnight mass. Instead, we went into a warm cafe for hot chocolate and other warm beverages.

Didi, Grandpa, and I had an adult dinner at Le Passage Oblige, chosen for having several vegan opt up options. We had onion fritters for an appetizer. I thought they would taste like onion rings, but they were totally different and delicious. For my main meal, I ordered the platter so that could try a few different things. The best was a the veggie party with an amazing olive tapenade in top. The mushroom ragu was also pretty amazing.  This was a good choice for a vegan friendly place with meat options.

This morning we headed out early to check out the catacombs. We got there early enough that we were near the front of the line. We waited about half an hour for them to open - totally worth the wait!  For lunch, I wanted to try the Ginger Cafe, but they were closed. So I went around the corner  to Grand Appetit.  The owner was very friendly and helpful. I ordered the bowl, which came with veggies, brown rice, lentils, and seitan. It was fantastic!  Upon the owner's recommendation, I tried the apple pear tart for dessert. Yum!

My afternoon was spent at H&M buying clothes, since my suitcase still hasn't been delivered. The one helpful United employee that I talked to today told me to put a claim in for 200 Euro, rather than the $100 I spent. More shopping???

Christmas eve was spent with homemade dinner, bread, and wine. At ten we head to Notre Dame for carols. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Journey to Paris

My trip to Paris turned out to be much longer than expected.  My flight to Logan was delayed, and the Air Canada terminal at Logan stinks. There is no food other than some Cosi sandwiches and pastries, and nothing is vegan. So I skipped dinner, assuming I'd eat on my flight to Paris. But then I missed my connection, so that didn't happen.  So I grabbed a veggie sub from Subway with my food voucher from Air Canada.

I checked into the hotel and spent an hour and fifteen minutes finding a flight to Paris for the next day. I gratefully fell into the cushy king sized bed after that ordeal. I got to the airport early the next day, since my seat to Newark wasn't confirmed. That gave me plenty of time to search for vegan food, but there wasn't much to find. So I did a lot of reading instead.

Once again, my first flight was delayed. Luckily I made my connection this time. United served the best airline meal I've ever eaten - veggie and chick pea masala with rice. The sauce was slightly spicy and delicious!

We arrived in Paris on time, but my bag did not, so I had to deal with that. I finally made it to our apartment a little after one. After a light lunch, we headed to the Eiffel Tower. The lines were too long to go to the top, so we got tickets for a boat tour on the Seine instead and got to see some sights from the river at dusk. We grabbed delicious falafel sandwiches for dinner and ate them with red wine as Amelie sang and danced for us. Despite the travel nightmare, I had a pretty good first day in Paris. And my travel karma is usually good, so I guess this was bound to happen sooner or later!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New York

It's been a couple of weeks since my trip to New York, but I've been extremely busy since then, so I wasn't able to post.  I'm taking advantage of the snowy weather to do so now.

My trip to the city was a short one, but I packed quite a bit of eating into that time!  I arrived around 12:30 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  After checking into my hotel, I made my way to Angelica Kitchen.  I settled into the community table and ordered the walnut lentil pate to start.  The pate was delicious and served with thin rice crackers and raw carrots for dipping.  I ordered the wee dragon bowl for my main meal, a scrumptious combo of rice, beans, tofu, steamed veggies, and sea vegetables.  Needless to say, I was quite full after lunch, so I walked to Union Square to meet Courtney at the holiday market.  After browsing the market for a bit, I was ready to try some ice cream at Lulu's Sweet Apothecary.  I didn't go all out and get a sundae, since I didn't want to ruin my appetite for dinner, so I went with a scoop of vanilla with a bunch of different candy pieces - yum!

Dinner was at Cafe Blossom on the upper west side.  We split the black-eyed pea cakes; small, but delicious!  I had BBQ tempeh with lots of other deliciousness that I can't remember at the moment.  I also sampled the peanut stew, which was amazing.  The food was excellent and the portion sizes were perfect; despite all of the eating I had done that day, I didn't feel disgustingly full.  Plus, I danced a lot of it off at the Guster concert that night.  :)

On Sunday, we started the day off right with a trip to Ess-A-Bagel, which carries seven different varieties of tofu cream cheese.  Yes, seven!  I'm not normally a bagel eater, but I thoroughly enjoyed my multi-grain bagel with sun dried tomato tofu cream cheese.  For lunch, we all met at Cubana Social in Brooklyn.  They have quite a few vegan options here.  I opted for lunch over brunch and got a vegan version of a cuban sandwich, which included sweet plantains, pickles, and avocado - absolutely delicious!

I ended my day in New Haven, arriving at the train station a little before seven.  I decided to have dinner downtown, as there were several promising options there.  I settled on Claire's Corner Copia, which had a ton of vegan options.  I ordered the curry of the day, which was packed with tofu, veggies, rice, and sauce.  But the best part of the meal was the bread - a mini loaf of delicious, flaky bread, served warm with Earth Balance.  An excellent way to end the weekend!

I'm off to Paris on Friday!  From what I hear, the vegan eating is good there, so I should have lots to report.