Sunday, October 29, 2006

Eating my way through Europe, part five

At 8:49 am, Pirikara bit into a slice of Swiss cheese from French Market Cafe, causing her tongue to peak to tastebud orgasm. "Finally!" she screamed just before falling to the ground.

Believe me, I was ready to give up my quest for good sandwich filling. Trader Joe's didn't have it. Whole Foods didn't have it. Both carried sliced cheeses that were just too watered down, bland to be specific, to stand on its own between two slices of bread.

Yay, happy day!

The baguette wasn't bad either. Even though it was obviously day-old bread, it was still soft and fluffy.

So this morning I fixed myself a ham and cheese sandwich and savored every bite of it. I also brewed a cup of tea, which I picked up on the last leg of my European trip... Paris.

Yes, I started out in Paris and I ended in Paris which, in my humble opinion, is the perfect way to end a trip to Europe. I stayed at the four-star Royal St. Honore Hotel
—my way of splurging—woke up early and set out for the Louvre. Given my time constraint I only allowed myself two hours there, but it was just enough time to take the 10-euro Da Vinci Code audio tour which was really cool because Jean Reno is the narrator, leading you through obscure parts of the museum. After a while, you start to feel like a detective peeking out of windows and using alternate routes to bypass crowds.

Through the advice of my friend, a former Paris resident, I headed toward the Pompidou Center to check out Mariage Freres, a gourmet tea shop which houses the most amazing and widest selection of teas from around the world. South America, Japan, the Himalayas ... you name it.

I randomly selected one from the menu, The Duke of Wellington (pictured above). I picked out a mousse pie (seen below) topped with slices of fig and starfruit. Both tea and pie were light and fragrant, yet very full of depth. Hmm, yeah, depth might be a strange way to describe food but for the lack of knowledge of more precise food diction, that's the best word I can come up with.

Take for example the ice cream my brother ordered with his tea. He expected a simple scoop of Baskin Robbins, but like with the magic of Willy Wonka, this ice cream transformed into three distinct flavors as it melted on your tongue. Imagine that. One spoon of ice cream turning from passion fruit to spiced apple to vanilla within a matter of seconds. (Those aren't the exact flavors I remember but that's just to give a general sense.) Now that's depth!

I'm wrapping up my thoughts on Europe here. I need to readjust to Los Angeles mode. That is, unless there's a sugar-daddy out there who cares to pay my way back. (^_^);

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