Knowing that I’m going to be hopping back on a plane home a week from today, has oddly kicked all of my US food cravings into high gear, starting with Mexican food. My friend Lisette had all of us girls over for a Mexican style holiday party. She spoiled us with homemade guacamole, queso and Stephanie brought “ugly dip,” which was nothing but cheese, cilantro, olives, tomatoes, and Italian dressing to bring it all together. Quite beautiful if you ask me.
We went through not 1, not 2, but 3 bottles of champagne, and then Stephanie started whippin’ up some butt kicking margaritas with a wonderful aged tequila. Olé!
Lisette made fabulous and flavorful pulled pork, served on tortillas from her US home stash. I was in foodie heaven, and then out comes little nuggets of pecan goodness, which I will attempt to try at home – the home that I’m returning to with my long lost oven. There were also delicious little chocolate bites, and I almost can’t even tell you what happened next.
A simple jar was presented, and we were each given a spoon. Suddenly there were grown women all digging into said jar. I may have gotten an elbow. I may have given an elbow, but really, I was given the gift of what is called “crack in a jar on speed,” aka Speculoos. There’s a caramel sweetness to it with a hint of ginger, and a whole lot of addiction. I kept asking what you should serve it on, and the only answer I got was your spoon, which isn’t true as I think you can also add your fingers, depending on the company. It was a Mexican merry Christmas indeed.
A few days earlier, my college friend Jenn asked if I could take her to one of my favorite Mexican spots in town. It turns out Jenn has been living in Paris for almost 10 years and has never once eaten Mexican food here! I think I only made it two weeks for my first French Mexican experience, and I don’t usually go more than three weeks without.
The big decision was where to take her – the down and dirty Candelaria with a tiny counter for fabulous little tacos and tostadas, but just beer, or a true sit down meal at Anahuacali with many menu options, including that of the margarita. The latter won out. Chips, guac and margies kicked things off, and Jenn was a believer before our mains even arrived. She had delicious enchiladas, and I couldn’t decide so I pretty much had every meat they had in taco form. We left very full and very happy.
Earlier in the week, I decided it was finally time to try one of the sleek looking sushi takeout spots. Sushi Shop delivers to your door, but I couldn’t wait that long, so I went in and picked up my own. The menu is a beautiful, heavy, glossy directory, worthy of a Saks Christmas catalogue. There were many of the usual suspects, but then some sushi roll stuffing I hadn’t seen before like eggplant with spicy miso sauce and taboulé with coriander, mint and lime juice. I went with a spicy scallop cut roll, and was not disappointed. The packaging was just as beautiful as the catalogue, right down to how they serve their soy sauce. This will hold me over the next 7 days.
The week was topped by a little taste of home with some time with Brad Pitt – unfortunately just on screen, just like home. Moneyball was playing, or La Stratege, at the “Publicis Drugstore.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from the name of the theatre, but it sits right on the Champs-Elysées, and they have a wine shop, food and gift boutique, and even a sit down restaurant. The theatre was wide open on a Friday night and I couldn’t have been happier, except when I found out there was no popcorn. Can you even call a movie theatre such if they’re not serving popcorn? I can’t. Luckily Stephanie shared her non-popcorn chocolate chip cookies with me to get me through, and of course there was Brad. The movie was a little slow, but Brad tends to speed things up, so all wasn’t lost.
The week was good, but also prepared me for some great things to come when I get back home –fabulous Mexican, Sushi, Movies and my family and friends!