Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Tour and Food

The last few days have been pleasantly uneventful. Which is mostly sad for you, if you were hoping to read about continuing escapades with les pompiers or getting reprimanded by old women.

Today we went to see the end of the Tour de France. I likened it to watching Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall - something you must do once, and then not necessarily ever again.  (Oh, except one big difference is that the US understands that if you are going to stand around for hours, you need somewhere to go to the bathroom. Apparently the French never have to use the toilet.) Mostly we stood around for hours and then watched the cyclists ride by in an intense blur.  And since they ride around the last bit several times (I thought 6, Mr. Oil swears its 16), you wait a few minutes, and the blur repeats.

There - now it's like you were there too.

One thing in general I have noticed is that Paris seems to have missed the memo that smoking is bad for you.  Everyone smokes here. All of the time.  This missed memo was never more clear to me than this afternoon, as we stood in a crowd of people along the blockade on the tour route with Baby Oil sitting pretty in the Ergo, smiling away.  The girl standing literally in front of us, also surrounded by 15-20 people, pulled out a cigarette and started to smoke.  If ever my eyes shot daggers, it was in this moment.  Because seriously lady, you are standing in front of a baby.  My baby! I think the shooting daggers thing might actually have worked, because after a few seconds, she graciously left the crowd to smoke elsewhere.  Perhaps a newly discovered maternal superpower?

Also excellent about the Tour de France - the 60-year-old-plus men in suits guiding spectators through the metro and towards the exit.  It's not clear why they needed to be wearing suits and ties on a Sunday in order to say, "please exit this way."  Or really why they were needed at all, given the plentiful police presence.

It's a toss up, however, whether my favorite part were the overdressed men, or the...well, I'm not sure how to describe this in a word or even two.  About 30 minutes before the peloton (the cyclists) came through, there was a parade of sorts made up of a decorated cars and "floats" (loosely defined) for various products sponsoring the tour.  So Nestle had a car, as did Vittel (a bottled water).  All of these floats were really advertisements, and all featured good-looking 20-something men and women dancing to some form of techno music.  None were as completely amazing as the Extra float. Extra is a laundry detergent.  So they chose to advertise their product by having two men, in excellent shape, dance suggestively wearing only bright red underwear that said "Extra!" on the rear.  I think it was effective because its really the only part I remember.

So - Tour de France, check.

I also wanted to briefly mention some of the general deliciousness we have been experiencing.  Following the sage advice of Posted in Paris, we believe we have settled on our home boulangerie, Maie des Anges on Rue de Levis.  Yesterday evening we came home with a fresh loaf of la tradition, still warm from the oven.  Add a nice chevre and a bottle of Cote du Rhone, and that's one nice Saturday evening.

My favorite treat to date is the briochette avec vanille et rose that I ate at Nature de Pain last week. That was now four days ago, and I am still thinking about it.  Rivka (foodie queen over at Not Derby Pie and also my friend), for some reason I thought of you when I ate this.  Mostly because I thought you could probably figure out how to make it, which would be awesome.

Two other things I have been thinking about.  One - why does Europe not understand that it is possible to have soft, comfortable toilet paper?  Two - America has these trash bags with pull handles that make it so much easier to tie the trash bag.  Why don't those exist here?  Mr. Oil keeps telling me we should make a list of what we want to get in the states when we go to his brother's wedding in Chicago next month, and the only thing currently on my list is trash bags.

And finally. Our first take-out sushi experience was mostly a miss.  The only plus was that since the place is literally next door, we could actually take a roll back that was disgusting (please explain why in a tuna & avocado roll you would use tuna salad - yes, like canned tuna with mayo - when you also included a perfectly nice tuna roll in the box).  However, I did love the adorable soy sauce containers that came with it -

  No annoying plastic pouches that squirt all over you, Paris is much too refined for that.