Friday, March 23, 2012

Bubble Lady

I know now what it takes to be the coolest adult in the playground at Parc Monceau.  Ready for this? Bubbles.

I took a bottle of bubbles to the playground today, to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather we're having (this sounds better than "because I get bored at the playground").  Baby Oil, naturally, could have cared less about bubbles (which typically he enjoys) but every other child on that playground came flocking as if I wielded some magical spell.  Isn't there some fairy tale about some guy who plays a flute and all the rats or children or something come running?  I'm like that guy. Without the flute. Also without the rats. Note to self - carry bubbles at all times.

This week we've had the privilege of playing host to some of our most favorite friends, who I'll call Soon-to-be-Mr-and-Mrs (that's right, they're engaged, you're very smart. You should get some bubbles.) Soon-to-be-Mr-and-Mrs are the first in what is about to be a fairly long and certainly exciting series of visitors over the next couple months, so they were our guinea pigs for what we want our friends to see and do.

I knew we were in for a few good days when Soon-to-be-Mr selected wasabi as his first Parisian macaron flavor.  I've often considered trying this unusual flavor at Sadaharu Aoki, but why pass up the opportunity for one of his succulent cassis macarons?  As it turns out, the wasabi macaron is incredibly mild and none of us got even a remote whiff of true wasabi.  A bit of a bust, to be honest.  But it still was the beginning of a solid few days of eating.

Yesterday Mr. Oil took the day off of work and Baby Oil was with a sitter, so the four of us adults played tourist for the day.  We kicked off our Parisian jaunt with a visit to the Marche d'Aligre in the 12th arrondissement since we've read in a few places that this is an excellent marche.  Truthfully, it seemed pretty average.  The most exciting thing was Mr. Oil getting yelled at after taking an obviously free sample of orange.  I would have tucked tail and ran, but Mr. Oil actually kinda likes getting in trouble so he thought it was great.

At a boulangerie on the corner of Boulveard Beaumarchais and Rue de la Passage de la Mule (Au Levain de la Marais), we sampled a carre de speculoos - think pain au chocolat but with speculoos instead of chocolate. Oh, you don't know what speculoos is? You should. Even Wikipedia knows what it is. This pastry furthered my theory that nothing bad can be made with speculoos.  But the gingerbread-y treat was soon overshadowed by the always specatular pasteis de nata at Comme a Lisbonne just a short walk away.  Yes, that's right, we went for pastry after having a pastry. And you know what? The speculoos wasn't even our first pastry of the day.

Our morning was complete with a requisite stop at Jacques Genin for caramels (though much to my unending frustration, Soon-to-be-Mr-and-Mrs adamantly refused to sample their caramels throughout the ENTIRE day until AFTER dinner, which I believe is only because they had never had them before, and I made it my mission to nag them about this all day long. I was totally vindicated when Soon-to-be-Mr couldn't even open his eyes while eating his mango-passion caramel, as he was so carried away by the explosion of tropical paradise on his tongue. Next time, listen to the bubble lady!)

Since we hadn't eaten all morning, we headed to Breizh Cafe for lunch.  Delicious galettes (you may know these as savory crepes) filled with fresh veggies, cheese, and more. Made even better by the refreshing and crisp bottle of French cider we shared.  Five places to eat before 1pm - can you get a better day in Paris?

That evening - after some resting, some baguette-and-cheese-eating, and drinking a bottle of wine - we left Baby Oil snoozing away with a sitter, and headed to one of our favorite spots, Rue Sainte-Anne, also known as Paris' Little Tokyo. On the way to our sushi dinner, we saw a classic sight. A city bus was careening down the tiny street, and just as I remarked that it seems crazy that buses can go on these streets, we noticed the bus pull to a stop.  A sushi delivery scooter was parked jauntily against the curb, blocking the bus' way.  So the bus driver stopped the bus, got out, put up the kickstand, moved the scooter, put down the kickstand, and returned to her bus.  As if it happens every day (which, quite possibly, it does). 

Soon-to-be-Mr-and-Mrs have now left our apartment for a "romantic" weekend in a "hotel" - sharing a bathroom with a 14 month old isn't romantic? Come on!  I think every engaged couple dreams of a waking up in Paris to comments like, "Wow, that's a big poop!"  Meanwhile, in other news, Baby Oil has taken his first steps, has been declared "not so fat as before" by his doctor, been accepted to nursery school for the fall, and won't eat his dinner if he sees a fresh baguette on the table.  Springtime in Paris - bring on the bubbles!