Le map et le petit déjeuner.
Okay, that’s all the French I know! Give me a break! These are some old photos from a brief trip to Paris last year (June 2010). D*rek’s favorite food of all time is a simple French breakfast: croissant and cafe. I’d much rather prefer spam, fried eggs and fried rice or eggs benedict, haha. We started off the day with some breakfast and then hit the maps to see which POIs we wanted to hit up during our short visit. D*erek being the vacation planner and tour guide, had all the ins and outs to navigating the bustling streets of gay Paris!
Here’s a great shot I got from below the gates of Notre Dame. The weather was gorgeous – not too hot and not too cold. Walking around the city and taking snap shots left and right was so much fun. Earlier, D*rek and I polished off a bottle of champagne in one of the nearby parks – if only I could do this every single day! The champagne bottle exploded onto my shirt (I must have been cheerfully skipping on the way to the park with the bottle in my backpack). A petite old French madame let out a shriek of laughter when she saw me covered in spirits. C’est la vie!? The baguette we scarfed down didn’t quite stick to my stomach as much as I had hoped and I was a drunk tourist for the rest of the afternoon. Later on, I stumbled into a random technical university desperately searching for a toilet to relieve myself. “Où sont les toilettes?” A friendly janitor showed me the way to the nearest restroom and was a gentleman about my obvious inebriation and flushed Asian red face (maybe this wasn’t the first time it’s happened to him?).
The Paris public transportation system is amazing! Why can’t the United States improve urban public transit?
The Girl and The Goat:
A bunch friends came to visit me in the Chi from SoCal and THE top eating destination on their list was “The Girl and Goat.” The place is owned by Top Chef, Stephanie Izard (winner of Bravo’s Top Chef: Season 4). I had no idea of this place (because I usually have my head stuck in lab). My friends from Orange County weren’t kidding with their self-proclaimed foodie obsession. A down payment was placed for reservations on a Sunday at 10:30pm over a month in advance! This place books up fast and for good reason. The food here is amazing. We had over two dozen different small plates, bowls and dishes of salmon, beef short ribs, oysters, lobster, chick peas, artisan breads, pizza, salads, cheeses, green beans and sauces… I must admit, the food is a tad over seasoned, so drink plenty of water! I was afraid gorging on all this delicious food was going to break my poor graduate student piggy bank, but the bill came out to about $35 a person. The price was reasonable considering the great service, delicious food and my super stuffed belly. The service was excellent considering our demanding party of seven and our countless questions about the eclectic menu options. I would recommend this place to anyone seeking a food adventure and willing to go out of the comfort zone of their bland American taste buds.
This is an old photo I took while flying from Chicago to Montreal in May 2009 via Porter Airlines (flying refined!) with my Canon XS. Porter is a fun airline with great perks: complimentary wine/beer, smoked almonds, biscuits and bottles of water! I was fortunate enough to travel with Yan, a semi-Canadian native, who graduated from McGill University and Allison, a full-fledged Irish girl. Yan was able to take us to all the best POIs, eateries and shops. I would recommend traveling to Montreal if you want the experience and foreign flair of a European city within arms reach of the lower 48. However, truth be told, Montreal is its own city, with its own unique culture and identity not to be passed off as the Paris of Canada. The food, shopping, nightlife and siteseeing are top notch. Oh, and try the poutine! Yum.
Summer in Chicago is great because of wonderful outdoor concert venues such as Ravinia! There are free concerts that are offered throughout the summer to students. This was Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s “Rite of Spring” concert. I made chicken teriyaki and we had plenty of wine, pasta salad and chocolate cake to go around…
This picture was taken at Lake Michigan near Belmont Harbor. I thought it would be fun to take Peter for a picnic by the lake, but the foggy lakefront masked the pretty view of downtown Chicago. We still had fun and the fog actually made for an interesting photo. Peter shared his love for “malta” soda pop which he acquired while helping his father manage the family’s Mexican liquor stores. The malta washed down well with my sandwiches!