So due to a weird mixup on someone’s (mine, maybe? Who knows) part, my mom’s flight was actually scheduled for today instead of tomorrow. After a quick rush to Châtelet to see her off on the RER on the way to the airport, I went back home to actually get some version of put together before I set out for the day. And since I had an unexpected day to myself, of course I spent the majority of it walking.
Oh, and buying books.
Behold the official reading list for Greece summer 2017. The bottom two books are new additions, the top left a gift from (and written by) a friend, and Genet is there because of course he is. I’m feeling the pull towards his particular brand of sublime destruction at the moment.
Since I am leaving to spend the next month in warmer climates tomorrow, meals had to be strategized today. I wanted to get a jumpstart on all the healthy eating I’m about to do – as well as to counteract all the pastries I’ve been eating – but choices were somewhat limited, given how the whole city seemingly shuts down in August. Thankfully, Wild & the Moon was open, and as the weather today more closely resembled fall than summer, I opted for a bowl of their stew of the day. Today it was a Thai-style curry.
Granted, this move towards healthier eating was later practically nullified with a piece of apricot-pistachio tart at Le Loir dans la Théière (accompanied by a pot of Darjeeling tea), but I think the 2.5 mile walk home made up for that.
And now here I am. Alone in this apartment that I will have to fill with myself until the time comes that the lack of his presence no longer affects the way I move through it. There is a certain potentiality for creativity in that though, and the optimistic side of me wants to keep that alive and present.
Because I am here.
Because I can move through things on my terms, heal on my terms.
A month away should – will – be good. I still have a dissertation to tackle after all.
First piece of apartment decor is up. Coincidentally, there is an inherent blend of ‘old v new’ in the display, what with the little pots I made in Cambridge holding up the piece I bought here.
There are so many blank walls in this space. So much white space to fill up, and I feel both a rush of excitement and a pang of…regret?…at the thought of doing it alone. Of choosing what to place where, of defining my unshared living area. It’s times like this when it’s hard not to slip back into thoughts of what should have happened, of what was supposed to happen, especially when you’re still teetering a bit after the rug’s been pulled out from under you. I suppose the only thing that can be done now is to try and find the beauty in the blank space, the space ready to be ‘marked’, ready to evolve with you and ‘as’ you.
And if not that, there are always small successes like trips to Glace Bachir near the still chaotic mess that is Les Halles for a scoop of their signature achta ice cream – it’s got orange flower water as well as masticha in it, a reminder of my Greek homeland I’m due to visit in a couple days – covered in chopped pistachios. Funnily enough, I used to hate masticha when I was younger; now I can’t seem to get enough of it.
Going back to the whole ‘mini successes’ thing today because this evening I treated my mom to her first tasting menu experience as a thank you for helping me move (hauling 5 suitcases up six flights of stairs is not easy, even with two people).
I chose to take her to Le Chateaubriand partly because as far as tasting menus go, this one is pretty affordable – although there is no conceivable way I’d ever be able to make it a regular thing anyway, at least in the immediate future – and partly because I had been wanting to go back since my first visit there four years ago. There’s almost no point in going through what we ate in detail since the menu changes daily, but the basic structure is that there is a set menu of five starters, followed by a first course, a fish course, a meat course, and two desserts (although one could also choose to substitute a cheese plate here). The option for wine pairings with each course at an extra charge is also available – and which I did the first time I ate here – , but we chose instead to stick to just one glass each.
I remember the first time I came here, I mentioned to our waiter (after he had asked about any potential allergies or food aversions) that I did not like eggs*, a fact that still stands to this day. I don’t quite know why I did not bother to do the same this time around – perhaps I did not expect to see this dessert placed in front of me again – but the end of the meal saw me face to face with my nemesis the egg yolk.
But unlike during my first visit, this time I actually popped the thing in my mouth in one bite – as instructed by our server – and to my surprise, I found myself actually quite enjoying it. Maybe it was the fact that I got the yolk down first before tasting the rest of the components, or maybe it was the fact that it tasted remarkably like an exceptionally creamy crème brûlée, but I wasn’t having an averse reaction to it like I thought I would.
So I guess that’s another success for the day. I ate an egg yolk and was fine with it. This does not mean that I am ready to graduate to omelettes quite yet. Got to have some principles after all.
*exceptions to the egg-hating include things like quiche, frittata, and strata – where you really cannot taste the egg at all – as well as things that involve egg in the preparation but it’s not the star of the show.
Is it really that surprising that my first meal out back in this city was tacos from El Nopal?
No. No it isn’t.
As much as I lamented about the dearth of quality tacos in Boston, for some reason, even during my brief work/school trips back to Paris before the official move, I had not made it back to El Nopal since moving away three years ago. And although I cannot say the same about all my former haunts (looking at you, noodle-place-that-will-remain-unnamed), this place has not changed a bit.
Really, I should have stopped to take a photo of my pastor, alambre, and pollo tacos before chowing down – to memorialize the moment and whatnot – but sometimes the need for comfort and satisfaction through food overrides the demands of the ‘gram. Maybe I’ll remember next time I’m there, and I order a torta.
This morning also came with the discovery that I will be potentially woken up daily by the loudest church bells I have ever encountered. Unfortunately, unlike the rest of the city, they have not gone on holiday.