Paris is a Beloved City

I am very sad about yesterday’s shootings in Paris. It is such a beautiful, magic place, populated with wonderful, friendly people who enjoy life and rich with history, architecture, art, cuisine and culture.  My heart is heavy for the victims of the shootings and their families, and for all Parisians as they struggle to recover from the shock and horror of the violence.

My tiny contribution to the healing process and return to normalcy is to reinforce the positives. Today’s post is just a quick couple of photos I snapped on my iPhone as part of a texting dialogue with my son while I was walking along the Seine. He traveled with me to Paris 5 years ago and we had an amazing experience, but that is literally another story (click here for “The Thankful Foreigner”).  He has great memories of Paris, and longs to return.

Me:  “I’m at the Pont Neuf!”

My son:  “Photos, please!”

Me:  (photos below)

IMG_0138
The Pont Neuf Bridge over the Seine
IMG_0137
The Eiffel Tower, way in the distance, from the base of the Post Neuf Bridge

My son:  “Wow! you went on the right day!”

It was after work on a Friday, a glorious afternoon, and I was due to fly out the next morning.  After depositing my computer in my hotel, I walked around for hours, along the Seine, through parks (including the Tuileries Garden), past the Louvre, and down the Champs-Elyseés, absorbing the sights and culture.  Paris is a beloved city of the world, and cannot ever be ruined by individuals or groups doing evil deeds.

More raving over Paris can be found in these posts:

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Postcards from Montmartre

More random photos from an extremely pleasant afternoon in the Montmartre section of Paris.

Flowering trees and shutters, seen from the viewpoint of Renoir’s Gardens, otherwise known as the Museum of Montmartre.

fullsizeoutput_54c

The Eiffel Tower framed by ancient oaks, a few steps from the famous Steps of Montmartre.

IMG_2773

More to come…

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

April in Paris: Rue des Martyrs

fullsizeoutput_535I have the good fortune to be in Paris over the weekend, and stumbled upon the Rue des Martyrs (Street of Martyrs for those of us who don’t “parlez vous francais”).  What a wonderful street!  Vibrant colors, great smells from a variety of cafés, fantastic people-watching, actually, make that people-and-dog-watching, a myriad of store and tiny boutiques and, the most tempting to me, a marvelous array of food and flower shops.  It was like an extended farmers’ market.  What a great street for an afternoon walk on a beautiful April day in Paris.

Foodie heaven!

61g9ci93uil-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Back at the hotel, I did some quick internet research on the Rue des Martyrs and found a review of a book that raves about this magic street even more than I did just now.  Published in November of 2016, The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs, was written by Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times.  Reviewer Sinclair McKay from the Telegraph (London) said in January of this year: “She argues with seductive force that here is where you will find the undying soul of the city; real Parisians from all walks of life – the “intimate, human side of Paris”, somewhere with ‘the feel of a small village’.

Yes! That’s exactly how it felt just now when I was traversing down this authentic, neighborhood-feeling street.  I learned from the article that, along with 60 other streets / neighborhoods in Paris, the Rue des Martyrs is protected from ever having chain businesses move in.

If one artisan business moves out, it can only be replaced with another. Only the French would dare to try and hold back the ineluctable corporatist forces that have conquered the rest of us.

So of course I ordered the book from Amazon, of course I will go back to the Rue des Martyrs the next time in Paris armed with all of my new knowledge, and of course I took lots of photos to share with you.  But just the food and flower shops – I have my priorities.

fullsizeoutput_534fullsizeoutput_547fullsizeoutput_533fullsizeoutput_549fullsizeoutput_53dfullsizeoutput_53cfullsizeoutput_538fullsizeoutput_546fullsizeoutput_539fullsizeoutput_53bIMG_2968fullsizeoutput_53fCharcuterie - Paris 3fullsizeoutput_543fullsizeoutput_544fullsizeoutput_541fullsizeoutput_542fullsizeoutput_537fullsizeoutput_536

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

The Thankful Foreigner: An Award-Winning Essay from a Millennial

And now, as I keep a vigilant eye over the discrimination in my society, I wonder: When will the other people, blinded by prejudice, have the eye-opening experience I had that day?

This little story from a few years ago is incredibly relevant today.

img_2235
Let the adventure begin!

In 2011, an incredibly cheap last-minute Houston-to-London roundtrip airfare offer coincided with my son’s 14th birthday and a lazy Thanksgiving week in which we had nothing planned.

So we cooked up a weeklong Mom & Kid trip to give the young ‘un (our last milennial) an opportunity to experience his first international travel:  three nights in Paris, followed by three nights in London.  We left Houston right after school on a Friday afternoon, tickets in hand for our first adventure, scaling the Eiffel Tower less than 24 hours later.  I knew it was going to be a worthwhile trip when, dazed and tired from the overnight flight to London and a couple of hours of fitful sleep on the high-speed EuroStar (Chunnel) train on the way to Paris, he leaned over to me – before our adventures even began – touched me on the arm and said:

Mom, thank you for showing me the world!

We alighted in Paris, stumbled to our hotel, took a few minutes for a power nap, and set out to ascend the Eiffel Tower.  But I digress; that’s a story for another time. Today’s focus is on my son’s memory, captured in his award-winning essay, which he shared post-competition on Facebook, as follows (in his words).

From February, 2012:  The following essay is what I wrote at the Klein Academic Competition that won first place for 8th Grade Ready Writing. The story is non-fiction; these events did actually happen.


The Thankful Foreigner

The sounds of honking European cars, people of all kinds conversing in French, and muffled, slimly audible brakes from subway trains all formed a soundtrack to the beginning of my day.

Trying to force my eyes open, I sat up, told my mom good morning, and, after slowly rising to my feet, walked over to the window of our hotel room. Pushing the red curtain away, I looked down upon the busy Parisian street, where people were walking in and out of shops and cafes, waiting to cross the intersection, and riding on motorcycles or in cars.

Now I knew it was true. The previous day had involved exhausted scrambling through airports and train stations, causing more of a feeling of trauma than that of a vacation. But now I was sure; I was really in Paris.

Within about a half hour, both my mom and I were dressed, clean, and ready to hit the street. Our first stop, as we had already discussed, was going to be a nearby cafe. We needed breakfast.

It called out to us the second we stepped out the door; across the street, a nice neon-red sign reading “La Porte de Montmartre” flashed out at my eyes. Immediately, I asked, or, I should say, STATED: “We should go there.”

So we took a risk; we waited for a pause in traffic, then dashed across the street.

It looked even better from up close. All the tables occupied by regular French citizens who all looked like some character in a classic movie…we had to get coffee here.

So my mom and I walked straight through the cafe to the bar, where we instantly mounted ourselves upon two vacant stools, and at the bartender’s acknowledgement, ordered two cups of coffee.

I noticed soon enough that this man was very young and handsome, yet obviously exhausted. He also, however, seemed like the kind of Frenchman that one of my less considerate classmates would sneak snide comments about back home. I knew about the unfounded views other countries have of the French, but…I knew that not ALL the French people were pompous and arrogant.

As he came back from the kitchen with our two cups of coffee, my ever-so-inquisitive mom asked what I’d been wondering: “Where are you from?”

The second she asked that, his face brightened up. “You tell me first,” he said through his grin, his French accent indeed present.

“We are from Texas, in the USA,” I said. “And you, sir?”

He stood up straight and said, rather proudly,

Normandy Beach. The ruins of the D-Day attack. All of the American liberators are buried there…Many of my people are not as grateful to the Americans as they should be. I mean, thanks to your country, we are all still French. So, personally, I thank you and all your people.”

Within two seconds of his ceasing to speak, I knew that any anti-French sympathies I could’ve had prior to this day would be gone.

It was obvious that this man was at least 30 years too young to have experienced the historic World War II battle that had brought recognition to his hometown. Yet he had the heart to honor and respect a foreign country and its military for the well-being of his own.
Since then, the “French” slur and stereotype has been something I make a goal to avoid. I now see the prejudice and ignorance behind many comments that, before that sunny Parisian morning, I might not have seen.

And now, as I keep a vigilant eye over the discrimination in my society, I wonder:  When will the other people, blinded by prejudice, have the eye-opening experience I had that day?


 

IMG_2286.jpg
The Thankful Foreigner, himself
IMG_2287.jpg
The wise 14 year old, our last millennial 
IMG_2288.JPG
We’ll go back to La Porte Montmartre when next we are in Paris

Back to the Present

Back to the present, back to my voice…Wow.  I’ve experienced this story in a myriad of ways:

  • When it originally happened; I realized that the young French man would be someone we remembered forever.  “Because of you, we are all still French!” is how I remember him proclaiming his appreciation for the American and Allied liberation of France.
  • When my son’s name was called at the UIL district competition award ceremony as the first place winner…I I lost my self-control, rose from my seat in the uncomfortable gym bleachers and screeched “Woooooo!” before sitting back down, red-faced and yet unabashedly proud.  Then, a few minutes later as I almost strangled him with hugs, he told me the topic of his essay, and we reminisced about that morning, that young man, that authentic gratitude.
  • When I actually read the essay after he got it back a few weeks later and understood what the magical moments with the young man in the coffee bar had meant to my son, and wondered at how he translated the ridiculousness of petty prejudices into this insight:  “I now see the prejudice and ignorance behind many comments that, before that sunny Parisian morning, I might not have seen.”
  • And now, more than 5 years later, as our country struggles with immigration, our place in the world and how we interface with those who are “foreign”.  Perhaps I’m biased – well, heck, of course I’m biased – but I find my son’s final statement in that little essay truly profound:

And now, as I keep a vigilant eye over the discrimination in my society, I wonder: When will the other people, blinded by prejudice, have the eye-opening experience I had that day?

What’s that old saying…”out of the mouths of babes”?  How about:  “out of the mouths of millennials”?

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook; The Thankful Foreigner printed with permission of the author, Thomas Wenglinski

 

New Orleans Jazz Fest Anticipation: Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

 

The sixth post in a series about the New Orleans Jazz Festival covering food (restaurants and recipes), fun, music and travel tips.

In the run-up to our Jazz Fest trip in early May, we are building anticipation by looking back at past good times in New Orleans and sharing our travel tips.

Today I will wax poetic about the frozen Bourbon Milk Punch from Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House.  Because I must.

It Started with a Travel Tip

The Grill-Meister has a friend who travels extensively for work and also for pleasure, and he has a talent for sniffing out excellence in every locale.  When he gives you a travel tip, you pay attention.  That’s how we first learned of the frozen Bourbon Milk Punch:  “If you’re going to New Orleans, you have to try the Bourbon Milk Punch – it’s an adult milkshake.”  He was right.  If you’re of age and inclined to imbibe, this creamy, dreamy, thick elixir should be on your bucket list.

A Break from the Hullaballoo

Bourbon House is situated on the bottom floor of the Astor Crowne Plaza New Orleans Hotel, and the Bourbon Milk Punch is served in the hotel lobby as well as the restaurant.  The restaurant has terrific seafood and is always crowded, so if you’re just in the mood for a naughty little frozen drink, just pop into the lobby bar.  It’s quiet and offers a nice little break from the hullaballoo.

The “Secret” is the Gelato

If you get chatty with the bartender and ask for the recipe, you’ll get a coy, “well, it’s a secret, but I’ll tell you if you promise not to share it; it’s the house-made vanilla gelato that makes it so creamy”.  Imagine my surprise when I found that information online, right there on the Bourbon House web site – see below.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 5.02.03 PM.png
Recipe from the Bourbon House web site; link below

The Replay List

I’ve just realized that if you’ve already done something – like going to the New Orleans Jazz Fest and experiencing the rest of the unique and wonderful city – then you’ve crossed it off the bucket list of things you must do in life.  So there needs to be another list for those things you simply must do again; I’m going to call it the replay list.  The Jazz Fest is on our replay list and will probably get replayed again and again, like that favorite song back in sixth grade.  The frozen Bourbon Milk Punch is on there, too, but one per trip is enough.

Resources

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook