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It's Foodie Friday! Tarti-what?!!?!?

Friday, November 26, 2010
I've been awake since 2am.  It's around 4:30am now and my eyes are wiiiide open.  I've been back from Paris for a little more than 24 hours and I'm trying to readjust to the time change.  I imagine it is going to take a few several days.  Might as well share, eh?  ;-)

Towards the end of every November, the famous Champs-Elysées is decorated with holiday lights and holiday decor in the spirit of the holiday season.  Having never seen The Champs decorated in this way before, you can only imagine how excited I was to go ooh and aah at the pretty lights on this magnificent boulevard.  You know what I mean by excited, right?  Kind of like a giddy little kid with her high pitched voice on Christmas morning that can't wait to see what Santa brought...except this little kid got to drink vin chaud (hot wine) spiked with Grand Marnier.  Mmm hmmm.  (And it was yummy too.)

In addition to the holiday lights this year, there was also a full-blown Christmas market with little white chalet-style booths lining both sides of The Champs a little further down the boulevard away from the expensive shops and restaurants.  (See my fun(ny) little amateur video here.)  There was even a huge ferris wheel and a merry-go-round for

And while some of the booths boasted some unique holiday items, the majority boasted vin chaud, foie gras, beluga caviar, strings of sausage, hunks of cheese, delightful little cupcakes and tartiflette.  Tarti-what?

A man serving tartiflette on The Champs - 22/11/10
Source: OneBrownGirl in Paris

French tartiflette

"Tartiflette [I had to look it up] is a French dish from the Savoie region [of France]. It is made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, cream, and lardons.  It is also commonly found with onions."  (Thanks again, Wiki.)  Basically, it's a kind of cheesy potatoe casserole.  Had I known what it was, I might have even tried it because I love both cheese and potatoes.  But since I'm such a finicky eater, I just took a photo and made a mental note to find out what it is I missed.  LOL.  I know: What a wimp.
I figured there had to be some type of traditional kitchen recipe for tartiflette and after an online search I found that while it is commonly prepared in the giant kettle I saw, it can also be prepared at home.  Here is a pretty simple recipe.  It looks really rich, but I'd be game to try it...or I could just wait until I go back to France (hehehe).  All I need is a tiny excuse.  =)
I've never been a big foodie, but I always try some of the local fare when I travel and I'm always amazed at how similar food is around the world.  This trip, I not only ate French food, but I ate Antillean Creole food, Senagalese food, and even Cuban food (see photos below).  In fact, I never eat French onion soup in the US but I had at least 6 bowls of it on this trip.  Yummy for my tummy.

So here I am back in the US dealing with my typical post-vacation depression while I daydream about the good time and the fine food I had while on holiday (and none of it was American food!).  And in My Fella's effort to help me maintain my daydream and to re-create that delightful stroll on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées this past Monday evening, I found a recipe for hot mulled wine on the living room coffee table that he appartently tore out of a magazine while I was sleeping.  Awwww. 
I guess I could try to make it and I really appreciate the sentiment, but I think I'd rather go back to Paris to get it instead.  Coming along?


Unknown on: November 26, 2010 at 5:07 AM said...

Here's the recipe for Hot Mulled Wine:
2 bottles pinot noir
4 oz. port or brandy
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 large orange, zested
Mix in pot and simmer 20 minutes, never letting it reach a buzz-killing boil. Scoop into glasses, then garnish with a cinnamon stick and a dash of nutmeg. Enjoy!

Unknown on: November 27, 2010 at 12:33 AM said...

P.S. My Fella found Mulled Spice (in a can) at Trader Joe's...and it works!

Ann on: November 29, 2010 at 7:21 AM said...

Is that fried plaintain on one of the plates? We are doing a side trip to Paris this spring - any restaurant recommendations (nothing too fancy- we are traveling with kids.)

Unknown on: November 29, 2010 at 7:46 AM said...

Hi Ann! =)
Yes. That is definitely plantain (and not enough if you ask me...LOL). One meal was from a Cuban restaurant (food was average) and the other was from a French Creole restaurant (food was excellent, but pricy).
Not sure of what your budget is or where you'll be in Paris, so it's hard to recommend a specific place. The exchange rate is horrible, so you should just expect to spend some $, particulary with a family in tow. Hope it gets better by Spring.
Personally, I like eating French food while I'm in France, but we were there for most of the month, so we ventured out a bit.
My best meals were local food (including the French Creole food) and so I would recommend a French cafe/restaurant that isn't empty. If there aren't any people there, there's usually a reason, yanno? ;-)


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