Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Musée du Louvre in Paris, France

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had cravings for Filipino Tinolang Manok and Bam-I, an aversion to chocolate, and a major craving for the television show, CSI. After weeks of being glued to the show, MR begged that I stopped watching and to find something else to preoccupy me. I turned to the movie, Da Vinci Code and I would watch it at least once a day until the end of my pregnancy. I don't know what it meant then, but I do know it meant that we had to make a visit to the Musée du Louvre in Paris this trip. Seeing my 6 year old daughter, SO, pose in front of the museum brought me back images of when I was 7 months pregnant with her and I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgic. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Moulin Rouge in Paris, France

As I suggested in the previous blog post (click here for the post), the little train of Montmartre (le Petit Train de Montmartre) is a nice activity to do when visiting the Basilique du Sacré Coeur. The train lets you go around the area and it is commented to make sure you don't miss out anything important. I was running out of battery so I took just a few photos, but I could definitely not miss out this one.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur in Paris, France

After all the eating for lunch, MR and I were ready again to check off something else on our to-do list in Paris. We were a little behind in our schedule, but considering that it was still summer we had until 8PM to enjoy walking around under the sun. One landmark MR insisted we visit was the Basilique du Sacré Coeur in Paris and I totally agreed with him.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Le Manoir in Paris, France

After the visit of the Cimetiere Pere Lachaise (click here for the post), next up was eating lunch. Prior to arriving in Paris, I started looking up online for nice places to eat at. The first questions I asked myself were, what do I miss eating and what can I eat in Paris that I can't back in Metz? My first thought - Xiao Long Bao!!!! And after spending several hours researching online, I finally found the perfect place. But Paris is quiet in August for a reason - Parisians leave the city for the summer, including restaurant owners and employees. So I should have expected that the restaurant, Autour de Yangtse (popularly known for their delicious Xiao Long Bao in Paris) would be closed. But I didn't feel bad. In fact, on the way there we were able to drop by the Opera National de Paris, see its beauty from the outside, and even listened to a singer perform for a couple of minutes. Anyways, since the restaurant was closed, we decided the next best thing was to try something typically Parisian - have lunch on the terrace of a bistro.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!!!!

I'm just taking a break between baking Christmas cookies and helping SO with the gifts Santa Claus brought her to wish you all a very ...


He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. - Roy L. Smith 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cimetiere Pere Lachaise in Paris, France

MR finally joined us in Paris last night. Unfortunately that meant that we had to say goodbye to KR, who had to go back to her family. As always it was hard to say goodbye and let go, but this time was definitely easier than the last (click here for the post). I guess this time around I knew that we would be seeing each other again soon (hopefully next year) and that no matter what our friendship would stand the distance. Anyways, as soon as we picked up MR from the train station, we immediately immersed into the tourist spirit visiting several landmarks before deciding to go home close to midnight. Tomorrow was going to be a busy and fun day.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, France

Today was what we called a "chill" day. KR and I stayed up way too late last night chatting and laughing and so we took our time waking up this morning. Today's plans were picking up some food for a picnic and spending the day at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which isn't far from the apartment we rented (less than 10 minutes of walking).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Le Marais in Paris, France

So the first Parisian spot we decided to visit was the area of "Le Marais". KR loved the area during a previous visit and I was excited to refresh my memories of it. Since we had already decided to eat at L'As du Fallafel (click here for the post) for dinner, which is right in Le Marais, we thought it would be cool to walk around the neighborhood first.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

L'As du Fallafel in Paris, France

For as long as I can remember, I've always heard that L'As du Fallafel in the quarter of Le Marais in Paris had the best Falafel in France, if not even whole Europe. Knowing that KR is as much as a food-lover as I am, I suggested we try "one of the world's best" for our first dinner in Paris.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Starbucks in Gare de l'Est, Paris

Last August, we decided to go to Paris for a couple of days. This was no spur-of-the-moment decision as a very good friend of mine was also in Paris at the time. Every year, a number of acquaintances and friends visit Paris and as you can probably imagine I don't travel Metz-Paris every time they do. But KR and I share a 20-year friendship now and she is one of the rare people in my life who has known me as a child, an adolescent, and now an adult. For those who follow my blog, KR is the same friend who visited me in December 2012 (click here, here, here, and here for the posts). Considering she was the one who came to me last time, I figured this was my turn to come to her. And like, Audrey Hepburn once said, Paris is always a good idea.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How you doing?

I'm back!!! It's been what - 3 months?!? I sure have missed writing here!

Before anything else, I just want to say that my absence had nothing to do with a family tragedy. I know that the last time I was MIA was when my father was very sick and eventually passed away, but no this time, it has nothing to do with a family tragedy. On the contrary, we've been doing really good.

My husband, MR, has been working a stable job in the same place for the past 9 months and he's loving it. I've been adjusting real well in my new job and working more and more hours. Our daughter, SO, started grade school in September and she is doing real good too. Sometimes, when I get home at 9PM and I can't feel my feet anymore, I just want to moan and bitch, but I can't. Most days,I feel pretty damn lucky because I really am.

So I'm gonna try my best to be active with my blogging. Especially since, I have so much to blog about (recent Paris trip, lots of new places we've tried, and new delicious recipes!!!).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sushi Eclair in Nancy, France

Today is another milestone in MR's and my life. Taking advantage of the fact that MR is not working today and I'm still on my summer break, we thought we would go and enjoy lunch out. If you're wondering where SO is, she has been happily spending her days in the children's center ever since she came back from summer camp. Because she doesn't have siblings, we decided it would be good for her to spend her days with other kids. She always has so many fun stories to share with us whenever she comes home in the afternoon. So anyways, MR and I went through a mini list of places we could try until we finally settled on Sushi Eclair in Nancy, France. MR just recently started to like sushi, sashimi, and maki and I guess he wanted to please me. Deep inside, I'm sure he would have preferred a traditional French or Chinese restaurant. But as we were eating what I can only describe as the worst Japanese sushi place I've ever been to so far, he never mentioned once "I told you so" to me.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Potato and Leftover Roasted Chicken Salad

On Wednesday mornings (if I'm not working), one can usually find me walking around the weekly farmer's market near our town. This gives me the opportunity to look around and fill my bags with vegetables and fruits for the week. But that's not just it - I also like to buy a dozen fresh farm eggs which we usually eat soft boiled on Wednesday evenings. In the past weeks, I've also tasted some new arrivals in the market such as Potato Cakes / Galettes, Middle Eastern Bread, Couscous Royale, and even Paella! But most of the time, I sniff my way to where the Roasted Chicken / Poulet Roti is. To me, a French market without its Poulet Roti stand isn't a complete market and I just need to smell the scent of roasted meat!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Algerian Pastries / Patisserie Algerienne

My friend, LY, insisted that we didn't leave his home empty-handed and so we left with a platter of some of his mom's homemade Algerian Pastries. I'm not one to say no when offered a gift so I gladly accepted (with a huge smile on my face according to my husband) and counted the kilometers home when I could finally attack the platter! When I finally did, I carefully tasted each pastry. Some I absolutely loved, some I liked less. For example, I loved the ones shaped like a crescent and topped with sesame seeds, while the squarish ones (second from the left) I fancied less. MR followed my suit and he loved the first one (from the left) which was loaded with honey. I'm not a fan of honey, but even I loved the pastry. The only downside of this would be not knowing the pastries' name, so if you are reading this and know it, don't hesitate to share! I could probably go online and find, but I wouldn't know where to begin. When LY handed me the platter, he actually mentioned the names, but I honestly was too busy staring at the goodies and not listening to him! LOL When he finished talking, I snapped back to reality and insisted that I would gladly volunteer to collect any extra or unwanted pastries anytime! :p

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Epinal, France

Like I mentioned in the previous post (click here to read), we stopped by the city of Epinal on our way home from SO's summer camp. When my friend found out that we were in the area, he invited us to come over his house in the afternoon. I've never been to Epinal before, but I've always wondered about it as many describe it as resembling the nearby cities of Metz and Nancy. So that's why I told my friend, LY, that we would be at his house at around 4PM giving us an hour to quickly tour the city and sight-see a bit. Unfortunately for us, there was a huge pro-Palestine demonstration happening in the center of the city and we were told to avoid it as much as possible. With the number of people present, we wouldn't be able to do much sightseeing anyways.

Courtepaille Epinal in Jeuxey, France

Finally, D-Day is here. The day we picked up SO from summer camp. I still can't believe she was away from us for a week and did really good. At 5 years old, I think she did pretty amazing. On the other hand, her mother (me) who is 28 years old and suffered terrible separation anxiety! Which is why I was feeling slightly torn today. While I was really really really excited to pick up SO from summer camp and see her, I was also hesitating to do it. As we approached the camp site, I felt myself not wanting to go. Sensing my hesitation, MR asked me what was bothering me so much. Timidly, I confessed that I was afraid she would be disappointed to see us and would ask to stay in summer camp rather than come home with us. MR listened to me babbling but laughed (grrrr!!!) and said knowing our daughter that wouldn't happen. I hoped for me that that would be true because I didn't know how I could handle it. Thankfully, he was right. SO jumped out of her seat when she saw me and wouldn't stop hugging and kissing me. I felt like my heart was endlessly jumping and doing cartwheels!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cherry Tomatoes and Basil from the Garden

The past days have been horrible! Ever since we brought our daughter, SO, to summer camp I've been missing her terribly. I'm used to when she stays overnight at my sister's on the weekends but that's only 1 night, 2 nights max. One week is a lot to endure! And the days seem longer too lately. I'm not working at the moment, so I'm pretty much waiting at home all day long. I wait for MR to come home from work or I wait for the summer camp director to put photos and summaries of their day online. I thought I would be doing so much better than this, but I'm not. It's ironic because I supported SO's choice from the beginning, while MR was really hesitant and had to be convinced by us! But now, he has no problems sleeping at night and even comforts me when he sees that I am down. Ironic, ain't it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Le Wasabi in Metz, France

If I were to choose my last meal, I think I would ask for a delicious platter of Sushi and Sashimi. I don't know exactly how it happened, but ever since my teenage years I've always been a huge fan of Japanese cuisine. Perhaps it was from my mother's special admiration of Japan, but it didn't take much for me to fall head over heels. Unlike my husband, MR, who had to take several years to get used to it especially with the raw food. But seriously, I could probably have Sushi and Sashimi every day and (of course with Japanese soy sauce and a hint of wasabi) and not get sick of it for a long long long time!

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Favorites: Very Parfait Fraise / Strawberry in McDonald's France

McDonald's France has released a new dessert and it is my new favorite thing this summer! I don't exactly remember where or when I first saw / heard about McDonald's Very Parfait dessert, but right away I was intrigued. In my mind, I always equate summer with ice cream so this was really perfect timing!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Les Rives du Lac in Gerardmer, France

After our walk around the lake, it was only natural that we would stay for dinner. One, we were super hungry and two, we had to check out what the restaurants by the lake were like. We had our choice of restaurants to pick, but we eventually chose one right in front of the lake - Les Rives du Lac. We hoped for a nice outdoor table with the view of the lake, but we didn't. Instead, we were seated on an outdoor table with the view totally blocked by another table and sandwiched between two other tables. Boo.

Lac de Gerardmer, France

It's hard not to think of Gerardmer when I think of Les Vosges. Although there are other touristic and known places like La Bresse, I fell in love with Gerardmer since the first time I visited it. It's all about the beautiful lake, the lush greens, and the chill ambiance. So on the way home from SO's summer camp (click here for the post), I thought it would the perfect opportunity to make a little detour to Gerardmer. MR has never been before and like me, I knew he would love it. I later regretted not getting a hotel room to stay overnight, but we still had fun walking around. Life has been crazy busy these past months and it's been a while since we were able to spend some time just MR and I. It was a very relaxing moment, where at times it almost felt that time had stop and it was just the two of us.

Road Trip to Les Vosges, France

I don't know if I ever mentioned it but SO, my 5 year old daughter, is my miracle child. And most probably the only child I will ever have. When I was told 6 years ago that I could never have children naturally, I was crushed. I didn't know where MR and I would be heading and if we could be one of those couples that could survive being just the two of us. I was 23 then and the future was a big question mark. And then the miracle happened. Some time after that, during a routine check-up for my ovarian issues, the image of a fully formed baby appeared on the ultrasound screen. To say that I was shocked is an understatement and when the doctor asked MR to come in the ultrasound room, he was as equally shocked. If I wasn't seeing the image of the baby or hearing its heartbeat, I would have thought this was a sick joke. Once the feeling of shock faded away, stress quickly sank in. I was 4 months pregnant, entering the second trimester of my pregnancy and millions of questions popped in my head. Was I ready for this? How would we support this child? One minute I was accepting the fact that I would never have children, then the next I was actually pregnant with a child! I still can't believe that that was 6 years ago. These days I am still feeling stressed. It has never stopped. Except these days I am stressed for other reasons.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dinner at Villa Roma in Morhange, France

A couple of days ago, one of my close friends, MT, called and asked what we were planning to do on the evening of the 14th of July, otherwise also known as the Fete Nationale in France. I, unfortunately, wasn't sure of anything as MR didn't have his work schedule yet, so I told her I was unable to promise her anything. Just a week ago, we had lunch together at Villa Roma in Morhange (click here for the post) and she loved the place so much that she wanted to go back with her husband, DIMR, and I. I didn't confirm anything until last night when we found out that MR was indeed working this evening. My daughter SO was happy to take his place as my date tonight. I loved seeing MT and her husband, DI, play with SO throughout the night and I wonder if a baby is in the plans this year! ;p

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Que Huong in Saint Avold, France

I heard a while back that there was an Asian restaurant in Saint Avold, France, but I wasn't familiar with it. I couldn't find much information online so I didn't know if it was updated or if the restaurant was still running. Anyways, when MR came home from work this afternoon, I told him that my niece had picked up our daughter for the weekend and we were all alone for the evening. I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner, so I was happily surprised when MR suggested we try the Asian restaurant in Saint Avold. He had also heard about the restaurant from his colleagues, but the feedback were pretty bad. So I went online to have more information while MR was showering and found out that there were in fact 2 Asian restaurants in Saint Avold. Not knowing which one we were going to since both didn't really have good reviews online, I went with what seemed to be the less of the 2 evil.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cherry Pie

One thing that I love in summer are the fruits. While I prefer winter food (stews and soups), I am a sucker for summer fruits - Strawberries, Peaches, Nectarines, Melon and my absolute favorite ... Cherries! I eat them by the handful anytime during the day and these are the first things I look for in the weekly open markets.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lunch with Girlfriends at Villa Roma in Morhange, France

It's officially the summer break!!! This means that starting today I am working way less than usual and SO isn't going to school for two months. Unfortunately for MR, he is working just as much (or even more!). We are not going on vacation this summer, although my legs are begging to, because our schedules just won't permit it. I still can't believe it's gonna be almost 3 years I haven't seen the beach. Just thinking of it hurts. Anyways, you can't always have what you want in life and really, who I am to complain anyways. Especially on a day like today where I get to mark the start of the week (and of the summer) with two of my close friends. Eating out with good friends is not a bad way to start the week and I could definitely get used to this! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nancy Marche Central in Nancy, France

On the way to Ippoudo Ramen (click here for the post), we passed by the Marche Central of Nancy. MR is starting to love local markets as much as I do and we made a mental note to drop by after lunch. Because we still had a long afternoon ahead of us, we couldn't buy anything. We still enjoyed a visit around the Marche Central. There were lots of food stalls and interesting restaurants.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ippoudo Ramen in Nancy, France

One thing I'm sure of is that - there is a God and he is good! Just a few days ago, I was having possibly the worst restaurant experience this year (click here for the post) and here I am today in yet another Asian restaurant but experiencing the total opposite! For those who don't know me yet, I grew up in the Philippines and lived there up until 2 years ago. I had a great life prior to moving to France despite the family tragedies and what else. Living in France is different in all aspects, but it's great too. It just needs getting used to which I guess is pretty normal when you've lived 18 years in one place and have really only known that. Anyways, as much as my Dad made sure to live the French way in the Philippines, I grew up eating and loving Filipino dishes. It's really a shame that it's not as popular as others. To me, the Philippines is a result of different cultures, different ways of life, and different influences and the Filipino cuisine is a melting pot of flavors. But that's not the only cuisine I got to discover there. Because if there's one thing that the Philippines is great at is the way they embrace neighbors and how open they are towards new things. Which is something that I struggle daily here. While in France it is common to hear "no" to trying new things, a Filipino will most likely say "let's give it a try".

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dinner at Kefan in Metz, France

I am in a love-hate relationship with the restaurant, Kefan in Metz, France. It's quite frustrating I must admit because you never know if you're going to have a good time or not. Anyways, work has started to calm down, but I was in town because my boss wanted to gather her employees before the summer break. We talked and talked and at around 8PM, we were separating ways. Because I still had to drive an hour to go home, I thought I'd eat dinner in the city. I told MR that there was a big chance I would, so he was taking our daughter on a father-daughter date tonight.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Favorites: KFC France - Sweet Pie

I just realized that it's been a while since I posted something in the "My Favorites" category. But that doesn't mean that I haven't added new favorites in my list. So here comes KFC's Sweet Pie. First of all, I love KFC in general. I loooovvveeee fried chicken and I curse every time I order chicken in a KFC here and see that there's no white rice (like in the Philippines!). I don't have a KFC branch near my house, but luckily there is one near my workplace. After several lunch trips there, I thought I'd try their Sweet Pie. I've been hearing so much about Macau's Egg Tarts and how good they were and I wondered if these were similar.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

L'Ere des Tulipes in Metz, France

The day after my Strasbourg day-trip (click here for the post), I was up again early morning ready for another day at work. But today I was especially motivated to go to work because I was meeting one of my close friend afterwards. She just started a new job and her office is about 500 meters from mine. Today was her third day on the job and I just had to see her! So we made plans to see each other after work today and ended up eating dinner together (which she insisted to pay!!!).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pierre Herme in Strasbourg, France

And now it was my turn to choose what to do! This was pretty simple; I had it all planned. MR was in for no surprise, he knew it had to do with food. And he wasn't wrong. LOL. A couple of years ago, Manila, the capital city of the Philippines went through this macaron craze (and so did the rest of the world!). For years, I've been hearing the names Pierre Herme, Laduree, Fauchon - who's better than who, who's more popular, who's more expensive. I've never been a big fan of Macarons. But then again, I've never had the opportunity to try the ones they brand as "the best in the world", so I couldn't help but wonder if my lack of enthusiasm for Macarons came from that.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France

Once I was done with my meeting, MR and I realized that we didn't really have a lot of time to explore before heading home to pick up our daughter. We agreed that we would each get to choose one place to visit or one thing to do. I let my man pick first and with many thanks to our phone, we quickly found ourselves casually walking in the small streets of Strasbourg in the direction of the city's beautiful cathedral.

A Day in Strasbourg, France

It started with a professional meeting scheduled in Strasbourg. Then, MR told me that he wasn't working today so I asked him if he wanted to come with me. He would be alone for maybe an hour or two while I was attending my meeting, but hey, alone and in Strasbourg ain't that bad. That gave him the opportunity to walk around and explore the city for the first time. Originally, I had wanted to take train tickets. It's only a 2 hour drive, but I didn't feel like driving. Unfortunately for me, there was a train strike going on and I didn't want to have a bad surprise. I worked half-day today so by lunch time MR and I were on the road to Strasbourg.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

SO is still having on and off fever. She skipped school and stayed at home today and so did I. I was freaking out at first because you never know with fever. I mean, it could be the first sign of something potentially dangerous. Thankfully for SO, it is a case of over-exhaustion and she just really needs to sleep it off as much as possible. All day and night long, I've been looking over her. The super mom instinct really kicks in in moments like this - who cares that I haven't slept 2 hours straight!!! Like many of us, SO loses her appetite whenever she is sick. But since I was giving her paracetamol, I wanted her to have something in her stomach. That's why I decided I would prepare pasta for dinner, which just happens to be her all-time favorite food.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Clafouti de Cerises / Cherry Clafouti

This month has been especially busy, this week in particular. You can definitely feel summer break coming up soon. SO has also felt it as she is sick in her bed with fever right now due to over-exhaustion. On Thursday, she went out the whole day on a school field trip. On Friday, her school held an end-of-the-school-year celebration with games and programs. Later that night, we stayed for the school fair and had barbecue for dinner with fellow parents. The organizers were also able to play the France vs. Switzerland world cup game on the big screen. We left when it started getting too cool. On Saturday afternoon, SO was invited to a pony-inspired birthday party. We had to cut that short when she suddenly started feeling quite ill. We were supposed to celebrate La Fete de la Musique later that in Nancy, France, but unfortunately we just couldn't go. There's always next year, I told MR. Today, we decided to stay at home and lie low. And like on many Sundays, I try to make a dessert and today's creation was a Clafouti de Cerises / Cherry Clafouti.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lunchdate at La Table du Saulnois in Maizieres-les-Vic, France

MR and I have always set aside time in a week just for the two of us. I find that it's important to spend time with one's spouse away from the children once in a while. As much as we need space from each other (in my opinion, it's never good to stay glued to someone 24/7), it's also good to find ourselves just the two of us. We talk about us, our days, our dreams, and just spend time with each other. It's been almost 13 years and amazingly we still learn new things about each other.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Lunch 2014: Grilled Cote de Boeuf, Creamy Potato Salad, and Mixed Salad

Some super heroes don't have capes ... They are called Dad.

I was determined not to make today a sad day. This was the first Father's day since Dad passed away, but we also had another father to honor today and that is my husband, MR. In my life, I fell in love 3 times. The first time was after a couple of months of dating MR, the second was on my wedding day, and the third was when he became a father. And he's an amazing father. I had a pretty good dad as well, who provided me his best, and I can only hope that SO grows up to appreciate her father every single day of her life like I do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flunch in Semecourt, France

I was sitting quietly at a table in the corner savoring every bite of my food when I happened to look at the table in front of me. I was looking at a family of 4 - a little boy, his mom, the grandmother, and the grandfather. I saw them eating, talking, and laughing together and I couldn't help but think about my own family. Not too long ago, this was us. I realized that so much has changed in just a span of 1 year. Our whole family dynamics has shifted and it's bittersweet. It's true when they say that the only thing constant in life is change. The family looked incredibly happy. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard the mom call the attention of the little boy and his grandfather for picture-taking. This was something I always did and I have countless photos of SO and my Dad, but it hit me that I could never be able to do that again. It was more than I could take and I fought hard to hold back the tears.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Homegrown Strawberries

My 5 year old daughter, SO, is becoming more and more curious with each passing day. Whenever something piques her attention, you can be assured that she will ask about it. Why is the sky blue, Mom? Why are plants green, Mom? Why do you know that, Dad? How do you cook that? Where did that cake come from? Why can't I get a new toy??? LOL It's cute, a little annoying sometimes, but I tell myself it's good that she is keen to observation and is interested to learn!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Grilled Lamb Chops

After weeks of waiting, it's finally been warm enough to eat out in our backyard. So I thought I would bring out our little barbecue grill - dust and clean it thoroughly. Thankfully, I still had half a bag full of charcoal left from last year and all of the materials and tools needed. SO and MR took care of our outdoor tables and chairs, which also needed a major clean-up. And while they did that, all that was left for me to do was preparing the meat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Leon de Bruxelles in Semecourt, France

Today was the crappiest day of the week (weather-wise). It rained all day long. Small, constant raindrops. And it just had to be on a work day where I have to walk 500 meters to and from the building. It's not much to walk, but with the rain and the constant fear of slipping on the wet floor, it's almost torturous. To cheer up, I decided to try one of the many restaurants nearby for lunch. What I didn't realize is that I would have to walk from the parking lot to the restaurant and back. I got rained on at least 4 times today and each time I was drenched. Anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike rain and it's gonna take a miracle for me not to be sick after this day!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spaghetti Carbonara

It's my mother's birthday today. If she was still here with us, we would have celebrated her 56th birthday. It's always hard to go through days like these. Most days I am perfectly fine, but when it's a birthday or an event linking to a deceased loved one, I can't help but feel an empty space in my heart. It doesn't matter what age you lose a parent or how long it's been, it's always painful. On days like today, I like to imagine what life would be like with my mom beside me. She'd most probably be with me sitting and talking in the kitchen, preparing whatever ingredients we needed for lunch or dinner. Then later in the day, when SO would be back from school, she'd be after her asking for hugs and kisses, giving her a bath, and putting her to sleep. She was an amazing woman, an amazing mother, and most probably would have been an amazing grandmother! I haven't had a lot of vivid dreams of my mom since I lost her. And for a while, right after I gave birth, I wondered to myself if my mother was looking down at me and was proud of the mother I was becoming. In a lot of ways, I am like her, but I also have my own parenting skills. Finally one night, I remembered dreaming of her - SO was in her arms and she was standing gently cradling her granddaughter, singing sweet songs to put her to sleep, and laughing. She looked so happy with shiny eyes full of love and compassion. I never questioned myself after that. I knew she was definitely looking down at me and she was approving.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Steamed White Asparagus with a Creamy Egg Vinaigrette

June 1. The first day of what is looking to be a very busy month.  I was looking at my monthly planner and it seems like every event is being crammed into this month. What did I expect anyways. SO has only 1 more month to go in school. So there's the school bingo night, end-of-the-school program, and the teacher's retirement farewell party. July and August represent summer and almost everyone goes away on vacation in France. Companies, factories, schools, and even small shops close for a few weeks. Which means I also have to work double time to finish my goals before summer. Then there are the barbecue parties or get-togethers at work (both for MR and I). Our town activities. World cup events. My monthly catching up with friends. And many many more stuff. But I'm not complaining and I wouldn't exchange it with doing nothing for anything in the world. If I wrote it down, it means that I can do it!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Curried Ground Beef and Green Beans

I've been feeling particularly sensitive lately. I don't know whether or not it's because two of my friends are at war with each other right now, but I've been reflecting on friendships. Many people have entered my life through the years. Many have stayed, but sadly some have left too. The thing is, is that I have my pride and I can forgive, but I can never forget. It's not one of my best traits, but it is what it is. So with two of my friends currently feuding, I tried to put myself in each of their shoes. It was hard. I don't want to take sides, although I am closer to one of them. But it is their story to fix; not mine. I do wish it would work out, but if it doesn't, then it doesn't. I, for one, hate to be taken for granted. Just because we're friends or linked doesn't mean one can pull me in any direction like a puppet. It's easy to say that you miss me or you wish to spend time with me. But how about doing something about it??? Or when you plan to meet up or set up something together. How about you show up???

Friday, May 16, 2014

El Rancho - Mexican Grill in Metz, France

I've recently started a short list of restaurants in Metz that I want to try before the year ends. These are mostly restaurants that I usually pass by or see a lot whenever I'm in the city and I make a mental note of. I also like to go online and search on the website Tripadvisor to see the restaurant standings and ratings. But even if a restaurant has an low-to-average rating that does not discourage me from trying it. One's experience is always different from others. That is why I insist on blogging only about my own restaurant story and nothing else (i.e. things that I hear from other people). To prove my point, I went ahead and had lunch at El Rancho - Mexican Grill today despite its average ratings online and I had an overall excellent time!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blette / Swiss Chard, Filipino-Style

My next-door neighbor, LU, came to see me this morning and gave me a bag of Blettes, or Swiss Chard in English. These came straight from her garden and she already had a bag-full for herself. I had no idea what Blettes were, but I happily accepted her gift. I never refuse anyway. LOL. I decided I would make this for lunch, before my husband went to work, so he could also discover the flavors of Blettes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creamy Shrimp and Fish Roe Pasta

Leftovers never tasted so good. Spaghetti aside, the shrimps, fish roe, cherry tomatoes, fresh dill, and creme fraiche were all ingredients from the meal I hosted last Sunday that I didn't use. There was no way I would throw them away, especially when I could obviously come up with a Creamy Shrimp and Fish Roe Pasta dish. But sometimes I am guilty of forgetting what I have in the refrigerator and find them already gone bad. So before this could happen, especially with the shrimps, I figured I'd bring out my pots and pans for dinner tonight.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Paul Boulangerie in Semecourt, France

I started a new work project today. Something that will keep me busy for the next 2 months. It's about 65 kilometers from my house and I have to take the freeway, but I am excited. Excited and kinda freaked out too. I want to do good and that's always added pressure. If one had told me months ago I'd be doing what I'm doing now, I would have said they were crazy. I'm far from what I thought I would be doing last year. But I sure am enjoying myself and I'm told that I'm good and effective. That definitely helps my motivation. I left my work today totally proud of myself, thinking that I did real good. And because I'm happy, I wanted to make others happy - starting with my family!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Lunch at Home: Paella, Sangria, and Chocolate Mousse Duo

There are a few people on my list of to-invite-at-home-peeps and I decided that with the nice weather we've been having I would start inviting some. I handed out my invitations about a month ago, way before we found out that my husband, MR, would be working on that day. There wasn't much I could do about it and it was too late to cancel. Hosting a lunch party (and making sure it all goes perfectly) can be tricky business. But I figured that with advanced planning and organization, everything would go just fine.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fromagerie Benestroff in Benestroff, France

I am not a big fan of cheese. *insert shock face* In French, I would have said je ne cours pas apres du fromage (I don't run after cheese). But like they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do. Except here we are in France and France happens to be the cheese capital of the world. So if you'd open my refrigerator, you would be sure to find a piece of cheese inside. MR and I have a very open home because we like having family and friends over. Whenever they know we are home, they come over to ask how we are and have coffee with us. I invested in a really good coffee machine and always make sure to have something to go with it (whether homemade or store-bought). And occasionally, some stay over to eat with us. I usually don't bother making something fancy. I just prepare what we would originally eat, even if it's just buttered pasta and ham. I've never had any complains. But I've also never ever not offered a piece of cheese after the main dish and before the dessert. If I didn't, I think I would get some complains!

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