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The Green Market Baking Book is full of recipes by amazing chefs like Alice Waters and Dan Barber. 

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And Chef Ann Cooper!  The recipe is actually vegan, but I didn’t have half the items on hand.  So then I did what I do best…took the inspiration and ran with it…making an entirely new recipe altogether. 

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And they wound up tasting AWESOME.

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So here’s what you need.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Muffins (vegan)

Ingredients:

[dry]

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour*
  • 2 tbsp whole rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup NuNaturals stevia baking mix*
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tsp Salba*
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

[wet]

  • 3/4 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup vanilla soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • blackberry preserves (or whatever jam you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350.

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Combine all the dry ingredients (but only half of the peanuts).

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Mix wet ingredients together separately (except strawberries and blackberry preserves), and then add to dry ingredients.

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Fold in strawberries.

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Add to greased muffin tins, filling them only 2/3 way up. 

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Then make little thumbprint divots in the middle of the batter of each muffin and scoop 1 tsp of blackberry jam into them.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect.

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Next, add remaining nuts to the tops of the muffins. 

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Oven ready.

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After 20 minutes in the oven, check and see if a toothpick comes out clean.  They should take 18-22 minutes to bake depending on how packed your muffin tins are. 

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The smell of these was RIDICULOUS.  Waiting for them to cool was torture.

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I halved the recipe and made another batch of mini-muffins, too.  These were without the peanut and jelly top layer though.

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So small and cute!

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I’m happy to report both of my official (non-vegan) taste testers were big fans.  The outcome was 100% delicious and tasted exactly like a PB&J sandwich. 

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It’s been only four days since I made them, and there are only a few left!  Good thing I froze some, too. 

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The minis are just as tasty.  And since they are so small, I can eat six at a time without feeling like I’m being a piglet.  And by six I mean ten. 

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Mmmm. 

*Substitutions wise, if you can’t find (or afford) coconut flour, NuNaturals stevia mix, or Salba, you can sub in different things but I can’t promise it will taste the same.  Coconut flour gives a delicious flavor unlike anything else, but whole wheat flour will work for all intents and purposes.  As for the stevia, you can use any other vegan sweetener, like turbinado sugar or coconut sugar.  Salba is similar to chia seeds and acts like an egg in vegan baking.  Alternatively, you can use chia seeds or ground flax with this recipe. 

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When I told my mom about our 2nd day in Paris, she was literally cracking up.  How could you not?  It’s pure ridiculousness.  Just wait and see…

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[Laura captures the sentiments of the day in one photo]

Allow me to preface this with some background deets.  After a generous amount of research Laura and I had determined the two day museum pass was definitely the most cost effective option for Paris sight-seeing.  It was 35 Euro and included nearly everything we wanted to do, including admission to the Palace in Versailles.  Seeing as Laura and I have been to Paris before (and done the museum & monument thing in excess), we figured this would be a smart (read: cheap) way for us to do everything quickly.  We could see the main sights, lickity split, and then bounce…and since we weren’t paying full admission prices, we wouldn’t feel guilty for spending less than 30 minutes at certain spots (I’m looking at you Rodin museum).  So that’s what we did.

We discussed a game plan the night before.  We had a loose schedule.  And it was going to be perfect.

Half day in Versailles.  Return to Paris in the afternoon.  Conquer the Louvre before it closed at 6 pm.  And lastly, hike the Arc de Triomphe on the late night for scenic PM Paris-scapes.

Pretty smart, right?

We got to the RER station (St. Michel) to get tickets at 8:15 am.  Not too aggressive, but still early enough to beat the weekend crowds.  The screen showed an 8:30 train.  Excellent!  The lady at the station’s ticket window was super helpful and we got our to and fro tickets no prob.

As soon as we entered the platform area the screen that had previously shown our VICK train on time changed, and now flashed “retarde” where 8:30 once was.

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Hmmm…get the translation book stat!

A 20 minute survey of fellow passengers and a French phrase book revealed confusing info.  All we could truly piece together was “retarde” was not good.  At least the next train was scheduled for 9 am, so all wasn’t lost.  We breathed a long sigh and simply decided to wait for the next train…lies!!!!  By 9:20 we were on our third retarde train.  At long last our VICK train pulled in and we boarded.  Finally, we were off!

Happily we chatted and the stops seemed to fly by.  Then we stopped and never started up again.  Were we already at Versailles?  It seemed a bit quick but none of us were really paying attention to the stops.  Everyone else on the train was looking similarly confused.  Then we heard an overhead announcement.  Again with the French!  They repeated the same thing several times, but seeing as none of us spoke French it was really no help.  Everyone else filed off the train.  Do we follow suit?  What’s going on?  Is there a shazam translation app?

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Cut to 15 minutes later we learn (through ever so reliable sixth-hand information) that the tunnel ahead of us is full of smoke and the train can’t go through.

[If you’re thinking “why does that matter, the cars are on tracks?” you are not alone, I still don’t get it]

So there we stood.  Freezing on the random station platform.  Just waiting.  Rad.

Once it became apparent things weren’t happening anytime soon we re-boarded the train to stay semi-warm and sit down.  Lazy AND dumb.  Such stereotypical Americans.  Being the only ones on the train didn’t last long though and soon another group of American dopes joined us.  More French announcements.  More waiting.

Then, after a new set of overhead (and again, incomprehensible) instructions, a lady in the American posse said she heard the word “garage.”  Her husband promptly shooshed and dismissed her assessment, reassuring the rest of his group (and us, since we were clearly eavesdropping) that we were fine staying put on board.  He claimed the word she heard was “voyage” not “garage” but literally 30 seconds later we heard the jerk and hiss of the train.  And without a single word spoken between any of us, we all made a mad dash for the platform.  As we bolted to get off, the doors started to shut, slamming the poor old man rivers like a mouse in a trap.  Karma, dude.  Next time, listen to your wifey.  He barely escaped the vise-like-grip of the train doors, but thankfully he held them open long enough for us all to slip out (read: his body took the blow for the rest of us).  No less than two seconds later we watched from the platform as the empty RER began chugging away (maybe it was going to the “garage” after all…), leaving our confused asses completely and utterly stranded.

Now what?

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Pretty sure the crowd was all wondering that same thing.  This is when Laura’s “Amazing Race” instincts kicked in.  Road block?  No problem.

[Please note: this is not an entirely accurate portrayal of the timeline as there was a good 45 minutes or so of iPhone/map consulting, crowd surveying, and even taxi consideration…however we had no access to any outside resources because we were stuck in the station…and leaving it meant buying new tickets…and don’t forget our communication was highly limited as English translations were offered 0% of the time]

Two transfers and an all out sprint later we had an alternate route before us.

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The transportation fees were multiplying like gangbusters, but at least we were actually getting somewhere!

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[We were still not entirely sure it was where we wanted to end up, but at this point the wrong direction was better than no direction]

The RER train we ended up on dropped us off a bit further from the Palace than our intended course, but we managed to get there nonetheless.  And it was before noon!  Success!!

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Our (small) victory went unacknowledged as we stood in awe, staring at the massive golden chateau before us.

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Holy decadence.  These Frenchies weren’t playin’ around.

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Our museum passes finally got their cherries popped and even allowed us to bypass the lines.  Things were picking up.  We grabbed (free) audio-guides and and started touring the place, room by room.

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Apparently mirrors were the latest trend.  And who doesn’t like reflections?

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This room was mirror central and went on for-eh-ver.

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After we finished inside, we headed for the gardens.

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I felt a bit nickel and dimed because each area seemed to have it’s own entrance fee.  As luck would have it, our passes were only good general admission to the chateau.  Either way, it was well worth it and we spent the afternoon amongst the fountains and shrubbery.

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It was gorgeous.

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Quaint no?

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For lunch, our options were minimal.  Either the restaurant in the gardens, or nada.

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Once again, the vegan choices were sparse (slash nonexistent).  Even my most flashy smile couldn’t help make things work.

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Door #1: veg and cheese baguette

The logical step here would be to ask for it sans fromage, but the French response to that was “no es possible.”  After the previous night, I was in no mood to argue.  Plus, it was a small place and they seemed to have the sammies pre-made, so I didn’t feel like pressing them too hard.  In hindsight, I realize I should have just ordered this and removed the cheese myself. 

Door #2: tuna sammie with mayo, lettuce, and tomato

This was actually my first choice, and I was prepared to remove the mayo myself if need be.  Unfortunately the tuna and mayo were already prepared together and so I was again met with the same “no es possible” response.  I detest mayo, so this option was ruled out immediately. 

Door #3: ham sammie

This time the “no es possible” response was from me.  I feel very strongly about this.

Instead of settling for one of these sub-par baguettes, I opted for a crepe sucre which I supplemented with an apple and Larabar I had stashed in my bag ‘o tricks.

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What can you do?  I had been wanting a crepe anyway (because you can’t go to Paris and not get a crepe).  Plus, I know how my GI tract works and I know which foods are disastrous no-no’s and which I can get away with in a bind.  So that’s that.

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To improve lunch (slash get our $ worth for the garden entrance fee) we decided to find the fountain show, which was why admission cost extra.  Nothing like lunch time ambiance.  Good thing it was a small garden with only one fountain…oh wait (that’s sarcasm for those of you only half reading).  It was like a wild goose chase.  Our map made it look so obvious, but by the time we finally found the damn fountain I had a cold crepe on my hand.  C’est la vie.
The fountain show was far from a Disney spectacular, but it wasn’t too lame.

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My view at first was a bit obstructed (see above), but my face was in the crepe anyway.

A brief word about the crepe: YUM.

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Post digestion, we were back to the garden wandering.  They seemed to go on forever and ever and yet once again we made the mistake of trusting our collective sense of direction enough to find Marie Antoinette’s section of the manor, called The Queen’s Hamlet (for anyone still reading this hoping for a history lesson).

I swear.  We are straight up losers.

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Once again we managed to get derailed forcing an off road “shortcut” to get us back on track.  I wasn’t wearing the right shoes for swamp hunting (shocking, I know), so I ended up with “un salade” in my shoes.

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Ethel had running shoes on, but didn’t fare much better.  Her yoga skills came into use as she emptied out her grass collection while balancing precariously on her other foot.  Shout out to Santa Monica YogaWorks?  I think so.

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My feet were nearing the end of their tolerance level, but I managed to keep going.  As we made our way through Marie Antoinette’s estate…and then the gardens…and then more gardens…it became very apparent that walking back was maybe not the #1 option for us.

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By the way, I should at least mention that the sheer size and beauty of these landscapes was blow-your-mind gorgeous.  It was like a fake movie set, that never ended.

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Finding our way out was more difficult than we expected.  And, like you may have anticipated, we chose the wrong route at first.  Not wanting to scale down a 20 foot moat, we retraced our steps (slash harassed a gardener) to help us get back to the front of Miss Antoinette’s pad.  Then, like a rainbow after a storm, we saw the most amazing thing.  A shuttle!  Praise be to the blister gods.  The additional price hardly phased me, I was just so stoked to get a ride back to the Chateau.

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Once the train started moving though, my opinion quickly changed.  Somehow the driver managed to creep along slower than an amputated escargot, while simultaneously jostling the bejeezus out of us.  I felt like I was getting 3 new vertebral disc fractures with each crack in the road.  I was flying off the seat as the tram took on every pothole in France…and still we were going so. friggin. slow.  Walkers were passing us.  Women pushing strollers were leaving us in the dust.  Confusing commute to say the least.

The moon was up by the time we reached the Versailles Palace.  Ok, not really, but it was almost 4 pm.  Meaning we had a mere 2 hours until the Louvre closed…and we hadn’t even gotten to the train station again.  Meaning we had to seriously book it.  Let the Amazing Race begin! (again)

Run, Lola, run.

We all zipped through the turnstile noting it was just four minutes until the next train departed for central Paris.

Then we see Ethel.  Stuck in the station.  Unable to get through to the platform.  In all the rush getting to Versailles, she somehow used her return ticket too.  This is actually highly understandable because we seriously used 25 different tickets getting to the damn city.  And it’s hard to tell which are already used.  So for the ride home, I just kept shoving different ones in over and over again until one of them went through.  Sadly, Ethel followed the same technique but none were good.

The problems:

1. Ethel had no more money
2. The train was about to leave
3. The line to buy billetes was loooooong

#1 was solved with a quick coin collection, passed through the gate to her.  #2 & #3 were less controllable though.  Once again we narrowly scraped by.  She sprinted aboard as the clock struck the hour.  Only no doors closed.  Instead we heard the ever familiar sigh of the engine and kssssh of the doors.  We were halfway out the doors before the overhead announcement even began.  Some might call us experts with unreliable transport.  Not the title I dreamed of as a little girl but we can’t all be Kate Middleton.

The next train we boarded was more successful and finally we were on our way to Paris.  On the train we devised a plan of attack for the Louvre.  We knew that the museum closed at 6 pm and so they stopped taking tickets at 5.  This left us 10 minutes upon arrival in Paris to get from the station to the museum.

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As per google maps, that’s a 1.6 km (or 1 mile) walk run.  One mile in 10 minutes?  Totally doable.

Unfortunately, arriving by 5 pm only left us with a mere 30 minutes to see whatever we wanted to see.

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[Note: I’ve been to the Louvre A LOT so seeing the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and the Mona Lisa in 5 minutes flat didn’t really break my heart.  Ethel, on the other hand, was a Louvre virgin so she deserved at least 10 minutes to soak it all in]

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Like Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, we tore through Paris to slip into the museum just in the knick of time.  Then, we proceeded to glide through the place – hitting all the key spots – with the precision of Olympic bobsledders.  We were a well oiled machine!

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Honestly, at this point, I was on a high from the craziness of accomplishing everything we had set out to do in the day.  The thrill of it all was exciting and the adrenaline junkie in me was loving every second of our adventure.  It didn’t stop me and Alene from taking up residence over an air vent on the floor though.  After the marathon race back to Paris, I was hot and sweaty and only just beginning to take the time to breathe and notice how much I needed something cool.  Like air conditioning…or a beer.

Pretty soon after we had made our way to all the main attractions the buzzer and closing announcements came on and we were ushered to the exit.

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Not without some cheesy sculpture imitations though.  (It’s a family tradition)
We all agreed that what we needed the most in that moment was chairs and cerveza (not necessarily in that order).

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As expensive as the Rue de Rivoli is, it’s location is unbeatable.  Prime people watching.  We took up residence in the corner table and got to ordering asap.  Five people at the mini table was not at all pleasing to our waitress and her expression let us know it.  Whatever.

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Beers all around!

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Like the last few dining experiences, our order got messed up but we simply rolled with it.  But when it came time for round two, Laura wasn’t messing around.  She got a liter.  The waitress thought she was loco and assumed the size of her drink wasn’t translating correctly.

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No my dear, you underestimate my sister.

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Once she saw we weren’t playing around, our waitress transformed into our #1 fan.  She brought food, joked with us, and chatted it up on her cigarette break.  When it came time to pay, Laura attempted French and requested “un poc minute” which definitely did NOT mean “a little minute” as she’d intended.  Nope.  Apparently she’d actually asked for “a pig minute.”  Because that makes sense.  Silly Laura.  No more making up French.  This isn’t a fake-it-til-you-make-it situation.  Good thing our waitress loved us and had a good sense of humor at that point.

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The crew, from left to right: Alene, Laura, me, & Ashley (Ethel was taking the photo)

Eventually all was settled and we headed to dinner near the Arc de Triomphe.

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SUSHI!  Mmmm…

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After our picnic by the Eiffel Tower, we geared up for a post-lunch workout.  And by that I mean a session on France’s most scenic stairmaster.  The line to walk is way shorter than the line to go up by lift, plus, the stairs weren’t all that bad!  We learned interesting facts at each level, a new addition to the climb, which Laura and I appreciated since I accidentally grabbed the informational brochure in Greek/Italian.

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Seriously, I couldn’t have picked a worse one to try and decipher.  I told Laura it was practice for the next leg of her journey…nothing like renting a car to drive through a country with characters as letters.  Glad I’ll be far far away from that.

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So up we climbed!

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After reaching the first level, we stopped to take photos and do a few laps.  There’s a cafe there now, which I definitely don’t remember from the last time I went up.  Pretty cute.  The prices weren’t as insane as you may have expected.  They reserve those for the restaurant at the top, 58 Tour Eiffel.  The main courses on that menu start at the ever reasonable price of 73 Euro.  I’m pretty sure it’s where Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes.  So clearly you have to be on the richer side to eat there.  Anyway.

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Several selfies later, we finally began the next climb.

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The trek to the second level offered the same educational exercise.  Did you know other countries have imitated the Tower in numerous ways?  Oui!  Oui!

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More photos from an even higher vantage point.  This level had all the photos describing what you were looking at, so Laura and I took our time figuring out the lay of the land.  What we learned was that pretty much every single monument was constructed for the World Fair.

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Even the most ridiculously obvious facts came in handy later as we recited them to our friends.  I’m not sure if it made us sound smart or pretentious.

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And then we were off to buy billetes to the tippy top.  It took a few minutes (ok, more) for us to figure out where and how to get these tickets.  The level was packed with people and we did a full lap before discovering we were directly next to it at the start of the search (typical).  Once we got in line, it was a fairly short wait.  It helped that four different Asian tour groups had to leave the line after getting to the front and realizing you were already supposed to have purchased your lift tickets.  I will refrain from saying something rude here because I could easily see Laura and I doing the same thing.  Maybe if there were more signs…not in French…haha.  Kidding.  Of course any reasonably intelligent person could figure it out.  We are just on the cusp of that group of people.

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At the top we did another lap, trying to see Roland Garros and the further edges of Paris.  And Laura risked her camera’s life to do this…

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[Do not try this at home]

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Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore…

And then we headed back down.  Down down down.  Oddly, the descent seemed longer, even though it wasn’t nearly as arduous as the climb up.

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Back on land, we headed to the Arc de Triomphe.  It was as if we were trying to tackle Paris in a single day!  Really we were just doing research for our next few days (more on the 2 day passes we bought later).

We only spent a second there because by then it was 5:15 and we had to be back to meet the rest of our group at 6 at the hotel.  As a former New Yorker, I should have known better, but I grossly underestimated the subway situation during rush hour.  I’d liken our position to sardines.  Smelly and smooshed.

We strained our ears to make out the announced names of the stops, but what I discovered about French is the following.  Words sound a LOT different than they look written out.  Add in the accent…aaaand the announcements were basically pointless.

As soon as we saw St. Michel we got off and walked the rest of the way.  It was 6:45 by the time we arrived, gasping for air, hoping they were still waiting for us.  Punctuality fail.

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Now a group of five, we went to get our two-day museum passes so we’d be ready to rock the next day.  We picked them up at the Louvre, which was the only place open at the time (but I think most museums sell them during normal daytime hours).  They cost 35 Euro and were good for almost every touristy thing you’d want to do in central Paris (and even a few things on the outskirts of town).

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Next thing on the agenda was dinner.  We walked back to the Latin Quarter for some strolling.

As a group, it’s much harder to pick places that accommodate everyone’s dietary needs.  It’s just simple math.  The more opinions you add in to the mix, the more difficult it becomes to please everyone’s palate.  Even people who don’t have actual restrictions (meat, dairy, gluten, whatever) still have cravings that they want to honor (not to mention foods they definitely don’t feel in the mood to eat either).  And thus began the process…

To-go vs. dine in options
Outside vs. inside eating
French vs. non-French

And so it continued…

For the record, three of the five of us were unable to eat dairy (although Ethel seemed to ignore this for most of the trip, so I’m not really sure about how strong of an intolerance hers is).  Alene and Ashley were the easiest to appease, as they were willing to eat whatever.  By contrast, I was the most limited.

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In the end, we kinda settled on the idea of a gyro type of place.  The first one we went to didn’t have falafel, so we moved onto the next which did.

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We got a table in the back and ordered.  I (attempted to) order a falafel gyro without tzatziki sauce and extra salsa.  The rest of the girls got meat gyros (without tzatziki for the other lactose intolerant folk).

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When my plate arrived, I was surprised because there were fries in it.  Not the end of the world.  I picked almost all of them out and then dug in (fried foods are rarely a good idea for my GI tract, especially in a foreign setting).  Holy hell the salsa was hot!  My mouth was on fire.  In order to preserve my taste buds, I scraped off as much of the salsa as I could and forged ahead.  A few bites in I tasted the falafel and immediately noted the presence of cheese.  In the ball.  Weird?  I went back and forth in my head trying to decide if I should simply ignore this and eat the gyro anyway or not.  I decided to simply remove the falafel and continue eating the gyro – now with just lettuce and tomato.  My plate looked ridiculous.  With the fries, salsa, and falafel on the side, there was more removed from the gyro than in it!  I had to say something.  As much as it pained me to take issue with a French cook (is there anything worse in life?), I deserved to eat something that I wanted.  And this was not it.

This was where the night started to unravel.

[For entertainment purposes, the rest of this post has been both exaggerated and edited.  If you are going to leave a comment telling me I’m the reason the French hate Americans, don’t waste your breath.  I agree and I am equally as embarrassed by the entire affair.  So please don’t get all up in ma biz over it.  M’kay?  We all have times in our life that we aren’t proud of.  I’m merely sharing this story because it’s a part of my travel adventure and I think other vegans can relate.  And to those who will attempt to eat in not-so-veg-friendly locales – maybe you will be able to learn from my experience.  Thanks.]

My goal in taking my plate up to the counter was NOT to start WWIII with the French.  However, my approach was greatly stunted by my inability to speak the language.

“Fromage?” I said, pointing to the falafel.
“No.” the man responded.

Hm.  Interesting.  [FYI, one worded questions don’t exactly say I’m-cool-with-your-style-of-cooking-but-just-don’t-want-to-spend-the-night-on-the-toilet]

I thought how to proceed tactfully (then pushed it aside and repeated again) “Fromage?”

This time he (rightfully so) looked at me like I was a lunatic and maintained his stance that there wasn’t cheese in the falafel.  Certain he was wrong, I ignored his response and asked if they made a different falafel without cheese.  Or at least, that’s what I wanted to ask.  I’m sure my sentence actually translated to “blah blah blah cheese, blah blah blah.”   However, my tone most clearly translated “hey ass hole, why are you trying to murder me with dairy.”

At this point, homeboy was over my cheese questions and simply decided to walk away.  As I stood at the counter with my destroyed meal and look of confused devastation, I began to get a bit upset.

I was SO determined to not turn into the asshole American (but damn was it hard).  At that point a girl ordering (who seemed to be a regular customer based on her knowledge of the menu) was kind enough to inform me that there was cheese in the falafel.  And she spoke French.  Lightbulb!  I shall use her to assist me, I thought.

Five minutes later, she was gone, and I had made zero progress in my effort to get a vegan gyro.

I retreated to the table and decided to make the bread basket (and beer) my dinner.

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The girls weren’t having that though.  Ethel encouraged me to stand up for myself, and damn it, I wanted a friggin’ meal!  I asked the server for a menu to reorder something different.

Translation book in hand, I approached out server and said in my best French accent “I would like a salad.”  Please note, it took me a solid ten minutes to put this sentence together, 8 minutes of which were spent trying to find the word for salad in the translation book (which is simply “salade” in case you were wondering).

He told me he was the busboy and I should go to the counter.  [Note: he said none of that, but I guessed that was what he meant because he actually ignored me altogether]

Friggin’ great.  Those dudes HATED me.  I stood there unacknowledged for ten more minutes, as they all spoke in French around me (most definitely about me), before I finally butted into their conversation to repeat my most amazing salad sentence (can you tell how proud I am of my mastery of the French language).  I think I added in hand gestures too, because at this point I was already the American idiot, why not just complete the stereotype?

Later on, I got my salad.

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The rest of the girls were finished with their meals at this point (obviously, since it had been almost an hour just to order mine), but I still couldn’t start mine because I had no utensils.

Get the book out!  How do you say fork!?

Ethel bursts into laughter and shouts FOR-SHIT across the restaurant.  I’m actually pretty surprised we hadn’t been kicked out at this point.  We didn’t believe her, and passed the book around the table as, one by one, we all repeated the word for fork, fourchette.  Can you even imagine?  I would bet my last Euro that nobody more obnoxious ever set foot in that restaurant.
Flagging down the busboy was another group activity, which also took far longer than it should have.  Ethel asked for a fork, but when his response was only a puzzled look, I turned to the most primitive (although highly effective) method of miming.  If you thought the worst had come and gone, now you know the truth.  Acting out the process of putting food in your mouth with imaginary utensils is truly rock bottom.

We were repaid for this ludicrous behavior.  Not only did the busboy continue to ignore us, but he then brought a fork to the table next to ours.  They received the utensils with confused expressions since they were already eating (with silverware).

Ethel took maters into her own hands and went to the counter and got the damn fourchette herself.

I’m not even going to bother explaining how traumatic this restaurant experience was.  I was both mortified and frustrated.  I hate being that girl.  I was trying my best to not be that girl.  And yet, I was most certainly that girl.  You win some, you lose some.

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On the way home, we finished planning out the next day (which was interrupted at the restaurant due to all the hype around the fromage falafel and for-shit).  We had an exciting day trip to Versailles on the agenda and we all agree that after the night we just had, there was no place to go but up.  [Foreshadowing]

When you are brought something different from what you ordered, what do you do?  Whether you’ve sent a dish back or eaten it incorrectly prepared, have you ever regretted your decision or reaction? 

I know Gena recently touched on a similar topic, so I’m interested to hear any horror stories and how people handled them.

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Replacement plate

Have you seen the new nutritional tool for Americans? 

The pyramid has been replaced!  [source]

I’m a big fan of Michelle Obama’s campaign against obesity…when she added a garden to the White House so soon after moving in, I knew she meant business.  It seems she’s been working overtime to make changes to the old model.  I have to say, this tool has seemed outdated for quite some time, so I’m glad that a new image will take over. 

As you can see, it is now a plate, divided into the sections: vegetables, fruit, grains, and protein (with a dairy drink on the side).

Likes

  • There are no quantifiable serving sizes or amounts (much more simple that the former model)
  • Fruit and veggies take up half the plate (this is a GREAT visual)
  • The word “protein” is used instead of “meat” (way more vegetarian friendly)
  • The protein portion is the smallest one (maybe this will finally convince non-body-builders that protein isn’t supposed to be the dominant part of the American diet)
  • The word “grain” is used instead of “carbohydrates”

Dislikes (or to-be-improved)

  • There are no quantifiable serving sizes or amounts (is this model too simple?)
  • “Protein” gets it’s own category (kinda negates the fact that there is protein in grains and dairy, too)
  • Dairy as a drink choice is great when it’s compared to soda as an alternate, but what about nondairy options?

Since my likes outweigh my dislikes, I’d consider the remodel a successful one…with room for improvement.  I guess we will wait and see how it’s received by the public.  Do kids still learn about the food pyramid in school?  Do you remember learning about it?  I do.  It was posted in our family’s kitchen on the cabinet where my mom’s cookbooks were stored (right above our “snack drawer”).  And I remember at a very young age constructing perfectly proportioned meals like peanut butter and jelly and tomato soup with stone ground wheat crackers.  I even used to write them down!  I guess I was a food blogger without a blog, even when I was in elementary school…

Thoughts on the new plate?

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Things from Paris

Sculpture by Rodin.

Moves by Jillian.

Tower by Eiffel.

Happiness by beer.

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So me and Paris got off to a great start (hooray for fresh baguettes!).

Dinner was less successful.

This, my friends, is a falafel gyro.  With cheese.  And fries.  Uhhhh…merci, but no?

On the plus side (not the French meaning of the word, because we found out today “plus” means “more” in French as per our phrase book), I did discover I like Greek beer.

The title of the post is one of four phrases I know in French.  It’s frightening how pathetic I am at communicating now that I’m not in a Spanish speaking country.  I took my Spanish skills lightly, but as it turns out, it’s damn near impossible without a background to communicate veganism.  Of course, it doesn’t help that France is pretty big on meat and cheese.

😦

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Despite being late comers to the sport, my sister and I both developed quite a fondness for tennis.  She’s closer to the “obsessed” end of the spectrum, whereas I’d consider myself in the more healthy range of simple enjoyment.  Either way, it was a mere two years ago that we she visited in NYC for the US Open.  And now we are heading off to Paris tomorrow for the French Open.

She’s a huge Rafa fan.  I’m a huge Clijsters fan.  And if you haven’t see this article, check it out.  It’s about Djokovic’s gluten free diet and how successful it has been for him.  You can’t deny he’s on a quite a roll…

Adios Madrid!  Bonjour Paris!

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