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Wacky White Woman Eats Europe (Hopeful Part One).

Move over New York; the best bagels are at le Louvre!

By Guenneth SpeldrongPublished 3 years ago 11 min read
3
View from the Montparnasse Tower

I was in Paris, looking at art, minding my own business, when I realized we had been there 4 hours and I was VERY hungry. My resolve to not eat at the Louvre forgotten, I made my way to the café at the top floor (I think it was the top floor anyway. I was weak from hunger). I ordered us (my daughter and I) a bagel sandwich and a chocolate pyramid to share. I scoffed at the price as I paid, and mumbled something about highway robbery.

Then I ate those words, along with the best bagel sandwich I have ever had!

If the line wasn't so long, I would have gone back for at least two more.

The bagel was the perfect texture, light, chewy, and structural integrity. The mustard was so delicious and subtle, all other mustard is garbage in comparison. I wish I could find the words to describe it properly, but you will just have to try it for yourself!

Was it that we were just super hungry? Was I dazzled by the incomparable beauty around me? Mayhaps. However, the texture was amazing too, and that has nothing to do with hunger seasoning.

The PYRAMID of CHOCOLATE was boring in comparison. And I LOVE chocolate.

The next day, we took the advice of Richard Ayoade and headed over to the Montparnasse Tower. We wanted to stop in at the highly recommended Le Plomb du Cantal for some of the famed Aligot. Man, let me tell YOU- all those videos we watched about people LOVING Aligot completely ignored the best thing on the menu- TRUFFADE. It is pretty much the same thing as Aligot (cheese and potatoes), but with large chunks of crispy potatoes and garlic in it. It is possibly the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. I can still taste that tiny bit of heaven in my dreams.. The duck confit was amazing as well, and I DO NOT like duck. The waiters were the same delightful "have no time for our tourist crap" we had come to appreciate (side note for all of you thousands of Americans who go to France and complain about how "rude" the waiters are: they aren't rude. YOU ARE. It's just that, in America, the waiters and waitresses will be fired if they aren't nice to you even though you treat them horribly. They don't need to kiss your a** in order to keep their crappy job. Europe doesn't have that problem. Grow up, and look at yourself in the mirror. Seriously.).

The bathrooms in Le Plomb du Cantal are also kinda creepy, just be forewarned. Turn the wrong corner, and you are watching a man pee in an open urinal! Maybe they fixed it...but I hope not. It adds character and excitement.

On our way out of Paris, We stopped in to get some crepes. There, we found the MOST DELICIOUS ICED TEA. Sorry, every Southern American state...this clever man made something so refreshing and delicious that iced tea over here is just gross by comparison. He made it with brown sugar, and I believe he said it was a sun tea...but did not tell me what tea leaves he used. Perhaps it was just a small taste of home that caused it to be so damn tasty? Who knows. But iced tea over here just tasted like feet now. Europeans know tea, go figure!

We moved on to London, and their wild mix of culinary delights. (The Chunnel? Not scary after all my worry. It's so quick you don't even know when you're in another country) Nando's was ok, but we don't eat spicy food so it was lost on us. Go there, if you don't have a weak stomach (the lowest spice one was too spicy. I mean dang!) I also ordered pasta from a random local restaurant...and had to ADD SALT. I know, I know, Americans and their salt. BUT- I actually almost never cook with it or eat it. Even a huge batch of sauce I make at home only has 1 single tablespoon of salt in it. So it was a new and strange experience for me. Enough of what DIDN'T work though...no offense England!

We started out a the Happening Bagel Bakery. We came in late, and it was actually open! Very solid and delicious baked goods. We actually ended up stopping by there every night we were in London, and there was enough variety that we got something new all 4 nights. One day we even stopped for breakfast, then watched rats chase pigeons in the park across the street and left some bagels for a sleeping homeless man- talk about local color! Anyway, it was all good, as I recall. I didn't eat the cheesecake...but I was SO FULL from our trip to the Borough Market.

Seriously, skip Camden market (If you DO go there, walk past everything, go down the stairs, walk to the very back of the downstairs area, and you will find a cute bookshop with the sweetest man there, and a wonderful tea shop next door that also sells very cool clothes. Giving you the name would be CHEATING!) Borough is the place to be! There is a TON of delicious food, more than we could ever try. We stuck to sharing small portions, and were still too full for cheesecake hours later. Just wander around, and try a bit of everything. The raclette was not QUITE as good as the truffade, but still super tasty! (Even if you don't like pickles, get the pickles with this cheese. It is too rich otherwise. Learn from my mistake.)

I won't make any other suggestions. Just go there, try everything that looks good, and SHARE even the smallest portions. If you get full, take a walk by the river, go to the Clink Museum, or stop in at the Modern Art Museum- all very close by.

Ok...I'll make one more. Padella. The best Italian EVER. Totally worth the wait. We had to wait in line super early, like around 2, and then we could make a reservation for later that night. The food was so very good that we ordered an appetizer for AFTER our meal, plus a dessert. I had the Pappardelle with the best ragu 'gravy' I have ever tasted. They had to roll us out of there, poor and happy.

After London we swung by Kings Lynn, and stayed at the Dukes Head. We ate there that night...then just had all our meals there. SO GOOD. The locals head there too, and are willing to tell you everything from how they define "pudding" to the complex issue of Brexit. I recommend the classic roast dinner there. Perfection.

We jumped over to Norwich (pronounce it NORich. You're welcome.), and found that many, many churches served food. The best place we stopped in at was the St Julian Center. No food served there, but a wonderful slice of history, and very kind people to boot. They will tell you which church is currently serving the best food around. They will also tell you where the queen likes to walk, if she plans on being there, and that you can actually say hi to her if you see her!

We stayed at Dunston Hall, which is a little ways off, and they introduced me to the glorious roasted beet sandwich. I ate, like, 4 of them- despite the fact they were $12 euros each. Just beets and cream cheese on wheat toast; simple, tasty, and just what I needed after several days of rich food. We participated in their tea service, which was cute and tasty (clotted cream is the bomb, yo), but their breakfast buffet was delicious. I ate my weight in portabella mushrooms!

We then moved over to Broadstairs, but were rained off the beach and away from any planned culinary adventures. We took refuge in Bleak House, which is sadly now closed, then had a meal at the closest open restaurant which turned out to be too fancy for us. We had these tiny fish things that were not worth the effort. If you go here (it's beautiful, so try), definitely check menus first!

Then to Germany. Ah, Gorgeous Germany. I stayed with a family in Goppingen. They made many delicious things, but the strangest and most delicious was Wurst Salat. It is cold sausages cut up into little bits, with small pieces of pickles and a vinaigrette dressing. The beauty of it was the quality of the ingredients, so no cutting up hot dogs and bread & butter pickles then getting mad at me cause its not that great, OK?

We visited many beautiful castles in the area, and at one point stopped by the Forellenhof Rössle near the Lichtenstein Castle. It's a sustainable trout farm and it was just beautiful there. The food was beautiful. I had to get help ordering a fish with no head, but it was delicious. Absolutely go there next time you are in small town Southern Germany.

Another side note, we were actually able to introduce the German family to something they had never tried before- Falafel! The family was skeptical, but after I told them it was made from Kichererbse (which they love), they ate them with relish (not literal relish, calm down. I'm not an animal! They had it with Tzatziki.). (A side note to this side note: Kichererbse translates literally as giggle peas. You're welcome again.)

Near Stuttgart, we couldn't get enough of the Sandwiches from Bäckerei Treiber in a small mall we found while getting lost. They had these great vegetarian sandwiches that had what seemed like Havarti, with veggies and herbs. The bread was so fresh and perfect! I hear they are gone now, but I added it in case they can be found elsewhere. Also, the best Chinese we have ever eaten was near the Hotel NH Stuttgart Sindelfingen. Just a little out of the way place which I can no longer find on a map...I hope they just moved! I cannot remember the name, but if anyone knows what I am talking about just let me know...

That ends my short tour through Europe. The best bagels are in Paris, The best Italian food is in London, and the best Chinese food is in Southern Germany. Each country, of course, did their signature dishes best...but there is just something about wandering away from the tourist-beaten track, and going where the locals go that is the best part of any vacation. I wanted to go to so many more places, and eat so many more things, but it was not in the cards. I hope to take my husband there in 10 years, for our 20th anniversary. He had to miss out on the last trip because he had no functioning kidneys, but he has since been upgraded to ONE working kidney! Maybe we can visit more small towns, stay away from those big cities, rub elbows with the locals, and get a few recipes. If you can...take the train or the bus. You can meet so many interesting people, they can give you the scoop on the best places. I also recommend getting lost (not actually lost of course. Make sure you have a charged phone and access to internet so you can use maps. Also, learn a few phrases in the language so you can 'je ne parle pas Français' your way into slightly more happy people willing to help you.

Speaking of! The best Nanaimo bars ever came from a lady who actually visited us, here in small-ish town Washington. She came from Sweden, and was here, like me, to attend World-Con (I know, I'm such a NERD). She created this delicacy with such panache, it left me wondering if British Columbians actually stole their recipe directly from her and took all the credit! She said she would give me the recipe if I could come to her country for the next World-Con...but we simply couldn't afford it. If you are reading this, magical lady, I hope to be there some day. Don't be surprised if I hunt you down!

Well, that's enough side-notes from me. Catch you on the flip...wait, what was that? You want recipes? Well, I can't give out the recipes of the places I visited, but I can give a few of my own if you'd like? Yes? Ok here you go:

Funeral Potatoes (Otherwise known as Mormon Potatoes):

32 oz. bag of shredded potatoes

2 regular sized cans cream of chicken soup

2 cups sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (mexi blend and colby are good too.)

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup chopped white onion (though I prefer green onion)

2 cups crushed corn flakes

3 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 glass pan. Mix the soups, sour cream, cheese, onion, and 1/2 cup melted butter together in a large bowl. fold in the frozen hash-browns, making sure they end up well coated. Put in glass pan and pat down to make it even. Mix the cornflakes with the remaining melted butter (I almost always need more than the recipe says, but its up to you!). Sprinkle the buttered and crushed corn flakes over the top of the potatoes. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until center is hot. My favorite part about this recipe? My Grandmother actually wrote that you should stick your finger in the middle to check, then smooth it over so no one notices. I do this EVERY TIME, even though I have a digital thermometer. Can't break tradition, am I right ladies and germs?

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich:

1 carrot, peeled

1 stalk celery

3 radishes

1/2 small apple (optional)

2 1/2 cups cold cooked and shredded chicken

1-1 1/2 cups mayo

2 T curry powder (or to taste, really)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the vegetables into very small dices. Mix all the ingredients together, and put on your favorite bread. I have also put this mixture in a lettuce wrap and inside a rice ball, all with rave reviews!

Curry Split Pea Soup:

I use Alton Brown's recipe, but I add carrots, and blend them up with the peas. It makes all the difference! (Sorry, Alton. You're still the best)

Pink Sauce:

Take your favorite plain alfredo (I use jarred cause it is easier and is less prone to breaking, but it is certainly not as good as home-made alfredo!). Chop up a package of cherry tomatoes (tomato paste works too), a few cloves of garlic, and about 9 good sized cremini mushrooms. Cook up the veggies in oil or butter, adding the garlic a little later so it doesn't burn. Add some hand torn spinach, then the alfredo sauce. Squish up the tomatoes as best you can, and mix well. I always add a little extra pepper too. Serve it over spaghetti rigati noodles! Add a little extra parm if you want too. Seriously, just play with this recipe until you find the right combo of everything. I won't be mad, promise.

More recipes in the next installment: Wacky White Weebs Eat Europe!

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About the Creator

Guenneth Speldrong

Hello there. I write things. Sometimes good things. Mostly, I write to find myself. If I can entertain you in the process, then that's just the derivative icing on the proverbial cake!

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