Frenchie and Weekends Away

7 May

I’ve been very lucky these past few months.

Lucky that I was able to visit friends who no longer live in the same city.

I came to realize I am surrounded by friends who, like me, enjoy moving and end up in interesting cities and countries.

Keeping in touch, optimizing the quality of a friendship with long-distance allies, buddies, mates, can prove to be difficult.

What is the secret to staying in touch?

How do you stay close when the long-distance barrier stand in the way?

Weekends away and mini trips for one-on-one face time – quick reunions to catch up and explore together.

These escapes are something I look forward to.

What do you do to keep up with friends who live far?

Please share your favorite getaway places, cities, memories.

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Continue to discover Washington, DC has been on top of my travel list for a while now.

Food hunting of course. But also immersing myself in the quaint architecture of its various neighborhoods.

A different kind of historic town in comparison to Boston, which I continue to miss dearly.

Washington always surprises me for its colors and random happy spots that I soak up along the way.

From one lone bright yellow house on a busy street surrounded by other gray houses, to the eye-popping colored walls of Georgetown.

Un vrai délice.

In no particular order, my DC list goes as follow:

– the ham croquetas, the manchego and ham open-faced sandwich, the barely spicy thick tomato sauce with eggs at Estadio were a brunch highlight

– the magnificent bold colors, pastel tones, and whimsical look of 12th Place NW off of W Street NW caught my attention.

– the fennel pollen and orange peel saucisson, the home-made punch and the crusty bread at Etto proved to be the perfect afternoon snack.

– relaxing on a bright Sunday morning at the Big Bear Cafe outside terrace while waiting for a lemon blueberry muffin showed me Washingtonians can think about something else other than work.

– the Meridian Hill Park off of W Street NW is a place I had never explored before. A high point in the city and a high point of my visit as I thoroughly enjoyed the walk from Dupont Circle through the various off the beaten path streets leading up to the park.

– the pastrami hash, the bagels, the smoked salmon, the challah French toasts, the rye bread… yes, it is DGS Delicatessen and it is as good as it sounds.

– the unusual elongated and narrow location of Iron Gate restaurant, tightly nestled in between two townhouses. You actually eat in what was once an alley. The old stables in the back turned into a bigger dining room. If you can get seated near the bar at the front of the restaurant in the alley, it is the perfect spot. Oh and I forgot to mention the charred feta stuffed squid with currants, pine nuts and mustard cream.

– if you are lucky to be in DC during the cherry blossom season, the walk around the Jefferson Memorial is stunning.

When talking about Atlanta, I can’t say I know the city well.

Work trips mostly took me there.

Hotels, conference rooms, no real city experience.

I caught up with Atlanta recently and unearthed its unique side.

I focused on the following:

– biking the BeltLine – an all day biking trip featuring colorful walls, murals, parks, and peculiar corners. What fun!

– how could you say no to lamb merguez, chickpeas, olives and mint at One Eared Stag? I couldn’t!

– the Krog Street Market has been on my list of places to visit for more than a year now. Enfin ! GC BBQ, The Little Tart Bakeshop, Superica, Yalla… too many things to try.

– the beauty of old Victorian houses in the Inman Park area.

– the blue and white bright interior at Jake’s Ice Cream and Sorbets shop.

– the walk through the Botanical Garden filled with flowers each prettier than the other.

– a winning gazpacho with lobster meat at King + Duke.

Now that I am back, I can’t wait to go back. I saw a side of the city I had never seen before.

Pictures in this post are from DC and Atlanta along with quick snaps weaved in the story from other weekend getaways in NYC and Blowing Rock, NC.

Frenchie and a Long Winter

21 Apr

 

It has been a quiet winter on the blog.

Time flies quickly when life purposely and unwittingly puts many obstacles on your way.

I hope this long silence is over because I have many photos and experiences to share.

I will be back.

 

Frenchie and a Winter Soup

19 Jan

Winter isn’t winter without the distinct flavor and smell of celeriac.

And winter isn’t really winter in the southeast.

So as temperatures started to drop in the area these past couple of weeks, it became clear that winter needed to be celebrated with a thick pureed soup to welcome the mild January cold notes that remind me of much colder weather in Wisconsin and Boston.

This simple soup gets its wonderful texture from the silky-smooth addition of pears while the crispy bacon helps create the overall seasoning.

And starting the new year with a comfort dish makes the heart grow fonder for new adventures in the coming year.

Bonne année !!

Celeriac Soup with Pear and Bacon

Serves 8-10

2-3 oz (55-85 g) of bacon, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

1 Tbsp of fennel seeds

1 Tbsp of tarragon, chopped,

2 leeks, white and green, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup (80 ml) of oaked white wine

2 lb (905 g) of celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks

1 medium Russet potato, peeled and cut in chunks

2 organic pears, 1 pear peeled, cored and cut in chunks, 1 pear washed, cored and thinly sliced

3 cups (70 cl) of water

3 cups (70 cl) of vegetable stock/broth

1 teaspoon of sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1 cup (25 cl) of coconut milk

other herbs as needed for serving (chopped thyme, rosemary, or parsley)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Cook the bacon in the oven until crispy – depending on taste. Set aside.

In a heavy pot, heat up the olive oil.

Add the onion and shallot, and cook for 4 minutes on medium low until soft.

Add the fennel seeds, the tarragon and the leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until absorbed and evaporated.

Add the celeriac, the potato and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the pear and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add the water and stock, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high. When starting to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

When the vegetables are ready and tender, use a hand-held mixer to puree the soup or use a food processor. Taste the seasoning and adjust the salt, pepper and tarragon if necessary.

Serve the soup in individual bowls. Mix 1 Tbsp of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. Arrange thin slices of the second pear, bacon chunks, pepper, and chopped herbs on top of the soup. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of coconut milk on top and serve.

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