new year’s eve / salsa posada

almostbilingue nye2014 cremant du Jura

It’s been awhile since my last post. For obvious reasons, I didn’t feel right posting anything last week with everything that was happening in Paris.

So now, it’s finally about time that I tell you about our New Year’s Eve.

We weren’t really sure what we wanted to do, but I knew what I did not want to do. Eat a ridiculously big meal where the main course isn’t until after midnight. I also kind of wanted to go out somewhere.

Even though everyone we knew was off somewhere, we decided to come back to Lille rather than stay in Franche-Comté where we spent Christmas.

I happened to see the New Year’s Eve menu for a Mexican restaurant in Vieux Lille, Salsa Posada, we’ve been wanting to try. It was super reasonably priced (we could both eat for less than the price of one for NYE in a French restaurant), and we liked the options available, so we made reservations. Continue reading

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christmas in franche-comté

Later in this post: A visit to the Christmas markets in Mulhouse and Montbéliard!

For the Christmas holidays, we made our way down to J’s parents’ in Bourguignon, Franche-Comté. As predicted, the week and a half was filled with lots of food, wine, and of course, family. Just to give you an idea, we had a raclette three times in a week’s time. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve had our fill for this season.

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Raclette

For Christmas Eve, to go along with the massive amounts of food for dinner (though I sit out on a few courses – foie gras and escargots – giving my poor stomach a break. I don’t have the dexterity of the French yet), we picked up two bûches de Noël from our favorite place there Julien Patisserie. He’s the one who made our wedding cake. Continue reading

a visit to ypres

alostbilingue ypres

The weather was bright and sunny yesterday so what better to do during the holiday season than to visit a Christmas market? We decided to take a little drive over the border to visit the market in Ypres (Ieper in Dutch), Belgium.

This was our very first visit to the town, and besides looking up information on the Christmas market, we didn’t really know what to expect.

With a population of about 35,000, Ypres is a very cute little city and well known for its strategic position during WWI. The town center is small and pedestrian friendly like many European cities. We parked about a kilometer (less than a mile) away and quickly walked the rest of the way.

Expecting to only spend time at the market, we took Elliot along with us. Though as it’s the holiday season, everything was open and the town was packed. Elliot was going crazy with all the other dogs around us as people had the same idea to bring along their four legged family members. Continue reading

thanksgiving made easier in france… finally!

Happy (late) Thanksgiving to all my American (and Canadian) friends!

This marks my 9th year of being in France for the big day.

Yep, you heard it right. I haven’t been in the US for Thanksgiving since 2005. I have been in France every Thanksgiving since then. Sometimes I celebrated the day (like last year), sometimes I have not. It depends on my level of motivation, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so I’m usually more motivated than not.

And it’s hard not to be motivated to get cooking when it’s getting easier and easier to find the needed ingredients in France. And I’m not talking about ordering off special websites, or going to speciality shops. I’m talking about just popping into the supermarket. Continue reading

recipe: mont d’or chaud

As promised last time, I’m going to share with you a simple recipe for Mont d’Or chaud (baked Mont d’Or).

Mont d’Or is a cheese made from cow’s milk that can be found in both Switzerland and France in the Jura mountain area. The French version is unpasteurized and produced in the Haut-Doubs department. It’s only sold between the beginning of September and the beginning of May. We prefer to wait until at least end of October or later to buy Mont d’Or as it has a much stronger flavor, because the cows have been in the stable longer so their milk tastes different due to their change in diet.

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Mont d’Or cheese

 

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As we were in a neighboring department – the Doubs, we picked up a medium sized Mont d’Or, because we simply love the cheese. You can eat it as is or you can bake it which is what we decided to do. However, you can find the cheese in most supermarkets or at the local markets in France. I’m not sure if you can find it elsewhere. Continue reading

unplanned trip to franche-comté

Elliot sleeping

Elliot sleeping on the car ride

I’ve been a little quiet on here, and that’s because last week, we made an unplanned trip to J’s home town in France-Comté. We went for a family member’s funeral, but I don’t feel that it’s my place to talk about that here.

While the trip was made on a sad note, it wasn’t without happiness. While the family was saying goodbye to one member, they were welcoming another. J’s sister gave birth to her second son on Sunday November 16.

So while we were there, we were able to meet our new nephew who was only a few days old at the time. He’s such a cutie, and I like to think that he likes the sound of English. It’s also so strange to think that I have nephews now. I didn’t really think I’d ever be an aunt, and now, I am!

We also used our time there to catch up with some family (and eat far too much – hello, raclette!).  Continue reading

thanksgiving!

The past few weeks, I was debating whether or not I wanted to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. It’s actually my favorite meal of the year, because I just adore stuffing and sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, the week of the holiday was fairly hectic for me, and the invitations I received to friends’ events just did not fit in with our schedules. So I kept going back and forth over preparing my own feast, not sure if I would really have the motivation even if I bought all the ingredients necessary.

Cut to Thanksgiving day. After a long day (including a presentation in my law class), I felt really depressed that I wouldn’t be partaking in any Thanksgiving festivities. J surprised me with a very pretty orchid, but it didn’t do too much to lift my spirits. For some reason, missing Thanksgiving hits me more than missing Christmas at home. Probably because Christmas is still celebrated here. I ended up consoling myself with a PB&J sandwich for dinner and preparing a list of ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast. Continue reading