100 Funny Things.

This is officially my 100th post – Cue the fireworks and free bottles of champagne! Yaaaahoooooooweeeee!

(I’m totally ignoring the fact that this being only my 100th post in about a year means I really need to try harder to post more often. But who wants to rain on their own champagne infused parade? Let’s just consider it New Year’s Resolved.)

Looking back through all my anecdotes and diatribes has made me realize just how much we’ve all learned over the past year. You readers are so totally prepared for life in France now! You’ve got Paris covered, no sweat. Why? Because I’ve shared all there is to know about dog poo covered sidewalks and how to call someone a “nice beetch.” You know all about hoo-ha molds, danger bees, and of course, baby jesus in velvet pants. You have been well versed in the many merits of champagne and pain au raisins for breakfast. And the looming danger of butter brain.

And let’s not forget the informative pieces on pictogram ovens, boob vocabulary and most importantly, sharts.

There have been bike trips and toenail clippings, giant vats of chocolate mousse and master bites. There were lessons on pre-pubescent pickpockets and avoiding Sephora at all costs. I’ve given you the lowdown on castle dwelling in the Loire, excessive wine sipping in Bordeaux, and tan seeking on the Cote d’Azur. I’ve shared the critical details of proper Oktoberfest attire. And just for your sake, I’ve repeatedly tasted and reported on eating oysters, rabbit, rare steaks, pigs feet, kilos of pizza, duck fat fried anything, beignets, baguettes, croissants, pâté, fois gras, pork belly, and cheese. Lots and lots of runny, dead-body-smelling cheese.

After all that, I’d be shocked – SHOCKED! – if you felt you needed a real travel guide to France. Fodors and Lonely Planet? Pshaw. They’ll just recommend a bunch of touristy restaurants and point you straight toward hell on earth, otherwise known as the Louvre. Me? I’ll show you how to get nice and tipsy at the perfect picnic, then make an ass out of yourself trying to speak french to the locals.

So yes. You’re welcome.

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Update: I’m back, I’m no longer jet-lagged, and I’m ready to write. So we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming starting next week!

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Vocab Friday: Cuillère

I apologize for the lateness of this post, but I was completely waylaid by a giant bowl of mousse au chocolat.

No, really. A chocolate dessert of epic proportions has an incredible way of sinking you into a happy stupor that makes it nearly impossible to get up at a decent hour the next day or really accomplish anything productive for the next 24 hours. Especially when said dessert was preceded by a few glasses of wine and a hunky piece of steak sprinkled with fresh herbs and sea salt.

But now that I’ve shaken my gustatory coma, I can tell you the tale of the most heart staggering, tears-of-joy inducing dessert I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant. It was at little place called Chez Janou, tucked back in the cobweb of streets behind the Place des Vosges.

Picture in your mind for a moment the cutest, most quintessential Parisian cafe: a cozy glow emanating from the windows, laughter drifting from the terrace, yellow walls and an old zinc bar. Now add a bunch of feisty hipster waitresses and a slightly raucous crowd sipping rosé. That’s Chez Janou. And it’s wonderful.

Except for the part where you’re waiting for nearly an hour for your main course to arrive because the place is so damn bustling that the two waitresses on duty can barely catch their breath. Or the part where you wait another 45 minutes for someone to clear your plates and bring a dessert menu. And you’ve run out of wine.

Let’s just say the charm was running thin by the time we actually had a chance to order dessert. But we stuck around, soaking up the atmosphere and agreeing that we should ask for the check as soon as possible, unless we wanted to witness the sunrise from our table.

And then I saw it: A comically huge, roughly hewn piece of pottery balanced on the hip of our tiny waitress. In the other hand she had two plates. I was confused. Didn’t we order chocolate mousse? That refrigerated pudding usually relegated to fancy glassware?

The crock landed on the table with a thud. I peered inside to see what can only be described as nirvana – a deep vat of dark chocolately wonder that looked rich and fluffy and unfathomably thick at the same time. The waitress handed us our plates and said, “Just don’t lick the serving spoon.”

Yes folks, I found a place that offers serve-your-self, all you can eat chocolate mousse. Let me type that again, just in case you didn’t understand: A big bowl of family-style chocolate heaven, entrusted to each diner who should be so brave to take on the challenge. Once you reach your fill, the waitress carries it off to the next lucky table.

Now some of you may be thinking, Gross! You’re eating out of the same bowl as other diners! And we may not be able to be friends anymore, because you’re totally missing the point. That’s why you don’t lick the serving spoon! And if we all promise not to eat too much and to not spit in the bowl, then we all get to profit from the wonders of the self-serve crock of chocolate! Very simple really, and a shining example of French socialism at its best.

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cuillère

Pronunciation: Nuts. This is a hard one, but if you say it really fast it’s something like coo-ee-air

Definition: Spoon. As in,

“Licking the self-serve cuillère in the giant shared vat of mousse au chocolat will get you kicked out of the restaurant and likely shunned by society as a whole.”