Night-timing, baby!

Just a few pictures I took on the quai at night. Such a beautiful city...


Don't You Wish Your Sriracha Was Hot Like Mine?

When you travel, you learn to compromise, let go of familiarity, and adapt to the flavors around you. But when faced with a bottle of Sriracha in a land of essentially no spicy foods whatsoever, one can't help but hope to find in it some bit of comfort -- hot comfort. Alas, my friends, do not let your eyes deceive you. That bottle of Sriracha is an impostor, a result of some impressive false reproduction, reminiscent of that one movie with Leo -- Catch Me If You Can.

I got this kebab from a small vendor on my street and generously smothered it in with what I thought was Sriracha, and although it was delicious, (my theory is that a meal with bread, meat, and potatoes will forever be bulletproof, no matter which corner of the earth you find yourself), it was NOT SPICY. I think I speak for the other Californians here when I say that that's one thing I genuinely miss in food. Mom, if you're reading this, it would be so great if you sent me some real Sriracha in the mail.


Démarquez Vous

My groceries this week: milk, zucchini, Madeleine cookies, and earrings. Okay, so the earrings weren't initially on my list, but while I was walking to the grocery store, I came across this very lovely little vintage boutique called Démarquez Vous, (meaning "stand out") on my street. After trying on some gorgeous lace dresses out of my price range, I spotted these earrings, and couldn't get my eyes off of them. With the same fear and hesitation I would feel when I would walk down the Village 3 dorm halls three weeks ago, I approached the price tag. To my pleasant surprise, it said 12€ -- and when you're expecting 50€, that's a good deal! So I opted to buy them and skip a few grocery items. (Anyone who knows me well enough knows I have a sporadic glamour-complex.) I say, if I'm malnourished, (and let's face it, all college students abroad are), at least I'll still be fabulous!
And don't pretend like you didn't notice how well they match my bottle of Chloé! ...Okay, I'll stop now.


Good Mood Food

I decided, last night, that after weeks of complaining about my apartment and it's very orange walls, it was time to try and bond with my kitchen. And bond, I did. I cooked myself a lovely dinner: sweet potato fries with ginger, (and an unidentified spice from my cupboard), a yogurt dipping sauce with lemon and herbs from Provence, and my version of bruschetta with smoked salmon. It was good enough for me to love my kitchen now.

To-Dos and My New Work Space

Kuro Jan, Êtes-Vous Arménienne?

Okay, okay! I FOUND ARMENIANS! I've spent the past three weeks snooping around Bordeaux, hearing rumors of Armenians, noticing small piles of sunflower seed shells, and peering hopefully into the many Kebab spots. I even looked through the White Pages and found a potential relative of mine! But then, after some asking around and mastery Googling, I found the so-called Armenian restaurant, Chez Yuri, right by the river! I looked at the menu and was surprised to see how very French it was. I hesitated for a moment, assuming I'd found the wrong place, and asked the waiter if this was an Armenian restaurant. He assured me, it was. He seemed quite pleased to have an Armenian customer, since apparently most of their guests are French, although, he too claimed that Bordeaux has a very large Armenian community. He explained that he and his family came to Bordeaux 10 years ago and have been running the restaurant for years now. (On a side note, it felt so great to take a break from French and chat a bit in Armenian, even if he kept noting my American accent.)

After a little disappointment from the menu, (because really, the only thing Armenian on it was the hard liquor), I decided to stay, have a beer, try the fish soup, lamb, and obviously, the crème brûlée, but mostly support the very friendly family. Three courses later, I was saying stestyun and promising to return. The food was delicious! It wasn't Armenian cuisine, unfortunately, but it definitely had a homey touch. That alone made me comfortable and happy... (Unless it was the beer...) 

There's a Dog on my Meow -- I Mean,Cat on my Roof!

Several times a week, I get paid a visit by this very fluffy French cat. It makes me miss my very fluffy American dog, Oliver. If you're reading this, Oliver, Momma misses you...


Chez Nushka

By my bedroom window -- drinking tea and reading a French novel I found in my apartment. ...And that's my plant.


Surreal, Cereal?

This morning I woke up in my French apartment, had a bowl of Special K (Noisettes et Amandes) and read some Vogue Paris in bed. Still so unreal. Even doing ordinary things is extraordinary here. I walk around the city in awe, every day, and with a constant awareness of how lucky I am. I've been trying to take it all in, but simultaneously realizing how humanly impossible it is to do so. I notice locals everyone, unfazed, going about their quotidian lives in this ancient city, shopping and eating and enjoying, almost as if they were unaware that the rest of the world isn't like this. That's not to say that the Bordelais don't have a strong connection or pride in their city, culture, etc. of course.I am simply trying to understand the different lenses through which people look when traveling or living somewhere. I recall now noticing tourists in Los Angeles while running errands or meeting friends, and later attempting to look at my city with the eyes of a visitor. I think that's when I realized that I could never live permanently anywhere else, because I could never have such a deep attachment with another city. As much as I could love and admire a new place, I could never have the same connection with it as I do with my hometown. Still, I wonder if I will ever adapt enough to take the beauty and history of this city for granted...


I Can't Brie-ve It!

Fromage. Cheese. Panir. Siyr. So many cheeses, so little time...

Order My Crème Brûlée and Eat It Too

I'm not going to lie, the Royal Deluxe (that had Dijon instead of ketchup[!]), fries and Coca-Light that I guiltily had at Mac Do was yummy. (Everyone does it. Don't judge me.) But the three-course meal I had at this little restaurant last week has been on my mind since I devoured it. The cozy restaurant was empty, aside from a man at the bar, drinking a beer alone, and the very friendly owner/host/waiter/chef who gave multitasking a new definition as he executed everything beautifully, all while watching the soccer game on the tv. 
The entrée was a light salad of herb-infused, roasted cherry tomatoes, very fresh mozzarella, and lightly dressed baby arugula, with some pesto on the dish. If the [doubtfully-human] restaurateur had brought out just the tomatoes, I swear I would have given him the entire cost of the meal for them. Give me a pool of those, and I'll eat them in a minute! Oh! So good...
Second course was DUCK! Oui! DUCK! My first time trying it, and I have to say, I loved it. (Yeah, I know I used to be a vegan. Again, don't judge!) The canard was cooked to perfection, (medium, the way I like it love it), and the sweet potato puree on top of which it sat was to die for. Basically, simple flavors, minimal ingredients, and impeccable culinary skill. Ugh, I love France.
And, of course, my favorite part of any meal: dessert. (I'm always tempted to spell it "desert" but I remember that there are two S's because I always want seconds.) I'm the kind of gal who will very rarely pass up crème brûlée, especially if I'm in France! So when I read in the menu that the 17th-century, classically French dessert was made with berries, (à la framboise), I didn't even read my other options.  Needless-to-say, a fabulous decision.



                            ...Just saying...


That's right. My first time having pho and it was in Bordeaux. I thought it was good but my new friends strongly suggested I try it when I'm back in L.A. Apparently, it wasn't too good...

Oy(ster) Vay

Oysters! (I'll try to keep the innuendos out...) It was my first time having the infamous aphrodisiacs and you know what? I didn't hate it! That's not to say I liked it but it tasted like the sea, aka salt, and it was kind of pleasant, actually. Especially with the Sauvignon Blanc that it was paired with! Yummm, wineeeeee.
Looks like they had a little too many oysters and wine... And they're both wearing red, the color of passion!
Finished off the meal with this incredible apple pastry!
It was flakey and crispy and gooey and soft at the same time.
I must find what this is called and how I can get a box delivered to me daily...


Chocolat Chaud on a Rainy Afternoon

So it's a sunny day and we're strolling around Bordeaux, after a long day of shopping and exploring, (with our guilty stomachs full with whatever our sad budgets could rummage for), when rain begins to pour with no warning. Surely, this is the best excuse to run into the nearest cafe (right near the carousel by Grand Theatre) and enjoy a cup of chocolat chaud, or what I will from now on refer to as "perfection."

One of Europe's First Ports

This used to be the first part of Bordeaux that visitors would see as they would arrive by ship. I am still trying to fathom the idea, by the way, of living in a city so full of history...

Allée de Los Angeles

Learned that Los Angeles and Bordeaux are sister cities! Match made to be...

Raw, Raw, A-a-a

My new friends here in Bordeaux all think I for some reason or another look like Lady Gaga, so it was sort of appropriate to order a Tartare de Boeuf for my first French dinner. Although not quite as controversial as the dress Gaga wore, the raw beef was still a conversation piece on the table. It was surprisingly good but, I must admit I couldn't finish the meal. The Guinness and frites, however, quite quickly vanished... Yum!

Hello, Bordeaux...

My very first photographs of the beautiful city...