Adventures in Babymaking Part 3

Nice Hotel

After our last night in Paris, we took the train to Nice.

I couldn’t imagine a more relaxing spot to find ourselves, away from the hustle of:

  • Slinging around heavy luggage
  • Finding the trains
  • Catching trains
  • Finding the bus
  • Riding a bus
  • Finding the rental car pickup
  • Picking up the rental car
  • Finding the hotel
  • Traffic
  • Figuring out the parking situation

…then finally checking in.

The photo above captures our view from our hotel room overlooking The Mediterranean. It was well worth the rushing around.

We popped open a bottle of dry rosé on our patio, caught our breath, then headed out to explore the town. This is what people do:

http://youtu.be/-O-rUfPLm9E

The Hubs later asked our concierge for a restaurant recommendation for fresh local seafood, and for the reservation to be made for dinner.  The restaurant was called Boccaccio, and it was the BEST FOOD EVER. We had Seafood Paella served table side.

Nice instigated several of my newest obsessions (as though I didn’t have enough already).

First, I had never been to a beach where the sand was not sand, but instead, large smooth stones! I had always before wanted to find real sea glass, and this was the first time it happened.  We found loads of it. Every color. I love it.

Secondly, the dry rosé in this particular area was especially good. I always associated rosé with White Zinfandel. Boy, had I been wrong! Dry rosé is mild, not too fruity, slightly effervescent, and refreshing.

Lastly, it may sound strange, but I have always liked, and now am obsessed with anchovies! I think that people just think that they don’t like anchovies, it’s not that they really don’t. I think most people just don’t want to like anchovies.

 Pissaladière is a pizza-like dish from Nice loaded with anchovies and onions. In the introduction to the recipe on Saveur.com, it says: “According to Jacques Médecin, former mayor of Nice and an authority on its cuisine, the layer of onions on a pissaladière should be half as thick as the crust.” Here is the recipe: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Pissaladiere

Nice Night

From Nice, our final stop was in Venice, Italy. After being dropped off by water bus, I followed my husband past stone bridges, canals, and questionable narrow winding alleys to arrive at our hotel.

There really is no place like Venice.

Venice

Although we had heard how Venice tourism had affected the level of attention given to the cuisine, we found some truly incredible food. We had read online about Bacaros, which were places where locals would go to drink wine and eat Cichetti (snacks) while standing. We found one of these places, and opted for a table. The Bacaro was called “Ca D’Oro”, and it was known for its meatballs.  Of course we tried an order (which were awesome), then had a second appetizer called “Piatto misto di pesce” which was a seafood plate. I was blessed with more anchovies on this occasion, which were this time my favorite kind, the white ones…with olive oil and lemon juice. We then ordered a pasta dish to share called “Bigoli in Salsa”. Bigoli is a specialty noodle, thicker than spaghetti, and for this particular dish, it was made with a simple sauce of onions and yep, you guessed it, more anchovies. My husband, who didn’t think he liked anchovies, really liked this.

One night, we had dinner at Osteria Oliva Nera. See photo below.

OlivaNera_42_152px

When we walked in and asked for a table outside, one of the owners Isabella, told us we had to go ask for permission from her husband, Dino (because it truly was kinda late). Dino obliged. We are so grateful that he did. They led us through a tour of multiple plates and wine, beginning with stuffed zucchini flowers. Mmmm! I was pretty stuffed after dinner myself, but we asked Dino what the desserts were like there. Dino yelled to Isabella to make sure that they still had them all, then went into an elaborate presentation and conversation with us on the details and types of options we now had. Even if I had just wanted to back out at this point, I couldn’t. Here is Dino’s explanation:

Oliva Nera Dessert

Dessert

We ended up ordering the Mascarpone Cheesecake. It was one of the best desserts that I have ever had. There was a persimmon and a dehydrated blood orange on top. C’mon, right?! It was insanely good. I wanted to order them all after that, but we didn’t. Perhaps we’ll just hafta go back?

The rest of our trip was amazing and romantic and fun and memorable.

Although I didn’t test positive for pregnancy when we arrived back home in Ohio, I think our trip was the perfect way to launch this important next step in our lives. We’re still practicing, but I’m betting that we’re getting closer.

Adventures in Babymaking Part 2

When I had spoken with my famous cousin Jasper before leaving The States, I had asked him where we should meet after our tour at Fontainebleau .  His reply was something like: “Oh don’t worry, you won’t be able to miss me!”

It was raining that day comme vache qui pisse .

I had expected, that because of the rain, that my cousin would be arranging for an alternative means of transportation.  Nonetheless, there he was a’putt-putting on up to receive us in front of the chateau on a Russian military motorcycle, fully equipped with sidecar.

We traveled through small beautiful villages, and we whooshed past expansive green farms to arrive at my cousin’s meticulous home in Fontenay-sur-Loing.

image

Jasper has always had a style of his own, and you would notice this upon first glance by indication of his red handlebar mustache.  He has always worn round eyeglasses, and he has ALWAYS been a man who exclusively travels by motorcycle.  Jasper is an artist.  He has a mastery of multiple languages and is a professor at The University of Paris, he moonlights as a violinist (although he calls it a “fiddle”), and he maintains his house in what would appear as a direct reflection of his identity.  Every object is beautiful and meaningful.  A knife is not simply a knife.  Every detail is there in his home in a specific placement, with a significant meaning.

My husband and I were overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of my incredible cousin.  After the most delicious multiple course feast of salad, duck, kapusta (our grandmother’s recipe), filled pastries for dessert, and tons of wine, Jasper offered us yet another special treat: Slivovitz!  It is important to mention that this was by no means any ordinary ol’ Slivovitz…

slivovitz

It was in fact Slivovitz from the town where our grandfather had lived in Rohatec in the Czech Republic.

We drank, laughed, told stories, Jasper played fiddle, and we danced until dawn, just late enough to manage a few hours of sleep before rushing out to catch a train back to spend our last evening in Paris.

Adventures in Babymaking Part 1

After having been married for 8 months or so, The Hubs and I have decided that it’s time to make the babies.  Now, I would like to consider myself a really laid-back and easy-going person, but others don’t always seem to agree.  It seems as though I have developed a reputation for myself as being a bit of a germaphobe, a worrier, impatient, specific, and irritable.  Hmmm…

So we planned a trip to Europe to launch our baby-making experience!  We had it all planned out, just as I like it.  We would spend a couple of days in Paris, a couple of days in Nice, then finish the trip off with a stay in Venice.

Rooftop

So, off we went!  Our first day there after checking in to our hotel (photo above from our rooftop terrace), we were greeted by a dear friend’s parents.  It was such a comfort to have traveled such a long way to meet such warm and welcoming friends.  They wined and dined us so overwhelmingly, and we even had the opportunity to spend the night at our friend’s childhood home, and to sleep in the very bedroom where she had slept growing up!

The next day, my friend’s parents treated us to a visit to château de Fontainebleau!

After visiting this amazing palace, we were to meet my famous cousin, Jasper.  The plan was that he would pick us up after our tour, and we would head back to his place.  My cousin doesn’t travel by car, really.