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Why you should dine at this Parisien restaurant with mediocre food and mediocre service

When I visited Paris a few weeks ago, I made sure I had insider tips to make the most of my 2.5 day trip.  I was recommended the Le Bouillon Chartier by two friends.  One of them was my old flatmate Guillaume who is French and has lived in Paris himself, and said this would be the place to get authentic French food for a decent price in the centre of Paris.  Merci beaucoup!  Well, what Guillaume told me was true, but he certainly left out some “fun” details for us to find out on our own…

Le Bouillon Chartier Paris

We got off the metro at Richelieu – Drouot and quickly found Le Bouillon Chartier around corner. You won’t miss it because outside there is always a queue. I think we arrived at around 8ish, and after waiting for about 40 minutes we were ushered into another queue around the corner.  You can finally see the entrance, so close but yet so far away!

Le Bouillon Chartier

At this point my boyfriend was getting grumpy, and I was thinking… please please please I hope the food is amazing to justify for all this waiting. Finally we get into the restaurant and it looked super cozy and so beautiful!

IMGP6181

Then things started to, well let’s say things took an unexpected turn…

We were seated at a table, and the waiter told us to hang our coats on the overhead shelves.  Next thing we know we saw two strangers seated beside us.  Not as in the table beside us, but literally sitting next to us at the same table.  Then the waiter just threw out four pieces of folded paper onto the table, which happened to be the menu.  My boyfriend and I just looked at each in confusion, and decided to ask our “dinner party” (who were two French locals, a father and his son) what was going on…

Our French dinner guest, looking puzzled at our confusion, asked:

Do you know about this place?   

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It’s not a Sunday until you waste it completely then start feeling really sad around 8pm

Well, thank goodness we changed the clocks this weekend to go back an hour so now it’s actually only 7pm.  I took these photos in my neighbourhood just 2 weekends ago, and already there’s a quite a change… the trees are pretty much naked now!

It’s been very busy since I came back from Paris last weekend, and this week I’m going to Marrakech!  Lots of exciting things going on, and I hope to sort out all my pictures asap, so do check back for updates!

Paris, someday is TODAY!

I’ve never been to Paris. I know… I’ve travelled to Europe numerous times before ‘settling’ down, and during the last five years I’ve been living in Europe, I’ve never been to Paris.

I’ve always avoided going to Paris because I worried about not having enough time and money to go, see, do, eat everything. And if I don’t have a good experience, then the pristine image of the French capital would be forever ruined for me… I don’t want that!

Well, I’m going to Paris for work, so now I have to go.

I’m going to Paris, not

but really today!

Thursday and Friday will be for work. Then I have the weekend off for myself and my boyfriend. I think I’ve done enough homework for this trip. I’ve taken notes from the pages of my Eyewitness Paris Top 10, I’ve interviewed 3 different friends who have lived in Paris for insider tips, I’ve quickly reviewed how to conjugate verbs in my Easy French Grammar handbook, and I’ve watched Midnight in Paris and Paris Je t’aime respectively 3 times.

I think I’m prepared. I’m feeling both nervous and excited. Will return after the weekend and looking forward to sharing my Parisian adventures!

Au-revoir!

Thanksgiving Bliss in The Netherlands with Easy Turkey Recipe

First of, Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians home and abroad!  Although this year is my fifth Thanksgiving away from home and I am very thankful that I still had a proper poultry feast with my second family this weekend.  Actually, three years ago I introduced the Thanksgiving dinner to my boyfriend’s family and they loved it so much it is properly a thing now.  So every October, we have an event called kalkoen (which is Dutch for turkey), not Thanksgiving, just turkey… haha.

Anyway, in The Netherlands usually you would only come across turkey in the sandwich meat section in the supermarket, and if you want a proper full turkey for roasting you have to pre-order it at the special poultry shop.  Before cooking for my in-laws I’ve never roasted a turkey before, so you can imagine the pressure… but I followed the can-do attitude and I’m definitely thankful that I have found a

super easy, manageable recipe that comes with smashing results 🙂   !!!

I found this recipe on the internet a few years back and again I am super thankful that I have scribbled it down (because it doesn’t come up in my google results anymore even with the search terms from the recipe?!).  What I love about this recipe is that it has

no complicated steps and the turkey really does not dry out.

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Spice up your life!

You really cannot deny summer is over when you have the official mandate for fall – Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spiced Lattes are back in season.  I’ve been living in The Netherlands for the last 3 years and I’m pretty sure they did not have Pumpkin Spiced Lattes until this year, so I was naturally thrilled and raving about my favourite autumn drink to my colleagues.  I guess my colleagues do listen to my half nonsense after all, because I got this in the email today:

HotChocolateInfographic

How sweet!  Well, maybe some of these recipes are actually too sweet.  I’d like to perhaps substitute the whole milk with soy milk or even coconut milk… cut down the amount of chocolate.  But I guess there’s no point in watching your weight until after the Thanksgiving dinner right?  Anyway,  I hope you like this & enjoy!

Confessions #1a of an Expat

A few nights ago I was catching up with an old childhood friend.  Facebook has kept us somewhat in the loop about each other’s lives but we really have not had a proper chat since 2006 (that’s 9 years ago!).  My friend Crystal told me about expat life as an accountant in the US, and I told her about my expat life working as an academic the Netherlands.  And while sharing stories with Crystal, I realized that it has definitely been a journey with ups-and-downs since moving abroad 5 years ago.  So today I share a few personal confessions about the things I found, and to some degree still find challenging, about being an expat in the Netherlands.

The beautiful city of Utrecht, where I have been living for the last 3 years.

The beautiful city of Utrecht, where I have been living for the last 3 years.

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