Tag Archives: food

La dernière

Last night when I was sitting on the terrace to watch the sun set on Paris one last time, thinking a dozen thoughts, I saw that the sunset was softer than it usually was. It spilled baby blue, lavender, pink, and pastel orange onto the sky, and I felt a deep sadness sweeping over me. The colors got darker and filled the sky long after the sun dipped below the horizon. My camera couldn’t capture the view, and so all I have left of that sunset is what’s remaining in my memory. It was the most beautiful sunset I had seen throughout my stay in Paris.

While here, I have learned so many things about myself, other people, and the world. Some of these things can’t be put into words eloquently enough, but those that can, I’ll detail here:

1. French people are nice – if you are nice. If you walk into a shop and don’t greet the sales representative, complain that no one speaks English, or just act entitled in general, don’t expect to be treated like royalty. And even a little French (merci, au revoir) goes a long way, because once you get through to them, French people are incredibly kind. They will go completely out of their way to help you, something I have never experienced with an American.

2. I’ve learned how to dress well (a whole post about how to dress like the French is coming up soon).

3. As famous as France is for its food, it cannot produce anything but French food. I’ve eaten two Italian meals here, and both were dismal. If they can’t even cook food from Italy right, which is a bordering country, how can they hope to attempt other, more difficult cuisines? The problem is that the French are too set in their ways. I blame Louis XIV. Him, and the dozens of foreign countries that have invaded France over the years, instilling in every French person a deep-set xenophobia that, no matter how hard you try, you will never truly rid them of.

4. Finding peace with myself means that I can be just as comfortable in a group of people as I am by myself.

5. History matters. Just look at France’s history with the arts and education, and how that is reflected in today’s society. But think about America’s beginnings. Everyone started off the same way, and everyone was in the same boat (quite literally) to begin with. To succeed, it wouldn’t matter if you were educated or talented, because that wouldn’t make you successful. Hard work made you successful, and that’s why the USA values hard work, and has such a strong work ethic. France values talent and intelligence for reasons of her own.

6. Art should make you feel something (even anger, sometimes).

7. Sometimes, it’s okay to not obsessively plan, and to be spontaneous instead. You hear this a lot, but it’s totally different coming from me, because I usually plan everything down to the tee. But while it can be helpful to try to control everything, sometimes you just need to take life as it comes.

8. People are nice. Other people are not as nice, but I’ve learned when to let it go, rather than get angry.

I am excited to see my family, but sad to leave because I don’t know when I will be back. All I know is that Paris has left an indelible mark on my soul and changed me in a way that I would have never expected. Maybe someday I will come back here and be able to share my love for this city with my family, or my dear friends. But I don’t know when I will return, and so now I must say goodbye. À la prochaine.

Until then, we’ll always have Paris.

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The Best Meals I’ve Ever Had

I’m a vegetarian. I have been ever since I was 12, and my reasons are a combination of religion, belief in animal rights, and taste. But I love food. Like, I really love food. I get sudden cravings at all times of the day, and for something very specific, too, not just “normal” cravings like chocolate or fries. Sometimes it’s spring rolls, sometimes it’s falafel wraps, sometimes it’s gulab jamun.

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world and taste the different foods of the world, and I’ve had some truly spectacular meals – some of these stand out in my mind.

1. The Salish Lodge, Seattle, Washington – Belgian Waffles with Apple Butter and Cinnamon Whipped Cream, yummm. Oh, lord, what a delight! This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in my life.

2. Cafe Amedros, Istanbul, Turkey – the stuffed mushrooms. This whole meal was wonderful, including the dolmas and baklava, but the stuffed mushrooms were the best part.

3. My Mother’s, Capadoccia region, Turkey – I had some of the best vegetable curries here. After a week in Turkey, we were rather tired of some of the generic curries and the odd emphasis on eggplant, but the curries we had at My Mother’s were different and delicious.

4. Santorini, Greece – unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the place, but I do remember that the tomatoes stuffed with rice and vegetables was excellent. The people here were wonderful, and the restaurant was filled with cats.

5. MBK mall, Bangkok, Thailand – it’s a little strange that one of the best meals we had in Thailand was in a mall, but it’s true! It was hard for us, being vegetarians, to find varied meals in an east Asian country, but the food court at this mall had a variety of options available to us. The Thai curry and Pad Thai were particularly delicious.

6. Chokhi Dhani resort, Jaipur, India – koftas in a red curry (I can’t remember the name). The meals here were served in the form of an Indian thali, with a fixed menu every day, and the whole meal was excellent. This is probably the best Indian food I’ve ever had. And that’s saying something because I am Indian!

7. The Lazy Dog, Manali, India – some kind of paratha stuffed with cheese and apple. This is a kashmiri dish, I’m told, and the sweetness of the parathas combined with the more salty and spiced gravy is an absolute treat! We came to this place after a long trek up a hill, so I’m sure our opinions were affected by the fact that we were exhausted and starving!

8. The train station in Florence, Italy – this is even more ridiculous than the mall, and you’re probably laughing at me, I know, but hear me out! They have a wonderful dining section in the train station that serves both fresh food and frozen options. After a disappointing experience the previous day where we payed close to 20 euros for a salad (which wasn’t even good), the food train station was perfect for us. Fast, cheap, and tasty!

My mouth is watering now, remembering all these wonderful meals. I look forward to having more food adventures all over the world!

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