France for lunch? Sure!

June 28, 2014

If you’re lucky, you get to travel a bit in life.  I don’t mean like to the next town, or just New York or Las Vegas.  I mean travel to a faraway place.

I was lucky to get a chance to go to Rennes, France this week for work.  It is about 250 miles (350 kilometers) to the west of Paris.  It is a charming little town, known mostly for being an academic hub.

Even better, I got to take the TGV, the high speed train from Massy (near Orly Airport) to Rennes.  It was awesome to see the French countryside going by so fast!  The picture from the train is tilted because we’re going so fast, that the image stretches, especially in the foreground.

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The benefit of the TGV is, of course, speed.  And when you have speed, you have other benefits.  In this case, it was extra time to get lunch!  Instead of having to eat at the train station (not a horrible choice, but really, who wants to eat at a train station?), I got brave and decided to Yelp a location.  The criteria were as follows:  only reviews in French, only 4 stars and above, two Euros designating price, and it had to be close to the train station (less than 5 km — yeah, I know, when in Rome).

So, I found a place called Les Sales Mômes.  Here is a link to the website:  http://lessalesmomes.fr

“Sales” in French means rooms.  I don’t know about Mômes, but I think it has something to do with kids.  Here’s a picture of the place.

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In any event, the two nice girls running the place politely greeted a poorly-spoken French tourist.  They didn’t try and help me in English, which frankly, is part of the point of going to a locals-only place.  The menu was a chalkboard about 18″ wide by 30″ high.  It was given to me with no explanation.

I couldn’t understand a lot of what was written.  There were, of course, familiar words (thank you Mme Oudin and Mme Vandergrift).  So I chose something that said <<Dorado>> and <<tomate>> figuring that it was a Dorado (fish) in a tomato base.

While I waited, it was just nice to see people at lunch.  There were a couple of 20-something girls behind me, a 20-something guy with his mom, and a table of working folks at another table.  The really wonderful thing was that no one was on their mobile phone.  I didn’t see anyone pick theirs up, or text, or call, or anything.  It was a lunch from 1998 or something.  Just a lovely day, and a meal on the way.

So, here it comes!  I was a bit surprised, because I wasn’t expecting this!

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The grill marks are on the top part of the bun.  I had ordered the French equivalent of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich!

And what a sandwich.  The bread was toasted and delicious.  Instead of ketchup or tartar sauce, the entire thing rested in a little puddle of spicy tomato sauce.  There were little beads of balsamic vinegar and olive oil too.  The fish itself was grilled, and the skin was left on.  Gross you say?  Only if you haven’t had a wonderful, slightly oily fish like Dorado before.  The crunch of the skin with each forkful (yeah, too messy to eat with your hands) had a wonderful balance of fish, bread, tomato and other seasonal vegetables.  There were pungent, bitter purple strings on top that enhanced the tomato sauce.  And, there were little cucumber pieces that were spiced — not like pickles, but with a semi-sweet taste that contrasted wonderfully with the fish.

So, that got me thinking.  If I’m having a French fish sandwich, why do I think that this is so special?  

Well, I guess it was special was because I first remember the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish as being the only thing i could choke down on the menu there as a kid.  Here’s the shot of one from an advertisement.  Notice any difference in the two fish sandwiches?

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We like to get on the French for a lot of things.  Being snooty.  Eating snails.  Leading the world in being able run backwards waving a white flag.  But they get a lot right.  Like food.  Real food.

If you get a chance to have lunch somewhere foreign, do it.  Order something off the menu that you can’t understand.  And, eat and appreciate it.  France for lunch?  Sure!

 

Year-to-date June 2, 2014

June 3, 2014
Month Push Ups Pull Ups Plank (min.)
January 1,500 310 144.00
February 1,250 250 120.00
March 1,810 355 138.00
April 1,790 355 126.00
May 1,450 296 120.00
June 100 20 12.00
Totals 7,900 1,586 660.00

A hard-to-find treat on Convoy

April 24, 2014

2014-04-11 11.54.10 HDRThis is a picture of an amazing Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura served at Itzakaya Sakura in San Diego.  It’s located on Convoy Street in an unmarked spot.  It was frustrating to find, but totally worth getting in and have this meal.

Too many meals on Convoy are simply Asian ingredients thrown together.  This is a meal clearly put together by a professional using the best ingredients.  I was amazed at how the flavors were fully developed, and the presentation was just amazing.

If you can find it, go and enjoy a wonderful meal.

Year-to-date April 23, 2014

April 24, 2014
Push Ups Pull Ups Plank
January 1,500 310 144.00
February 1,250 250 120.00
March 1,810 355 138.00
April 1,440 285 102.00
Totals 6,000 1,200 504.00

Inspired by glass

March 31, 2014

Inspired by glass

Seattle has more than rain and amazing food. If you go the Space Needle, make sure that you go to the Chihuly Glass and Garden. The things that can be done with glass are really surprising and inspiring.

YTD as of March 25, 2014

March 26, 2014

Push Ups Pull Ups Plank

January 1,500 310 144.00

February 1,250 250 120.00

March 1,410 310 114.00

Totals 4,160 870 378.00

Crossing southern CA mountains and deserts (Boulevard to Brawley to Palo Verde, CA)

March 21, 2014

Proud of you Anne! What a contrast in weather compared to your East Coast winter!

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California will soon be behind us after four days of biking in cool mountain terrain, then down into desert heat.  We cycled down several thousand feet on the freeway passing plenty of warning signs.  I would have taken a photo of the sign that said “High Winds Next 12 Miles” except I was nearly blown off the freeway as I hung on for dear life as traffic whizzed by.  

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Camping, while usually tranquil, has its own hazards!

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We hugged the ever-present wall (the long brown snake in the photo below) separating the US from Mexico for much of yesterday. Border Patrol SUVs passed us at break-neck speeds. Today we entered the Imperial Sand Dunes. Wild changes in topography.

At the end of a long, hot day of riding, my beverage of choice…!

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Count down: one day until I start my journey across the US!

March 16, 2014

Good luck Anne!

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day-by-day-southern-tier-03_16_14-to-05_12_141.docxDay by day southern Tier 03_16_14 to 05_12_14

The sun is shining in La Jolla, CA.  (With 101 days running of sunny skies, my friend, Alison, just returned her rain coat with tags still on it to REI.  What’s the point of a rain coat here?! )  Alison took me to a look-out spot where I could admire the 360′ view.  As I enjoyed the rolling ocean to the west, it was nearly possible to avoid focusing on the (large) mountain range to the east . It turns out that our first day requires quite a bit of climbing to the town of Alpine.  Alpine brings thoughts of snow – the stuff I’ve just escaped from!

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Cool
surfer mobile at Torrey Pines State Beach.

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another test from AD’s computer

March 16, 2014

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sample

March 16, 2014

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