I made bento boxes for our Zap train trip to Strasbourg. I didn’t really see the difference between the Zap and Zen, except in the Zap, the conductor wasn’t walking around to make sure that everyone was completely silent.
Our son went to boarding school in Switzerland at Chateau de Rosey. All of the usual French school supplies shopping was not necessary. They had a store! Okay, the tuition fees, etc. were outrageously expensive and we were poor for a long time after he finished school but the beginning of school or “la rentree” was stress free!
Not so at the Seminaire de Jeunes in Walbourg, France. We arrived in Strasbourg on Friday afternoon, checked into the hotel and then shopped until the stores closed. The next morning, after breakfast, we continued this annoying shopping, marching from store to store because of course, in France, the school supplies are scattered around in different specialty stores. There was an Office Depot in Strasbourg and I said, “Yeah howdy, we’ll be able to get everything here, Jade. American know how, quoi.” Not so. Office Depot has been mind snatched by the French. Disorganized, out of stock supplies and prima donna clerks. At least all the stores were conveniently located in the town center next to our hotel. We finished shopping by noon and decided to break for lunch.
Never choose a restaurant when you are annoyed, a little tired and can’t be bothered to walk around a bit. The only thing I’m going to say about the Eurocafe is, don’t go there unless you like Banquet TV Dinners. Bleah! And the only other thing I’m going to say is the strawberry mousse in the Cafe Gourmand tasted like whipped Jello. Jade refused. Well yeah, the picture is blurry. Yours would have been too, even with a tripod! I lacked enthusiasm.
So many things to buy and no husband to carry them :( Cognizant of the fact that I could only fit so much in my carry on and that I would have to tote this through 3 train stations, I shopped lightly. “I’ll be back!”
I took Jade to mass at the Notre Dame of Strasbourg on Sunday morning, in case she needed to pray for good grades, roommates, and/or clear skin. Before the mass started, I attempted to take a picture of the altar but I’m not really good at that. After that, I sat through the 2 readings, the gospel, a baptism and the rambling sermon, but then left Jade to take her communion while I joined the Sunday strollers outside of the cathedral.
And the righteous, early morning, breakfast beer drinkers.
After a coffee and juice, we perused the menus of quite a few of the countless restaurants surrounding the cathedral. We decided on Alsatian cuisine and chose the garden-like atmosphere of Au Dauphin.
To the left of the Au Dauphin entrance, we were momentarily distracted by a red devil, advertising another restaurant located in an underground cave/cellar. Next time.
Au Dauphin is a good restaurant, specializing in Alsatian cuisine that is “correct.” As I had never tasted Alsatian Cremant, I decided to try a “coupe.” It was as good as Bourgogne Cremant, brut and light! I had more :)
Good boulangerie crusty bread.
For entree, Jade chose the herring terrine salad.
And I, the crudite plate. Market fresh salads with exceptional vinaigrette.
While we were enjoying our salads, two businessmen, one from Palo Alto, California and the other from Bulgaria, were seated at the table next to ours. Unfortunately for them, both English speakers, the menus at Au Dauphin are printed in only French and German and they were further damned with an unhelpful waitress. So I helped them with suggestions from the menu and wine. That’s why you see this shot of the foie gras, salmon, magret de canard salad and the Alsace Rose Cremant :)
Jade, afraid that the halcyon days of salmon “a go-go” from her mother’s kitchen were coming to an end, ordered the salmon in Riesling sauce for her main course. The salmon was fresh and perfectly cooked. Jade complained that the sauce was tasteless. She was wrong. It tasted of uncooked flour. Really, I blushed for them, scraped off the sauce and traded plates with Jade. As I said, the salmon was perfectly cooked.
For my main course, I had chosen the pork jarret (ham hock), braised in Pinot Noir wine with house made spaetzle. Superb! I need a couple or 4 of those Staub, individual, cast iron dutch ovens. I’ll wait until my husband comes. Heavy.
For dessert, Jade had three flavors of ice cream with a rolled cookie and fruit.
Fresh fruit, creme brulee, a chocolate chip cookie and good coffee. We almost forgave the flour sauce. Almost.
On Monday, the day before her internment at the Seminaire de Jeunes, Jade, throwing caution to the wind, decided she needed just one more plate of ham hock.
We found a restaurant located off one of the center squares and ordered a flammekueche/tarte flambe/flame cake to share as an entree. The flammekueche is a well-known Alsatian speciality and is usually very good. This one was okay. The chef was pretty busy with all those people from the buses. Still, it was okay.
Impressive was the ham hock plate! I thought Jade would have a problem finishing it but then I saw two frail, elderly ladies at the next table do justice and more to their ham hocks and knew she could handle it. She did. I don’t think you can go wrong with a ham hock in Alsace. The beer sauce was rich and flavorful.
My enormous, breaded veal cutlet was edible and filling but lacked elegance.
So nice, the way they served the sides. I’ve forgotten the name of this restaurant but that’s okay, I know where it is if Jade craves ham hock.
I’ll see her in 3 days. Hope she doesn’t starve to death before then.