Mark is now the chief cook. While we were both working, he always worked longer hours than I did, so I made all the meals. Once he retired, he started really enjoying cooking, and I was only too happy to sit back and eat (and do the dishes, it’s only fair). One day I said, you know, you don’t have to do all the cooking, we can take turns. Then I thought about it for a second and added: I took the first 20 years. And so Mark does all the marketing and cooking. I handle the bureaucracy, other paperwork, and travel planning. Besides, there’s not room for 2 in the tiny kitchen. (An aside: we were staying at my sister’s house this summer. She said, Mark, you say my 2 favorite things every day: Are you ready for lunch? and Dinner’s ready!)
Even though France is a food destination, and French cuisine is on the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, we rarely go out to eat, both for budget and waistline reasons. Not to mention it’s hard to find a truly exceptional meal without planning in advance. If we’re away from home on a day trip, we’re likely to pack a picnic. I’d much rather eat a great sandwich sitting on a bench than have yet another indifferent and not inexpensive bistro meal.
One evening while scanning the super sale train fares, I said to Mark, Hey wanna go to Strasbourg? And unlike my sister, my favorite thing that Marks says is, Sure! So… Strasbourg! It’s in the Alsace region and feels much more German than French. Which was bad news for the croissants. But it’s a beautiful river town, with timbered houses.
The cathedral was astonishing, and that’s coming from someone with cathedral fatigue.
The famous astronomical clock, undergoing renovations.
I loved this painting in the Strasbourg city museum. It ostensibly shows the change in how children were depicted. I think it shows the dog as a true member of the family (ahem…)
My sister is a big fan of the children’s book illustrator Tomi Ungerer, who hails from Strasbourg. There’s a museum dedicated to his work and illustration in general. This is a sandwich bag he did for the French national railway, SNCF.
Which brings us back to food. While I was rooting around for more to do in Strasbourg, I came across Buerehiesel, a one-star Michelin restaurant with a 32 euro lunch special. One of my french conversation partners says that fine dining is a major part of French culture, and that to experience it is as much a part of visiting France as seeing the Eiffel tower. So hell yes, sign us up! We’d never been to a Michelin restaurant before.
The appetizer, a wafer thin disc of polenta and marscapone, with fresh tomatoes, tomato confit, and tomato sorbet.
Merlan (a whitefish) with many delicious things.
My only mistake was in ordering the wine. They had a recommended wine for both the appetizer and the main, and I ordered one of each. For both of us, apparently. I rarely drink. I never even have 2 glasses of wine in a week. Not because I’m virtuous, but because I have a super low tolerance (thanks for the genes, mom). I enjoy the taste, but it’s rarely worth the effects. But I fell on the sword, and now I get it, I get the whole idea of wine pairing! The souffle dessert is not pictured, because we swooped down and devoured it whole. That and I was tipsy.
Me, trying on the traditional hat at the Strasbourg city museum, not day-drunk me.