Foodie Friday…Le Tripot, Chartres, Loire Valley

beautiful Chartres Cathedral

Hopefully my posts about my week in Paris won’t be too numerous/boring…but I just had to do a foodie Friday about a memorable meal I had on a day trip to the beautiful town of Chartres…an hour and a half train ride from Paris.

the beautiful Chartres Cathedral

Okay, so you know there are soooo many great places to have a meal in Paris itself, but I tend to want to just wander the streets when I’m there and happen upon a bistro or cafe that will satiate my hunger. I know, not very adventuresome for someone who likes “pretentious food” and trying new restaurants…but that’s just the way it’s been the few times I’ve vacationed in Paris. …and let’s face it, the bistros and cafes have pretty decent food…and ambiance.

blooms out in Chartre too

So, I thought I’d try to have a memorable meal while in Chartres for the day. I went to trusty Trip Advisor, asked around, and found Le Tripot. Their website is, as expected, entirely in French and google translate couldn’t help me with that. So, I emailed the restaurant, asked for a lunch reservation and voilà, reservation made! The place was adorable and the food was so good.

how cute is this little sign out front

They offered me two amuse bouche…one was an amazingly tasty tomato, cucumber little cup that had so much flavor I could have had an entire bowl. It was very much like gazpacho. The second tiny plate was a trio of marinated olives, parmesan crisp and a date wrapped in bacon…all very good! Sidenote….there were a few other tables of diners and they did not receive these little delicacies…hmmmm, single woman dining alone, maybe they thought I was a food critic…haha? Whatever the reason, I appreciated and enjoyed them so much!

I know it sounds lame, but I had a hankering for steak and knew this would be my big meal for the day, so what the hell. This was no ordinary steak. Everything sounds better in French…”Entrecôte de bœuf à la plancha, sauce de réduction de Porto rouge et éclats de foie gras de canard”…but thankfully they also included the English equivalent…”Rib steak of beef a la plancha, sauce of reduction of red Porto and cracks of duck foie gras” I love foie gras…don’t judge!

delectable little “cracks” of foie gras

It’s ridiculous how much flavor these small “cracks” of foie gras lend to the steak that was perfectly cooked, and the red wine reduction was fab….as was the potato stack. (yes, I ate the whole thing…did I mention I hadn’t had breakfast and been walking for a couple of hours?)

The French have their cheese at the end of the meal, so ‘when in Rome…or Chartres’…I had “Crottin de chèvre chaud au miel de foret du Perche sur toast et sa salade’…aka “Hot goat milk cheese on slice of bread with honey and salad” …melt in your mouth good.

This shows the charm of the painted stone walls before the restaurant became packed with people by the time I left. It’s not too fancy and I’d recommend a meal here if you’re ever in Chartres. My only “critique” would be that the lighting is a bit modern for this adorable space. Sure, it was a “normal” meal…not so French, but I loved it and would go back.

Sorry, I had no room for dessert to share here with you….but I did take some pics as I wandered through charming Chartres. If you have the time, take a day trip to Chartres.

A trip to Chartres wouldn’t be complete without a quiet, peaceful walk to La Maison Picassiette via the town cemetery. I know, may sound odd, but this is the recommended route if you’re walking from the Cathedral up to the eclectic, funky house. Is it weird to call a cemetery beautiful? It was expertly manicured and it was interesting to see the generations of families that were laid to rest here.

La Maison Picassiette…a house made of shards of collected glass, etc.
the bedroom
closeup of the collected found items
beautiful little garden in the back
not a bad view on my way back down the hill to the train station

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Paris in Bloom

I went to Paris almost the exact same week of April five years ago and, although it was cathartic and healing back then, this past trip to Paris was so completely different. I still believe, as I did back then, that the best way to see Paris is by wandering the little alleys and back streets, but the biggest difference this time was that Paris was in full bloom…which in hind-sight is literally the difference in my life from then to now.

The weather was dreary and colder five years ago…as was my personal life. In contrast, this time I stayed in the beautiful, cheery home of my new friend, Caroline, the weather was gorgeous, the sun was out and every tree, shrub and flower bed was screaming “Hello Spring, I’m here! Take pictures!” I know it’s stupidly cliche, but Paris was literally calling out to ‘stop and smell the roses/flowers!’ ….and I did…and this experience was magical!

Come and wander with me….

On the way and including The Luxembourg Gardens

you should have seen the people posing in front of this as if taking selfies…

la femmes aux pommes (‘woman with apples’….& really gorgeous flowers behind her!)
more tulips

a few window boxes, but really I just love this colorful little street

On to the Petit and Grand Trianon at Versailles…

I couldn’t get enough of the canopy of trees all over Paris and Versailles
no blooms yet, but can you imagine how spectacular this looks with flowers/greenery draping above

…and back to Paris, wandering near the Île de la Cité and the Tuileries…

if you go to Shakespeare and Company, wander upstairs and get this unique view of Notre Dame

I think this is my favorite pic from this trip….spectacular colors!

This is the edited version…so many more blooms and smells that I didn’t post. Stay tuned for some beautiful blooms in my Foodie Friday from Chartres.

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…HOME

On my return from Paris…

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts”…Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

It’s no secret that I love traveling, the rejuvenation I feel and the things I learn from it, but it always makes me so happy to come home to this front door, the memories and people that envelope me here.

….and one more…

“Be Grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need”….Sarah Ban Breathnach

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…having it all!

The secret to having it all is knowing that you already do!
and…
from the great Maya Angelou…
This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen it before!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…the book of travel

….just arrived in Paris and looking forward to some time here…Cafe St. Regis on the Ile Saint Louis

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page….Saint Augustine

Yup…I agree with Augustine! Step out of your comfort zone!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

New Experiences, New Friends…a meal in Paris

I briefly mentioned (long post, brief mention) an experience I had back in December 2016 called EatWith when I was visiting A&K in Brooklyn…and thought I’d elaborate a little bit more on the idea.

Our EatWith experience in Brooklyn…so much fun!

I’ve always loved entertaining in my home and going to my friend’s dinner parties. I thought to myself, “I wonder if there’s a similar experience I could have while traveling?” I googled “eat with locals” and came up with the EatWith website. It’s a super fun idea where “hosts” post meals, dates, etc… on the website and you basically choose where to go, pay and secure a reservation. It’s that simple! Okay, it does take a little bit of work to find a date that works into your vacation schedule, a convenient location to where you’ll be staying, and obviously a menu you want to try. Lots of times it’s just vague…Asian Fusion, Moroccan, etc… and sometimes they have posted their specific menu.

When I traveled to London this past December I tried to secure a rez somewhere, but it was the week of Christmas, so there weren’t many options and nothing that I could get to easily. So, that didn’t work out…bummer.

solo dining in a Parisian bistro is fun…but dining with locals is a great experience too

I’m traveling to Paris next week, staying with a new friend in the 14th arrondissement. I met Caroline when she stayed with me for two weeks back in November of last year. It’s called a “hospitality exchange” on the homeexchange website…where you are home and host someone in a spare bedroom…and then they do the same for you. So, I’ll be soaking up everything Parisian while visiting Caroline during Spring break and I was determined to add an EatWith experience to my visit.

I started researching the same way as I had back in 2016…googling “eat with locals.” There are several companies that offer this experience now so it’s a bit more time consuming due to all the options….VizEat, BonAppetour, Eat-with-locals…to name a few (I’m pretty sure many of them operate under the umbrella of the same company, just varied hosts, because their websites look very similar in design). I sat at my computer for a few hours checking dates, meal options, and numerous websites. Sometimes there’s a little notice next to a date that says “2 openings left” so you know there’s already a party happening, but I wasn’t finding any that fit into my schedule that had that information and I didn’t want to be the only one dining with the host. So, for this meal I had to first email the hosts to make sure I wasn’t going to be the only one in attendance. After a few emails back and forth with numerous hosts, I finally secured a dinner reservation on BonAppetour that looks like it’s going to be awesome!

an example of Haussmann building….not where my dinner will be….

The meal is in a Haussmann building a couple of blocks from The Avenue des ChampsÉlysées and if the pictures are any indication, it is a fabulous apartment with lots of artwork and beautiful architecture. I’m looking so forward to meeting my host and the other guests that will be in attendance.

So next time you’re in a new locale…whether here in U.S. or abroad…step out of your comfort zone and have a meal with some strangers…because I can assure you that they’re just as excited to meet new people too! I’m planning on signing up for one in Los Angeles this summer and having a stay-cation, while dining with locals!

Stay tuned for a review of my Parisian dinner when I return…..

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Anticipation

“There are two ways to face the future.
One way is with apprehension; the other
is with anticipation”….Jim Rohn

I love the anticipation and planning of being in this elegant, magical city next week!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Lessons from Theatre

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny,
but in ourselves….William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage…From “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare

In honor of World Theatre Day ….because the arts are important

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Menopause like Puberty?

A while back (15+ years ago) when I started menopause some older, and wiser, women equated it to puberty and at the time I thought that’s ridiculous. Now I realize it is a lot like puberty in reverse…you lose your period, your body goes all out of whack….and some friends doing the dating thing can be disappointed and heartbroken…like high school!

I’m one of the lucky ones that never had PMS growing up. I literally got my period on Christmas…reeeaaallly?…what a gift that was….and was regular as can be until I had a partial hysterectomy at 38. I had to actually put a dot on the calendar to remember that it was going to happen and be prepared, because I never had mood swings or cramps or basically anything. I know…you’re thinking “BITCH!” That’s okay…’cause the blessing I had through puberty did not carry through to menopause. Holy shit it was like being hit with a ton of bricks!

I was so moody in my early 40’s that at one point I said to the was-band, “I don’t even like myself”…who the hell is this person inhabiting my body! Yes, mine was pretty wacky, but that doesn’t mean all women have the same experience. I know some that hardly have any symptoms…to which I say “BITCH!” Oops, I mean, lucky them!!

When I was doing a little research on the topic I came across this article at womentowomen.com. It’s actually a very interesting article and I’d recommend reading it, but there’s one sentence at the beginning of the article that reads “Menopause is a gift, a lantern lighting the way to significant transformation in all areas of your life. I want you to know, unequivocally, that you can feel and look better than you ever imagined after menopause, even if your symptoms right now are terrible.” At first reading I thought…’what the hell is she talking about!’…but I’m now on the other side of menopause and, except for the weight gain part, it is a pretty great time of life. It was hell for me going through it…hot flashes, sleepless nights, moodiness, blah, blah, blah….but coming out on the other side has had some really nice benefits (to clarify, I’m not talking about the wackiness of the last 5 years).

You don’t have to worry about your period anymore…woohoo! You don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I feel like you get a better sense of self and confidence in your decisions. I used to be someone who never said “no” and sometimes did things I didn’t really want to do just to be nice, or to fit in…I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep all those people around you that bring you joy, happiness, friendship and love…and it’s okay to let go of some people that kind of suck the life out of you. It can be liberating! So, yeah, in a way I feel like a kid again, before I went through puberty…weird?!

I used to say to younger people who asked for advice about parenting…each stage of child rearing is a different kind of easy and different kind of hard. In some ways it applies to menopause…each part starts out as a different kind of hard, but eventually it’s a different kind of easy. Coming out at the end of it can be really great if you can get through it and you look for the silver lining! I have some of the most amazing women on my rowing team…as well as other facets of my life…that are confident, strong, awesome women in their 60’s and 70’s…so BRING IT ON! I’m looking forward to that next chapter…and the possibilities it holds.

this is me…projecting the possibilities!…gotta put it out there!

….and if you’re going through it right now I promise that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel….hang in there!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Post St. Patrick’s Day edition

2013…on my way to Connemara

May you never forget what is worth remembering
nor ever remember what is best forgotten…Irish Blessing

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!