Paris 2015 (EuroTour Leg 2)

We took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle airport to our AirBnB.  Which was nice and in a great location. Check in went very smoothly and after changing clothes we were out the door to site see the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower etc.11807733_10153563176729190_4788113633193727604_o 11807321_10153563169679190_2758840853483044888_o

 

We grabbed lunch and tried to get tickets for a dinner show, but the two shows we had interest in seeing were sold out for that night.

Although it was something we discussed doing weeks in advance we hadn’t actually purchased the tickets. (Lesson Learned: Book ahead, next time).

11822392_10153563167269190_3817035091518645833_nAfter site seeing, we returned to the apartment to figure out our next move.  This took awhile but eventually found a place to have a really nice dinner.  Santa Carne, an Argentinean steakhouse.

Our party of four had an amazing time at Santa Carne. 3 of us ordered the L’assiette du chef (Chef’s choice) which is essentially 3 different types of steak with potatoes and salad. The couple at the table next to us had gotten the same dish and it looked amazing. He also said he had ordered it medium well which is normally how I take my steak, but it was a bit too red for me so when I ordered mine I got it well done and was more than satisfied.

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The fourth person in our party ordered the La Brochette (steak skewer) and she also was happy but for only 10 Euro more why not get the Chef’s choice? We also ordered a rose wine which was okay.

The service was amazing! Our Argentinean server, Ariel was a bit shy about speaking English to us and communication was a small challenge but he gladly grabbed a chef from the kitchen, Lara/Laura to interpret for us all and she was awesome as well. It was a great time and made my second time in Paris a thousand times better than my first trip to Paris.11813429_10153563168969190_6516908020220582999_n

We had a mini photo shoot while waiting outside to be seated for dinner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was wearing a silver and custom made center pearl ring on my left ring finger.  A 28-year old Ariel grabbed my left hand and noted the ring. I quickly switched the ring to my middle finger to indicate that I was not indeed engaged or married, as he continued to flirt.  We all had a laugh about that.



After dinner we stopped for me to get my favorite European treat, a crepe!  It was a delicious Nutella and banana crepe.
Magic in the making
Magic in the making
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Someone wanted to be in the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

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England 2015 (EuroTour Leg 1)

The three of us arrived in London, Heathrow on a Wednesday morning and awaited our fourth party’s arrival flight.  Luckily after an hour we realized her flight was delayed several hours.  We went to our day room not too far from the airport and waited for her to arrive.

My Godbrother picked us up from the hotel and we went back to his house about 2-hours away not too far from Cambridge, UK.  Although the original plan was for us to stay with him, we ultimately got two rooms at nearby hotel (Worlington Hall Country House Hotel).

 
The room I stayed in was a suite, a 2-level apartment almost, looked as though it hadn’t been rented out in months, had a slight smell of mildew/mold and it was outside of the rest of the hotel.  It was sooo cold we slept in our clothes but because we were unsure of the cleanliness we slept on top of the sheets.  Man I almost froze that night. I woke up congested and irritated.

He came to get us after we ate the traditional English Breakfast at the hotel and we went back to his house to shower and get dressed. There was no way I could shower in a room that cold.


After 4 women got dressed we were off to Cambridge to sight see. We visited a museum had lunch at Revolution Bar and took a ton of selfies and usies. Here are some pictures of our afternoon.

The next day my bro grilled the best chicken wings and later we roasted marshmallows and s’mores on the fire pit at his house. We booked a different hotel for that night.  After chatting with the manager we thought that it was 2 double beds and because the price was so high we agreed to make it work (2 in each bed). But when we later got to the room, we realized it was actually two twin beds pushed together.  They had given us the keys earlier in the day but told us the room would not be ready until much later.   Four women in what is essentially a queen size bed was NOT fun!  I didn’t sleep much at all.On the third day we went to London and got another hotel.  We dropped off our bags at the hotel before heading out to sight see.  We saw Big Ben, London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.  We followed that with dinner at an Irish Pub where most of us got the Fish and Chips, which was much better than the first time I had tried it years ago in another England Pub.


  

We had planned to go out to the club scene that night but were pretty tired by the end of the day so we just headed back to our hotel for the evening.

The next day we would be leaving for Paris but that didn’t go quite as planned…

 

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Must Dine at Marmalade!

After doing research for my Puerto Rico trip, I had already decided that I needed to eat at Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar. I had the concierge make 6:30 PM reservations for me on Saturday. When I arrived, I was promptly seated and was amazed at the decor that looked nothing like I imagined based on the restaurant’s outside entrance.  The ambiance and decor was beautiful  I would definitely recommend this place for a romantic date night, but there were groups and other singletons dining or waiting for their party at the bar.

My waitress, Rachel, or Ray for short as she prided, was very fast talking, but attentive all night. She knew the menu well and was patient with me as I decided between doing the 4 or 5 course tasting options, and my individual menu options. She was awesome!

Ultimately I decided on the 5 course option, with the paired wine.

Lucky for me, the options I chose were paired with white wine, except for my main dish.  I’m normally not that indecisive with food, since I know what I like, but because I had read several reviews it made it a bit more difficult to decide.  All of the reviews raved about the white bean soup. But since I loathe beans (any kind) I was rather reluctant to choose that as one of my courses. But Ray was so awesome that she brought me a shot-size serving of the soup, which was good.   Just not what I had expected given the many rave reviews I read online. She also served me the wine it was paired with. WINNING!

Here is what I ordered:

“Popcorn Shrimp”
cilantro & garlic grilled shrimp lacquered with anejo tequila
rest atop pablano guacamole and ancho-chili spiced popcorn 
 
Paella
“sushi esque” bite size pieces of crispy andalusian style paella
filled with smoked chicken, peas & peppers flavored
with a saffron- garlic espuma & a chorizo-tomato sauce
 
Spaghetti Squash
poached in coconut water scented with ginger, orange peel and cilantro
alongside spiced cashews resting beneath an espuma of yellow curry
 
Queen Red Snapper
poached in a Thai style curry & coconut broth
served over a bed of jasmine rice & finished
with a spiced steamed shrimp sesame dumpling
 
Warm Banana & Butterscotch Bread Pudding
brazilian nut & aged rum ice cream
 
My favorite course was the Popcorn Shrimp, anything that has cilantro on it, is a winner for me. I love that stuff!  The Paella came in second and the Spaghetti Squash, last.  I cooked spaghetti squash a few weeks prior and was looking for additional recipes. But this missed the bus and was only slightly enjoyable because of the cashews. 
 
I enjoyed the Bread Pudding but opted for regular vanilla ice cream instead of the rum ice cream.
 
I have photos of the wines that were paired but after a few glasses, I can’t quite remember which wine was paired with which dish. What I do know is that my favorite wine of the night was the Chateau Montfort Vouvray. I wonder if I can find it my local wine store.
 
Although I had only 5 courses, I had almost 7 glasses (half glasses) of wine. I was full and in a “great place” by the time I left Marmalade.  I will definitely be back on my next trip to Puerto Rico.  
 
Marmalade was a great experience, but it was not cheap.  My bill was over $100 bucks and with 20% tip the total was $150. But because I did my research beforehand I budgeted accordingly.
 
 
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