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Well, it’s 2:30 PM. I’ve translated some Mozart, vocalised in preparation for my lesson later, and printed out my ticket for Philippe Fénelon’s La Cerisaie at the Palais Garnier tonight, where I will not be sitting in Box 5.

Mom and David left on Saturday morning. We had a really wonderful visit, and ate an extraordinary amount of delicious things. Here’s a run-down of some of our favorites:

-Mussels in some kind of cream and cheese and leeks and garlic at Bergamote. Unreal. We came to the conclusion early on that we could all be happy with appetizers and desserts.

-Escargot with parsley purée (I think) and what had to have been crème fraiche at Bar à Manger. Perfect little salty bites, without a shell to negotiate.

-Duck muffin at Bar à Manger. I ordered the pumpkin soup solely because it was accompanied by a muffin au magret fumé. And I’m glad I did, because we were talking about the duck muffin for the rest of the trip. They took a pretty basic, plain muffin, almost like a corn muffin, and then they kicked it up another notch–BAM! (if you will)–by adding morsels of smoked duck. I thought I had died and gone to culinary heaven. When I go home and have my own kitchen and muffin tins and stuff, I am going to make duck muffins.

-Cheesecake at Helmut Newcake. Mom is gluten-free (though she relaxed it a bit for this trip!), and our friend David Lebovitz had blogged about the only gluten-free bakery in Paris a few days earlier. So off we went to métro Goncourt, for some obscenely delicious cheesecake, among other things. In addition to having a gluten-free crust, this cheesecake has an amazing light texture, a little crumbly, and it just melts in your mouth. Mmm.

-Macarons at Foucher, near the Palais Garnier. This is where I had my first macaron in Paris, so I took Mom there, and later Mom and David (we couldn’t stay away!). I’m faithful to my chocolat croque sel and passion chocolat lait (passionfruit cookies with chocolate cream inside? yes please!), but Mom’s favorite was the caramel beurre salé.

-Couscous and tadjin at Le Tassili. This little restaurant is in my neighborhood, in the 14ème, and everything about it hit the spot. We had two different kinds of couscous–one whole wheat, and one white perfumed with some kind of flower–roasted chicken that just fell off the bone, ratatouille, lamb tadjin and chick peas. To drink we had incredibly delicious sweet tea. The waiter, who had to also be the owner of the place, said “Bienvenue” every time he stopped at our table. The funny thing is, when I gushed to my dorm-mates about this place, none of them had ever even seen it before. (I chose it mainly because I walk past it every time I walk my favorite bus route, and it’s so inviting; it’s painted turquoise and red and looks a little old-fashioned.)

-Hot chocolate and Mont Blanc at Angelina. We went to Angelina as much for the atmosphere as for the goodies. It manages to maintain an intimate, teahouse feel while still catering to plenty of tourists and serving massive amounts of people. I decided that Mom and David HAD to try the Mont Blanc, but in the end, I ate most of it, being a chestnut fiend. The hot chocolate was thick and glorious, and David also had a lemon tart that looked phenomenal (but which I didn’t taste, so I don’t know for sure).

I think that’s about it for food, though I feel like I’ve forgotten something. Thanks, Mom and David, for flying eleven hours to spend the week with me!

Moving right along…on Saturday evening I had a choir concert out in Saint-Germain-en-Laye at 8:30, which meant I had to arrive at 3 PM to rehearse. Luckily, I hitched a ride with Laure (who drives incredibly fast and with little regard for the lane lines, on roads that are scarier than the S-curves!), so I didn’t have to worry about the train.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye is gorgeous. Here’s the castle, and the church we sang in:

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And the town was too picturesque for words, with some lovely upscale shopping. I had some dinner and wandered around for a while, being a total tourist.

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This is perplexing:

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How do they keep it from dying? (How indeed…)

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And then it was so unbearably cold that I went into the Galeries, where I bought an optimistically spring-like dress and had a cup of coffee with a speculoos cookie on the side (NB: maybe somebody can enlighten me, but I have no idea what speculoos is supposed to taste like. It’s almost like a ginger snap without the ginger…delicious anyway!).

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The concert went reasonably well. I felt good about my own singing, and of course it’s always fun to wail a little on the Brahms Requiem. The conductor’s wife told me before the rehearsal that a man had called them twice to find out who I was (he had heard me sing at the last concert, at Notre Dame de Travail in Paris), and that he would be in the audience again that night. The man did approach me at intermission, and again after the concert. Apparently his son is a very accomplished violinist in New York, with a string quartet, and this man had been thoroughly enchanted by my singing and wondered if I’d be interested in singing a concert with his son. I was just like, have your people e-mail my people. Validation!

I’m starting to fade a little as I write this, and my room is deliciously warm and humid (thanks, petites machines!), so I’m going to go ahead and sleep for an hour before I have to leave for my voice lesson and thence for the opera.

Bisous,
Anne

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