Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Invite

Many of you may not have gotten this. It's not a personal insult, so please don't take it as such. I had no idea how many people there were in the world until I had to start listing them. Added to BJ's list and both of our parents' lists, let's just say people are bound to get lost in the cracks. Every day I have a revelation as to someone that I left out (or in one case, an entire group of people) and feel awful. But then I decided, hey, this is my wedding. I'm not gonna spend the entire time feeling guilty. So, if you never got one I ask that you do one of two things a) blame it on the post office (there is at least one person I know I sent one to that has never gotten it and several invites that have been returned) or b) give me your forgiveness as a wedding present. Let's all be friends, k? And with that, let me present to you... our invite!

Map to the Riverton reception (1454 Riverton Ranch Rd. Riverton, Utah. Tomorrow, June 20, from 7-9) can be found here.

Map to the Idaho reception (13134 N. 130 E. Ririe, Idaho. Next Friday, June 27, from 7-9) can be found here. (This'un was a bit trickier. I had to set it up as getting directions to a specific place. Hope it works!)

Also, we're registered at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.
BJ: "Gifts welcome."

Friday, June 6, 2008

France, part 9 - Lunch at Le Beouf sur la Place

So, I'm noticing that my blogs are centered around food. Well, what can you expect when I spend my entire day at work and eat such crazy meals? Don't worry, I'm gathering up pics for a more random picture blog. Also, I'm in the airport, waiting for my flight to Paris. I'm sure I'll have some fun non-food pictures there. Also, I didn't eat breakfast yesterday, so you don't have to see another picture of that. I suppose I could have taken a picture of my orange juice can from my mini-bar... oh well. Too late now.

Lunch today was at a very French restaurant (cuz they haven't been before now?) in Pessac (where we actually are. About 20 (?) km outside of Bordeaux. Isn't this just a fun picture? A large collection of tables outside... it just seems French to me. We sat inside, though, which I was grateful for, because it was a kind of cold day, and I didn't have a jacket. (Smart, Tianna. Don't pack a jacket. You're cold-blooded, for heaven's sake!)

JP likes to take pictures of everything. Her camera didn't have a good enough zoom, however, to get a good picture of these coffee cups, so I took it for her. I have to admit, despite the fact that I hate that smell, the cups are kind of cute.

Here is my placemat. "Eet ees everyting French! Wine, goat cheese, and bread." I was amazed at how beautiful the drawing was for something that was just thrown away. No, I did not keep it.

Here is our menu. Once again, all in French and no pictures. JP got the top middle one. Her potatoes were good, but I wasn't really in the mood to try crazy foods like she was. Plus, it had the pattee stuff like she had the night before, which was much better than the raw fish, I must admit, but I wouldn't want to eat it in large quantities. By this point, my stomach was just begging for a Hawaiian pizza or mashed potatoes. In fact, I went home that night and begged BJ for real food when I get home.

I ended up getting something off a hand-written menu: Salade, Serrano, tomates, mazaxelle, melon 14 €. Translation: Salad with tomatoes and mozzarella and melon on top of ham. "Is the ham cooked?" (I was paranoid by now.) "Umm.. I don't know. I seenk maybe not." "Well, if it is, can they make it without it? Or at least put it on the side?" He asked the waitress. Apparently I was making a fuss, because they argued back and forth for awhile, though she would randomly laugh, so I wasn't afraid I had made her angry. (Though, for the record, it was really busy, so I couldn't blame her for being frustrated at taking longer at our table.) When she left, Franck informed me that it was entirely up to the cook and whether he was in a good mood or not. I crossed my fingers. I guess we caught him on a good day, because they ended up putting everything on the side. (Yes, the ham was raw.) I have to say, the tomatoes and mozzarella were really good together. (JP says one of her favorite treats is melted cheese and tomatoes on toast. I must try this. It also had some unknown spice, some crazy pepper that has to be a mix of peppers and sea salt. The salad had sprouts and tomatoes and lettuce and was again drenched in some sort of vinaigrette that was far too strong for its own good. Poor Franck always looked up when I was pulling a face because the dressing was too strong. I'm sure he thought I hated it. It wasn't too bad. Especially with the cantaloupe that was divine... even with the spices and dressing on it. Though, I will admit that I was coveting JP's potatoes. She let me have one and they were good. Really good. But I do tend to favor potatoes... I'm an Idaho girl! :) But by the end, I was too full to even eat what she had left over.
Next... dessert! Having been impressed by the île flottante at the Hippopotamus, I decided to have another go at it. I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten half of it... so it looked a lot better about 3 minutes prior to this. But let's just say, it was delicious. These amazing desserts make the crazy gross food almost worth it. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

France, part 8 - seafood dinner

After the beach, Franck and Phillip took us to this crazy French restaurant on the beach. Because it was on the beach, guess what kind of food they served? You guessed it! This is what I saw on the way in... needless to say, I was slightly nervous.

Here is our menu. Feel free to enlarge it. With no pictures this time, Franck and Phillip spent a lot of time detailing the menu for us. It was a three-course meal. For the starter, I got the white fish with coconut, for dinner, the bas, for dessert, the chocolate cake with red fruits on top. Let's see how I fared...

Here's the white fish with coconut. Umm... they forgot to mention that the fish was raw!!! Eww! Gross. I didn't even realize it until my fork was almost in my mouth. Y'know, the point where you just can't stop it. And once it was in, I couldn't just spit it out. Talk about rude in a fancy, shamancy restaurant. So I swallowed. But not w/o gagging first. I had no napkin in hand, so I just put my hand in front of my mouth to hide my rudeness. But JP saw the horrible look on my face and busted out laughing. I quickly swallowed and drank a bunch of water and joined her in her continued giggling. We both giggled randomly throughout the rest of the night. In fact, if you mention it to her, I'm sure she'll start giggling again. Needless to say, I did not even attempt to finish that one. Tom finished it and Dennis got really close. Kudos to both of them. (Though, I did see Dennis struggling with a straight face a couple of times.) The stick in front was some sort of pastry and it was really good. The cherry tomatoes to the left were super potent (Travis' worst nightmare, I'm sure) and the brown stick they were sitting on wasn't a stick, come to find out, it was some sort of tomato paste. Remarkably good, actually. (Thanks to JP for being brave and trying it first!) Oh, and what's that stuff on the garnish that looks remarkably like bits of raspberries and blackberries?

... caviar! (Gross. And no, I didn't eat it.)

Now on to the main course. The sea bass. This was decidedly more tasty. Quite good, in fact. It is sitting on top of a bunch of apparently really expensive mushrooms. "Ehh.. not too bad. Probably two one hundred euros per kilo." That's like, $300-400! "But eet ees not as expenseeve as zee ... what you call it? black, under zee ground [we later figured out they were truffles]. Zose sell for one or two sousand euros per keelo." No wonder these people have no problem forking out 38 euros for dinner as if it were McDonalds.

Check out JP's shrimp! That thing is huge! Though, once you got past the shell and all that (which she had to pull off by hand), it ended up being about the size of the shrimp back home. She ended up trading her plate with Franck to have the same thing I had. (That was the plan from the beginning. They'd get different plates and she'd try both. If she liked his better, they'd swap.)

Finally, dessert! Once again, the French have outdone themselves. This chocolate cake was super moist, even still a bit doughy (but in a good way... like undercooked brownies) with really delicious french vanilla ice cream on top. It's sitting on top of some sort of sauce that I couldn't quite place. It was a little tart, but really sweet, too. If that's possible. There was also some raspberry sauce at the bottom which was amazing. Then there was one raspberry (which was a shame, because that raspberry was packed full of flavor) and one... I dunno what. It's the orange thing on the left. It looks like a cherry tomato when you bite into it, but it doesn't taste like a tomato at all. More like an... apricot, maybe? The flavor was familiar, but I couldn't place it. Tom said he accidentally planted some one year in his garden... he thought it was a tomato plant. It had some clearish leaves (That turned yellow upon drying) that apparently grow around the fruit. Anyone know what it is? And lastly, there was the stick-looking thing. If you recognize it, you know what it is. A pastry-like thing with chocolate flavoring. Mmmmm.. Seriously... the best way to end any dinner.

And lastly... guess what I ate? You'll never guess. Escargot! That's right, snail. Don't believe me? I didn't think you would. So JP took a video for us. (After I did it, the pressure was on. Tom did it, then Dennis (I have pictures of both), then JP did it. She was rather nervous, but we peer pressured her into it. And we got a video of her, too. Now no one can doubt!) (Also, I kept the shell to bring home as a souvenir. Though, they took it with my plate and I had to have Franck ask for it back. Every time the waiter came near our table for the rest of the meal, I guess he said something about it, then would leave. Finally he brought it back. Did you know that when snail shells are wet, they are really super soft? To the point of easily tearing? Learn something new every day. Don't worry, it's really hard again, and you can't even see the torn part unless you know where it is.)

It's not as easy to see on this little screen, but the couple on the right of the video realize what I'm doing halfway through and are really entertaining to watch. She looks so full of pity for me. Bless her heart.

France, part 7 - Where Tianna goes to the beach! ... sort of

Another blog of small blogs, for sake of space.

After work, Franck and Phillip (the two i2s guys we worked with) decided to take us to the beach, since it was only 40 mins away and I had never been to the ocean. I approved. Well, we never actually made it to the beach, per se... we made it to the top of a giant sand dune that separated the beach from the forest we parked in. Here are a few of my pictures from the beach. I'll explain 4 at a time.

Me at the bottom of the dune; my first view of the ocean; the guys waiting for us up top (cuz JP and I liked to stop and take pictures. They're learning how to wait quite well); and some random guy playing the guitar up top.

A view of the Atlantic ocean looking west; our two guides: Franck and Phillip; I'm not sure what the flag is for, but I liked the picture; on the way down the dune (we didn't take the stairs this time), we discovered that or legs could easily be swallowed by sand. Look how far JP's leg is! She's pointing to her knee for a reference.

A view of the forest; a random tree I thought was cool; you know how I love taking pictures of flowers... esp. when they're not really flowers, but rather greenery pretending to be flowers; Terrasse anyone? We don't want you to get lost or confused!

You can find graffiti anywhere!; I liked the texture of this building wall; the guys waiting for us... again. :)

France, part 6 - lunch at the Hippopotamus

i2s (pronounced eye two ess) decided to take us to lunch. Nice of them, really. So they took us to this restaurant called the Hippopotamus. (This picture makes it look like a hole-in-the-wall, but it's just the back. The trees block the rest of the building which was decently sized.) First they gave us menus in French. Luckily, they had pictures. You think I'm indecisive at American restaraunts when I can read the menu? Hah! You ain't seen nuthin' yet. We all probably sat there for 15-20 mins, just trying to decide. Well, except Dennis. He just always gets steak. Wouldn't it be nice to always just know what to order? Also, they brought us out English menus halfway through. They were much smaller... much less detail. Though, to be fair, we couldn't read the detail on the French menu. They didn't do a very good job explaining what everything was, this time, though (They have since improved dramatically). Even in English we couldn't figure out what everything was. And even the stuff I did understand, I had never tried before.

I ended up ordering goat cheese on toast atop lettuce and raw beef (I'm sure it was raw) "cooked" (I think they mean soaked... maybe boiled for 10 seconds) in lemon juice. I tried one piece of the meat and never touched it again. I ate one full piece of toast and goat cheese, but that goat cheese is really thick and I maybe gagged once cuz my mouth was so full of it. Luckily, no one saw it, since I got my napkin up so quickly. :) I started on the second piece but just couldn't finish it. Also, I ate a fair share of the lettuce. Despite being dripping in lemon to the point of pucker power, it was still the tastiest thing on that plate.
To make up for the less-than-stellar main course, JP and I happened upon the best thing about France... their desserts. This dessert takes the cake. (No pun intended.) It was a sampler platter including (starting on the right and going counter clockwise) strawberrie, chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks (which was quite amazing), pineapple that tasted remarkably like cobbler or something, crème brûlée (thought of you, Kristy!), and île flottante. That was divinely delicious. It's basically beaten egg whites (meringue, if you will) atop a vanilla-like pudding. I may have to learn to make it.

Needless to say, I was quite stuffed.

Oh, and don't forget the mints on the way out. JP calls them Hippomints. Not to be confused with Picklemints like I thought she was saying. :)
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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

France, part 5 - work

Yes, yes, it's true. We're actually working over here, too! Believe it or not. This bright orange and yellow building is the home of i2s, the company who produces our Copibook scanner. Well, let's just say you'd never get lost going to work...

This is the bit of forest they have preserved while building all these new buildings around i2s. I kind of like all of the trees here. It's pretty.

Just some greenery. You know how much I like plants! You can't tell, but there's some pretty flowering looking stuff behind all of that that doesn't show through in the picture. Maybe I'll take another picture today? (Yipes! I'm almost late for work! A shout out to JP who reminded me that I had OJ in the mini bar or I would have starved to death today!)

Welcome to i2s! The people who have made this wonderful trip to France possible.

Thank you for your visit to my blog! :)

Maybe I should tell a little bit about work. And only a little bit because I only have 5 mins left! We got to work and the guy (Franck) started training us on how to use the Copibook. I was slightly bored as I already knew how to use the Copibook. Luckily, he would randomly throw in random tidbits that I had no clue of, and it would make me pay attention and be worth my while. Then we went to lunch, which I'll blog about next, and came back and whoa... food mixed with jet lag? Bad combination. Dennis, Tom and I all were nodding off the rest of the afternoon. JP did a fabulous job keeping her eyes open... even if her brain wasn't working. :) Sadly, this is the part that I actually thought we were coming for.... the technical stuff! What cords plug in where, etc. Luckily there's a technical manual. [whew!]

France, part 4 - breakfast at hotel

Breakfast was yummy. For drink we had a choice between orange, apple (I think?) and "Multivitamin". JP and I both decided to be brave and got the Multivitamin. It was actually quite tasty. Then there was the yogurt (back middle). Honey flavored. Think texture of yogurt and flavor of pure honey. You now have my yogurt. It was ... interesting. Not bad, though. Then there was fruit. The strawberries were good. The peach was yummy. (I ate some before I remembered to take the picture.) The kiwi had a very interesting cut and was really good... at least the part that wanted to come out. The core was pretty stuck. Bananas were good. The eggs were divine... oh, so good. And we grabbed some bread (we're in France!) on the way out. Sorry, no picture. JP got some filled with chocolate, though. I got a croissant. Both were good. Crazy part? It was 15 Euros! (Well, JP's blog says 14.50 euros. My door says 15. Maybe the extra .5 is if you get room service?) Seriously people, does that plate look like it's worth $23 to you? Not to me! My favorite was the little do dah pictured at the right. "Value: Top quality, the best selection at an affordable price guaranteeing excellent value for money." (emphasis mine) $23 for a handful of fruit is affordable?! Who are these people?! I'm starting to think that all French are super rich. Though, I have a suspicion it's only because we're staying in a super nice hotel and being taken to dinner by the company we're visiting. Hopefully Paris won't be this bad. Granted, I'm not paying for anything but tourism and souveniers, but if prices are anything like here, no one is getting anything. Just be grateful if I return alive and healthy. Maybe I'll give you a toothpick from the plane. (Don't think that I won't!... Ok, I can't get all of you a toothpick from the plane...)
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

France, part 3 - dinner at hotel

So... you remember St. Peter's fish from Galilee? Remember how I ate that whole fish, including the fish eye? Yeah, that was gross. So tonight we went down to the hotel restaurant for dinner. (About time, too. I was starving, what with having dinner cruelly taken from me and sleeping through breakfast.) I looked at the menu and laughed, because they were all super expensive and foods that I've never heard of, or have never tried. Things like Duck Minon. They had a Mixed Grill, which seemed very Middle Eastern, except it was duck and a few other fancy meats. Dennis got a steak, but I'm not a huge fan of steak. But I was too scared to spend that much money on something I might not like. So I had her skip me. JP got the Catch of the Day, to which the waitress replied with something none of us understood, but she looked at JP with anticipation, as if waiting for a response. I then stopped paying attention, because I needed to pick a meal. Then Tom picked something, which I didn't hear, and she came back to me. I decided to be safe and went with lamb. The waitress left, but came back a few minutes later to tell me that they were out of lamb. [rolls eyes] Of course they were. Then she turned to JP and said that mysterious "troot" again. What in the world does "troot" mean? At some point JP got frustrated and just told her she'd have whatever Tom was having. She kept repeating "troot" to JP, which confused us all, until she said, "Troot. Catch of the Day." [light turns on] Me: "Trout?" Waitress: "Catch of the day, yes?" Me: "Yes. Trout?" Waitress: [light turns on] "Oui, oui. Troot!" Me: "Y'know what? I'll have that. The Catch of the Day. Trout." Waitress: "Ok. Troout." (This was an effort to say trout, though troot still wanted to be said.)
Awhile later our food came out. The three steaks came first. JP wanted hers well-done, so she asked to make sure she got the well-done one. The waitress examined JP's and Tom's and finally switched the plates, but then switched the sauces back. Turns out, Dennis got the well-done one. We're all confused as to what happened. Then out came mine. It was a trout alright. In fact, it was the catch of the day. Probably caught that very morning. There before me lay a full trout. Head, tail, everything. It wasn't even sliced along the ribs like the St. Peter's fish was. (I also think the eyes were removed from this'un. Either that or trout have much smaller eyes than do St. Peter's fish.) The only slice was down the belly, making it easy to lift the skin up and over to get at the meat. Also, the fish bones were everywhere. I don't understand how anyone could eat this without using their fingers. It's just not prim and proper to pick bones off the meat on your fork. But I wasn't about to eat all of those fish bones, either. All in all, once I got over the fact that the actual animal was sitting on my plate, staring up to me, it was really good fish. Mmmm...
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France, part 2 - flying

Ok, we'll go for smaller pics on this'un, since there are many.

This was the last bit of awesomeness inside the terminal. The Eiffel Tower on the desk. Heh.

Here we have a tote bag that they gave us to commemorate the first flight! Inside was a t-shirt. Y'know, it's times like this that I wish I were a large, because I can never wear free t-shirts I get. Present, BJ? :D

Look! I'm in SLC! The line is the route we're about to take. So, it's off to Canada with us.

Next, our menu. You may have to click the picture to be able to read it. I believe I heard somewhere that our food was supposed to be worthy of first class. (JP disagrees. She thinks it was gross food. I thought, for airline food, it was fairly decent.)

As we left, the Utah fire department sent us off with fire hoses shooting water over the plane. It was kinda cool. So first we have the people on the runway watching us leave. Then we have the first sighting of a fire truck. Jess, the rainbow is for you. In fact, it follows us into the third picture where the water is so dense that you really can't see anything except that. And then the last picture is my favorite. You can see the fire truck in the background and the water running down the window. If I had a picture a day blog, this'd totally be my picture.

I see the temple, I win! :) SLC and Bountiful. I rock.

Dinner! I had some sort of chicken with mushroom thing. Though, I saw more rice and beans than mushrooms. So, I wasn't feeling top notch, so I only ate a little bit at a time. I finished my salad and got a little way into the chicken and beans when they came to pick up the trash. I told her I wasn't finished and she moved on. Then a little while later I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, my food was gone. Including the brownie. Which JP said was divine. [pout]

Now we start the flight. Follow my progress via the television. (You can tell when we were watching a movie, because there are large gaps, whereas towards the end of the flight, when there was nothing but map on the screen, the pictures get closer and closer together. Also, I was getting more and more excited that the plane ride was almost over.) I thought about doing commentary for all of these, but I thought it'd make this section too long. So, brief commentary... yay! Look at me fly over Canada. And the ocean! Now we're over Europe. :D Awesome. Ok, so this is a flight from SLC to Paris. Everything is in English and French, understandably. So why is this screen in Spanish instead of French? Weird. Look! We're over England! Carli, I'm probably right over you! Except you're probably still in Istanbul... Look! I've traveled 5,481 miles! Yipes! So close now; we're in street view, even. Almost there! Then I stopped taking pictures because we were hitting turbulence and descending quickly and it was simply a much better idea for me to be closing my eyes and not trying to focus on the screen. There was a great shot of the plane sitting atop Paris on the map when we landed, but the lady sitting in front of the map stood up with her baby and I just couldn't get a clear shot.

Isn't this a cool looking airport? (This is Bordeaux. I didn't get any pictures between Paris and Bordeaux. Sorry. I was a little grumpy as I had slept through breakfast and was rather starving at this point. Also, my knee was hurting after 10 hours of not being able to stretch it. Though, I did get a little sandwich and juice on the second flight.) I wish I could have gotten a better shot for you. It was a gigantic glass caterpillar. At least, that's what it looked like.

Here's the little plane we flew in from Paris to Bordeaux.

Here are the nice men fixing the escalator. (It was kind of weird to see men standing in the escalator...)

Welcome to Bordeaux! Famous for its many wines! (Yes, this is where we picked up our luggage. There were two of these gigantic wine bottles. Also, every advertisement on the wall was for some sort of wine. Now we Mormons really are the weird ones. Why would you come to Bordeaux if you didn't drink? You should've seen the look on the waitress' face when we said we just wanted water... but dinner is for the next post.