Friday, May 15, 2009

Some tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and some balsamic

 I've been thinking a lot lately that it was now ten years ago (today actually) that I left for Europe. I hadn't met the husband, that was a about a month off. Funny now looking back and remembering what was about to come, who I would meet, how my life was going to completely change and yet not know any of it. I was just happy to leave Missouri, shlepp my bags through customs in Atlanta and land in Germany. I still want to do that. Almost daily. Except I want to with my family, not by myself. I can't help it, it is the gypsy in me. That summer for Memorial Day I went to Mont St. Michael and Normandy. It was one of the most incredible sights. There are still huge craters from where bombs exploded. We saw the American Cemetery. It was so humbling. The husband went to Normandy too a few weeks after I did. We still hadn't met.    Pointe du Hoc 

   American Cemetery

          Mont. St. Michael


When I think that a decade has passed I just can't fathom it. Living there was so life changing for me. I miss how slowly life flows in Europe. I can sit all day and day dream about living there. 

One of favorite things to do is to eat outside. Sidewalk cafes. Just linger. This is challenging with children, but the boy likes novel things and would probably put up with it for a while. Yet, sidewalk cafes, al fresco dining where one can linger are bit difficult to find here. There are a couple of streets in Boulder and downtown Denver that afford you this luxury. They let you know it too. It seems pretentious and trendy here. Not relaxing but uptight, who can be more organic and granola than the next cafe.

While on the Normandy trip my family and I ate at a restaurant in Caen. Most eating establishments on the continent will throw out some tables and chairs near their front door. Usually just plastic nothing special. So naturally we ate outside. It was wonderful. I think I may have dumped my wine on the table. Or perhaps it was the Manny. But it was still great. Unlike the previous evenings tangle with mussels for the first time. Um, thanks but no thanks. Later the Manny and I joined in on some sort of outdoor festival going on that night.  I was proud I got use the one French phrase I know: 
non, je ne parle pas Français. 

There is something about lingering over conversation with family or friends outside with wine or iceless soda if you prefer. You are never rushed. Eating out is so one can enjoy them self, not to shove over salted three portion sizes too large food in you as fast as you can with sports and *flare* blaring all around and then hurried with the check. Plus my favorite Caprese salad is a staple throughout Europe. The husband and my first date was a simple margarita sitting outside in a square in Luxembourg. I have noticed traveling about most places have plazas or squares. In Cuernavaca it was called the Zocolo. In Germany it was the fußägnger zone. I know that Pearl Street in Boulder is a small version of this. As is the microscopic Writers Square or 16th St. Mall in Denver. Oh sure we have our pre-fab pedestrian malls near us that have the exact same chain stores and restaurants that are everywhere in strip mall America that "pretend" to be a plaza /square/promenade. They are generally named: Theoverpricedchainstorerestaurants at the PlazaSquarePromenade. I am not looking for anything fancy, nothing commercial or trendy, just relaxing and outside that serves a Caprese salad. Perhaps I am too picky. Perhaps I am too nostalgic. 

5 comments:

Ann said...

I lived in the South of France for 5 years in my early twenties and I still miss it even now, 13 years later. Maybe one day I'll get back there...

The Slightly Morose Manny said...

New Orleans is like that as I recall, but I know what you mean. Monterey attempts to be like that but it is catering to tourists, it doesn't care about the locals.

love2cook said...

Sounds like wonderful memories in your life. Just think how many wonderful memories you're making now and how many you will make in the next 10 years. I'm sure there are some hidden treasures in your area for outdoor places. Yelp is a great place to look for that.

Pictures are beautiful :)

my3SmallBears said...

Oh man, you make me want to go there even more than I did already! Sounds fantastic! Maybe when the kiddos are older...

Melissa said...

I want to go - you make it sound so great! (Especially since it was sans children!)

Melissa
www.imaginationsoup.net