from the weekend: the farmers’ market & memories of Paris

farm market blue & greenBlueberries and sweet green peas from the Mountain View Farmers’ Market on Sunday.

Thank you Kerry & Fred for letting me tag along! I can’t wait to go back and get some homemade stuffed cabbage rolls, or for those of us who grew up in Polish households: gołąbki (pronounced goWUMPkee).

I haven’t had “piggies in the blanket” in a very long time. Actually, I can’t recall the last time I had my mother’s stuffed cabbage rolls, but quite unexpectedly, my husband and I had some that were just as good – if not better – while on our first trip to Paris, fifteen years ago this summer. As we spent the morning exploring the neighborhood around our tiny hotel in the 7th, we stumbled upon Le Florimond and after reading the menu posted outside, an older couple (elegantly dressed as all Parisians seem to be) gestured to us that we couldn’t go wrong. And with that, we rushed back to our hotel to make a reservation … only to learn (with great disappointment) they were booked solid.

Except, wait … one moment … if we would be willing to come early, they’d squeeze us in. We were thrilled! An early dinner suited us just fine and a few hours later, dressed up and excited beyond measure, we experienced the best of French hospitality and had the best meal of our lives. We started with two glasses of Champagne (as one should when dining in France) and were presented with some lovely amuse-bouche, my first ever. Initially surrounded by empty tables, but then slowly by French speaking locals, my husband and I had what we both agree, will always be, our most memorable meal and a true peak life experience – so much so that the following day we made reservations to return several nights later, willing to try dining at eight no less.

On our following visit we were warmly greeted and had yet another memorable evening – once again surrounded by the hushed voices of French speaking locals.* Having thoroughly enjoyed a delicious rabbit on our first visit, I turned my attention to the other words on the menu that had caught my attention:  recette de ma grand-mère.

Recipe of my grandmother” I understood, but “Chou farci” left me confused. Thankfully, our host Laurent solved the mystery; you guessed it, it was his grandmother’s recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls! They were superb, along with everything else (especially the Millefeuille for dessert, followed by coffee). It was a meal I’ll always remember.

For a more definitive description of Polish stuffed cabbage (and a recipe that I really ought to try), click here to read “You Say Gołąbki … I Say Galumpkis” by Rosie Hawthorne. I also found this recipe at The Grazer, a food based blog written Anna Hedworth (even though this doesn’t actually look anything like the stuffed cabbage I grew up eating or was served at Le Florimond in Paris, this recipe makes my mouth water).

The Mountain View Farmers’ Market: Sundays 9am – 1 pm, rain or shine. Located at the CalTrain station in Mountain View, northern California.

Le Florimond, 19 Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, 75007 Paris, France

* We returned to our beloved Le Florimond several years later and while the food, hospitality and service were all still excellent, the magic spell was broken; we were surrounded by Americans, many of whom were quite loud. Regardless, I hope to return one day soon; perhaps to celebrate our anniversary.





On this day …

Anzio Beach Head War CemeteryOn this, the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, I’d like to take a moment to honor all those men and women who served so selflessly and gave their lives for others.

Anzio Unknown Soldier 2

During WWII, my father took part in the amphibious landings at Nettuno and Anzio, Italy – sometimes known as “the forgotten D-Day” – and was lucky enough to make it back home alive. He never talked about the horrors he witnessed while serving as a medic attached to the 33rd Field Hospital – Hell’s Half Acre, but he always honored those who didn’t return home to their families.

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 3In 2010, my sister and I traveled to Anzio to get a sense of the place where our dad served and to pay our respects at the Beach Head War Cemetery.

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 1 Anzio War Cemetery Grave 2So many young lives cut short …

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 4so many families torn apart.

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 5 Anzio War Cemetery Grave 6

I’d like to thank their families …

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 7and tell them they aren’t forgotten.

Anzio War Cemetery Grave 8 Anzio War Cemetery Grave 9Anzio Unknown Soldier 1

We will never forget the sacrifices made by both the soldiers and the civilian populations.

Anzio monument to civilians

Sadly, we didn’t get to visit the Sicily – Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, but I fully intend to on my next trip.