Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello everybody and Merry Christmas Eve to you all! I know I've been showcasing my photos from Paris lately but I thought it was only appropriate to [finally] make my Christmas Market post I promised a little while back. So here are the photos from the Christmas Market in Gendarmenmarkt!
Also read to the end for some exciting news and to figure out where Part I is!

The entrance was very pretty as was the large Christmas tree!

Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt Part II

Monday, December 23, 2013

I don't know about you but I love grocery shopping in foreign countries. Seeing what locals eat is like the key to becoming them for a few days. I always want to be French in France, Italian in Italy, Japanese in Japan, and well, the only places that don't apply are Germany and America because I feel like I've exhausted my need to be either by now. =3=

Oli and I bought a few things to cook dinner. Of course Oli wanted burgers! And naturally I wanted salad. Ha ha.

Paris in Snaps V

It was after the food poisoning that I was battling my desire for trying new things with my actual need for comfort. My friend and host Sophie told me that I should go to Rue Saint Anne near the Pyramides Metro stop because there I can find many Japanese restaurants and shops. I did just that and found Aki, a restaurant which also has a Boulangerie (bakery)!

The chalkboard menu outside is super cute!
Alas I only got a Onigiri (riceball) with sour plum. It felt good to eat rice . . . 

The place was very popular and there was a good mix of French and Japanese people. They also had lovely looking bentos but they all had meat and it made my stomach do back flips. If you are ever in Paris and looking for some Japanese food, go down this street! And look for Aki!

Paris in Snaps IV

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finding the right bakery can be hard sometimes. There's so many and all you want is a flaky pastry right now~! It's easy to just buy one anywhere but guaranteed most of the time it's a disappointment. Sometimes you do luck out and find one that's really good. A tip may be to look for one marked Artisan because it means they make it in house!

Paris in Snaps III

The French love their cheese SO FRIGGIN MUCH! I do too but after a week of cheese, I didn't want anymore! The one good thing is that many French people like to go to their respective providers for their food so a Fromagerie can be found on many streets. You can also buy top notch stuff at a Farmer's Market (ask them for samples and they will provide!)

Paris in Snaps II

Welcome to Paris in snaps! I will post a few pictures of Paris in snaps, the way I did last year. A few things I will write out more extensively, but look forward to seeing how I spent my time in Paris!

Oli and I eating out of brown paper bags our Parisian Pastries.

Paris in Snaps I

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hello everybody, I'm back from a small hiatus! I just want to clue you all in on what's been going on.

I recently took a trip out to Paris and although I had internet access there, I was with Oli and I didn't really want to make any full updates. I just wanted to go out and enjoy the vacation. What ended up happening instead was that he got food poisoning and two days later, so did I! It was really really awful. Every time I thought about food, I got nauseous, and I was taking a few different kind of pills every few hours to make the symptoms go away.

I am feeling better now but I still can't eat the way I was eating. I'm taking it easy by eating mostly fruits and vegetables and soups.

On that note, I haven't forgotten about the blog. I'm just really stuck in a rut lately. There's a lot of things I want to do and projects I want to execute but I also find myself lacking the enthusiasm. I guess with most things, it's a mental problem. I've been doing some breathing exercises/meditation to clear my brain out a bit but since my health has been so poorly and there's always some legal situation I have to take care of with my visa here, I find myself being kind of negative and I don't want to transfer that onto the blog.

You can expect some updates from me about Paris in the coming days. They will be food related and then my travel photos will actually be somewhere else, which I will explain later as well.

Anyway, I just wanted to write this out to explain why I haven't been so present. Thanks for the all the support as always and stay tuned for more soon!

A little update!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hello lovely people! I'm here in Berlin just trying to squeeze in a little post before I go off to Body Attack class. Can I just say how exhausting that class is? There's barely any time to rest and it's full on cardio mayhem! The first time I took it, we were doing all the things I hate but is really effective (lunges, squats, push ups, etc.) and I thought to myself Gee, at least we're not doing Burpees. Then during the next song, we totally did Burpees! It's like the instructor knows how to torture me. Fortunately, it's really helping balancing out the ridiculous amount of sweets I'm eating this time of year.

For example, who can say no to Stollen or Dominosteine (Domino Stones) when you're in Germany?

The stollen was super yummy and something I often think I should bake on my own. Then I realize it wouldn't be good because I would just eat the whole loaf by myself. Again, I am a monster with sweets.

Also this is how the winter here is starting to look like:

Went for a wee bike run and basically all I saw were grey clouds. Oh how welcoming you are Brandenburg (note the slight bit of sarcasm there).

Also we got our first bottles of Glühwein to drink! It literally means "Glow Wine" and it is hot wine mixed with holiday spices (things like orange peels, cinnamon, and nutmeg). It's very popular at Christmas Markets (which you will see in a future post), and it's also sold in grocery stores this time of year.

I love the festive labeling!

Last but not least, I went a little crazy with the holiday goodies to send to my family back in NY. This is the bulk of it and I'm also including a few other things I think my mom would enjoy. It's basically just a nice thank you package for the holidays because I think they would quite enjoy trying some treats that are a bit more rare in NY (for example, there is Haribo and Ritter Sports and Bahlsen back home but not the flavors I'm sending them). I hope that they don't see this but on the off chance they do, just know that not everything is revealed here.

So that is it for today! I don't know if you like seeing these "What I ate" type posts but I think it's fun to see some of the more German things I've been putting into ma belly. I think I should also do a recipe post soon but for now, have a happy happy Sunday and I talk to you soon!

German Sweets and Glowing Wine

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hello lovely people and welcome to December! It's been quite a busy week for me the past week. Mainly looking around for gifts but also applying for health insurance here in Berlin. I swear the receptionist knows me by face now because I'm constantly there and this ridiculousness that every time I go, the person I spoke to the last time is not there because they are on holiday. Well, it's all settled now and now it's time to focus on other more fun things.

First things first, Nikolaustag. What is Nikolaustag? Well in Europe on the 5th of December, there is Nikolausabend (Nicholas Evening), where children put out their boots (Oli told me after they've been cleaned) so St. Nicholas will drop by and fill it with treats and gifts. Then on December 6th, the official day, the children wake up to the goodies in their shoes. St. Nicholas is also accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, who is said to be a sort of demon that plays tricks on the children if they are not good. I just wanted to mention all of this because it is tonight and even if you're not in Germany or Europe, if someone you know has been a sweetheart, maybe you can surprise them with a bag of sweeties in their shoes.

Now on to my review of Cha no Ka! Cha no Ka is a green tea sandwich cookie made in Kyoto, Japan. Here is an official photo:

My mother just recently got a hold of some of these cookies through work and she sent me a box along with a few other things in a recent package. So here is my first impression and review!

First off, adore the box. The Japanese really put a lot of effort into presentation. It would also be nice to re-use the box maybe for small things or cover it in wrapping paper for gifting.

It's recommended to eat them as soon as possible and be kept under 28 degrees C. The cookie itself is a crispy butter cookie with white chocolate in between. If you love the taste of green tea, this is a definite winner! It's just the right amount of sweet from the white chocolate to balance out the bitterness of the matcha flavor. Having just one is really hard so I suggest if you ever get some of these to put the lid back on as soon as possible so you don't eat them all.
It's a short review but I thought it would be nice to share my experience with something a bit more exotic than Teddy Grahams or Pepperidge Farm. Happy Thursday everyone!

Leading up to Nikolaustag and Cha no Ka Review