Tuesday, December 18, 2007

European Weekend

We had quite the European week! It started off with a trip to Redbox to rent Mr. Bean's Holiday. If you haven't seen this, it's about Mr. Bean going to France. I was intrigued by it when I saw the previews last summer. The line that stuck in my head was, "France is finally getting what it deserves!"

While we laughed at a few parts (oysters on the half shell...been there, almost vomited into a linen napkin), I was much more annoyed than anything. I guess I'm just more of a Clouseau fan.

Then my friend arrived from Toulouse and we made Mexican food, Chocolate Chip Cookies and had micro brew; things she cannot get over there. The kids gorged themselves on the Kinder Maxis she brought, and I was heureuse to receive a brand spanking new box of Poulain 1848--a gift sent from a mutual friend in Toulouse. Oh yes, I also got a box of Bonne Maman Framboise Tartelettes!

We went out of town to take her to the airport and spend the weekend in the city. We went to a new favorite restaurant of ours. No, it's not French, it's German! This is our third time there and I just have to get the same thing each time. It's a chicken schnitzel (I previously thought a schnitzel was a hot dog bought from triangular shaped building--you SoCal people know what I'm talkin' about!) with grilled sliced portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, all covered in a scrumptious garlicky sauce. Washed down with my new favorite beer in the world, Spaten Optimator on draft. We topped dinner off with a dozen Krispy Kremes. The things you do for friends abroad ;)

Sunday we passed by a new Ikea. Now, call me oblivious, but I never knew what this store was before 2 days ago. Yes, yes, I knew it was a Swedish furniture store, and I've been on http://www.ikea.com/ . But I did not know what the actual shopping experience was like. I think my life changed on Sunday!

We needed some bar stools, so we decided to pop in. Looking back, I guess "Popping in" Ikea is probably something that's never been done before. Our "popping in" lasted over 2 hours. As we passed through the portal (aka front doors), we saw we were to ascend to the upper floor via The Escalator, ushered in by arrows pointing the way, assuring us that upstairs was the only place to start.
When I got to the top, and looked around, at first glance it reminded me of a store we frequented in Toulouse, Midica. Ikea is like Midica on steroids. Ok, Midica is a low-budget rip off of Ikea.
To make a long story short, we had a blast looking at all the reasonably priced stuff, and we found our bar stools, a bargain at less than $20! We got a battery powered milk frother for $1.99, just because it was so cute. We bought the Ikea coffee, and as I spit it out in revolt this morning, realized why it was only $2.49. The frother works though.

But the most amazing part to me, (besides the shopping carts that look like walkers for the elderly, which is what prompted me to yell at the eldest child when I thought she stole a poor old lady's only means of standing upright) was that there was a restaurant that actually served good looking food at good prices! We had to try.

It was hilarious to be sitting in a furniture store eating a mozzarella/basil/tomato salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil that were on the table as regular condiments. In a furniture store! Oh yes, and I chose a table that made me think of blogger friend My Inner French Girl. Our table was against the huge wall photo of Stockholm!

I think it was a nice weekend. :)

So are you a Chief Inspector Clouseau Fan, or a Mr. Bean Fan?


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Am laughing about your Ikea coffee...I think it's best to stick with their furniture and avoid the coffee :)

And it's Clouseau all the way!

La Belette Rouge said...

What a fun multicultural weekend you had. You had me, a socal girl, LOL at the wienerschnitzel reference. Chili-dog, anyone?
Not a fan of Mr. Bean. I liked the actor who plays him when he was in "Love Actually."
My favorite part of a trip to Ikea is a visit to the restaurant for Swedish meatballs and lingonberries. Never had their coffee. It surely couldn't stand up to CC roast :-)

Thea LaVigna said...

the Mr. Bean character has ALWAYS annoyed me more than entertain...but the actor, Rowan Atkinson, is a huge talent and one of my favorites; The Black Adder, Johhnny English among other things he has been in where I think he really shines. Inspector Clouseau hands down.

Cécy said...

I love Ikea. Can't beat the prices for what you get. Me and my cousin can spend hours in the store dreaming about refurnishing houses.
I'm dragging my Hubby to the one in Atlanta sometimes in january, we need a decent table...
I love the swedish food served there as well and buying the Daim candies and the cinnamon pastries on my way out at the little shop (at least in Toulouse, I don't know how it is here).

WendyB said...

Clouseau of course! "Does your dog bite?"

Cris in Oregon said...

Oh Clouseau for sure.. WendyB.. It's not my Dog! Sort of loses something without the accent. ;)
I LOVE IKEA. You can spend a year in there on one days visit and cannot leave without buying SOMETHING they have so much and inexpensive... even if it is horrible coffee. ;)We got the best knife set for next to nothing last time we visited there.
Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your friend. Will she pay back in kind when you get to France?