I'm speaking of Marie... not the character from Grease, although I did meet her at a pharmacy in Nyack about 8 years ago, ha, long story... my Frenchie is the bestest friend I've ever had, a girl who I refer to as my sister because she knows me better than most after living with me during our senior year of high school as an exchange student.Two weekends ago her family and her drove all the way from their Parisian suburb to see me. They love me almost as much as I love them I guess ;). On that Friday morning I woke up early for a sweet breakfast (in both senses of the word) and met them for coffee around the corner from my apartment. It was as if no time had passed since last time I saw them (last year). And so the amazing weekend began...
First we went to a castle outside of Strasbourg. There are so many incredible medieval creations in Alsace!
Marie's mom studied architecture, and her father, history, so this was a real treat for both of them. And they both were more than eager to share their knowledge with us, (most of it French, btw, go me!)
Afterwards they were eager to try traditional Alsatian dishes alongside Alsatian wine.
Haha, her father is absolutely adorable.
And she has quite the sense of humor too :). She got the Quiche Lorraine, by the way, and although it also sounded fabulous to me, I'm saving my next one for this weekend when I will actually be in the Lorraine region.
So I got the Tarte aux legumés which was equally if not more delicious served alongside a salad and my choice of wine, a Pinot Noir.
I surprised myself when I considered not getting dessert but I did purchase this cheesecake for Marie and her mom to enjoy, a token of my gratitude for their constant generosity.
Then we went small town-hopping. I just love places like this during their off-season, they're so ridiculously quaint.
I felt like I was walking through Belle's hometown on the set of La beauté de la bête.
And then I'd be snapped back to reality when Marie and I got into one of our "silly" moods. Gosh, I miss her already!
Following our day as tourists we settled into our bed and breakfast, took showers, and then headed out in search of an Alsatian dinner.
That meant Tarte flambées, obviously. The tiny restaurant we found had three varieties (the original is pictured) and we split a few among the four us.
The gratinée version (with cheese) was my personal favorite. It paired perfectly with our glasses of Riesling. Did I not already mention that we shared 2 bottles? :)
We did leave enough room for dessert though! This was an apple tarte flambée and it was in flames. Our waitress poured some apple liquor on it and before serving it to us with the switch of a lighter. So. cool.
The next day I was exhausted! I guess staying up all night with over-due girl talk can do that to you :). I didn't complain, of course, and we made our way to Obernai after a wonderful French breakfast at the bed and breakfast.
But before we knew it it was lunch time and we had to head back to Strasbourg again. As their tour guide, we walked through Petite France and Notre Dame before arriving at my favorite Alsatian Winstub. I had the vegetarian Tarte au choucroute,
while both of Marie's parent ordered the venison and choucroute, it tasted quite good but they are much braver than I!
Marie's meal was on the lighter side too though and all for this reason of this little beauty, une Tarte aux pommes. In a pool of thin vanilla cream and topped with powder sugar it was absolutely divine and the perfect size for us to split.
We strolled around a bit more downtown to put off goodbyes as much as humanly possible. Then Marie's father recieved a call from François, her brother whom was the only family member absent on this mini-trip. He spent the conversation leaning on a well... only in France :).
And then that was it! I had been looking forward to it for seemingly forever but the weekend sped by faster than I could've imagined. I talk Marie about once a week (it's so much easier being in the same time zone and not having to worry about long distance) but I'll probably only be able to see her once more before I go home! The reassuring thing is that this isn't it, it never is. Before studying abroad I've been to visit her twice and she came back to the U.S. this past summer (I was in Ecuador at the time, but still) so I know I'll see her again... seeing her soon is simply, relative.