petite anglaise

July 17, 2007


Filed under: good time girl, miam — petiteanglaiseparis @ 1:04 am

I find a new purpose for my macbook!!!*

If ever, dear reader, you feel just a smidgeon uncomfortable after ploughing through a five course meal in a palatial hotel in Lisbon (cheap deal, I hasten to add, and I’m not sure I quite strike the right tone with my ripped jeans…), I can wholeheartedly recommend setting a warm macbook on the offending tummy for at least half an hour. It’s working wonders as a digestion aid. Truly, it is.

In the meantime, I try to have a foodie conversation with my friend Meg, who is one of those people who – when she can be bothered to actually blog – is able to write reviews of restaurants without resorting to clichés like “doesn’t the foie gras melt in your mouth?” or “don’t these oysters taste of the sea?”

The conversation goes something like this.

“Well, first of all I had this kind of amuse bouche thing, which was a very small piece of beef on toast with some spready goat’s cheese, nothing special really. And then there was a filo parcel-thing with slices of fig and proper goat’s cheese with rind on, inside. And I think the leaves on the side were watercress, they were a bit peppery, and there were pine nuts: grilled ones. Next I had a swordfish medallion with a crispy crust made of prawns and things, and some squid on the side and some unidentified vegetables, a bit like the ones you put in ratatouille. And then a quail stuffed with a special white sausage, on top of some spinach. And it had an egg on top. A quail’s egg. And a sprig of lavender. Which had made the egg taste a bit dodgy… And then…”

I don’t think I need to go on, do I? If I have any writing talent at all, it is most definitely not of the food critic variety. There were more incidences of “and then” in that last paragraph than in the whole a whole page of the Da Vinci Code.

Eating, I can do. Describing the eating experience, I cannot.

So – to cut a long story short – I’ve popped over to Lisboa for a few days while Tadpole is spending a second week of quality time with her mamie and papy, and I am suitably excited about the prospect of meeting long time blog buddy Lucy Pepper for the first time, tomorrow. The point of this trip was that it should act as a carrot of sorts, to help me through the pain of finishing tweaking the book (yes, it’s not quite over, but nearly, I hope) and to tide me over until Boyfriend and I escape to the Cyclades for a fortnight at the end of August.

I cannot begin to describe how confusing I find the notion of having someone knock on the door to “turn down the bed” for me. At 6pm. But give me time, and I’ll have these luxury ways off pat. You’ll see.

*Permission to use opening line format obtained from JonnyB.


  1. Gosh, you’re up late. Food bothering you??
    Sleep tighhhht!!

    Comment by andrew — July 17, 2007 @ 1:27 am

  2. The timestamp is misleading – my computer thinks it is in France, but actually Lisbon is on GMT…

    Comment by petite — July 17, 2007 @ 1:29 am

  3. and I thought it was just us ‘students’ that stayed up this late!

    Comment by gerbil — July 17, 2007 @ 1:44 am

  4. It looks as if Lisbon and the UK are on the same time – BST. How quaint.
    I always understood the Portugeezers were fond of the English though not the rest of Europe (except José Manuel Barroso who has gone completely native).

    Tomorrow should bring you sun and temperatures on the mid-seventies with light cooling breezes. Lucky you.

    Mind out for the sea food and don’t overdo the Vinho Verde…it gives good head-aches and I mean ache.

    Comment by andrew — July 17, 2007 @ 1:52 am

  5. yay, a macbook post AND one that also contains a food story. i am satisfied until my need for another tadpole story kicks in.
    : )

    Comment by franko — July 17, 2007 @ 4:49 am

  6. The turn-down custom is both quaint and annoying, in my opinion.

    So Meg’s a verbal foodie and you are not. Vive la difference; the eating’s the thing; and have a lovely vacation.

    a bientot

    Comment by PJ Carz — July 17, 2007 @ 5:09 am

  7. Well lass, appen thee’d ave berra luck if thee spoke wi a real accent like.

    Feh lunch th’day ah went dahn t’pub wi us mates feh sum fish’n’chips an a pint. Th’chips weiynt proper English but th’fish were right good. Not bad fer a bunch o’Yanks. :-)

    Comment by bonkers — July 17, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  8. Hold on, foie gras that melts in your mouth, oysters that taste of the sea…hmmmm :-D I don’t like the idea of lavender eggs though. For some reason it makes me think of old ladies having sex (but that could just be me). Have a lovely, lovely time and a pasteis de nata for me – mwah!!

    Comment by rhino75 — July 17, 2007 @ 8:28 am

  9. Using a macbook as a bouillotte, that’s clever. :-)

    Comment by Anna — July 17, 2007 @ 9:36 am

  10. lavander on eggs? how weird! did you eat it? no, I guess no, or you would need more than a macbook to ease your tummy! bonnes vacances !

    Comment by camillenchine — July 17, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  11. “I don’t like the idea of lavender eggs though. For some reason it makes me think of old ladies having sex”…

    …this, to me, is the PINNACLE of food writing.

    Petite, we want a full report on all the pig parts you’ll be eating.

    “the delicate hairs on the boiled ear tickled my throat as they”… etc.

    Comment by Meg — July 17, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  12. So u r coming to Greece after all..Hope u have chosen the nicest islands of the Cyclades..Enjoy your vacation and if u need anything just wave..

    Comment by LION — July 17, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  13. *checks written records*

    Comment by JonnyB — July 17, 2007 @ 11:08 am

  14. Heyyyy you are coming to Greece! :-)

    Comment by stavroulix — July 17, 2007 @ 11:25 am

  15. Hope u like my hometown, though I can safely say that the hotel you’re staying at is so NOT the real Lisboa… and they cook nouvelle cuisine, which has nothing whatsoever to do with REAL portuguese food.

    Comment by svandis — July 17, 2007 @ 11:41 am

  16. Your hotel, “Pestana”, means “Eyelash”…

    Comment by Magda — July 17, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

  17. @15 – fear not, I am not staying in this hotel the whole time, and I’m heading into the centre for proper food the rest of the time… but yesterday was an experience, nonetheless, and cost about 3 times less than the same meal would have in Paris… And of course if you want to take me out for a drink, you are very welcome (here until Saturday).

    @12 – we are going to make it up as we go along, so any advice VERY welcome. I was thinking along the lines of Santorini (but a quiet village) then small quiet places like in the “petites cyclades” as the French call them.

    Comment by petite — July 17, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  18. Knock, knock
    Just come to turn down your bed Sir

    [and rifle through the drinks cupboard to see how many $8 scotches you’ve scoffed, inspect your garbage, pretend not to see your underpants and wet footprints on the floor and leave you a chocolate on your pillow]

    Not today thank you. (As if.. tomorrow? Yeah, right!)
    Goodnight Sir!
    Thank you! (for going away)

    I never remember to ask when checking in to dispense with this malarkey or to hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign. At a resort hotel in Palawan I had personalized inscriptions (inviting me to have sweet dreams) done in tippex on green leaves left on my pillow along with two sweets. When my favourite lady saw a photo later she was jealous and even thought I should have kept the leaves. Only a girl could think like that.

    Accordingly, I sometimes leave little gifts to be discovered after I’ve left the country in the beds of my ladies.

    That is.. the Queen and Princess. (Don’t get any ideas.)

    I think they would love it if they found their beds turned back and and chocolates on their pillow at night but it wouldn’t be special if it happened every night would it?

    Comment by Eats Wombats — July 17, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

  19. Santorini tends to get crowded in August as does Mykonos which is the party island. I would recommend Sifnos, Milos and Serifos. These are easily accesible from Athens. From the little ones Koufonisia is a good choice, head to Naxos and go across to reach them.

    Comment by May — July 17, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  20. Yay – down with the DaVinci code – quite possibly the worst book in the english language…

    Comment by Jonathan — July 17, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

  21. It’s all about what you choose to see, and the way you want to live your holidays, for example Myconos, even if it’s known for its wild nightlife can be a very quiet place for holidays, and has wonderful beaches. Santorini you should visit absolutely because it’s something completely different (volcano and all. I also recommend Syros (beautiful architecture).

    Comment by stavroulix — July 17, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  22. Here’s another use for macbook.

    Comment by nerd — July 17, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  23. So, the “boy down the street” has been promoted to “Boyfriend”? Is that his new official name?

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — July 17, 2007 @ 3:19 pm

  24. I will be at the “petites cyclades” from 5-13/8!! In Iraklia..if u need any phone number I will be glad to give it to u..Also I have been to Koufonisia, islands near to Iraklia and are reaaaaaaaaaally fantastic..u don’t need a car..the beaches are marvelous..very good night life..
    Santorini and Mykonos are worthwile to visit, very beautiful but very crowdy in August..Sinon, I recommend also Sifnos, Milos and Tinos, which has the beauty of Mykonos but more quiet..
    Anyways.. I could tell u a lot about it, so feel free to mail me and we could even talk by phone for a more direct contact..Bisous

    Comment by LION — July 17, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

  25. Oh, sounds like you’re livin’ it up in style in Lisboa! I’ve been to the city twice before, but never in such finery and in such a grand setting. ‘Tis well-deserved, of course! After all that hard work…

    And I agree, Meg has a way with those foodie words. I’m absolutely no good at that kind of thing myself — as much as I love to dig into that fine cuisine, I try to leave the descriptions to the more talented folk, like Clotilde…

    Of course, the key in the end, I guess, is to savor every delicious moment. As indeed you are doing.

    Comment by Alice — July 17, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

  26. So, how did you get the special deal ? I’m thinking of going to Portugal for a break soon and would welcome any tips.
    (I’m yet another of those long time lurkers that appear out of nowhere every once in a while)

    Comment by Lady J — July 17, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

  27. Just reading about all of that food at one meal makes me feel sick.

    Comment by Passante — July 18, 2007 @ 3:15 am

  28. Where in the Cyclades? Have recommendations…

    Comment by Paola — July 18, 2007 @ 6:31 am

  29. give lucy a great big kiss from me

    Comment by rivergirlie — July 18, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  30. Jesus, how many animal products? Sounds like a heart attack on a plate, to me. And didnt you say you ate foie gras once? Incredibly nasty stuff

    Comment by Maxi — July 18, 2007 @ 11:50 am

  31. I’m with Jonathan #20. Yes, I read it but was left wondering why. And to think they made a film of it (And NO, I haven’t seen it).
    Looking forward to a good read when your book comes out though.

    Comment by Sablonneuse — July 18, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  32. Going to the Cyclades? – awesome. Highly recommend Antiparos as a nice little island.

    Comment by Dan — July 19, 2007 @ 12:50 pm

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