Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Picard hamburger = FAIL

So Picard, the frozen food chain, sells some very interesting things. Generally I steer clear of things like fajitas, gazpacho, or sushi that just don't sound promising. Usually Picard is pretty good. For the most part, I haven't come across anything too bad, well at least not until going out on a limb with this hamburger.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bigorneaux is best in Brest

I know I've blogged about Bigorneaux before. Periwinkles (their English name) would probably gross most people out. But if you've got a strong stomach and like things such as escargot or oysters, you might find them quite tasty.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Things I won't miss

With one week of work left, my stage at Plaza Athénée is winding down to a close. The new stagiaires from Ferrandi have started and are getting accustomed to things. Though I think the experience was definitely worthwhile, there are a handful of things I won't miss:

- Making 20+ kilos of dough, icecream, etc.
- Working 7:30 AM to 7:30PM.
- The douchebag apprentice who thinks he's everyone's boss.
- Caramelizing hazelnuts and the burns that come with it.
- Wet socks from the 'floods' when we clean.
- Someone taking a kitchen torch to my butt (no joke).
- Juicing 6 kilos of lemon juice.
- Gross flavored creams/chantilly like rose or violette.
- Dry, cracked and itchy skin due to D10 cleaning agent allergies.

Monday, July 19, 2010

4th of July

Living in Paris as a stagiaire has its downside when it comes to holidays. I really do miss my family and spending the holidays with them, grilling up meats and chowing down buffet style. I've made efforts with my American friends here to celebrate Thanksgiving (even though we had a chicken instead of a turkey), Halloween, and Fourth of July. Well in Paris its doubly difficult, since as a stagiaire at a large hotel,  I don't get French holidays off either!

This Fourth of July I decided to make something I miss a lot from home: Burgers. I even found 'burger sauce' at the grocery store that pretty much looks like Thousand Island. Yes, I know its a sad attempt to recreate an In-n-Out burger, but you have to give me a little credit for trying.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

CAP - Admis

After a long wait and meticulously checking the test website every day, they finally posted the results for my CAP exams. Verdict? Admis - Admitted. However, the website only provided that information and no indication of how well/poorly I did on the exams. How typically French (i.e. useless).

A week later I received a letter in the mail with my grades. I'm not exactly sure how the grading system works, but it appears that the tests each have a different coefficient and are out of 20 points. I guess some are weighted more heavily than others, which makes sense. So here's the breakdown:

Approvision & Gestion Des Stocks: 13.50
Fabrication De Patisseries: 13.00
Francais Et Histoire-Geographie: 14
Mathematiques, Sciences: 19.5
Anglais: 20
Moyenne Generale (Average): 14.4

I don't know about you but 14.4 out of 20, aka 72% is a C to me, and not really a good grade. However, the way the system works here, anything over 16 is excellent, 14-16 is very good, 10-12 is average, and anything under 10 is not passing. Maybe I'm being to hard on myself and forgetting that I took a test in a foreign language taken by students who generally prepare for two years. Well, at least I did justice to my Asian heritage by doing extremely well on the Math and Science portion!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Things I don't understand

Though I've lived in France for almost a year now, there are a lot of things I don't understand here. And I'm not just talking about the language, cultural differences, or why nothing administrative (i.e. health insurance, post office, etc) works in a timely manner.

Living here, I've discovered some things that just don't make any sense. If someone can figure them out, please... enlighten me.

1) Light switches on the outside of bathrooms/toilets.
This just is begging for a practical joke. I see the news headlines now: "Woman slips in tub and dies after 8 year old child turns of light in bathroom."

2) Toilets that are in tiny rooms completely separate from the bathroom with a shower and sink.
Though I've been told its so one person can use the toilet while someone else is taking a shower, it doesn't make sense to me, hygienically. It's not that Americans poop on our hands or anything, but there's just something wrong about not washing your hands before you touch knobs or switches. From a female perspective its even more gross. A friend of mine is a nanny for two kids who says they never wash their hands after using the toilet, and always end up with a tumult of sicknesses (including worms). Perhaps if the sink was in the same room they'd be more likely to wash? Just saying.

3) Doors that lock from the inside with a key.
Another potential practical joke. Maybe I was just a devious child, but by locking yourself inside a place with a key, don't you leave the opportunity wide open for said key to be lost, hidden, or thrown out the window? Fire marshals in the U.S. would have a heyday with this safety hazard.

There are a dozen other things I don't quite get yet, but off the top of my head, these three confuse me the most. Maybe its a European thing and not limited to France. Confused, but not complaining... since at the end of the day, I still live in Paris.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I haven't been posting lately, and quite frankly I don't have a good excuse other than exhaustion. Maybe it's the heat, or work fatigue, or some new form of mono. Who knows. I have one month left in my stage and am looking forward to two months in California to play catch up on US life. Then it'll be back to Paris to maybe do another stage or scope out a potential job opportunity (more on that later).

A few weeks ago I took a mini-break and went to the town of Collioure. The town is in the South of France close to the Spanish border. Aside from being gorgeous, visitors flock to the coastal town as it was made popular by many famous artists such as Picasso and Matisse.