Two Saturdays ago, for example, I ventured with my best French friend to a local speakeasy-esque bar called Mabel-Cocktail Den. There are many such locations sprinkled around Paris: cocktail meccas hidden away behind so-called ordinary restaurant facades. This one adjoins a small cafe that specializes in grilled cheeses, and thank goodness you can order them at the bar as well. Alongside my Goldfinch aperitif served in a darling cocktail cup, we shared a regular and a pulled pork grilled cheese, both oily and greasy and infinitely delicious.
In opposition, this past Saturday was spent at my best work friend's apartment a bit outside of Paris. Her boyfriend is from Cameroon, so she has been developing her cooking skills under his influence. She invited another mutual coworker as well as a few of her own friends over to her sweet abode for a Cameroonian feast. We were treated to the delights of a dish called Ndole, which is a special kind of leafy green. Thank goodness I noticed just before she was about to add a heap of shrimp to the dish or I wouldn't have been able to partake in its scrumptious, and insanely spicy, sapidity.
Sunday night was an outing with my meetup pub quiz friends at one of the more well-known pubs around town, the Bombardier. As our own beloved quiz has been on hiatus for quite some time, we took the opportunity to try this one out, as it is a standing engagement at the end of every weekend there. Not only did we discover that it is always on, but it is incredibly well attended to boot! Not a table was left in sight when we all arrived nearly an hour early. Luckily, we stalked around the room long enough for us to finally snag a seat when some sports fans left the scene. The quiz was delivered both in French and English, but no matter the language it was definitively hard. We managed to scrape an average score, nowhere near the top, but not so pathetic as the bottom either. Since I have an irritatingly competitive spirit, not even three aperol spritzes could make me feel good about our lack of information and insight. Perhaps the next time we will do better! Or perhaps we just won't go again.
From American grilled cheese to Cameroonian cuisine to British pub antics, my international life represented its potluck spirit of late. Amidst additional meetups and dinners and drinks, my liver was quite happy when I took a few days off this week. It may not be the most momentous month, but it's definitely a busy one.