Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fries down, beer down...only waffles to go!

I'm slowly making my way through the Belgian specialties. I knocked off chocolate right away - that goes without saying - my next move was to sample the famed Belgian fries. Someone brought a cone to one of my Spanish conversation meetings so I took the liberty of tasting some. I would say they are good - the double deep-frying makes them extra crisp on the outside while maintaining a warm and squishy inside - but I'm not sure they are worth the marathon one would have to run to work them off. I think the main attraction of the Belgian fry is that it comes with a variety of dipping sauces (50 are listed at my local friterie) which are delicious (try Andalouse if you ever get the chance: no idea what it's made of but it tastes good!)

For St-Paddy's Day, I was invited to a beer tasting. I have only ever had cheap Canadian beer at hockey games and outdoor concerts so I was determined to keep an open mind and put my distaste for the beverage aside. The hostess of the event poured us each four glasses of different top-quality Belgian beers. We then proceeded to write down our comments and vote for our favourite one.

Everyone taking the beer tasting very seriously...

Having now tasted first-class beer straight from the source, I can now confirm my aversion to the drink. My comments read as follows: Beer #1: tastes like feet, Beer #2: tastes less like feet, Beer #3: Ew. Beer #4: Why drink this when you can have a glass of red wine instead? I must admit, however, that I did enjoy the bottle of raspberry beer I consumed - probably because it tasted nothing like beer at all.

Me, creepily leaning over a variety of Belgian beers, unaware of what was to follow

After fries, chocolate and beer, the only thing I have left to try are waffles. I find this one quite challenging because over here, waffles are eaten as a street snack - not at Sunday brunch. When I'm in the mood for a snack, however, I don't feel inclined to trek to the nearest truck handing out freshly baked waffles - I reach for an apple and cinnamon. I think the only solution to this conundrum is to wake up one Sunday morning and have a waffle for brunch!

Life at the house continues to go brilliantly. If I'm due for a study break and looking for some social interaction, I just have to ascend to the living room where I'm sure to find someone with whom I can share a cup of tea. I have now met the second German girl and the Franco-Italian guy and both are very nice. Last week we had two huge house dinners.

Here we are about to consume the feast. On the menu: tortillas to begin with paired with an Asian veggie stir-fry (made by me) that was too spicy for some (that would never happen with my Montreal roomy - would it Teo?!), followed by spaghetti carbonara, and apple crumble and ice cream to wash it all down. It's also great having so many hands to help with the cleaning-up.

My house mates minus Sarah who was working.

Thursday night 'anyone who is anyone' assembles at Place Luxembourg for a drink (or two). It's right by the European Commission so the crowd is quite interesting.

Last weekend, the highlight was going to an international food festival with two friends. Luckily for me, I had been pre-warned to bring tupperware containers. I have spent the week enjoying paneer masala, samosas, a Brazilian thing I can't name and a Turkish dish made with aubergines. YUM. The Belgian booth was giving away Godiva chocolates - I was beginning to wonder if they noticed me after my 3rd visit to their table...

The Easter vacation is almost upon me! Thursday evening I take off for Amsterdam were I am reuniting with the parentals. We'll frolic about town until Saturday when we come back to Brussels and meet up with my Uncle and Aunt from England. I'm so excited to show them my side of the city (and eat some fab meals at some of the restaurants I've been eyeing from afar). After that, I'm off to London for Easter/Passover. It sounds funny to say, but one of the things I'm most excited for is getting tons of hugs. When you move to a new city, you take for granted all the affection you receive from friends and family (not to mention having conversations with people who have known you for more than two months). So I'm looking forward to that.

My rash move of the week was to register for the Brussels 1/2 marathon taking place on May 27th. I felt like I needed some motivation to give my leisurely runs more of an edge. I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew - all the training programs I've seen online are at least 10 weeks long - I've only got just short of 8! So I've decided to follow the Annabelly program and just do my own thing. My goal is to do at least two 20km runs before the big day. Oh my. That does not sound enticing.

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