I’m going to take advantage of this month, during which I have vowed to post every day, to catch up on stuff I wanted to write about but never got around to. There will be flashbacks from my summer travels, fall cooking, and even some stuff from the spring. (By the way, I had a very hard time deciding on a preposition for the title– is it a flashback to summer or a flashback from summer? I got more Google hits for the former phrase, so I decided to go with that. These are kinds of problems I struggle with every day when I’m translating or editing at work– “Wait, which one is right? They both sound OK…”).
During our time in Brussels this summer, we also spent a weekend in Luxembourg! It was about a three-hour train ride, and we got started relaxing on the train ride already.
I seem to remember that the beer was quite dark and fairly bitter. Mostly I included the picture because I love the world rushing by in the background. 🙂
As we became acquainted with Luxembourg City, I was of course drawn to all the bakeries I saw. I had read that pastries in Luxembourg were to die for, and I was eager to try something when I became hungry for a snack. When that did happen, I decided not to go for something too rich or chocolatey, since it was a pretty hot July day. I chose a frangipane.
Frankly, it was disappointing. I had hoped for something very almond-y, but it was just a plain cake, and a fairly dry one at that, and only the top glazed part had some almond flavor to it. I didn’t even finish it. Sad. What’s even more sad is that I wasn’t in a mood for a sweet snack for the rest of the day, so that was the only pastry I purchased that weekend (though I did have some yummy pastries at our hotel breakfasts. No pix of those, though).
For our Saturday night dinner, we decided to indulge in a three-course prix-fixe meal at one of the many restaurants in the city centre. It was called La Boucherie, and they served a lot of beef.
For my main course I decided, rather on a whim, to get the steak tartare. “That’s uncooked, you know,” the waiter informed me when I ordered it. Yes, I know that. It wasn’t my first time eating raw meat. The night that J arrived in Brussels, we went to a cafe and he blindly ordered something called a sandwich Americaine. We had to guess as to what the rich filling could be (some kind of fish mixture? Liver?), and we were halfway through the sandwich before we actually figured it out. So I was curious to sample raw meat again, since I think it’s fairly popular in that part of the world and they know how to do it right.
But first, we had an appetizer course. I had a salad with goat cheese toasts. It was really good.
Then came our main courses. I have to apologize for this picture– steak tartare is not very photogenic. And I feel bad saying this, but its shape on the platter combined with its texture made me think of dog food.
I don’t think I plan on ordering steak tartare anymore. It wasn’t bad. It was nicely seasoned and tasted OK, but there’s nothing appealing about the texture. The lump was pretty small, and I couldn’t even finish it. In addition, I ended up feeling pretty ill that evening. It may have been because we don’t usually eat three-course meals, and I was just too full. It wasmay also be because I rarely eat beef, so the raw stuff was a lot for my system to handle. But I know that my stomach felt very full and pretty bad for a few hours afterwards, and when I conjured up a mental image of the raw meat, it even made me nauseous. Yeah… not fun. I’m sure I’ll eat steak tartare again, but maybe as a shared appetizer, not as my main course. I kinda wished I’d ordered the pepper steak, like J, which was wonderfully grilled and tasted amazing.
My dessert was also inferior to J’s. I got chocolate mousse and he chocolate ice cream, and somehow the ice cream surpassed the mousse in rich chocolatey flavor.
Later that night, while my stomach started to feel normal again, we enjoyed a free world music festival (MeYouZik) that was going on in the main square. The acts included Vieux Farka Toure and this cool Spanish band I can’t remember the name of right now. Anyway, my tummy felt better to the point that I wanted to get some frites to go with my beer. I’m pretty sure they were good.