It was a weekend unparalelled. We had a 3 day weekend, and so I rented my very first car, with some objection from the credit card company, and we drove the 200 some km to Bruxelles with a carful of salty and sweet snacks.  The drive was full of rain, but once it died down once we got into the city.  We had to stop at numerous gas stations to get directions, but after not too many problems we found the hotel.  We went out for beer number one (I HAD A GUEUZE, A GLORIOUS GUEUZE!) and our first meal in Bruxelles.  Afterwards we of course wanted to go promptly to sleep, but then ended up napping until after midnight.  We did what people do, go out find fries, find more beer, and return to the hotel to watch Nightmare Before Christmas.

Day 2: we went for a beer with Mathieu and Richard midday. They wanted to go to this nearby comic book expo, which turned out to be amazing.  Afterwards I guess they weren’t sick of us yet so they volunteered to take us to the premier ice cream store and chocolate shop in Paris where we loaded up. I’m just about to enjoy a leftover wasabi chocolate.  We went for another beer, and then Mathieu decided we were so fun he had to get out of work for the night.  We hit up the grocery store, and went nuts: cod, tuna, squab and more.  Although initially we volunteered to help Richard really took over the cooking, and we were happy to eat it since he used to work as a chef.  And it seems soon he will be resuming those duties in Bruxelles.  We capped off the night with a lot of very fine beer and a near overdose on girl talk.

Day 3: Around noon we finally woke up.  Checked out, loaded up the car, and went on a search for a million chocolates.  It was fruitful to say the least.  We bought enough beer, cookies, waffles, and chocolates for Bruxelles to live forever in our memories.  Nearly into Paris we stopped for gas to leave the tank full.  Someone at the station noticed our tire was flat, which we never would have noticed alone.  This meant a two and a half hour detour as we were stuck in the station waiting for help to arrive. Of course, nobody at the gas station would fix a flat tire, nonsensical French people at their best.  We attempted, Meredith mostly, the fix the thing ourselves.  We used Meredith’s knowledge from having watched someone do it once. As it turns out we had the right idea going and perhaps would have pulled it off except that the darn thing was rusted on.  Only two guys tried to help us, the first one was super helpful.  He made all these calls for us in French when he couldn’t remove it, and helped us get the tow guy to come.  Luckily we had plenty of beer and chocolate to lavish on him in a thank you.  When the tow truck guy finally arrived (after two hours of us scarfing gas station chips and Belgian chocolates) he used a can of WD-40 and a hammer to get the wheel off.  I thought he would certainly break the car.  Upon returning the car we learned we’d have to pay for the tire if it couldn’t be refurbished.  Wonderful.  We made it home just in time to fall asleep and get 8 hours of class for the next morning.

Monday I went to the demonstration for a pan-fried sea bream, and squid stuffed with langoustine risotto. I willfully skipped the practical, so frustrating since I wouldn’t be able to taste the sauce or anything, and would have to wear gloves the whole time. Ugh. Soon we have a workshop coming up.  A four hour class in which we have to prepare an entree and main dish of our own design.  We get an ingredient list a page long with certain ingredients we have to use, for this one: squab, salmon, shrimp, peas, mushrooms, pearl onions, fingerling potatoes, and bell peppers. Cannot wait!

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