One of the wonderful things about the United States is that all restaurants will do take out. This may not seem that great to you if you live in the US, but TRUST ME, you miss it when it’s gone. I’m not a huge take out fan but some nights I don’t want to have a waiter breathing down my neck, nor do I want to cook and neither pizza nor kebabs are going to cut it.

So on the night the sister and I couldn’t decide where or what to eat, we decided to order take out. She went to her favorite Thai place and I ordered from Acitron, a Mexican Bistro. It was more authentic than your typical tacos and enchiladas but it also had some fun, more creative items on the menu. One of which was this:

Fried Avocados.

All I have to say about these is WOW. They are battered in a floury-tempura mixed with jalapeño pepper and served with a creamy, spicy sauce. It was amazing. The avocados were soft and flavorful, mixed with the crispness of the batter and the spicy peppers were just enough to add tang to the nuttyness of the avocado. They were so awesome I’m going to attempt them on my own.

I also ordered chicken cooked in bitter chocolate sauce. This was something I’ve always wanted to try and jumped at the chance of tasting when I saw it on Acitron’s menu even though I wasn’t really in the mood for chicken.

Very interesting. It’s a thick sauce with a taste that I can only describe as dark but not bitter. It was almost like a rich, savory red Bordeaux that has aged about 10 years. Heavy and full, but you don’t notice all the flavors until the after taste. It was mixed with three different types of chili pepper which brought out the coco flavor, and the coco obviously killed some of the spice creating a nice contrast. Definitely something I would try again.

Friday the mom arrived and I cooked dinner.

The sister has a very nice apartment, but we need to talk to her about her kitchen space.

Some how despite having only a tiny table to cook on I managed to make kebabs – which were broiled in the oven – covered in provençal mustard and olive oil and risotto primavera.

Risotto is quite easy to make, like most things it just takes a bit of time. Cream isn’t even required if you do it right:

  • Broccoli
  • zucchini
  • onion
  • fresh spinach
  • garlic
  • yellow pepper
  • peas (I used snap peas because they looked yummy)
  • asparagus (I used white)
  • risotto rice
  • white wine
  • chicken broth
  • Parmesan cheese

Warm some olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the onion for 30-60 seconds over medium heat then add the rice and garlic. Stir often and cook until the rice begins to separate and crackle. Add about 1 cup of dry white wine. When the wine is mostly gone add the broth just until it covers the top of the rice. Cover and cook, adding more broth as needed. About 10 minutes before the rice is done add the other vegetables. You can add them before hand if you like softer, more cooked through veggies but I like a little snap in mine. When everything is done turn heat to low or off but don’t remove from heat just yet. First add shaved Parmesan cheese and stir in to let it melt throughout.

Both were a success and because I always cook too much, there were plenty of leftovers.

Saturday I had a cosmopolitan.

I started drinking them before I ever saw or even heard of Sex and the City, so it’s ok. Like I said, martinis and cosmos are impossible to find in France and when the mom and I went out to dinner, my one requirement that the restaurant had a good bar.

Today, it’s hot in France. I’m dreaming of another cool cosmo and trying not to fall asleep. My resolution when I returned to France was to listen to French talk radio for at least 20 minutes everyday. But for some reason RFI Monde isn’t connecting and so I’m listening to Spanish flamenco guitar. I figured it was almost fitting given the Mexican food.

Don’t miss part 3: Peaceful Meadows and Percy’s Place.