Chizzy had another food craving recently. Grilled cheese sandwiches. She had the same craving a few weeks earlier and my attempt to satisfy it didn't work out so great. It wasn't the cheese selection, because she knows full well that you can't get american cheese here (or any other yellow/orange cheese). No, you can make a fine grilled cheese sandwich with white cheese and she was resigned to that. It was the bread. Before coming out here, bread only invoked one image in my mind... sliced bread in a perfectly shaped square that could sit on your counter for a week and still be delicious. Think Wonder. Whereas bread over here means a ball or roll of freshly made dough placed in an oven to create irregular shapes that must be eaten in the next couple days. I'll admit this seems to make more sense, but it just doesn't work for the type of grilled cheese sandwich that we all grew up with. There must be some chemical reaction between the preservatives and buttered pan that enables a sandwich to bring such joy. So it was with a word of warning to her that I set out on my journey for the ingredient for the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. I found it...
I guess this confirms that this type of bread is truly an American thing.
We hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Just a quick post about how we spent ours.
Back-to-back updates are becoming very rare on the site and I donít want to bump Chizzyís latest post off the page so if you want to see some pictures we took in London have a look here.
A couple of Chizzyís coworkers organized a Thanksgiving dinner on the appropriate day at one of their apartments. I thought this was a little strange only because the two organizers were English and Austrian, but it was informally billed as a work event and the company is American so I think they were just playing along. Who doesnít love an excuse for a big dinner party anyway?
Constituting a full two thirds of Americans present, we were asked a couple times what Thanksgiving was. I mumbled something about Pilgrims and Native Americans and when it was clear I had no idea what I was talking about Chizzy practically pointed out it was just the day that marks the beginning of the Holiday Season in the states. And of course the eating of the turkey.
We didnít have turkey though. We had chicken. It was great nevertheless and several of the old standbys made an appearanceÖ mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce. We contributed to the desert with some caramel/apple/pecan tart thingies. I didnít think about it at the time, but that probably was the very first Thanksgiving I didnít spend with family. If you are ever in that situation I will go on record as saying you can have almost as good a time with a handful of Swiss, several Brits, an Irish woman, a Frenchman, a Dutchman, a Czech woman, and an Austrian gal.
Our hostess getting it done in the kitchen
The rest of the cooking staff... and all-around great gals
Despite the scarf, this is the other American at the party. The blurry hands were not the result of bad photography... this guy can carve.
They were calling this punch. I think the more appropriate term was spoodie and it was just as strong as the stuff you loved from the college days.
Swiss dudes. The guy on the right played golf with Tiger Woods a few years back.
Not too bad, eh?
Got this shot on the way home from dinner. It was actually snowing, but you can't make it out. Still... you got a Christmas tree there.
Itís been two months since our visit to London so Iíll try to remember everything we took photos of.
Bryan and I both arrived via train to Paddington Station, though at separate times since I was there for work a couple days earlier. Neither of us got a chance to take the tube, not because we were scared, but because we took a tour bus around instead.
Our hotel was awful so we spent very little time there. It wasnít that cheap either (well, maybe for London) so it was incredibly disappointing. The location was good though. We immediately took off in search of that world-renowned English cuisine. Easily found it at a nearby restaurant. I had Fish & Chips...Delicious and greasy. Bryan had the meat pie and fell in love.
The next morning started early with a walk to Hyde Park. On our way we found this little street and thought itíd make a good photo.
Continue reading "Eastenders in Training"...
We didnít quite capture the enormity of Hyde Park, but hereís a little taste.
Last night we went to our first concert in Zurich.
Venue: Hallenstadion, about the same size and setup of Key Arena.
Method of transport: Tram#14, total commute time all of 20 minutes in a full, but not crowded tram.
We arrived, checked my coat for only 2CHF, quite a deal. We thought we might have to bypass the beer because the lines were so long downstairs, but we started walking towards our seats and found a beer vendor with only 4 people in line. Bryan and I had a nice drink out in the foyer (you can bring your beers in during the concert by the way, but we didn't). We then went in to check out the opening act, which started early! We were loving the punctuality.
Seating plan of Hallenstadion
We were in section I1 and could not even believe our seats. We seemed to have scored arguably the BEST seats in the house. I had just bought tickets on a whim at a ticketmaster-type site online 2 weeks ago. The concert was sold out days after tickets went on sale, but somehow they had released more tickets and I just happened to go to the site at the right time. We were in the first row on the right side of the stage. The angle was perfect...at one point Chris Martin went to the edge of the right side (his left I guess) and we were probably no more than 30 feet away from him. We thought there had to be a mistake and we kept waiting for someone to come kick us out.
Goldfrapp opened and they were a blondie-ish type of band, heavy on the bass, kind of a clubby sound. I recently saw them on Top of the Pops, a weekly top ten chart show, and so I was definitely interested in their performance. I liked them, Bryan...not so much.
During the break, we went out to get another beer and talk about what everyone was wearing. Boots over jeans are big for the ladies right now. I can't stand the look, personally. Looks a little too cowboy for my taste. But I do like the high boots and skirt look, so yesterday I bought my first pair of high boots I've ever owned in my entire life. Anyway, not to stray from the concert topic, but fashion was on our minds since there were so many people dressed back up in their fall fashion attire. We were trying to decide if we would know we weren't in the US if you blindfolded us and dropped us right in the middle of that scene. Could we guess we were in Europe when the blindfold came off just by the way people were dressed? We both decided that we could be in a trendy US city and therefore probably wouldn't be able to tell just by the clothes.
Like idiots, we didn't even attempt to sneak in our camera, so we didn't get photos of the people or of any part of the concert.
The concert itself was incredible. I've never had that good of seats before. Since I'm such a shrimp, even floor seats really suck for me. So this was perfect AND we didn't have to stand up if we didn't want to since we were in the first row. We also got to see the floor crowd go absolutely insane during Square One, Clocks, Yellow, Speed of Sound and many other favorites. Also, they played GREEN EYES acoustic-style!! They also worked the crowd by updating them on the Switzerland vs. Turkey soccer match. People were going crazy. I'm not even sure what the significance of that particular game is, but people were very excited.
Bryan and I both decided afterwards that this has to go in the top ten of concerts. Neil Diamond is way up there on the list though. If he ever came to Zurich, Bryan and I could dress up as nuns and scream our heads off.
This afternoon our visitor left for home. This person does not want me to reveal his name or link to his travel site. What I can tell you is that he and his wife were on a European vacation and spent a fair amount of that vacation in Switzerland. They pretty much saw the entire country. He ended up extending his trip almost a week longer than planned and we took a quick jaunt out to Lugano for the weekend. Itís a nice little city in the southern Italian-speaking area of Switzerland. Unfortunately, his wife had to return home at the scheduled time for work related reasons. It was great having these guys around for a week or so. They were our first friend visitors. Here are a few pictures of our trip this weekend.
This person I can show you because she doesn't read this site.
Continue reading "Lugano"...
The weather wasn't that great this weekend. It rained a bit and the hills were in the fog the entire time.