Strasbourg in Particular
It was so satisfying to finally be eating in Strasbourg after having spent a good deal of time there in my mind when I translated the Pudlo guide. (Just to let you know I was paid already for my culinary translation work, and I don't get any kind of commission on the sales of the guide.) I was drooling the whole time, and I spent a whole lot of time researching the local patois - in the food language. I realized that although the ancient local dialects spoken in all of the different regions of France are quickly falling out of use, these tongues remain vibrantly alive in the food. For this reason it is very important to keep local food traditions going, and preserve them. It's more than just what people like to eat, but the whole cultural identity of a region is bound up in its food language. I simply adored looking at Strasbourg with this perspective in mind. My work added depth to my own vision as I made my way about. I was so thankful for having done it. Never stop learning and taking projects because you find them interesting. These are the ones that will serve you the most in the end.
It was difficult to choose from Pudlo's picks in Strasbourg because they all sounded so good, but I was happy with every one I tried. And this is what I want in a guide. When I am traveling, I do not want to have to sift through positive and negative reviews. I want a list of places to go. For lunches, instead of making reservations, I just went to the places I recognized from his picks and was only turned away for lack of seating at one very popular place. What I did was read everything before setting out initially, retaining a kind of sketchy outline in my mind of what to look out for while walking through town. While out walking, I did recognize at least a half dozen places just in the thick of things, and when lunchtime rolled around I had ideas for several places to go.
The famous French dish called bouchées à la reine is common in many restaurants in Strasbourg, since that whole class of pastry that includes the vol-au-vent originates in the region. It was a great place to try the garnished dish in the local style which can be quite beautiful. The shells are for sale in the boulangeries as well, ready to use at home.
Some restaurants make their own mini-pretzels and put them out with the apero, and a lot of bakeries had their house versions.
There is a restaurant in a building that dates back to the 1500s with a carved facade I could have stared at for days and I loved the cathedral. You can see all of these images in larger format by clicking on them.
Labels: Summer 08