No sleep till Brooklyn

 

It's a been a week since I've back in Brooklyn after a month exploring, eating, learning, eating and traveling around Europe. Did I mention I ate a lot? I spent two weeks in Paris, a week in Berlin, and a week in Spain, so can you blame me?

I went to Paris for two weeks as part of a course offered through the Food Studies Dept at NYU, where I recently  graduated from. My professor, Jennifer Berg was kind enough to let me tag along. Or maybe I insisted on going. Either way, I was lucky enough to spend two wonderful weeks studying the performance and identity of Parisians as expressed through their food ways. This this of empirical study required that we eat our way through paris in order to uncover the authentic who, what, when, and why do Parisians eat the way they do. Yes, it does take a Masters Degree to analyze that many croissants.

Paris is all that and a baguette. It is an orgasmic sensory overload of twinkling lights, the smell of butter and sugar mingling in the air and the sound of music coming from somewhere. To not fall for paris is to not have a soul. It whispers to you in its sexy accent, daring you not to fall too hard. Oh man, I love that town.

Amazing oysters from Clamato

Amazing oysters from Clamato

Pastry from La Pâtisserie des Rêves

Pastry from La Pâtisserie des Rêves

La Tour Eiffel

La Tour Eiffel

Berlin. A city of paradox in which the tension seeps from the graffitied walls to the shiny new structures. Artists are beckoned to come live here then struggle to make a living. Efficiency is prized above kindness and giant cranes symbolic of the new Berlin loom like hawks above what's left of the gates and the walls and the squares where so many people have laid down their lives. Berlin is a gray gray city many times painted over. Some wars are just too difficult to recover from. Berlin is still struggling to heal.

View from the top of the Reichstag Building

View from the top of the Reichstag Building

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

Currywurst. A popular street snack comprised of sausage (vegan in my case) smothered in ketchup and curry powder. The story goes that when curry powder first came over to Germany from South Asia, a woman hawking sausages used it to cover up the taste of the less-than-quality meat she was selling. The tradition stuck despite the improvement of the brats.

Currywurst. A popular street snack comprised of sausage (vegan in my case) smothered in ketchup and curry powder. The story goes that when curry powder first came over to Germany from South Asia, a woman hawking sausages used it to cover up the taste of the less-than-quality meat she was selling. The tradition stuck despite the improvement of the brats.

Spain, you sexy beast. To spend a week in Spain ingesting and imbibing all it has to offer is like not getting out of bed with a lover for 7 days. You feel foggy; head clouded with wine, covered in a slick of hot sun and heavy food. Finally, around 10pm the sun goes down and the night feels young and suddenly you are alive with the vibrations of the people crowding its streets, drinking in doorways, kissing in crevices. You drink the night air until you are intoxicated and wake up again tangled in sweaty sheets, head pulsing, wondering what happened to the night.

Playa de la Concha in  San Sebastian

Playa de la Concha in  San Sebastian

Pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) in Bilbao

Pintxos (the Basque version of tapas) in Bilbao

La Casa del Abuelo in Madrid. Famous for their inimitable petite shrimp sizzling in hot oil, chili, and garlic.

La Casa del Abuelo in Madrid. Famous for their inimitable petite shrimp sizzling in hot oil, chili, and garlic.

It's good to get away and get out of your normal routine every once a while. It's good to taste new foods and be surrounded by a language you can't speak. It's good to explore, get lost, and somehow find your way back again.  I feel like I've had my eyes opened just a little bit wider. For now, it is summer in NYC. It is hot and and I'm sweaty and I am filled up with new memories and bittersweet goodbyes. For now, it is good to say hello again.