November 14, 2023

The French triangle day 5: Petite France

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I'm exploring Strasbourg on my own today, and I figured I could just check out the sights within walking distance from the apartment where I'm staying. After all, that's the whole reason why I chose to stay here - for its location and convenience.

I wanted a better breakfast than the one I had yesterday, so I stopped by Boulangerie Woerlé nearby. Their goodies looked much better than the ones at Café Stein so I grabbed a couple.

I got myself a croissant beurre...

...and a pain au chocolat. Now I'm ready to go see the sights.

The Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is the grande dame of the region, dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. It's one of the main tourist attractions in the city, and I saw throngs of tourists who came to visit.

Entry into the cathedral is free except between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. It really is very grand, both Romanesque and Gothic, with many tapestries hung on either side.

One of the attractions within the cathedral is its Astronomical Clock, which feature automata that move when the clock strikes each quarter-hour. The full range of automata go on parade at 12:30 p.m. so the cathedral closes to non-paying public starting at 11:30 a.m., and anyone who wishes to enter for the show needs to buy a ticket.

With the show over, I purchase another ticket for the privilege of climbing 330 steps - with a break in the middle - to the platform at the top of the cathedral. The view of the city is pretty good from 66 meter up, and I could see the apartment I'm staying in, as well as the Petite-France quarter.

After checking out the sights immediately next to the cathedral like Palais Rohan and Maison Kammerzell - where I should have gone for lunch to have their famed choucroutes aux poissons - I finally left the area and headed towards Petite-France. But first... I needed a little lunch! With zero research on where to eat, I figured I could just wing it and find something along the way. The offerings at Le Meteor looked OK so I got myself a table.

Kaesknepfles poêlés, crème de butternut, fondue de poireaux, éclats de marron et huile de noisette - I saw a German word I didn't recognize and decided that I should try this Alsatian specialty. With butternut squash cream, chestnuts, and hazelnut oil, this definitely has the feeling of autumn. Lots of leek here, too.

Pretty interesting to have these "gnocchi" dumplings made of fromage blanc. Not bad.

And just for old times' sake... Orangina!

Continuing towards the water, I came to this collection of maisons à colombages that are all in white. So classic and so pretty.

Walked along the banks of the Ill, past the old ice house that has been transformed into a luxury hotel. The buildings along the river are exactly what comes to mind when one thinks of Alsatian architecture.

Afterwards I made my way to the Ponts Couverts which have been without their roofs for the last 200 years or so, and look out at the Barrage Vauban. I know the scene is prettier at night with colored lights, but I ran out of energy to come back...

Time to walk back to the apartment, and I passed by Place Kléber on the way. The Christmas tree is up in the square but hasn't been fully decked out. I guess this will be done in time for next week.

Mr. Christmas picks me up for dinner, and once again we head out of the city to L'Aigle in Pfulgriesheim. My last chance to get more flammekueche in my tummy before leaving Alsace!

Tarte flambée grantinée à l'Emmenthal suisse - always good to start with some Emmental.

Very cheesy, and love those lardons.

Tarte flambée au munster - just look at those slices of Munster!

This is even more cheesy than the gratinée! YASSSSS!!! And look at the crust!

Quenelles de foie, pommes de terre sautées aux lardons - just scratching another dish with a German name - in this case lewerknepfle off my list...

I love anything made with liver, and these were no exception. Very fluffy texture with the bread crumbs. Of course, the fact that lardons were both mixed into the dumplings and on top didn't hurt!

Schieffele, salade de pommes de terre - well... turns out this was just smoked pork with some acidity, decent but not too special. But at least there's potato salad and creamy horseradish.

Salade verte mélangée de saison

Torches aux marrons - we've got meringue in the middle and a sablé at the bottom, with chantilly and, of course, the chestnut purée all over. There was definitely rum in that very sweet chestnut, and needed the cream to help tone it down.

No wine tonight, so I just followed Mr. Christmas' lead and took a Picon bière. Pretty nice with the citrus flavors.

Thus comes the end of my three days with Mr. and Mrs. Christmas, and their incredibly cute baby. My grateful that he's taken time to show me around his new (and ancestral) home. I look forward to coming back with Foursheets when the weather is better.

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