The Good Life in Paris

Yes, life is good in Paris.  Yesterday the specialty in the media dining room was chocolate fondue, complete with two chocolate fountains, fruit, and cake.  Then at 7 PM there was a wine tasting .. Actually more like a wine drinking.. We all did more than “taste” along with wonderful French cheese, cold meats and bread.

Today.. Are you ready.. The chef is doing Mexican fare and I have the photos to prove it! I’m probably going to have to try this just so I can give a proper review.

Okay… Just tested the French Mexican Burrito.  Actually, it was quite good, and this is coming from a girl who lives in Southern CA.  Carne Asada, black beans, corn, lettuce and a slice of tomato rolled in a large tortilla that looked a lot like a crepe, topped with cheese sauce, and small portions of salsa and guacamole on the side.  It certainly wasn’t the Mexican you get in the US, but the French do well by most dishes and this was no exception.

If it seems like I’m talking a lot about eating and drinking, face it… eating and drinking are a major component of entertainment in France.  Aside from sitting down to a meal, and in France lunch and dinner are long with wine and conversation, there is the shopping, preparation, and endless talk about ingredients, best chef, best restaurant, best market, best wine, and on and on.

No fast food outlets at Roland Garros… oh no, that would never do.  Yes there is something they call “Quick Eats”. At L’Epicerie you can get a ham and cheese baguette, hamburgers, French fries, salads or of all things sushi.  However, this is for the tourists and the “grand Public”, the people with grounds passes.  The people with reserved and box seats eat at Les Jardins de Roland Garros, or at Les Terrasses.

Les Jardins decorated in French Country style, has a beautiful salad bar and serves a selection of terrines, which is really a fancy name for meatloaf served at room temperature.  Yes, they do use a much wider range of meat, herbs and often vegetables and it does take a longer preparation, but bottom line it is fancy meat loaf. Along with the terrines, there is a selection of grilled meat and fish, joints of ham and of course the wonderful desserts.

Les Terrasses is a lovely garden setting and where people linger over pasta, salads, and a variety of other lunchtime treats prepared by chefs at several serving stations.

Then at the top of the ladder, for the crème de la crème is the Grand Chelem.  This is a group of temporary tented rooms that are catered by Lenotre.  This is where corporate guests can be entertained in style with lunch and tennis going for 700 Euros a head…With the current exchange rate we are talking about $870.00.  For those bucks it had better be good.

To tell the truth, the reason I’m spending so much time sitting at my desk writing about food, is it is a cold dark, windy day and I really don’t want to go out and shoot matches.  I did venture over to Philippe Chatrier to catch the end of Tsong/Wawrinka.  They had to stop because of darkness last night, with Tsonga up 4-2 in the fifth. Thank god this isn’t the US Open where they could have played until the wee hours.  Jo-Wilfried pulled out a win and gave the French fans something to cheer about and as usual, he made great photos so it was worth it.

Tsonga and Gasquet are currently carrying the flag for the French but Gasquet has to get past Murray this afternoon, and Tsonga meets Djokovic in the quarters, so the celebration may be short lived.

And for the USA… Lepchenko and the Bryans are the only ones standing.  Lepchenko meets 4th seed Kvitova today so we’ll see if her winning streak will keep us in the singles mix.  Crazy that this girl from Uzbekistan is now the only American left in the singles draw.

This could be interesting.  Kvitova has a lot more weapons to close out a match, but Lepchenko is on a roll, the fans love her come from nowhere wins, and she seems calm and focused.  She told reporters, “I just worked hard and tried to believe in myself. I’m a fighter … in real life and on the tennis court.”

She was granted political asylum more than a decade ago, and moved with her father and sister to Florida. Her mother was unable to join the family for four years. At one point she said they didn’t have enough money for an apartment, and were just going from place to place, until a woman who arranges housing for players offered her a place to stay.  She is now established, earning enough for an apartment and even with a ranking of 63,  doing better than she ever could have hoped for if she had stayed in Uzbekistan.

I don’t want to get political here but I think this is a great American story.  It’s about our country opening its arms to people in need, people with no opportunity in their native land, and those people making us proud and enriching our culture.

Let’s remember the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift of friendship from the people of France, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

After years of struggle Lepchenko could represent the United States in the Olympic games, proof that the American dream can come true.

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