Feb 28, 2010

Brussel's Friterie or "Papa's got a brand new dish"

My father called me the other day with the waves washing up on the sand to inform me that it was 32 degrees in Martinique (and also make sure it wasn't too cold in my freezing and distant Canada). He has been claiming forever that he, the eternal single male born on the day of Saint Perfect, would begin a world tour on my 18th birthday. I never really thought it would happen. In fact, I left our tiny cardboard house 3 weeks after my majority, and frankly, daddy looked so sincerely attached to his electric blue junk-car, a Golf 2 brown-taped and crazy-glued from the rear wheel to the windshield through the bench, that I could never imagine him living a life without her. I guess that the heat of Martinique is nicer than the one of a patched motor on fire. Seriously... my father has a wandering soul and of course he decided that his kids would have the same. In fact, we have been on vacations every year of our childhood, no matter if we had to make a financial compromise by wearing all year long the same horrible white sneakers bought at the grocery store, with a sole as thin as a crepe suzette and three scratches that do not remain sticky over a month. And so I was faithfully and ashamedly wearing these red velvet pants with elephant legs and embroidered colorful flowers in my 3rd grade, in order to go to a skiing trip and a surfing expedition the same year. Talk about a strong business sense.

Regrettably, our family deals didn't always worth it given that I found myself in my host family in Berlin with an emotionally depressed Goth girl who has never addressed to me more than two words “Good night”. Oddly, I’ve never rested well during this week. This was just before our bus crashes on the way home and I managed to get the motion sickness. For London, my girlfriends and I slept in a perfect replica of Santa Claus’ home as our host family, a single old lady, collected every little thing that was related to Christmas. We eventually survived by squatting the fast food of Piccadilly Circus seeing that she could only cook Holiday cookies and every “real” meal were prepared by her dear microwave and basically looked like shit. Needless to say traveling left sometimes a bad taste in my mouth. But my supportive father always had this deep cheerful voice with cool chuckles of a young man, who would have been smoking blunts listening to reggae music while I was away, to tell me “let it go my darling, you’re young and you got time, all you need to remember is that travel broadens the mind”. Once he made me laugh, he was then speaking with the wisdom that comes only from experience. Like a man who has dropped his camera while getting drunk on the roof of a New York hotel, and who now stands up in front of his daughter to tell her the importance to use a resistant necklace for camera when she takes a few self-portraits in her bedroom.

Alternately, family trips were priceless. When it wasn’t the tire of the blue car bursting on the road to La Rochelle, it was my sister who had a nervous breakdown in a Montreal's parking threatening she would return to Paris by walking, or my brother about to strangle the monitor of our Greek summer camp on the boat from Greece to Italy (I guess he could not stand him anymore). Fortunately, Daddy-Mummy, as I called him for a long time, always had the remedy to our ills of pimply teens that hated everything and everyone: yummy food in a nice restaurant. He insisted early on that we absolutely love to eat everything. From beef brain to frog legs, everything went in our stomachs. He therefore introduced us to one his favorite guilty pleasure in his beloved Brussels: snack on the go at a Friterie. A friterie is a traditional chip shop in Belgium as a caravan along the highway selling different type of Mitraillette. Literally a submachine gun. Fundamentally delicious junk food. It’s made of a tender demi-baguette stuffed of fried meat (my favorite is definitely merguez sausage seasoned with paprika) and salted crispy French fries sprayed of a cosmic quantity of sauce - hot sauce Harissa married with mayonnaise is wicked! And then, the best way to let it all go down is to grab a typical Brussels waffle dusted with confectioner’s sugar sold by a street vendor on the Grand Place. It’s dense, totally sweet and delicious. And Mister Poo, oops Mister Pee is not too far to continue the visit.