Bofinger Sauerkrat with a knuckle of pork, white sausage, Strasbourg sausage, sausage with cumin, smoked pork belly, pork loin and boiled potatoes. Brasserie Bofinger

Dear Miss Manners,

When I was in Paris recently, I attended a small dinner party with four other American friends. Our gracious host and hostess live in an apartment with a balcony view of the Tour Eiffel. During our marvelous dinner we set our Apple watches for “on the hour” alarms to catch the 5-minute breathtaking display of sparkling lights superimposed over the tower’s golden lighting.

That meant the five of us left the table en masse four times during dinner. Was that rude? Is an apology needed? I feel guilty. Thank you for responding ASAP.

Mary Hirsch

PS – In our defense, here’s our once-in-a-lifetime view. Vive la France.

Tour Eiffel


As you read this post it’s a good bet I’m boarding an Air Canada 777 making my 32-hours way to Aspen via Toronto and Denver. After more than a five months absence, my tiny 940’ condo will seem like a palace. May is always a month of construction frenzy at The Gant. That’s okay. It’s jackhammer-loud, noisy and messy with just me and the construction guys on site. As a reminder of that, I understand earplugs (free) await me.

Aspenites Karen Kribs and Cathy O’Connell enjoying the Paris Skyline with our host, Michael.

While eager to see Colorado, leaving Paris is a bit of a tug. If you’ve joined me virtually for this adventure, you already know I’ve loved my experience.

Another familiar face from Aspen, Fred Venrick.

It’s always a treat to eat white asparagus during its very short season. Aliza Sokolow, an award winning food photographer, is in the background with Dorie.


For starters there were oysters with gougères and salmon rillettes. The last two, which I’ve also made, were from Dorie’s Around My French Table cookbook.

In a recent post I wrote about having dinner with Dorie and Michael Greenspan who were spending time at their Paris apartment. If you recall, for more than five years I was part of a group which cooked through Dorie’s Around My French Table cookbook. Last week Dorie called to invite me and my Aspen friends, who had just arrived in Paris, to come for drinks and nibbles. An unexpected invitation, I was very pleased as were my friends.

I had never eaten oysters before so Cathy provided a tutorial and encouragement.

Just a heads up Readers, if you’re ever invited for “nibbles” at the Greenspans, we’re talking full-fledged dinner. Let me say this about the evening…..I knocked at their door and introduced them to 3 Aspenites who they had never met before. By the end of the evening (ahem, 12:30am), we were all best friends.

Although I am being facetious about writing Miss Manners. We did bob up and down and Apple watches were involved.

All Aboard. Belgium-bound.


At the International Market with Andrea and 3 of her 4 daughters

Paying homage to Morocco at the International Market in Antwerp

During my 8 years of food blogging many of the acquaintances I’ve known virtually are now friends. Those who live in the USA I’ve often met personally. Others who live in faraway places, not so much. That’s why last Saturday was such a treat. I finally met the very-talented Andrea Mohr who blogs as The Kitchen Lioness and lives with her husband and four daughters in Bonn, Germany.

Pomme Frites with Mayo, surprisingly delicious

Posing with Nijntje (Miffy), a storybook character

We cooked up a plan where I would come by train to Antwerp and she, Thomas and the girls would drive from Bonn, a 21/2 hour trip for us both. Miraculously, with thanks to the Europeans’ efficient train system, the day passed without a hitch. Andrea met me at the station with, what else, a bouquet of gorgeous tulips. Their itinerary included visiting the International Market and all Andrea’s favorite kitchen stores, seeing Antwerp’s historical highlights, enjoying Belgium food specialities and a hot chocolate break. Since we’re usually separated by 5,000 miles, this was a glorious meet up.

“Homeless Jesus,” a sculpture by Timothy Schmalz was installed in Antwerp in February.


Lunch – burrata and Jambon de Parme salad

Bofinger’s fish sauerkraut with haddock, scottish salmon, langoustine, sea bass, boiled potatoes and horseradish butter Brasserie Bofinger

Île flottante, Brasserie Bofinger


Memorial de la Shoah, Paris’ holocaust museum was dedicated in 2005 by President Jacques Chirac.

Honoring Winston


The Luxor Obelisk with the Grande Roue de Paris in the foreground. The ferris wheel is 2000′ high.


  1. Ellen says

    Mary. Welcome home! God bless America! Was so intrigued by all your blogs! So exciting that you were invited to Dinner with Dorie! We need a play by play of all the courses and of course the wine too!
    What a nice trip to meet the Family from Germany in Belgium ! So nice of them to Travel those 2 1/2 hrs!
    See you soon in Las Vegas! Love you lots!

  2. Cher says

    Mary. I have such a huge smile on my face knowing you met Andrea. Your adventures sounded fabulous and welcome home!

  3. says

    I love that you left the table for the irresistible and dazzling display on the Eiffel Tower. You had to!! And choucroute at Bofinger — another “must.” You did Paris up right. And now you’re winging home. Bon voyage!

  4. says

    I love that you left the table for the irresistible and dazzling display on the Eiffel Tower. You had to!! And choucroute at Bofinger — another “must.” You did Paris up right. And now you’re winging home. Bon voyage!

  5. says

    A perfect recipe of fun, food, and friendship. Oh how travel opens so many of the world’s blessings! Thank you so much Mary for sharing your many talents and bringing us so intimately along in the journey. Its been a real pleasure.

  6. Amy Gordon says

    Welcome home – give me a call! Have enjoyed every episode of your Parisian adventure and drooled over the photographs.

  7. Terry Durham says

    Hi Mary,
    I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your blogs from Paris! Loved seeing Karen Kribs and Cathy and Fred with you there! As someone who totally hates to cook, I still like seeing what YOU are cooking and eating! The train to Belgium certainly looks like “the only way to travel”!
    Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  8. Donna Grauer says

    We will welcome you back to our beautiful valley with loving arms; perhaps small recompense for ending your Paris adventure? The next time you go to Paris, I am coming with you.

  9. Mindy says

    Wow!!!! What a trip! You’re so much fun Mary…. but I’ve always felt that!

    See you in Aspen – arriving next week! Safe trip home❤️

  10. says

    You made the best of every moment of this time away! What adventures you’re undertaken and friendships made or solidified. I love your joie de vivre! Welcome home!

  11. says

    What an experience you have had! Then topping it off with meeting Andrea and dinner with the Greenspans. Ooh la la:) Thank you for including us all in your adventure. Welcome back to the States.

  12. Sistie Fischer says

    Dear Mary, Thanks for including me in your blog. I am fascinated by your stay in Paris. It looks fabulous and so do you.
    I am looking forward to seeing you in Aspen after you have recovered from your trip. The photos are making my mouth water. You descriptions are so picturess as well.
    I am glad that you had such a good time. I want to hear about it in person from you.


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