Thursday, November 29, 2012

"It's a French Speciality . . ."

I am definitely battling the prolonged effects of being out in the elements at practice and our games the past few days.

Nothing that some aspirin and a little Vin Chaud can't fix I believe.

Today was yet another chapter of "Thursdays With Mary" at our AVF foreigners club that meets weekly in the Vieux Lyon.

As you may recall, last week we made some American goodies for the club members to enjoy. This week it was Malaysian Food Day at the club.

Our Malaysian Friends putting the
finishing touches on our dining experience

They did a GREAT job preparing
delicious delicacies

Mary and Mendy

Mendy took the time to explain to Mary and me what we were eating. Unlike later in the day, it all sounded good and was delicious.

The fact that most of their offerings would fit nicely on any one's dessert menu didn't bother me at all.


After the meeting, I started roaming the Vieux Lyon, St-Just, Perrache and Croix Rousse districts in search of items to purchase as Christmas presents. I must admit that the cold weather has got me into Christmas mood this Holiday Season.

While at the Lyon Christmas Market today, one of the vendors recognized me and outed me to some of his customers when he told them my true identity . . .
Pére Noël

It was time for lunch, so I took the St-Just Funicular to one of my favorite restaurants, Les Caprices de Sophie.

The owner is always friendly and outgoing every week when I stop by for a meal. He even calls out my name when I enter, how Cronies-like can you get?

I usually order the Plat Du Jour and have yet to be disappointed. I always ask him to not tell me what I'm eating until after I'm done so that I don't have any preconceived prejudices pop up to spoil my latest French Cuisine dining experience.

I always remember the words of my sainted Abuela who always prompted me to at least try a dish. If I didn't like it, it was OK with her but at least try it.

Today, the owner/waiter was really excited about the Plat Du Jour. He told me that it was widely known to be the favorite dish of former French President (1995-2007) Jacques Chirac who was celebrating his 80th birthday today. So, to celebrate this special day, Chirac's favorite dish became the Plat Du Jour.

What was this dish you ask?

Tête de Veau with
Sauce Bibiche

Now, when our owner/waiter first started to tell me, in his excitement, about the Plat Du Jour, he described it as being a "French Speciality." This is a French restaurant code phrase for . . .

First, let me say THANK GOD for a glass of strong red wine, a carafe of water, half a baguette, two boiled potatoes, some steamed carrots and extremely good sauce bibiche!

The sauce has a mustard base so I was happy.

Tête de Veau is Calf's Head. I felt much better when he told me that the recipe did not call for the calf's eyes.

Interesting textures including some gelatinous layers and chewy meat.

Not my favorite dish to date but it was not too bad. It had very little flavor had it not been for the sauce bibiche.

I'm not so sure that this meal was "Oh so good for me!"

The dessert and café were excellent as usual.

P.S. If Jacques Chirac runs for office again any time soon, he probably will not be getting my vote.

Mike D'Antuono: 
Jack Reacher is in Lyon!

The Tony Parker Burger

The San Antonio Spurs' Point Guard is French. 

Parker owns a part of the professional basketball team here, the Asvel Lyon-Villeurbanne. They are currently in third place in their 16 team league with a record of 5-3, one game behind the co-leaders of the circuit, Chalon and Le Mans both 6-2.

Quick is the "French McDonalds." I ate at one in Nîmes a few weeks ago and didn't think much of it. I have a Quick about a three minute walk from The Villa but I have yet to buy any food there.

After today's lunch, what the hell, what have I got to lose.

No, I do NOT plan on eating here!!!

It was a good day in which I did get a lot of Christmas shopping accomplished. Now it is on to our last practice of the week from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with our Senior team.

Bon Appetit!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Chilly Wednesday

More rain today and the temperatures are dropping but our preparations must continue as we prepare for Cadet and Junior games at home this weekend.

As Murphy's Law dictates, I left my keys to the practice facilities at home by accident. When I realized my mistake while riding the bus, I thought to myself, no problem. I was confident that our Cadet Head Coach would bring his.

Of course, for the first time all season, he was stuck at work and was not be able to arrive for at least another 45 minutes. One of the player's Mother offered to drive me to The Villa to get the keys and thus speed up the process. Of course, we hit heavy traffic but we finally made it.

Merci for the ride, Dominique!!!

Coach Fred "Papy" Bastiand 

Here with our Cadet team, he gives them the overview of the night's practice plan and informs them of the time schedule for this Saturday's football carnival. We will be scrimmaging with at least two other teams at our home field at Stade Pierre Duboeuf at 2:00 p.m.

It should be fun as the Cadets face other teams for the first time this season.

Nice Sox

Defensive players tend to be a bit wacky. 

The Junior team doing Lombardies

About 30 minutes into this second practice of the evening, my hands went 100% numb as the combination of 4ºC/39ºF temperatures, constant rain and and a howling wind did a number on me.

I love Falcon Weather!!!

Head Coach Olivier Caldes had the players do a few Lombardies to get used to the conditions.

Novel idea.

The Juniors play a home game on Sunday.

After these two practices were finished, I got a chance to give counsel to three players from Washington, Tulane and Colorado who are trying to further their careers by playing in Europe.

I really enjoy spreading the word on this great experience to new players and coaches who are ready to take the first step towards a fantastic adventure. 

Reading Is FUNdamental

The Master Sleuth
was at it again!

I just love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories from 221B Baker Street. This fun read featured a dozen more tales of the cases solved my our savant of deductive reasoning.

Great fun indeed!

Easy Tuesday

Monsoon hits Bron! 

On Monday night, 19 very brave, tough, crazy "B" team players joined two equally dazed coaches for a practice in a torrential downpour! Most of our field resembled a lake and we were without a QB but still, for two hours, we persevered!

Love my Falcons!

Going Postal!

On Tuesday I walked about a mile to my local post office to buy some stamps and get a little exercise. The door was locked and a note on the door informed me that this would be the only post office in all of France would be closed today.

Of course.

The magical Place Bellecour

I opted to head downtown to Chez Jackie, one of my favorite spots for lunch. This is a great place for simple but well prepared meal with a local flavor.

The muddy River Saône

Monday's rainstorm brought a lot of rich, brown French soil into this peaceful waterway today.

Fortunately there is a bike repair
shop just a few blocks away 

The Mean Streets of
Vieux Lyon

How much would this door
cost today?

Café anyone? 

Vieux Lyon Patio

Moss in late Autumn

Now there is an interesting

They go up 

St.George at it again 

They really do call it
Le Royal Cheese

The price is right but, no merci, I prefer Chez Jackie.

We traded an on the field practice opportunity Tuesday night for a team meeting to review our tape of Sunday's Falcons-Aigles game.

It was a very good session and well worth the trade off.

We had a lot of good questions and the players were open to a little constructive criticism.

The Senior Falcons (2-0) will all be back on the field Thursday night to start our preparations for our game with our league's top team, the St-Cergues Bulldogs (3-0).

I'll be home in Camarillo two weeks from today, can't wait!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Aigles Game Photos

A whole bunch of really good photos from last Sunday's Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons vs. Chambéry Aigles game were uploaded to the Falcons FaceBook page today.

Let's take a look . . .

The game always starts
with a Kick Off

DE Remi Laurecon

He played another very solid game against the Aigles.

OC Julien Urgenti and Me

The Trenches

Aigles Game Pants are . . .

RB Brice Rontet
Mr. Versatility

The Falcons seem to like the
helmet award decals

Since they are not easy to earn, they are even more valuable.

QB Mathieu Paredes
80 yards passing, 1 TD and . . .

Mathieu added another 52 yards
rushing including a TD

The Falcon Cheerleaders were a
BIG hit on Sunday!

Defensive Huddle

Now we're talking!!!

Defensive Stalwarts


SS Fred "Papy" Bastiand
Veteran Leadership

OC Julien Urgenti, me and
DC Stephen Wohlert trying to help
the Arbitre

Defensive Line Get Off!


Raise the Hammer!

Hammer Unity!!!


Post Game Talk

Get your Falcon decals

RB Franck Berenice

We Played the Hardest,
the Longest on Sunday

I'm not sure who took these very good pictures, but I must say . . .