Jan 29, 2015

No-Go Zones (We Went): Carayaquoise


You may have heard about Fox so-called "news'" so-called "no-go" zones in Paris. I say "so-called" twice because, really, they're both bogus. If there are any zones that are best avoided in Paris, it's the various red-light districts that tend to be on the outer circle -- just where I wander the other day to get Pippa to an audition. The neighborhood, not far from Sacré Coeur is, um, how shall I put it?...different.

After walking by the Sexodrome, Live Shows, and numerous Sex Shops, Pippa asks "Why are there so many sexy stores here? Is this where young people live when they get married and they want to buy sexy clothes?"

Perhaps not where newlyweds live, exactly. At least, it's not where I would've wanted to go on my honeymoon.

We try to be fairly open with our kids about sex, answering their questions honestly. When Gigi was about four, getting tucked in one night, she sweetly asked, "But exactly how does the sperm get to the egg?" When I told her the real answer, she gagged. "That's disgusting! And you did that? Twice?! You must have really wanted children!"

She then proceeded to teach Pippa all about the birds and the bees, in an equally matter-of-fact manner, usually while we were all at the dinner table. "Pippa, did you know that Daddy had to stick his penis in Mommy's vagina to make babies?!" Very well explained Gigi; now please eat your broccoli. It's very hard for Anthony and I to keep a straight face.

One day, when Gigi was around eight, she heard about somebody who accidentally got pregnant. "How does somebody accidentally get pregnant? Are they, like, 'Oops!' I accidentally stuck my penis in your vagina?!" It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter cup commercial, except that we like to imitate it with fake British accents: "Pardon me, Ma'am! Terribly sorry! I seem to have accidentally stuck my penis in your vagina. Frightfully embarrassing!"

But as open as we are, we're not exactly ready to tell our sweet little freckle-faced nine year old what, exactly, they do at the Pussy's show in the 18th arrondissement. Heck, I don't even think I'm old enough to know what they do there.

This is the French take on Fox so-called "news'" so-called "no-go" zones. It has nothing to do with penises or vaginas -- but it's still frightfully funny, old chap (and it's in English-ish, after the first 10 second intro). You'll never look at cous-cous the same.

Are the red-light districts really no-go zones? Well, if you want to find a prostitute, by all means, go. Otherwise, no-go. As they say in the video, Oh my God, it's too dangerous out there!

A no-go zone: we went, anyway, and lived to tell the tale. But now I have to figure out how to answer some awkward questions.


Carayaquoise is a very unusual cheese -- a farmhouse sheep cheese from southern France, near the Pyrénées. So far, so common. But then some genius decided to add in saffron. Saffron! To French sheep cheese! It's madness, I tell you.

Actually, the geniuses are Denis and Gervaise Pradines, making the cheese on their farm in Carayac. As far as I'm concerned, these two flavors don't go together, and most of the cheese-eaters at the party agree. One guest, however, particularly loves the combo, and keeps going back for more. So, to each his own, I suppose. One person's no-go zone is another person's sex paradise, and all that.

Carayaquoise is dry and crumbly, with a definite overtone of saffron. It's difficult to taste the sheepy herbs behind all that saffron, but there's a little unmistakable stink from the orange crust.


Like the subject matter today, this cheese is a bit off-color, frankly. Think red-light district and neon yellow lights, and then look at this gorgeous bright yellow cheese against a red backdrop.

The taste is a bit off-color too, and I don't think the combination of Middle Eastern saffron and stinky French cheese go together like, well, chocolate and peanut butter ("You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "You got peanut butter on my chocolate!") The combination of Middle Easterners and Parisian neighborhoods do go together very well, on the other hand, despite what Fox "News" may claim, and I never feel like I'm risking my life by getting a falafel or a cous-cous.


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