Achile in America!

Hello, my name is ted and I’m a sockaholic.

“…Hi Ted!” The crowd returns.
Yes, it’s true. I have a fetish for socks. It began just around high school years when my friend Peter and I decided we would no longer wear white socks. Nope, those were for normal people. Bring on the challenge of the ugly, the striped, the gender-confused, and the flat-out ridiculous. For years we rummaged through thrift-stores for the rare set of interesting socks.

ted and an ugly pair or red/black socks

Peter specialized in ugly colors and I specialized in ugly patterns. I’ve got sparkly argyle, rainbow striped, socks with toes, socks with santa, mermaids, ghosts, dogs, cats, ostriches, flags, metro maps, the list goes on far too long. My lucky softball socks stretch beyond my knees and have baby blue stripes. I call them my Mia Hamm Lucky Softball Socks and you should see the other team quiver as I pull them up to their full extension. They know a world of hurt is coming their way.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ugly socks for men. Your lucky to find an ugly pair of argyle or maybe something with a slight striped edge to them. I have huge feet, so I’ve learned through trial and error that I can’t wear too many womens socks. Although I do have a pair of girl scout socks that barely go past my ankles.

Fortunately, my friend Jean-Pierre introduced me to the world of Achile about 7 years ago. This french company creates socks in the same mode as beanie babies. Every three months or so, they release a new gamut of designs. Not only do they satisfy my craving for quirky, they’re downright comfy to boot. Every time I go to Paris, I start with a trip to the Samaritaine or BHV to grab a few pairs. Some people return with wine and cheese. I return with socks and socks.

ted's latest achile sock purchases

Achile in America

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I found a store, Citizen Clothing, in the Castro selling Achile. They had a nice selection and the prices were reasonable, $20. If I hadn’t just returned with new stock I would have gotten a cool pair of puppy socks.

Now, if you can’t get to Paris for your socks, fly on over to San Francisco and check out Citizen Clothing. If that is a bit much, try the new Achile online store. They actually have great prices online and a super selection.

Getting snubbed by the cat

christmas the cat

I went to “the City” last night to pick up Christmas from his own vacation. Instead of a Paris hotel, Christmas has been lounging in a swank Twin Peaks flat. He’s been able to watch the city, the birds, and the people from his private glass-enclosed atrium. He’s had meals of fresh shrimp and a steady stream of adoring fans.

It’s little surprise that he ran under the bed when he realized I was the latest in the parade of admirers. Yes, my little buddy, it’s time for your vacation to end as well. Don’t worry, I’ve got a can of fancy feast for you at La Petite Maison Bleue.

“Au revoir Joe” he meowed as I shoved him into his faux-Louis Vuitton cat carrier.

French Wine – American Whine

jim and ted kvetchingWhile the French are masters at making wine, the Americans I’ve seen today have become true masters of whine. From the first step into the American Airlines terminal at Charles De Gaul to the Starbucks in Boston, I’ve never seen such a grumpier, more problematic and whine-loving group since… the last time I returned to America.

These aren’t the seats I wanted… My frappacinno is taking too long… Thank god we have air without cigarette smoke… Those French people were rude… I need some crack…

I’ve just about come to the point where I begin telling people to shut up. Get over yourselves. Think about the good things in Paris, like the markets, the fromageries, walking along the Seine at night, the music, etc. Why cap off your vacation summarizing everything possibly negative about the trip. No, Jim and I prefer to make rude jokes about the people around us instead.

A grain of salt in Paris

Daniel is in Paris to see his mother and came by Bob’s place to say hello. With a bit of time on our hands, we decided to grab a bite to eat at a local cafe. The Fête de la Musique was beginning to start, so we decided to move off the major streets and find a cafe that was a bit quieter.

Luckily, we came across Au Grain de Sel, a small restaurant near Place des Vosges. They had apparently just opened and were anxious for new customers. I have to say, the service was wonderful. I was going to get a simple salad but they insisted I get a vegetarian selection.

A vegetarian can usually request a selection des legumes in a French restaurant. This will feature various side dishes the chef is preparing for the evening. It’s usually quite nice and features simply prepared tomatoes, potatoes, and mixed vegetables in various states.

The presentation was great. The first course was a small container of watermelon gazpacho. Following this, the vegetables were arranged around the plate with asparagus and fried herbs on top. The veggies were a bit over-cooked, but the enjoyable service made up for that in spades.

At the end of the meal, the chef presented us with a small gift of salt. She explained that it is a traditional gift that ensures happiness and a good heart. I’ve got the salt on a bookshelf right now and feel the good vibes already… or is that Jim snoring?