Category Archives: pastries

Where Was I???

Zut alors! It has been many days and many miles since my last post! My life has been moving at a more frenetic pace than usual, and I am behind in many areas, including this one. So where was I? Ah oui, I was in Paris and had just spent a delightful half-hour in Astier de Villatte. My eight days in Paris were just what I needed to fill my tank after several months in London, which feels so much busier and is definitely grayer. Don’t get me wrong- I loved my time in London and am grateful to have had it, but we all know London can’t compete with Paris.

This fabulous paper covered the restaurant ceiling in our Paris hotel. Each morning at breakfast I tried to sit directly under the spot where our apartment was located. I’m sure the people who made the mistake of sitting at that table a few mornings wondered why I was glaring at them whilst they ate. (Can I still say “whilst” now that I have left England?)

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Isn’t it cool? I would love to have it in my bedroom, either on the ceiling or on a wall. Or maybe in the giant closet I dream of having one day. If any of you are designer types and know how I can find this paper, please share!

Our visit coincided with the season of Epiphany, when buttery, flakey King Cakes are found in all self-respecting patisseries. Don’t even compare them with those gaudy sweet confections of the same name found in New Orleans. Please.

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I loved how these posts were painted in bright colors.

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I think these pretty blue and yellow balls were outside of a fire station. But I’m not sure. Maybe I should go back and check.

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That’s enough Paris Love for today. There is more where that came from, and also photos from a tropical paradise that was the caboose to our extended European vacation.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

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Filed under Paris, pastries, Uncategorized

Food Tour in Saint- Germain

I have been so happy to have my good friend Laura visit me this week from Houston. And look what she brought with her!

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We have had a wonderful time running around Paris in the sunshine. Early September in Paris is one hundred times nicer than in Houston, where it still feels like summer.

Wednesday we took a food tour in Saint- Germain. How could that be anything but fabulous? I had taken a food tour in Montmartre several years ago and throughly enjoyed it, so when I saw this one advertised by the same company, Paris By Mouth, I knew it was the perfect way to spend a morning with my foodie friend.

Our tour met at the famous Poilane bakery, where our guide bought bread, apple tarts, and their famous “punitions”- butter cookies. Although the shop is tiny, they were very sweet to let us come in and take pictures.

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love the wheat door handles

love the wheat door handles

and the wind mill light fixture

and the wind mill light fixture

beautiful and delicious bread

beautiful and delicious bread

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please to leave "le chien" outside

please to leave “le chien” outside

back room has a chandelier made of bread

back room has a chandelier made of bread

Next stop was to the shop of master chocolatier Patrick Roger, who creates chocolate sculptures as well as chocolate candies.

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back to school chocolates

back to school chocolates

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We sampled six different chocolates while we were there. My favorites were the Szechuan ginger and the lemon basil.

Our guide took us next to the Saint- Germain market, an old covered market. The cheese counter was owned by a woman called Twiggy who was happy to practice her English with us. Our guide bought six cheeses- two goat, two sheep, and two cow. I was crazy over one that had truffle mixed into it. Oh my gosh yum.

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We also bought a little meat from a very jolly butcher.

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he was quite chatty with our guide

he was quite chatty with our guide

Finally, we took all of our treats to a small wine shop, where we sat down in the back room to sample our cheese and meat with a bottle of red and a bottle of white.

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Our final stop was to a relative new-comer to Paris, a shop that makes tiny cream puffs to order. The pastry is brought over several times a day from where it is made, and the cream is piped in when you order it.

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I had caramel cream put into mine, but you could also order plain or chocolate cream. Or one of each- it’s Paris.

After our three and a half hour tour, we were happy and definitely didn’t need any lunch.

I highly recommend the Paris By Mouth food tours. You don’t have to be a big walker, but you do need to enjoy talking about and eating lots of delicious food in gorgeous Paris neighborhoods. Which pretty much seems like that would be anybody with a pulse, right?

A bientôt , mes amis!

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Poilâne bakery at 8 rue du Cherche Midi, 75006
Patrick Roger chocolate 2-4 Place Saint Sulpice, 75006
Marché Couvert (covered market) de Saint-Germain at 4/6 rue Lobineau, 75006
La Dernière Goutte wine shop at 6 rue Bourbon le Château, 75006
La Maison de Chou pastry shop at 7 rue de Furstenberg, 75006

 

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Filed under chocolate, food markets, Paris, pastries, Saint Germain des Pres, Uncategorized

A Taste of Mexico Followed By A Slice of Paris

My good friend at Out and About In Paris reminded me of a promise I had made to pick a place for us to share a good Mexican lunch, and I finally came through one fabulous  day in November.  After a little research, I chose a tiny spot in a neighborhood in the 10th that neither of us was very familiar with.  I  am almost embarrassed to tell you what it is called, because the name is so ridiculous it would never fly in Texas.  Are you ready?  El Guacamole.  Terrible, right? Fortunately, the food was much better than the name.

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Although it looks pretty big, it actually was tiny.  The area to the left of the door is the kitchen, and the limited seating area is on the right.  We got one of the last tables and were happy to have it.

The menu was limited to tacos and a few sides like guacamole (of course).

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The guacamole needed a little salsa added to give it a bit of kick, but it was good.  The beverage was quite good, and more icy than one can usually find in Paris.  I wasn’t able to snap a pic of the tacos before we scarfed them down, but they were tasty, as well.

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Just across the street from El Guacamole was a beautiful boulangerie called Du Pain et des Idees.  For a glimpse of its charm, check out its website here.  The window featured a display of lovely  antique tins.  I was smitten and I hadn’t even had a whiff of croissant yet.

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There was a short line hanging out of the door, which we joined as soon as we finished our lunch.  A very nice man in line just in front of us told us that he crossed town several times a week just to buy bread at this bakery.  After that testimonial, we were prepared to wait as long as it took to sample the goods from this gorgeous shop.  I bought their “bread of the day”, which was stuffed with cheese and nuts.  It was amazing.  Sadly, I have forgotten what else I bought, but I have not forgotten that it was all delicious.

Here are some photos Mary Kay took inside the shop.  I’m sorry I cannot enlarge them because they are great.

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A day of friendship, tacos, margaritas, and bread in Paris- what more could one want?

Well, a side of fresh jalapeno would have nice.  But we can’t have everything.

El Guacamole

37 Rue Yves Toudic 75010

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Filed under Paris, Paris dining, pastries, Uncategorized

Another Day of Decadence in Paris (Dare I?)

Mark warns me about gushing too much here about This Wonderful Life In Paris, and I do try to be sensitive to that issue on this blog (really, I do.)    But since I just shared  the trials and tribulations associated with simply trying to replace the flippin’ sugar in my pantry, I figure I can safely tell you about this fun day I spent with a friend not too long ago.  I can, right?

There is a really cool store here in Paris called Merci, which is larger and more open than most stores here, and is full of wonderful clothes and dishes and decorative accessories.  The best thing about it, however, is that 100% of the profits go to charity in Madagascar.  When I was looking for information about the store I came across this article, which is full of fabulous photos and details about the store.  Please check it out.  Until I read it, I had no idea that the owners also own the children’s store Bonpoint, whose windows I am always sharing here because they are so clever.

This Fiat 500 is part of the store’s decor.  When I was there it was painted a gorgeous blue and toted a simple red suitcase on the back.

I would love this under my Christmas tree.

Frontal view

While the Fiat was in the courtyard just outside the entrance , this precious little mini-van was inside the store.

This awesome bike was also in the store.  Love the handy-dandy wine carrier!

Everything about this store makes me wander around it slack-jawed at how beautifully designed it is.  I wish they would come to my house and work that magic.

Although there is a cafe at the store (of course there is), my friend and I scooted on over to the Marais and had lunch at Rose Bakery, which is a precious little place with delicious home-baked goodies you can take home.  Hint: if you go to the Marais location, be sure you have at least three people in your party or you will be seated in a narrow passageway between the kitchen and the front of the bakery (which is where you want to be), next to humming refrigerators and industrial- sized bottles of food stuffs.

Despite the imperfect ambience, we both enjoyed our  pizza and wine.

Yum.

Here is the front of the bakery, with its  gorgeous steel and glass door and window.  Unfortunately, it is also directly behind a strip of motorcycle parking spaces.

Immediately upon leaving the bakery, we realized that we were perilously close to one of the most stylish chocolate and pastry shops in Paris, where one can actually sit down and enjoy rich hot chocolate and amazing pastries.  “One” =”We” and yes we did.  It was so wrong.

The shop is called Jacques Genin, and my friend and I had been dying to go there ever since David Lebovitz tempted us with his blog post about it here.  So we blame it all on David, who is responsible for leading us into temptation on other occasions, as well.  Bad David.  Bad.

So wrong. Should have gone with tea.

There were other acts of indulgence on that wonderful day, but (thankfully) not of the gastronomic variety.  I will save those for the stuff of future posts, I think.

We all owe it to ourselves to have days like this every once in a while, don’t you agree?  Please tell me you do.  And that you don’t judge me for my gluttony and any other unseemly conduct that may or may not have occurred on that day.

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Filed under chocolate, decorating, Marais, Paris, pastries, shopping

Twas A Rainy Weekend In Paris

Bonjour, mes amis!

I don’t usually post at this time of the day (afternoon in Paris) but I leave early tomorrow morning for Seville (yea!) and I don’t think I will have the presence of mind to launch this before I go.  Besides, it’s good for the soul to mix things up a little bit every now and then, oui?

Friday was crisp and sunny here, so I headed out to enjoy a walk and some retail therapy.

First stop was a drop-dead gorgeous chocolate/caramel/pastry shop, Jacques Genin, that I have been dreaming about since David Lebovitz described it here.  If you read his post you will totally understand why I was skipping down the street in the Marais, happy to finally be entering this realm of deliciousness.  What I really want to do is go there with a friend, get a coffee and a pastry,  sit down at a table, and enjoy the surroundings and the sweets.  This time, however, I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t have a friend, so my mission was a bag of the famous caramels to give to my hostess in Seville.  And a bag for moi, because caramels do it for me in a way that chocolates never will.  These were divine.  I got half plain and half with pistachios.  So good.  I hope I can resist tearing into my hostess’s bag once mine is empty.

Wanted: Someone to sit here with me and be shameless.

As I had made the trip and was standing at the counter with no line, I thought it would be foolish not to take home a few pastries, too.  So they boxed up three caramel eclairs for me.  They were amazing, even several hours later.  I definitely think this place is worthy of a follow-up post.  Can I get an “Amen, Sistah”?

With my sweets in my tote (which I have learned to carry with me at all times, for those pre-meditated and unexpected  purchases) I continued skipping down the sidewalks, congratulating myself for bringing an umbrella and no sunglasses, thus ensuring a  bright and sunny day.  This colorful window caught my eye.

colorful window

Next stop was my favorite kitchen shop, E. Dehillerin. It’s  always a treat to wander about this cozy, dusty, culinary heaven.  I had to have this copper beauty and a traditional French rolling-pin.

Yeah, my tote was getting heavy by this point.

All that shopping and walking and toting had made me thirsty, so I stopped at Place Colette for a Coke and a view.

Saturday was not so bright.  In fact, the whole weekend has been wet and grey.  This was particularly unfortunate for the Fete de Vendange (“festival of the grape harvest”) going on in Montmartre.  Mark and I braved the rain and checked it out for you. Booths wrapped around Sacre Coeur, offering tastes of wine, champagne, sausages, sandwiches, pastries, foie gras, and every other French delicacy you can think of.  It was really fun, and would have been much more so if one hand had not been occupied with an umbrella.  Also, let me just say that a rainy day in Montmartre is NOT the time you want to find out that your new boots are dangerously slippery on wet surfaces.

After enjoying some wine samples, we decided to take shelter in a cafe for lunch.  This cafe was perfect, offering a dry awning and warm heaters, which allowed us to enjoy the sound of the rain and the cool air while staying warm and dry.

something I adore about living here- heated sidewalk tables

Wow.  This post is getting long.  Is anyone still there?

Today is another rainy day, which I have taken advantage of to make Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Noodle Soup to leave with my family while I am in Spain.

And you, my Paris Posse, I leave with this long post and gros bisous.  I am not taking my computer to Spain, so it may be awhile before I appear again.  But ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

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Filed under cooking, Marais, Montmartre, pastries, Uncategorized

Passin’ Through Passy

The weather app on  my iphone showed more rain for Wednesday, but the morning was sunny and blue.  I decided to take advantage of the change in the weather while it lasted.

First, I took Wonderchien to the river for a little off-leash play time.

On the way home we checked out the Bonpoint window.  So cute.

When we got home, the sun was still shining, so I quickly made myself presentable and headed out to explore Passy, a lovely neighborhood in the 16th that I have not spent enough time in.  This is a well-to-do neighborhood, and the apartment buildings were gorgeous.  I was wishing someone would invite me up to tour the inside of one of them, but it didn’t happen.  Maybe next time.

All of these lovely apartments are surrounded by wonderful shops of every variety.

I bought a tuna sandwich here. It was yummy.

My favorite stop of the day, however, was this sweet little shop that makes meringues filled with whipped cream and rolled in something delicious.

Sadly, I cut off the name of the shop, which is Aux Merveilleux de Fred.

Isn’t that a precious little place?  Here is what I bought.

Before we get to how they tasted, can I just say how much I love the way the French package things?  This box is no flimsy, collapsible cardboard floozey.  This is a lovely, sturdy box worthy of a gift presentation.  The heavy plastic insert got a little smudged as I carried it around in my shoulder bag, but the little clouds of deliciousness remained intact and beautiful.  I just tasted one (only so that I could fully report on it to you, dear readers) and it was amazing.  The meringue was not at all hard or crumbly, and the whipped cream filling was light and buttery.  So good.  I think I am going to be a rock star with my family tonight.  Thank you, Fred.

And that concludes our tour of Passy, my friends.  Thanks for coming along, and be sure to tip your guide on your way out.

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