everything i ate in paris

Everything was miniature and everything was perfect. It was exactly the Paris I’d imagined in my mind, right down to the effortlessly fashionable couples walking home from work in the evenings, hand-in-hand with baguettes sticking out of their bags. All of the buildings were beautiful and boutiques lined the streets with clothes that didn’t really fit me but were elegant nonetheless. The bistros had great fries, the macarons were flowery yet not at all soapy, and street musicians played accordions! It was all like being in a movie.

Here is a list of all of the things I ate in Paris that I can remember. I ate them with Lily, Sarah, Christine, and Kelsi and Pia, the super awesome humans from Bonne Maman who organized this insanely delicious trip. Thank you 4ever, Bonne Maman!!!


A warm baguette with a lot of soft butter and a pile of perfect ham. A warm baguette with a lot of soft butter and a pile of perfect ham!!! Sorry, I just sit here for a few minutes and relive this experience in my brain. *Closes eyes and tilts head back* 

Chewy crunchy nests of kadaif topped with whipped cream and flavored with rhubarb, rose, halva, pistachio, and mastic, and shared with my all time favorite speed skater who just happened to also be in Paris, Sugar Todd!! 

An omelette that looked like a shiny yolky yoga mat but tasted like custard and cheese at Ladurée.

A large airy coffee flavored sphere of meringue and cream, a merveilleux, “like a structured Eton mess,” as Kelsi so perfectly described it. 

Rice pudding. Pardon, riz au lait. I like rice pudding now. Actually I love it! I’m turning into my dad. In fact as soon as I post this blog post I am going to get working on a replica of the kind I had at Chez Georges, which was very loose and vanilla-y. We also had some at L’Ami Jean which came with some crunchies and ice cream underneath it and it was delicious but it was much thicker than Chez Georges'. I like it loose, I discovered.

Chèvre chaud salad, my new favorite salad, and an instant newcomer to my arsenal of dinner recipes. Essentially fried goat cheese on mustardy dressed greens. Until we tracked one down, Lily wouldn’t shut up about them and their greatness. And now I refuse to shut up about them and their greatness. They’re peak simple and peak amazing. The one at Chez George had the best dressing, and the one at Les Antiquaires was covered in bacon and prosciutto. My ideal would have been a combination of the two but honestly they were both freaking ideal.

A crêpe from the street stand with a halo of crispy cheese.

Extremely thick white asparagus at L’Ami Jean that had some excellent salty crunchy business all around it, followed by a pot of pork that came with some flaming sticks on top that smelled like a campfire. 

One perfect soft doughy flaky croissant from Des Gateaux et du Pain

Cute miniature colorful snacky bites on the Bonne Maman boat! For two of the days that we were in Paris, Bonne Maman decked out a boat in the Seine with recipe demos, craft workshops, candle making, tea bag sewing, and manicures, it was like a fancy French summer camp! Complete with a David Lebovitz sighting! It was so fun. 

Bonne Maman preserves galore. We sat at a table on the Bonne Maman boat with every type of Bonne Maman preserve you could imagine (and even some unimaginable ones because half of them aren’t even available in the U.S., like rhubarb and black cherry) and a spoon. It was a dream! And then it was a very put-together dream when Sarah and Lily styled it all as I ate my raspberry crêpe. We got to try a delicious new line that is about to be released in the U.S., called Intense, which has even more fruit than their original preserves. I'm so excited for you guys to try it.

Cheese and lots of it. Duh. 

Tonka macarons!! Which moved me to smuggle back some tonka beans. Can I say that? Is that legal? And the aforementioned flowery non-soapy macaroons that made me want to track down the exact flowers/flower flavorings that Ladurée and Pierre Hermé use. And an asparagus macaron which didn’t taste asparagusy so much as just springy and fresh.

Eclairs and cream puffs and caramels and chocolates that were all just like little works of art. We got like one of everything and I tried the pistachio flavors first, the rose flavors second, and the hazelnut things third. None of them sucked. 

Things I Didn’t Eat

L’as Du Falafel- It was closed and I was very sad! But I am going back to Paris next month for my friend Rob's wedding so I will definitely be eating that falafel.

The fries at Bistrot Paul Bert- One day!!!!

Jam! I know, I thought all Bonne Maman made was jam, but brace yourself for a tidbit: jam is what happens when all of the fruit cooks down until it’s smooth, while preserves maintain the integrity of the whole pieces of fruit. So Bonne Maman doesn’t actually offer jam! Mainly preserves, and some jellies.


-yeh!

Thank you sooo much, Bonne Maman, for the most epic and delicious trip ever!!! 

All photos taken on this fancy contraption

 

you may call me macaron molly


the prospect of making macarons has not even been an option,
lest my baking ego get destroyed.
until today. 
when, after watching a wonderful rehearsal of the chicago symphony
playing mahler 9 and enjoying a bit of tea at the russian tea time,
i had an entire half a day to fill with whatever i pleased,
i filled it with the time and patience it takes to {successfully} make
toasted sesame macarons
i used this recipe and i chose to add toasted sesames
because when i was five i had an imaginary friend named
gumpug {pronounced, "justit"} who went to a school called
sesame school.
i immediately regret typing that and i might delete it tomorrow.
but also i like that the sesames add a really great,
not-too-sweet nutty taste. 
and not to boast {though really i'm about to},
but i'm really proud of myself for actually pulling through with 
this recipe. normally when a recipe has a direction
that involves double boiling and stiff peaks and lots of sitting,
i lose my patience and say f that and buy whatever i'm trying to make.
but i did it! 
and the skins formed,
and the icing hardened,
and i sifted. i sifted. sifting is really annoying,
but i did it and it was worth it because now there are 
lots and lots of macarons in my fridge and they are like
ladurée, watch out. 
yay!

-yeh!

et: nice


1. quiche better than mum's {sorry mum} at the cours saleya.
2. maria's obsession, in warm colors.
3. you can't go to france and not have a crepe, right? right.
4. check out the crust on that baguette, yo.

i'm just gonna give you a list. because what maria and i ate in nice is absolutely the most insane thing in the world ever. ever. over the course of two and a half days we definitely each consumed a mass equivalent to three six-year-olds. and it was all outstanding. and it was all cheap because rather than give into bougey french cuisine, we just walked around the entire time, ducking into markets and patisseries and getting little snackees everywhere we went. ok are you ready? this is what we ate:
approximately 20 macarons, 2 quiches, gelato {in cactus, beer, calisson, almond, pistachio, lychee, pecan, and peach}, a croque monsieur, a croque brie, pain au chocolat, like 4 sandwiches au jambon, pringles au jambon {yeah, ham pringles}, a nutella crepe, a calisson cookie, a burger at the pub, pommes frites + mayo mmmmm, focaccia, socca {a traditional niçoise chickpea pancake that looks like a crepe but tastes like a latke}, an onion pizza thing, baguettes galore with the knock off nutella at the hostile, tarts, eclairs, dinosaurs... you get the idea. 
everything was so insanely good except for the beer gelato. but still. i think i'll move to france.

-yeh!!

if you're going to nice, here's a list of places we got food from and liked:
fenocchio: gelato in like ten trillion flavors, including tomato basil, avocado, and that nasty beer... the almond and pistachio were soooo good though.
chez rene socca: this is the place to get a socca, so says the guide books...
picard: it is this space age grocery store that has every food you could ever want {including soup dumplings and macarons and sushi}, but every single thing is frozen. really bizarre and a nightmare if you don't have a microwave. but cool. 
la fougasserie: out of the million macarons that we tried, this place had the best. 
cours saleya: a yummy outdoor market! more on this later...

week 2: macaron cafe



"did you go to macaron cafe yet??"

reads the almost daily text from mum.


"...no, mum, i have work to do."


"what about now?"




"...i just ate"




"ok, well you must go tomorrow because tomorrow is tuesday and you know that that's croque monsieur day."


"i told you, I HAVE WORK TO DO!"




typical, typical banter. 
and there was no stopping it.
i mean, i knew what i needed to do to stop it.
i could either lie,
tell her i went and that it was fine but her sandwiches were better {which would end any and all interrogation}
or i could just go to the damn macaron cafe.
i really didn't have any reason not to... except that it's in midtown.
spitting distance from penn station. 
oh the horror.


uh oh, i'm getting a text from mum...


"did you hear?? midtown lunch just said that macaron cafe puts bouchon to SHAME! 
OHHHH SNAP!"


relentless, that woman.


anyways,
things got brutally out of hand last tuesday.
it started with a phone call.
not a text, but a phone call.


"soooo.... whatcha doin today?"
"probably gonna go to costco, and then to yoga... maybe practice"
"oh. and macaron cafe?"
"nope, no time for that."
"isn't today--"
"CROQUE MONSIEUR DAY. I KNOW. I REEEEALLLY KNOW. AND I REEEEALLLY TOOK THAT INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN I WAS PLANNING OUT MY DAY. BUT I'M SORRY, IT'S JUST NOT IN THE CARDS."




two hours later, on a walk, circa 88th and amsterdam
phone rings, guess who.


"how was costco?"
"ummm, brian couldn't go, he needed to practice. so i didn't go either."
"PERFECT! YOU CAN GO GET A CROQUE MONSIEUR!"
&p;!@*^&p;%$#@)(*^%$#@
FINE.
*click*




she was right. it was time.


i googled the number, i called, and made a reservation.
not for a table though, 
but for a croque monsieur. 


tell me that's not cute.


it was all because when i called, monsieur croque monsieur told me that, oui, today is croque monsieur day, but they only have "un, deux, trois.... FOUR CROQUE MONSIEURS LEFT!"
so i should probably get there soon.
meaning, i couldn't walk there, i'd have to subway it. 
meaning, i had no choice but to brave penn station.




i survived. 
monsieur croque monsieur greeted me and asked if my croque monsieur would be for here or to go.
i looked around the hot pink closet sized cafe at the two teensy tables,


"but, monsieur, there's no place to sit"


he motioned to an itsy bitsy stool squeezed between an already full coffee table and a wall, as if to say,
"duh, look at ze perfectly good square foot we have rezerved for you!"


i cracked up a bit, and took a seat. 


a few feet to my right was the oven used to heat my c.m.
within minutes, i was served up this piping hot beauty:





and ohhh it was decadent.
the way the béchamel sauce OOZED out from between the freshly cut ham
and the freshly baked {crusty, yes, very crusty} bread
ohh and the melted cheese on top, 
how it crackled with every bite! 
ah! if i wasn't so closely smooshed up against total strangers,
i would have licked every last drop of béchamel off of the plate!


i had an orangina to wash it down.


and for dessert, 
i took home a variety of french macaroons...
which i must restrain myself from raving about just yet because when midtown lunch compared them to bouchon's, my initial reaction was
"oh no you DIDN'T"
and then i promptly decided that i'd be comparing them for myself innnn (drum roll, s'il vous plait)


the macaroon smackdown
bouchon bakery vs. macaron cafe: who will take ze cake?
coming soon to a blog near you




i digress.




i want another macaron croque monsieur. RIGHT NOW. but, mes amies, i've got 50 more restaurants to go...



xoxo


yeh




macaron cafe is located on 36th street, just east of 7th ave 


p.s. did you know that today was no pants day in new york?