Sophie greeted me with a partially eaten apricot baguette at the La Tour-Maubourg metro stop after my computer programming class . Not that I didn't already think she was awesome, but a nearly surefire way to get on my good side is to offer me a really good baguette. A thick crispy crust, soft chewy innards, and the addition of sweet apricot bits equates to mega yumness.
But you can't just eat a baguette for lunch. ONLY CRAZY PEOPLE DO THAT. (Like me. Sometimes.) Combine the fooding powers of Sophie and Robyn and you end up with an afternoon of snacking on a wide variety of baked goods.
First stop: Poujauran.
I got a slice of pissaladiere (a pizza/tart-like thing with olives, anchovies, and a smothering of caramelized onions on top of a thin crust) as my only savory item of the afternoon. The first sensation of sweet creamy-soft caramelized onion mellows into the savoury flavor of...well, the rest of the ingredients. It's awesome. It would probably taste better warm, but it still deserves a place on my "eat again" list even when cool.
Sophie's tiny vegetable tart thingy (of course I can't recall what it's called in French) consisted of a buttery crust filled with a light eggy custard topped with carrot strips and chopped green beans. I liked my pissaladiere more since it had more flavors, but the vegetable tart is nice if you want something...not intensely flavored. Actually, I don't know why anyone would have a craving for a little vegetable tart thing. It's there in case you do.
Sophie also got a mini pistachio macaron, which I liked more than she did for its uber-macaron-ness. I also thought it tasted more flavorful than the large version, but I'd have to eat them side by side to be sure. MAYBE I SHOULD. For the good of humanity.
Sophie and I also shared a part de basque, a simple golden double-crusted tart (and by that I mean it has the bottom and top crust, in case I'm not getting my pastry terms correct...or maybe I should just make one up and call it a "tart with a hat") with almond paste. Freakin' awesome. While the top crust looked like it could've been soft and flaky, it was actually crispy like a buttery cookie. The rest was also buttery and dense-flaky (as opposed to the airy-flaky...yes, you know what I mean, OKAY). Oh yeah, and the sweet almond filling didn't hurt. It was still a little warm when we ate it. As though it had a soul. And then we killed it.
We went to chocolatier Hévin2, which is definitely the only chocolate shop I've been to with green glowing lights, and a display surface that hung from the ceiling (which you don't really notice until you bump into it and make it wobble, creating a mini-earthquake for the goodies it holds).
After looking at the individually wrapped macarons and individually wrapped truffles and other prettily packaged goods (I know it's a waste, but it looks so much cuter, perhaps a bit Japanese, when everything comes in its own little baggie), we bought a six-pack of macarons.
I liked all the flavors, but the cookie was more dry than I preferred. Still better than average though and they have some unique flavors. Chocolate and raspberry were alright; caramel and coffee were better. I would've liked Coconut-lime more if it had more coconut and more lime, but it's not like I have any other coconut-lime macarons to compare it to.
The standout macaron was easily the sesame flavor. Oh. Man. Each bite (you know, both of them) was filled with toasty sesame goodness in the form of a chewy macaron. I need to go back and see if they come in large sizes so that I can overdose on sesame macaron-ness. If anyone knows what other places make sesame flavored macarons, tell me. Then I can do comparisons! And that gives me an excuse to eat more macarons! [mentally hops up and down with excitement]
We walked to Japanese patisserie Sadaharu Aoki, which neither of us had been to before, but was on our list of places to go like any other good patisserie-obsessed foodie.
The tiny rue Vaugirard location only has seating for four people, so don't plan on having a party here. You may also want to take your stuff to go since it also costs more to eat in than to take out (which makes sense, but in case you wanna save a few bucks...). We stayed put since we had nowhere else to go. Also, the environment makes for better food photography. :)
Citron praline: lemon macaron base, white chocolate lemon-flavored cream and feuillantine pralinée.
My citron praline, carefully drizzled with two lines of chocolate sauce and topped with thoughfully placed hazelnut halves, combined sweet with tart with crunchy with smooth with creamy with nutty. You know how I feel about the combination of different textures and flavors: THEY MAKE ROBYN HAPPY! I mean, if it's not like a combination of whipped cream, fish paste, and vinegar, which sounds like the result of a bad dare. I suppose feuillantine pralinée (which is crispy, tasty stuff that I would describe in more detail if I knew how to) wouldn't seem as special if it were used more often in pastries, but I'd love it if it were in more desserts. I'd be totally doomed if someone figured out a way to make it into squeezable tube form; nothing could stop me from putting it on everything. Which could result in nauseating combinations.
This was definitely my favorite of the three things we got. Not that the others were bad.
You know how I feel about éclairs: not a big fan. But you may also know how I feel about black sesame: gimme gimme gimme. Combine the two and you end up with an éclair that even I can love. It wouldn't have really mattered what was on the outside (although I liked this éclair shell for being more solid than others I've tried) since it was the generous creamy black sesame filling that appealed to me the most. It's a tube of sesame goodness! How could anyone object to that?
Bamboo: "biscuit joconde" (in French), "punch matcha" (in French), green tea cream
Sophie got a dainty slice of bamboo cake to fulfill her goal of getting something with matcha (powdered green tea). The cake was simply decorated (or it just looks simple) with a few carefully placed lines and dustings of matcha and sugar to create the image of bamboo stalks in grass. Since I'm not a big fan of matcha I wouldn't be drawn to this cake, but the bite I had tasted good. Duh. I suppose that even though the flavor isn't my favorite, I could at least describe the taste, but...[throws up hands and makes an "I don't know what to tell you" face]. Maybe Sophie could chime in with some words. (She's better at describing food than I am, but unfortunately doesn't have a food-centric blog.)
Besides the pretty cakes they also sell a wide variety of individual cookies and chocolate bars. Outside their entrance they even had a freezer case for ice cream sandwiches. It's not exactly ice cream weather anymore (although I find freezing temperatures handy for preventing ice cream from melting, the downside being that you're also freezing), but that wouldn't stop me from getting it. Next time, perhaps.
Oh, I ended up eating ice cream the same night. That will be in PART TROIS.
[Please feel free to comment on the third part of this entry!]
18, rue Jean Nicot, 7th
Metro: La Tour-Moubourg (8)
16, avenue de la Motte Picquet, 7th
Metro: La Tour-Maubourg, Ecole Militaire (8)