"Do you want to get gelato?"
...Who doesn't want to get gelato?
After watching "Souris City" (did "Flushed Away" not translate well into French?) at the Forum des Halles cinema last Wednesday night, Alex and I hoofed it to Pozzetto for a last bit of gelato bliss in Paris.
...For me, at least. Alex is staying for the next semester—I AM LEAVING ON SATURDAY MORNING.
Anyway. Thankfully Pozzetto has late opening hours for those of us who crave frozen creamy heaven-in-a-cup at a time when most people...do not. We gave sighs of relief upon seeing the lit facade of the shop from down the otherwise dark and not particularly lively looking street. But it is alive. With gelato. And the other things they sell that we were less interested in.
Cioccolato fondente, yogourt magro and pear sorbet were all...awesome. Of course. Although I don't usualy like sorbet, I wanted to try it because 1) Pozzetto can do no wrong and 2) I already tried all the gelato flavors I wanted. And what do you know—the pear sorbet tasted like a fresh pear, the yogurt tasted like tangy yogurt, and the chocolate tasted liked creamy, frozen ganache. I shouldn't have been amazed that the flavors tasted so real or that the textures, even of the usually stubbornly icy sorbet, were so perfectly creamy and dense, but I'm just not used to eating stuff that tastes that good. I must banish the mediocre frozen desserts out of my life.
Alex's cup of pistachio, fior di latte and seed-flecked kiwi sorbet was equally amazing. One weenie spoonful of the lightly yellow-green pistachio gelato was enough to fill my mouth with warm, toasted nuttiness. HOW'DITDOTHAT? It was somehow more amazing than when I first tried it during out last Pozzetto visit. The kiwi, of course, tasted like kiwi, but I still haven't gotten used to things like gelato tasting exactly like what they're supposed to, except in a form that's a hell of a lot tastier than its original form. Sorry nature; you lose this round.
The next day I unintentionally had a double-whammy lunch and dinner consisting of some combination of meat, fries, and pita. There's no good reason for why I hadn't discovered such a delicious foodstuff before when it was obviously built to match my tastebuds. Piles of juicy, salty meat (pork, methinks) shaved off a gleaming tower of piled meat slabs basting in its own fluids! Obligatory salady mixture topped with some kind of mayo-based sauce! Accompanied by burnin' hot golden fries! While my fries came on the side during a basilica-jaunt at Saint Denis, I had the superior "fries inside the pita" version at Maison de Gyros on the tourist-and-food-filled rue de la Huchette. This beautiful image has implanted itself in my brain as the meaning of Saint Michel. Notre Dame is right there too, but...eh, you know.
On Friday night after spending a day trapped in front of my computer with "the history paper that killed my brain cells", I eventually filled my lungs with fresh air and my belly with crepes by eating out with Alex at Creperie de Cluny, one of his favorite restaurants. For 10 € you get a starter galette, a main galette and a dessert crepe along with a pitcher of apple cider. Can you handle that much crepe-ness?
I stated with a "cycloptic" egg-topped galette. Alex instructed me to smear the runny yellow innards over the galette right away lest the yolk congeal and leave me unabled to combined chicken embryo nutrients with its underlying buckwheaty layer. Mm...tasty.
I couldn't handle the cheese in my butter, roquefort blue cheese and walnut galette ("La Harpe") and ended up scraping out half of it. So if you like blue cheese, go for it.
Alex's spinach, egg, and creme fraiche galette ("La Popeye") had less cheese death. Because it had no cheese. I probably should've gotten that.
I like that my chestnut cream crepe was decorated with a little blop of cream for the sake of not being naked. It tasted like sweet mashed chestnut in a wheaty blanket, aka just how you would expect it to.
Overall, it was a good meal. I don't know how to describe crepes in detail though, if that's what you're looking for from a food blog (I talk 'bout what now?). They're flat. They have some chewiness to them. They taste like whatever is on top or inside of them, but encapsulated in the flat, chewy thing. Three crepes is a good amount of food to satisfy one's belly without engorging it to deathly proportions. And for only 10 €! Sweet!
After dinner we took the metro to La Motte-Picquet-Grenelle where we had to change to different lines. It was the first goodbye I had to make to a friend I made in Paris; I had been dreading it all day. Or maybe since the day before. Whatever the length of time, it was probably longer than any normal person should spend thinking about those things and overdramatic on my case for thinking that I would never see him again. Hell, I'm already looking at ticket prices to Paris during my spring break.
It didn't bring me to tears, but it was a particularly difficult goodbye for various psychological reasons that I will not delve into since I already portray myself in a weird enough manner.
I went to Belgium for a day!
...And writing about my trip would totally mess up the flow of this entry, so I'm going to skip it for now and possibly return to it later. Or not. It was a long day.
La Defense fooding
Last Sunday I met up with Janice, Adelyn and Mare at La Defense to check out the Christmas market and do a bit of fooding.
There wasn't anything at the Christmas market that I particularly wanted (and I actually saw some of the same stuff at the market in Bruges, har har), but it was fun to see the ridiculously huge pans of tartiflette. As in, "could stir fry a couple of babies" huge. Thankfully it was just overloaded with a seething sea of hearty potato chunks, cheese, and pork bits. Although I didn't try it, it looked like you could either get it by itself in a plastic container or stuffed into a baguette for a tartiflette sammich. Dude. Sammich. That's got to be the way to go.
I absolutely loved this guy's expression. Is he sleeping? Is he awake? Does it matter? Not really. I hope he was having a good time, sleeping or awake.
We went to Paradis du Fruit in the ginormous Les Quatre Temps mall for lunch. Janice helped us order since she was fluent in French (she's originally from Malaysia but has been living in France for 16 years with her French husband and kids) and the rest of us were...extremely un-fluent. Adelyn unintentionally spoke Franglais by asking for "no fromage", which we of course made fun of for the rest of the day.
I got a combination plate of a smoked salmon and cheese pita, a walnut, cheese, honey and something green (judging from my photo, as I of course failed to take notes) pita, curried tofu and what I would call "home fries" in English but were definitely called something else in French. Aside from the random salad, I liked it all. The curried tofu, which Janice recommended, was my favorite for being flavorful with whatever spices they were coated in (like I could recognize them) and not simply being the tasteless soy blocks that I've come to know over the past 21 years. The pitas were warm, soft and filled with the kind of goodness that only toasty cheese can bring. You know, like gooey angels.
I'm too lazy to go into much detail, but there's the rest of the food: bread, Adelyn's pita sans fromage, Mare's curry and rice and Janice's combination platter.
It's kind of pricey for what you get, but Paradis du Fruit is probably a good choice if you're at Les Quatre Temps for food that will leave you satisfied without feeling deathly. Thanks to Janice for bringing us there!
I was very much full after lunch, but when my eyes saw the golden dough sticks floating atop the frothing vat of hot oil my stomach went into "NEED CHURROS" mode. How often do I eat churros anyway? Once ever 5 years? (The first time I had churros was possibly at Tokyo Disneyland. Really. I distinctly remember while waiting in line seeing a little kid by himself holding his own tiny cell phone. This was in 1997, by the way. Japan is at least a decade into the future compared to the rest of the world. Oh, and Wikipedia says, "Churro stands are found throughout Disney theme parks, which is where Americans often encounter churros for the first time." I think Disneyland really was the first place I saw churros. Wikipedia knows everything, even my childhood.)
I bought a small cone of churros doused in granulated sugar. The dough was crispy and chewy, but not very sweet. Then again, that's what the sugar was for. Mm, tasty.
I found the back of La Defense to be rather depressing looking. In the front you've got the market, mall, and lots of people milling about. Around the back you have a closed off road, a cemetary and no human life whatsoever. Sweet.
After chatting over coffees and hot chocolate (I got the hot chocolate, of course) and visiting the nearby Fnac, it was time to say goodbye to Janice. Adelyn, Mare and I felt like she had taken us under her motherly wing. I never got to blog about the time that she invited Mare and I to her home for a homecooked meal. She's one of the sweetest people I've met and I feel lucky that she somehow came across my blog and reached out to me as a confused foreign student in Paris. I'm sure we'll meet again.
Time for duckie
For dinner I went to Sub Ouest & Cie with Yann, which he suggested since he knew that I liked to eat the duckie. Oh yes. Thank god we planned to eat after 8 PM as I was still quite stuffed from that afternoon. I don't usually eat two meals out a day, but when you're short on time and you want to meet up with people you have to make some sacrifices. God knows my stomach must hate me this week.
Even though my heart belongs to confit de canard and I know it always makes me happy (and gives me an extra layer of fat/insulation), I thought my food-loving self should try something different. I went with the spiced duck with honey (or something to that effect; the name sounds much nicer in French), not knowing what to expect, and ended up not liking it nearly as much as I would if it were confit-ed, ie preserved and cooked in its own fat. The dish wasn't bad—it just happened to remind me of a tender, juicy steak, which isn't among my favorite foods (you've never seen me order steak, yes?). Someone who liked steak may receive this dish differently than I did. Or maybe that person would just order steak.
On the upside, my slice of a layered potato cake-ish thing was cool. Not as cool as garlic fried potatoes, but still good.
I tried some of Yann's confit de canard; it was, of course, awesome. I was appaled when Yann told me he wasn't going to eat the skin. Too fatty? Whaaa? That's half of the deliciousness right there! (Unsurprisingly, Yann is much slimmer than I am. Because I'm not slim.) Without hesitation, I took a chunk of his duck leg skin and reveled in the combination of crispy fat on top of meltingly soft fat. [cue drooling] Oh, the meat was deliciously tender as well.
For dessert we shared a creme brulee as we couldn't imagine each eating a dessert on our own. That would've been a tad excessive. (As though the meal wasn't already? Har har.) Although the creme brulee was of the cold kind and I prefer warm, it was perfectly good—crispy caramel shell protecting smooth vanilla-tastic custard innards—like all creme brulees I've had in Paris.
Alas, another goodbye. Yann was the only really French person I came to know in Paris (appropriately through Parisist), so it was quite special for a French person to reach out to me. In France. Hopefully the next time we eat I'll be able to speak more French, not that it will matter much since Yann speak English perfectly fine. HEAR THAT, YANN? Stop being paranoid about your English! ;)
Okay dudes, I have to pack. I'm going back home in less than 36 hours!
addresses and stuff
Somewhere around the Basilica of Saint Denis (in other words, I have no clue)
Metro: Basilique de St-Denis (13)
Maison de Gyros
26, rue de la Huchette, 5th
Metro: Saint-Michel (4, B, C)
Creperie de Cluny
20 rue de la Harpe, 5th
Metro: Cluny-La Sorbonne (10), Saint Michel (4, B, C)