"Je voudrais...un croissant au beurre, s'il vous plait."
"[blah blah something in French] et un croissant aux amandes?"
"Uh...[looks confused]...non, un croissant au beurre."
The woman behind the counter grabbed a croissant aux amandes from the bakery case. I handed over my €1.80 and thought, "Whatever, it's still delicious."
I think I need to write shorter entries more frequently so that I don't stare at the screen wide-eyed and slightly afraid from having to figure out how to sum up a few days in one manageable entry.
Um, anyhoo...the king sized bar of fruknott (milk chocolate with raisins and hazelnuts) on my table that Morten and Giso brought me from merry fjordy Bergen (along with two other king sized bars and a small block of brunost) has been the victim of mindless eating at all the wrong times of the day, like when the body stops converting sugar to energy and just uses it to create another un-burnable layer of fat. I've eaten more than half of the 250 gram bar in two days. My stomach says no, but the rest of me gravitates towards the sweet weegie delight. My body is stupid.
On Saturday morning Morten and Giso met me near the Trocadero by my apartment to find some lunch, but the first cafe we sat down at was so absurdly expensive that our wallets, which until that point showed no signs of life (because...they're wallets), flipped out and screamed, "YOU MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE NOW." Or maybe that was just me.
We metro-ed our way to the area around Hotel de Ville (Le Marais?) where I had been the day before since I recalled cafes, bakeries and chocolate shops exploding out of every narrow street I came across. Not really caring where we ate as long as it wasn't expensive, we settled on a little cafe where the menu was all in French, not that it takes much head scratching to figure out what "le club sandwich" is.
Giso's few feet long sandwich (er, at least more than one foot) of cheese and salad greens (don't know what kind of cheese or greens, but you can try to figure that out yourselves) tucked into a fresh baguette came balanced on a small round plate as there was no special long skinny plate for abnormally large sandwiches.
Morten's salad was also surprisingly ginormous. Lettuce, strips of cheese and ham, hard boiled egg, sliced tomato slices, toasts, maybe something else. Not bad.
A club sandwich sounded like a very American thing to get, but in America it wouldn't be served on a fresh, crackly, chewy, paper thin crusted baguette. My long sandwich came lightly filled with lettuce, thinly sliced ham, cheese (don't know what kind), hard boiled eggs (I like em over-done, YEAH), tomato slices and mayonnaise. Aside from the awesome bread, the biggest difference I found between this basic French-made sandwich and one I would find in the US was that there was less filling. I think it's definitely better that each bite I take not result in the sandwich innards splodging out all over my hands/plate/pants. I don't know what the majority of people would say if you asked them whether the bread or filling is the more important part of the sandwich, but I would veer slightly towards the bread option. Juuust slightly. Eating bread by itself is a joy for me (it's a balanced meal, alright?), but filling on it's own is...is just not right. It's like a salad. A salad! That may be okay for some people, but I want carbs, dammit. Surely some of your would understand.
Random photo splodge!
I still haven't been inside the Centre Pompidou, but I'm sure I'll get around to it in the next four months.
L'église Saint-Eustache is beautiful, almost to the point of making your brain explode by trying to figure out how such a grand church (not that this is the only one) could be built. But please keep your brain from exploding or else you'll disturb the deathly quiet environment. For some reason I love impossibly high arches in churches. On a random note, my favorite term for an aspect of chuch architecture is "flying buttresses". I don't care a great deal about flying buttresses themselves (they're kinda cool, I guess), but the term is funny to me. :) Yes, there's a crucial Robyn-fact for you.
Morten gleefully went into this foies gras shop in the same way that I would into a patissier.
BWAHAHA, PATISSIER! It's hard to be more than 10 feet away from a patissier when you're in Paris. Man, I'm going to be so sad when I go back to NYC.
I got a fairly awesome chocolate macaron ("un macaron chocolat" or "un macaron au chocolat"?) for 2 euros. Not too rich, not too sweet, lots of chocolate...ness. I have yet to try a macaron from a famous macaron place (don't worry, I will), but so far I'm quite content with macarons from random bakeries.
I saw this ice cream cart outside the Luxembourg garden. How that little cart contains 63 flavors I have no idea, unless it only has a few scoops of each. Or maybe it's magical.
Okay guys, this entry is taking too long to write. (Because it's too hard for me to think of witty things to say.) TIME TO SPEED THINGS UP.
For Saturday's dinner we ate at Perraudin (157 rue Saint-Jacques, 5th arr.), which was listed in my Paris eating guide as being inexpensive. I'd say it's more moderate. Perhaps the prices increased since the book was written?
I ordered the "suggestion du jour", "jarret demi-sel aux lentilles", or pig knuckle (and salted butter, according to my dictionary thinger?) with lentils. Every last bit of pig muscle, so tender and flaky that it didn't need a knife, went into my belly. Only the bone and heaps of pillowy, fatty skin were left behind (yes, I have my limits). I would've preferred it to be a liiittttle bit more moist, but I still really enjoyed it. Nothing fancy. Pig. Taters. Lentils. You'll feel pregnant afterwards, but good food tends to have that effect.
There's Giso's and Morten's plates. If you want to know more about them, click on the photos. NO STRAGGLERS ALLOWED, I MUST MOVE ON.
Despite feeling stuffed, we wandered around in search of dessert (the nearby Dalloyau had sadly closed by the time we were finished eating dinner) and ended up at Tabac de la Sorbonne (7, place de la Sorbonne, 5th arr), an inexpensive place with lots of outdoor seating like 10,000 other tabacs/bars/brasseries in Paris. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Giso was content with a pot of tea while Morten ordered orange sorbet and I went for the most calorific option of nougat ice cream topped with a splodge of raspberry sauce. I don't recall ever having seen nougat ice cream before, but my impression is that its a standard flavor in France. I will surely eat more of this nougat ice cream in the coming months.
Remember way back in the beginning of this entry when I said I visited Le Marais? (If not, I won't tell anyone. However, you should feel very bad about yourself. Yes.) Everywhere I turned I was faced with the words BOULANGERIE, PATISSIER, CHOCOLATIER, and other less worthy words that I didn't care about. I felt a burning, tingly desire to photograph as many storefronts as I could so that you could witness the madness that is Paris, high on carbs. Get ready to be mega photo-splodged:
Should I just make it my goal to photograph as many bakeries as I can? Not every bakery, as that would be impossible, but just a buttload of em? I think I could pull that off.
Speaking of bakeries, I have a request for anyone who has a copy of Jeffrey Steingarten's "The Man Who Ate Everything". Remember the chapter where he lists a bunch of addresses of awesome bakeries in Paris? (It may have been in "It Must've Been Something I Ate"; I can't remember). Well, I want that list. If someone would be so kind to type it up for me, I will try to visit as many places as I can and eat the bread...for you. DONE! That was quick! Here's the list (thanks, Serena!):
The Best Croissants:
- Kayser, 8 rue Monge, 75005
The same Poujauran that I pass every day I go to school! The Poujauran that taunts me even when it's closed (like today)! I've already been there twice, so it makes me happy to find out that it's Steingarten-approved. You betch your bum I'm going there tomorrow.
The Best Baguettes (alphabetically):
- Aux Délices du Palais, 60 blvd. Brune, 75014
- Gosselin, 125 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
- Le Grenier à Pain, 52 av. D'Italie, 75013
- Julien, 75 rue St-Honoré, 75001
- Raoul Maeder, 158 blvd. Berthier, 75017
- Rollet Pradier, 6 rue Bourgogne, 75007
- (René) St-Ouen, 111 blvd. Haussmann, 75008
Crappy crap crap, I was SO CLOSE to rue Saint-Honoré on Sunday!...not that anything would've been open then, I suppose. But still! I was close to there on Friday too! Crappy crappy crap! CRAP CRAP! Crap crap crap. [shakes fists]
During my random jaunt through tiny Parisian backstreets I randomly came across Amorino, a well known French chain of Italian gelaterias. Or maybe it wasn't so random. Perhaps, as Allen suggested, it was fate.
I got a small cup of creme caramel and coconut for €3 and quickly chomped down the gelato since it's difficult to take photos and eat at the same time. The flavors weren't intense, but I may try it again since they have so many choices and I usually prefer the smooshy soft texture of gelato over non-Italian ice cream. If anyone's curious (although you probably aren't), I had pleasantly coconut-flavored burps for the rest of the night.
Well...I'm tired. Today was my first day of school, so god knows when my next entry will be. Here are some more random photos for you:
Oh, and another thing!
Shujuan sent me this photo of a TGWAE mention in Singaporean magazine Cleo. Thanks, Shujuan and the food obsessed writer at Cleo! I think that must be my first press clipping in print! THAT IS EXCITING! OKAY?!?!? THAT'S WHAT THE EXCESSIVE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS MEAN!!! I'm lucky that one of my readers happened to tell me about it! My assumption is that there are no other press items lurking out there, but ye know...you should tell me if there are.
Oh, and I'd love to eat in Singapore someday, in case anyone there wouldn't mind lending me their couch.