While waiting for the metro at Denfert-Rochereau on the way to my old homestay from the airport I saw a woman across the platform in some kind of all-pink velour track outfit noshing on what looked like a just-bought baguette.
Mmm...I love you, Paris. It's almost like I never left you.
afternoon of fooding
Diana and I arrived at my old homestay near Trocadero at around noon after sweatily lugging our stuff on the metro for about an hour. After receiving a warm welcome from my old homestay mum, Bonnie, and dumping our stuff down in the room that would serve as our sleeping chamber for the next week, we quickly headed out again to meet everyone's favorite Virginian farm boy (visiting by way of London), Tristan!
"What do you guys wanna do?" I asked.
No one had any particular place in mind that they wanted to visit. I looked into Diana's and Tristan's hungry eyes; their stomachs were gurgling with sadness (and residual air). I actually didn't have any appetite (which I later attributed to slight sickness and messed up internal body clock something-or-other), but since I was the guide I had to lead the way. And by "the way", I mean "to sandwiches".
I took them to Julien, my favorite quick and cheap sandwicherie. They shared a poulet crudite sandwich while I stuck with a baguette de tradition and a madeleine from Poujauran, my favorite bakery in Paris.
"Oh my god you guyz, it's still waaaarrm!" I excitedly pointed out after I wrapped my hands around the crusty baguette. I'd compare the happy moment to a mother coddling a newborn baby, but better because it's bread! BREAD! [Insert crazed expression of unspeakable joy. Anyone who's eaten with me knows what it is.]
We took our first bites in Paris on a bench near the Seine. Diana and Tristan seemed to enjoy the sandwich. My baguette was as awesome as I remembered; crispy golden crust with soft, chewy innards unlike anything I can get back home. Yes, I know I describe most baguettes the same way. How about I just say that THIS BAGUETTE IS THE OPPOSITE OF SUCK. Okay? Okay. The moist, eggy, butterific madeleine was also the opposite of suck and possibly the best one I've ever eaten in my life, which is why I later bought 20 of them to give to friends and bring home. ("Vingt...oui, vingt.")
We went to a nearby grocery store where I was amused by this yogurty drink called YOP that apparently donnes the energie. Assuming YOP is short for Yoplait, I don't think the name is going to win any awards for creativity. But I like it anyway.
We took the metro to Hotel de Ville to check out the Pompidou. ...The outside of it, at least. They have free wifi (for a limited amount of time a day) in case you don't mind lugging your laptop around. Since Tristan brought his MacBook, we took a small email break. Yes, we're all just that addicted to the Internet.
And then it was time for gelato. I'm pretty sure we roamed around the Marais a little bit before reaching Pozzetto (stepped into Mariage Freres for a second to inhale tea, for example), but nothing was as tempting as gelato. The alluring scent of roasted pistachio (well, alluring to me) hit my nasal passage before I could lick the creamy gelato off the spoon. Uunngh, so tastyyy. Tristan's pear and Diana's kiwi also had the "TASTES LIKE REAL FRUIT!" kick that made them also say something like, "Uunngh, so tastyyy," but perhaps in a more eloquent way than I did.
We walked around some more past Notre Dame and along the Seine. Arrrrgh, how I love the walkability of Paris.
I don't remember what station had this long moving platform, but we were in it. Maybe it was at Invalides. If I hadn't taken a photo I wouldn't have remembered, which is rather disturbing. My camera has replaced my brain.
Next stop was Pierre Herme (conveniently just a few steps from the Pasteur station on line 6) where I had to take Tristan because he had never eaten a French macaron before. Whether breaking your macaron virginity at PH is a good idea, I don't know; you'll probably be disappointed by any other macaron you eat for the rest of your life. But then you wonder why no one else can't just make a macaron that's as awesome as PH. Even though one may initially balk at the 1.70 euro (about $2.25) per macaron price tag when most macarons cost around 1 euro, as soon as you bite into one from PH you realize it's a bargain. The tastiness to cost ratio for the generously filled, moist macarons is something like a gazillion to one.
Back at the apartment we sampled chocolate, vanilla olive oil and pistachio griottine macarons. I had tried the chocolate macaron before (Tristan's reaction was something like, "Ohhh my god, this is so good,"), but the olive oil and pistachio griottine macarons were seasonal flavors that weren't available last year. Tristan and Diana were somewhat disgusted by the olive oil macaron because it tasted like...olive oil. Olive oil in a more solid, creamy form, with a hint of vanilla, that is (and a surprise olive in the center). I really liked it, but I can see how the flavor could turn people off in the form of a dessert. I would've liked the pistachio more without the griottine part: an alcohol-soaked cherry in the center of the macaron. Otherwise it was as awesome as all the other macarons.
Shortly before the end of last semester my housemate Valerie gave our homestay family a baby rabbit as a gift. Puff grew a bit since I last saw her. Like. A bucketload. She got fat! Okay, not fat, just big as all things do when they go beyond the "baby" stage. The last time I held Puff she fit in my palm and could rest on my thigh. Now she is HUGE and my palm rests on her. Da-yum.
After we had enough chill time at the apartment, Diana, Tristan and I met up with Tristan's London friends/school mates, Ezra, Nick and Maggie, at Notre Dame to figure out dinner plans. I suggested falafels since we needed a vegetarian friendly spot for Nick, not exactly the easiest thing to find in Paris. When someone reminded me of that little thing called the Sabbath, I immediately went, "NOOOOOO OOOOHH NOOO FALAFELLLLLL, ARGH!!!" and felt like my life was about to end.
But then I remembered a little place in Montmartre with giant salads of potato laden awesomeness.
From St Michel we got on the C train and switched to the 12 at Solferino (a little confusing because you have to exit the station to change trains and in that short span of having to walk outside I whipped out my Plan de Paris and wondered something like, "WHERE THE HELL ARE WE?") to take it waaay up to Abbesses, aka "the station with a gazillion stairs". Around the corner from the station is Le Relais Gascon, which luckily had a six-person spot on the second floor for us to fill.
Since I already had the giant salad before, I went with the confit de canard, one of my favorite French dishes ever. I dare anyone to tell me that duck can taste better in any other form that doesn't involve being preserved and cooked in its own fat. While this wasn't my favorite confit de canard, I don't think I've ever (or could ever be) disappointed by it. Buttery tender meat chunks undernear a layer of soft, semi-transluscent fat fall off the bone, into your souuuul. If that somehow isn't enough, there are plenty of garlicky fried potato rounds to fill your belly with as well. Your stomach will feel like a brick afterwards, but you just have to fight the pain. Do it for the canard. THE CANAAARRRRD!
Everyone else got the baby bathtub-sized salads (except for Diana, who didn't order anything because she was sick, noooo!) and as far as I knew were very happy.
Tristan, Diana and I went back to our apartment for more hanging out and Internet-ing before Tristan had to go back to his place of residence (our friend Patty's apartment) at around 11 PM. It was a long, tiring, and insanely fun day.
The next six days would be the same and as soon as I unlazify I will write the entries so you can read all about them. :)
addresses and shizzle
18, rue Jean Nicot, 7th
Metro: La Tour-Moubourg (8)
Le Relais Gascon
6 Rue des Abbesses, 18th
Metro: Pigalle (2, 12)
5 days ago RavenMcCoy asked for afforadable vegetarian-friendly restaurant suggestions in non-Disney World Orlando...although she's probably there already, in which case we can't help much. But if you can think of anything, please leave a comment for future Orlando visitors. :)