Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm baaaaack.....

This blog is the descendant of another, 25 days in paris, which chronicled a trip I took almost two years ago now. I'm back in Paris, in another apartment — alas, for only eight days — and ready to pick up where I left off: gorging on pastry, cheese, bread, chocolate, wine, and (hopefully) duck confit.

We arrived yesterday at 6 a.m., after a couple hours of fitful Ambien-induced sleep. One bleary RER ride later, and we were at our rental, a sixth-floor set-up one block from the lovely Jardins du Luxembourg.

We took a highly necessary nap, then made our way to Cuisine du Bar, the cafe next to Poilâne, which serves madly delicious tartines such as sardine with vinegar and lemon, and smoked salmon with mayonnaise, all on toasted Poilâne bread. (The smoked salmon is so different from what we're used to in New York — richer, with less smoke flavor and more fish flavor. I approve.) Salad, glass of vin blanc, and perfect café served with a butter-cookie spoon — thank you, Paris, for the lovely welcome back.

Post-lunch wandering included an unsuccessful shoe-buying attempt on my part (they didn't have my size in the navy patent wedges!), a restrained visit to Pierre Hermé (we took only one tarte vanille infiniment, which I will not even attempt to describe [but you can read about it here] and one almond-rose petal croissant, which I ate just moments before scribbling this down), a stroll along the Seine, and a quick stop for staples at Monoprix.

It was rather grey and chilly over the afternoon, and everyone kept apologizing to us for the weather. Meanwhile, I believe New York is entering its sixth month of soul-crushing winter, so to be somewhere with flowers and green grass and a light drizzle, where I don't have to wear five layers and gloves and hat and scarf and boots and STILL be cold.... my entire personality has promptly done a one-eighty.

Dinner was with friends Catherine and Loic and their three lovely (and fun) daughters, celebrating Loic's birthday at their home with delicious food and even more delicious wine, ending with a platter of pastry that, for me, was highlighted by the mille-feuille. This puff pastry / vanilla cream delight, which we call napoleon in the States, is one of my early experiences with the glory of French foods. Back in junior high in Connecticut, my friend Annick and I would head downtown to a rather remarkably good bakery called Versailles and pick up a box of two of napoleons, then sit on a park bench and devour them in a couple seconds flat. Unlike so many of my other childhood food obsessions, this one has held up quite nicely.