Mike came to visit me during my two week vacation from work. We had a lovely time together! Lucky for me, he has been here before, so I wasn’t forced to wait in the cold to climb the Eiffel Tower or do other touristy things.
I can’t begin to talk about everything we saw and ate, so I will just give you the highlights.
FOOD (of course it’s the first item!)
After serious analysis, we determined that Pierre Hermé macarons are better than those from Ladurée. This is interesting because I read here recently that the grandson of the owner was the first to make macarons the way we eat them today – two outside parts with ganache in the middle. But although he wasn’t the first to make macarons, we preferred the texture and flavors of the Pierre Hermé ones, especially the olive oil and blood orange (Mike) and passionfruit (me). However, I will still be happy to visit Ladurée because of the girly and gilded décor!
France might be the hardest place on Earth to be a vegetarian. Most salads come with meat in them, and soups are usually made with chicken or beef broth, and while it’s delicious to eat lots of bread and cheese, it does not do a body good after a few days! We had to go to Soya so Mike could get some sustenance. It is my second favorite meal I have eaten in Paris so far (1st is still the confit de canard at Le Bouillon Chartier). It’s a dark and sexy restaurant with great service! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes food, vegetarian or not. The meal was hearty, filling, and comforting!
Poîlane is renowned, and for good reason. We chose a loaf of bread at random that pleasantly surprised us – it was a simple walnut bread, easily the best I have eaten in my life. We ate it with a ton of cheese we bought at the fromagerie near my house.
I plan to eat many more loaves of bread there (and pay more attention so I can give you a better description), but I do not plan to buy their fancy cloth tote bags for 30 euros!
Candelaria was a great find. The chips and guac tasted just like home, the tacos were interesting and delicious, and they had Mexican beer! I felt like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole when I tentatively pushed the plain white door from the plain, brightly lit restaurant that leads into the adjoining bar. I looked around in awe at all the candles imparting a subtle, sexy glow to every corner, making the tons of Parisians (and probably some Americans too) packed inside look even sexier than usual. Now I understand why they named it Candelaria! Unfortunately, I don’t remember what drinks we ordered, but they were definitely well-made. This is definitely where the cool kids go, and I hope to return!
We cooked a wonderful Indian meal for Christmas dinner (instead of trying to recreate our home traditions, we just did something totally different), I made Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas breakfast, and we bought a Buche de Noël for dessert.
We visited La Grande Épicerie right before Christmas, and happened upon some free wine and champagne tastings. The Vouvray maker was there himself with his marketing agent, a very pleasant older French woman who gave us her business card and invited us for lunch anytime. Yes, please! The wines were all tasty to my amateur palate, but one in particular stood out – the Le Mont Demi Sec 2008. As I know next to nothing about wine, I will just say that after sipping it, I felt like the little kids in those Welch’s grape juice commercials from the 90s who smack their lips after chugging a glass.
We also happened upon a Corsican wine bar: A L’heure du Vin near Opéra. We had great service and tried some great natural wines made in Corsica! Only in Paris, right?
We checked out Shakespeare & Company, which is located right near Notre Dame, at Mike’s request. I had written it off as a boring tourist activity, but I had no idea what I was in for: A tiny bookstore crammed floor-to-ceiling with English books of any and every subject, and an upstairs library where you can sit peacefully and read any book you desire. Aspiring writers can sleep there in exchange for working in the bookstore. I started reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and I can’t wait to go back and finish it!
Ok, this post is long overdue, so I will finish here.