France Paris Recipes Sweet Travel

Macerated Strawberry-Basil Crepes

In Spain it was tapas. In Italy it was gelato. Here in France I’ve been hooked on crepes. I should have known this would happen, because it always happens. I have a predisposition to eating sweets with the most severe form of Dionysian indulgence. It’s gotten so bad that the last time I went to the doctor I found out my blood type is now chocolate.

Macerated Strawberry-Basil Crepe

My favorite creperie is literally across the street from where I’m living, taunting me daily. I know, we live in an age where the term “literally” has fallen victim to hyperbole, but this time I actually mean it. LITERALLY. ACROSS. THE STREET. Some nights I hang out my widow and stare at it wistfully, if not angrily, because who can sleep when there are crepes so close by? I wonder if dogs get angry about these kinds of things. Dogs can’t really have crepes.

 

Macerated Strawberry-Basil CrepeStrawberries | Crepe Mixture

Once a day I amble down to the creperie for my banana nutella fix where, in spite of missing four of his most prominent teeth, the vendor greets me with a semi-toothy smile of recognition. He knows what I’m there for.

 

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France Paris Travel

Bastille Day 2012

Who knew Europeans liked disco?

 

France Paleo Recipes Paris Recipes Salty Salty Travel

Pan Seared Salmon with Saffron Compound Butter

Mostly known as having the prestige of alumni such as Julia Child and Giada de Laurentus and, um…Kelis, Le Cordon Bleu is easily one of the most recognizable cooking schools in the world. Possibly in the Universe, though I haven’t personally scoped the cosmos to see if this is true.

Pan seared salmon with saffron compound butter

For five decades since its inception, the school had one location in Paris, France. After being bought out by Andre Cointreau of the Cointreau liquor empire, the school subsequently opened 35 locations in 5 different countries. While I appreciate the higher accessibility of LCB training, the charm of moving to Paris to cook French cuisine at the famed school is cheapened, if not totally lost by this sprawl.

Cheapened or not, I completely buy into capitalist ventures (I want all the pretty things!) and couldn’t come to Paris to learn about cuisine and NOT take a class at Le Cordon Bleu. Situated in the 15th arrondissement off of Rue Delhomme, I arrived at the blue and white building at 8:30AM on the dot after rushing across town via the slowest metro in the world. If nothing else can be said about me, I’m at the very least consistent at running late for everything.

Le Cordon Bleu ParisLe Cordon Bleu - Paris, France

The interior of Le Cordon Bleu is larger than it appears on the outside with its multi-levels of demonstration rooms bustling with employees and students in pristine white chefs coats. The walls are peppered with pictures of alumni, especially prominent are the holy shrines of Julia Child, and I halfway expected to turn the corner and find effigies in her honor. Across the main stairwell were pictures of current students and a promotional poster for the movie Sabrina.

I sauntered up to the receptionist, panting and sweating, and while trying to sputter out my limited French, something horrible happened. A tiny drop of spittle flew from my flapping lips and landed on his cheek.

 

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France Paris Recipes Sweet

First Week in Paris + Chocolate Rum Mousse Recipe

Paris: It’s what many call the city of lights, and from my 7th floor view (8th by American standards) overlooking the center of Montmartre, I can see why. I’ve been in Paris for a full week, which blows my mind. I started this adventure two and a half months ago, and with a swish of the hand of time, I’m on my final month in my final country in this tiny Parisian apartment with the tiniest of kitchens.

Chocolate Rum Mousse

 

Speaking of my apartment, as small as it may be, it’s perfectly situated in the 18th arrondissement on the 7th floor of a 100+ year old building overlooking Montmartre. From the front window I look down directly upon the Moulin Rouge, and from the rear is an unadulterated view of the Eiffel Tower. A 5 star view for a 130 square foot apartment:

My Parisian view from Montmartre - Moulin Rouge / Eiffel Tower

Parisian Kitchenette

But what is this? I don’t understand…

After living in the relatively small Bologna last month where I could walk from one end of the city to the other in less than 30 minutes, I’m trying to reacquaint myself with public transportation. For a germaphobe such as myself in a congested city like Paris, this is no easy task. Oh god, I can’t believe I just used the word “congested,” as if I couldn’t be any more disgusted by city life. Each time I step into an overcrowded metro cab wall-to-wall with riders covered in bacterium and fecal matter, I look at the cab handrail and think, “is this the one? Is this the handrail that’s going to give me hepatitis?” I want to put my hands in acid just thinking about it.

 

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Bologna Italy Recipes Sweet Travel

Fig Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle

My stay in Italy is now officially over. I just arrived in Paris this morning after a fifteen hour overnight bus ride where the huge ape of a man sitting next to me took up half of my seat and the bus driver blared – BLARED – Celine Dion power ballads at 4 in the morning. I sat stewing in my miniature bus seat with no recline feature, back aching, lethargy and rage overcoming me. I’d almost forgotten why I didn’t like Celine, but it’s all coming back to me now. Fig Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle Anyway, this post isn’t about Paris just yet. This is a post I know a few of my friends have been looking forward to for a while and I couldn’t complete a trip to Italy without touching on GELATO.

Italians are fiercely serious about their gelato, and if you ever try to get in the way of an Italian and their gelato they will cut you deep. On any given day at any given hour, you can find the sidewalks bursting with people, most of whom are carrying gelatos in every shade represented on the color wheel.

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