Friday, August 21, 2015
Breakfast was a big glass of milk with some French toast that I cooked in the morning with two eggs, a splash of milk, and vanilla sugar. I had my piece with some crunchy, chocolatey Ova-Maltine. Yummy, but I wish I added cinnamon to the batter for extra flavour. Seline loved this and ate five pieces!
Today’s destination was the Canal St-Martin, since it was a warm day. It was around 30 degrees and I found it just-right.
Maggie and Eric kindly drove us to a Metro station, and we accidentally arrived in the Bastille Boulevard where we saw the famous column.
This was a pretty area in Paris with lots of skateboarders and tourists.
We crossed the canal after snapping some photos – I was SO excited to visit this bakery: the famous Du Pains et des Idees. I almost cried when I saw that it was closed until next week. DARN!
So we crossed the canal again in search of our lunch restaurant. My first choice, Philou, turned out to be closed too. So we headed to my second choice – Hollybelly – and found out that they were under construction as well. My third choice was an Italian pizzeria called La Briciola – but they weren’t open in the summer either. I was getting so frustrated, but in the end we chose Le Sesame.
This cafe was filled with locals and had a Vancouverite atmosphere.
This place was hip and served many gluten-free, vegetarian, and even vegan dishes. They specialize in bagels, so that’s exactly what we both ordered.
I was worried that Seline wasn’t going to enjoy this restaurant, but she really did! We both did, actually. Seline ordered the Rachel bagel, which had chicken, avocado, and cream cheese.
Mine was the Sally bagel, which had fresh artisan chevre (goat cheese) and grilled vegetables. I was debating between the bagel and the quiche of the day, with mozzarella and tomato, but was so glad I chose this bagel. Both of our sandwiches came with fresh spinach salad topped with roasted potatoes and French dressing.
My bagel was stuffed with iceberg lettuce, creamy goat cheese, and roasted onions and peppers. I wish the veggies were a tad softer and more charred. The bagel had a great onion flavour and tasted like it was freshly-baked in a boulangerie. We both devoured our meals and didn’t leave a crumb on our plates.
For dessert, we decided to share their famous brownie.
It was studded with walnuts, which neither of us liked, but the rest of the cake was incredibly moist, soft, and fudgy. It was almost like a molten chocolate lava cake in terms of tenderness. This would have been over the top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but was excellent nonetheless. We chewed up every bite and spat the walnuts out. I usually like nuts in pastries but these were un-toasted and had an odd flavour.
Since it was such a humid day, Seline didn’t want to walk up to the beautiful “main area” of the canal. She wanted air conditioning so we headed to the Bon Marche, a luxury supermarket. On our way there, we took a long rest at a librairie (bookshop) where we read lots of fascinating children’s books in French. My favourites were the Greek mythology books, human body books, and one about the history of the world and evolution, as well as influential people in history.
The Bon Marche was similar to the Galeries Lafayatte.
There were three stories with entire sections dedicated to designer handbags, expensive makeup, shoes, children’s things, designer furniture, and more. I felt very out of place 😦 I also fell in love with a notebook in the papeterie (stationery) section – it was pale blue leather, with thick, smooth paper – but cost 60 Euros. AHH!
Before we left, I spent half an hour in the Bon Marche Grand Epicerie, a luxury grocery store. It was truly a foodie’s dream! I sort of went on a spree while Seline rested on a couch in the furniture area. I spent 70 Euros (sorry, Mom) on jars of hazelnut spread, Valhrona chocolate bars, truffle potato chips, baking mixes for financiers, chocolate cake, and buckwheat galettes, and a jar of truffle aioli. Plus some other things I forget.
We caught the 6:50 bus today and made it home around 7:00. Dinner was quite lovely today. Thanks to the excellent weather, we ate outside and had a BBQ feast. There were homemade yam fries and a stunning Caprese salad made with smoked mozzarella.
Eric barbecued sausages and steak over his charcoal grill and baked a potato cake. I walked with Alexandre to the bakery to buy a baguette. Instead of the traditional baguette, this was the original and was softer with a less-chewy crust.
This beautiful, restaurant-like Caprese salad was made with fresh tomatoes and fresh smoked mozzarella from the Bon Marche. It’s funny because Eric and Maggie went to the Bon Marche as well, but left at 4:00 which is right when we walked in 🙂 They picked up this incredible cheese that I could not get enough of. It tasted smoky, like a barbecued sausage, but was very creamy and mild inside.
Maggie actually bought a big yam and cut it into strips herself before tossing them in tempura batter and deep-frying them outside. I usually don’t eat fries at all, other than VERY special occasions, so this was a nice treat. I had eight fries and topped them with truffle salt. I swear truffle salt makes everything better – it took the tomatoes over the top as well. 🙂
I helped myself to lots of Caprese salad – I think I had four sets of tomato + smoked mozza + basil – and plenty of yam fries. Sprinkled with truffle salt, these were super yummy.
Eating outside was a lot of fun! After dinner, I prepared the desserts that I bought from the Bon Marche. It was hard to decide, but I bought 4 desserts that caught my eye. This cost about 25 Euros.
I was so sad because one of the desserts toppled over during the Metro/RER ride home. 😦 I was so careful, too. It might’ve been the head that caused it to lose it’s shape, but it was still fantastic.
A vanilla eclair – vanilla cream inside choux pastry, with a vanilla bean ganache.
Creamy, high-quality vanilla cream 😀
The chocolate Opera, with layers of chocolate cake, cookie, and coffee cream.
A mille-feuille, which has flaky layers of puff pastry and cream.
Turns out Maggie had bought dessert as well! This was a custard tart. It had brioche (a sweet yeast bread) and lots of vanilla custard. I loved the flavour of the custard – it was not artificial at all. Yummy.
Everyone’s plate had a little of everything. This plate was mine, with 1/4 of all four desserts plus a teeny sliver of the custard tart.
The Saint-Honore, which is a choux pastry with vanilla cream and whipped cream, plus a vanilla profiterole (cream puff) and crunchy caramelized sugar topping, was my favourite. I was in heaven after the first bite! My second fave was the vanilla eclair. I liked how generous they were with the filling and liked the ratio of choux to filling/ganache. I could really taste the real vanilla.
I liked the mille-feuille too, but Seline REALLY loved it. Since she’s not usually much of a dessert person, I gave half of my mille-feuille to her. The chocolate Opera wasn’t bad, but I prefer chocolate desserts to be cocoa-based, rather than coffee-based. This Opera had great texture but the coffee taste that I don’t enjoy in desserts. This brioche custard dessert was excellent too. It was surprisingly light and not too sweet.
I also picked up a box of other desserts from the Bon Marche – coconut puffs, almond financiers, chocolate puffs, and pistachio financiers. We will enjoy these tomorrow 🙂
It’s now 8:23 AM on Saturday morning. Today’s plans include:
- Crepes from West Country Girl
- Pere Lachaise Cemetary
- Some local bakeries
- Grom for gelato
- Monoprix? Seline is still addicted 🙂
Last night both Seline and I were so tired and in horrible moods. Our blankets and bedsheets needed to be washed, and were placed in the washer in the early morning. We didn’t wash them until dinnertime, and by the time we were ready for bed, they were still damp. In France, it’s not traditional to own a drying machine, which I find SO inconvenient, but they air-dry everything outside. Anyways, since there were no other bedsheets and blankets in the house, we had to use a BLOW DRYER and an IRON to dry all four pieces of fabric (two blankets, two bedsheets). It was so frustrating!
Anyways, I’m sure a great day is ahead of us – I’m going to head downstairs soon to heat up the breakfast croissants (also from Bon Marche!) and prepare Alexandre’s cereal breakfast. Thanks for reading! 🙂