Tuesday, April 7, 2015

CDG-DEN-AUS



My heart may still be in Paris but my body is in Atlanta. Getting ready to catch a flight to Denver with my two girls. Minus my guy. I really wish he was coming. Not just so he could carry that enormous heavy bag that we ended up throwing into a wheelchair. Other reasons, too.

The spring in Brevard has been moody. Bright purple flowers against a dark gray sky. New green leaves shot through with strange light. I have been nursing myself off Paris with too many croissants from the local bakery. And lemon tarts. For a few days there it was touch and go. For a few days, I was like: I published my book. I went to Paris. I came back from Paris. Now what the hell am I supposed to do?

Then April started and I became able to feel optimistic again. I saw this tweet the other day and said YES. I think much about this idea of choosing happiness and a great portion of the time I think it is bullshit. I think it's available to certain DNA, but not to all. You know? In the winter, I'm not capable of it.

But April comes and I feel good again.

Besides croissants, my other coping mechanism is pretending I live in Austin, Texas. I know my moods are exhausting. My changes of heart wear me out. But I'm maybe a bit obsessed with this yogi Adriene. I dream of hot sun and hot weather and funky towns. Let's just say it: I dream of having green drinks delivered to my door. I dream of Mexican blankets and succulents. Lime popsicles and music festivals. You know? I DON'T KNOW. I just have a crush on Adriene. And Austin. Then I was snooping around on Airbnb and found this:




I mean, if I have an aesthetic, this is it.

So when I go to work and the stalker man comes in and stares, or the good old boy patornizingly tells me to smile, or the rude man asks overly personal questions trying to figure out if my beliefs are Christian like his, I just pretend I am living in Austin. With Adriene and this famous guy I love. Maybe it's crazy, but it works. IT IS WORKING FOR ME. Leave me alone, let me have it.

Austin.

Do you know I wasn't harassed one single time during my two weeks in Paris, but at my job I am harassed daily? I'm not going to be able to stop talking about this. Is it the fact that I'm almost 34? I have a shorter fuse for certain ills. Don't tread on me, I'm 34. Maybe? It's a patronizing harrassment most of the time. Which is more insidious, harder to take head-on. I'm 33 but I'm almost 34.

(I ask myself, "where should I aim to travel to next?" but all I really want is Paris.)

In Denver we're going to go to the zoo and eat some stuff. I don't know. Asheville has a Chipotle now* so I don't really need to fly to Denver anymore. Indy was fed Subway an hour ago but she's sitting next to me huffing. So I have to go buy her a $34 airport burger now.

With love from Sunny Austin,

B

Update: The Atlanta airport has a Chipotle. So.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chocolate Tour of Paris (With Pastries, Spring, and Oeuf)

 Before leaving for Paris, I read that Easter was the major holiday for chocolate. Apparently Christmas is nice and all that, but Easter is when chocolate really has its time to shine. Everywhere I went, there were bunnies and eggs in gorgeous window displays. As you can see, it was often hard to get a good picture with the reflections and all that. Here's what I managed.

 Painted chocolate at Jacques Genin, my favorite chocolatier

Jacques Genin

Jacques Genin 

Jacques Genin 

A patisserie in the 3rd.  

The renowned Jewish bakery in the Marais where I 
didn't know what to order and managed to walk out
with a very good, but very American, brownie. 

Pain de Sucre on Rue Rambuteau in the 3rd 

Pain de Sucre. I wish I'd ordered something other than macarons.
Turns out I don't really care for them. 

 *not chocolate, probably. In the 3rd.

 File under "things one must do when in Paris" even though
it's touristy and dumb. 

Georges Larnicol in Saint Germain des Pres. I took home
two kouignettes, which were, like macarons, too sweet for me.  


 Georges Larnicol

Georges Larnicol. That is all chocolate.


Hard to see past the reflections of this gorgeous
chocolatier in the 7th, near the Eiffel tower.  

The outside of the famous Printemps feels appropriate for an Easter round up. 

Printemps again. Printemps means "spring".  

The classic. Glad I went, for the experience. One thing I noticed in Paris
is that the sweets were usually less sweet--they were made with less
sugar, often served with little sugar packets on the side. I never used
the extra sugar. And I never felt sick after indulging in them the way
I do after the sweets I eat here. 

A bakery in Montmarte, which may have been called The Two Windmills.

Tarte citron, which would turn out to be my favorite Paris treat.  



Tarte Citron by Eric Kayser, this locaiton near the Musee D'Orsay. 


The pastry tray at the Salon de Thè at Paris' Grand Mosquee.  



Patrick Roger in Saint Germain. 


Tarte aux Pommes from the famed Poilane, please ignore my thumb.

 Walking around at night. I think this was Rue Vielle du Temple in the 4th.

Du Pain et des Idées, "Bread and Ideas", near my apartment
in the 10th. Some say it's the best bakery in Paris. 

Chocolat chaud done just right at Patisserie Viennoise. 

There were a few students working here, drinking this. It's not far
from the Sorbonne. Can you imagine
this being your study spot? 

When Marie Antoinette came from Vienna, she brought her pastry chefs with her. The
French chefs of the time learned from them. So, at patisseries, there are the regular French 
pastries, and then there are the Viennoise. Thanks Marie!

The outside of Patisserie Viennoise, where the above 3 photos
were taken, down a tiny little street in Saint Germain.
 I found it thanks to a tip from David Lebovitz's
"The Sweet Life In Paris". I'm with him--it was probably 
the best chocolat chaud I had in Paris.  


Henri LeRoux, across the street from the Jardin du Luxembourg. It's worth
mentioning that at this and every other high end chocolatier I stepped into,
I received very warm and helpful service. At places like Jacques Genin,
where the chocolates are displayed like expensive jewelry, I expected
the atmosphere to be snobby. It wasn't--the one exception being Ladurée.) 
It was also completely normal to buy just four or five pieces. Or even one.
No pressure to spring for the 120 euro box.

Cafe Suedois, or Swedish, a bright spot where I spent a 
cold and rainy afternoon. 




My final Parisian indulgence was at Pierre Herme. I happened to pass by it and
had to go in, even though I was over the whole macaron thing by then. I'm 
glad I did, for the beauty of the sweets alone. My picture does no justice. They
were gorgeous little works of art. I couldn't help but exclaiming "Tres jolie!"
Which I thought meant "very pretty!" but doesn't, really, I think. The French
seemed more likely to use "beau" when remarking on beauty. "Trop beau!"

I selected Caramel au Beurre Salé (of course).
The purple is "Envie"--vanilla, violet, and cassis.
Top right is Olive Oil and Mandarin,
and finally yogurt and grapefruit, which I ordered
on accident, but there you go. These were the best 
macarons I had in Paris.

Today the girls are eating all their Hershey eggs and Cadbury cream eggs, which have their place in the canon, of course. But I'm happy to say that later this evening, I will slip into my room and have a little Jacques Genin that I tucked away into a drawer, waiting for me, all the way from Paris.


Friday, April 3, 2015

I Don't Know What This Blog Even Does Anymore

1) No I have not spent the last few days looking at areas of Paris I didn't get a chance to visit on google maps and pretending to be there.

2) Somebody asked me what was the best thing I had to eat in Paris and I said the pastries but I was wrong: it was the eight oysters that I ate raw and completely undressed (the oysters not me), shucked before my eyes by a surly vendor at the Bastille market during the half hour of sun we had that day, and chased down with a one-euro glass of wine in a plastic cup. I followed them with a Nutella crepe. Heaven.

3) Here are some of the pictures I wish I'd taken of La Chambre aux Oiseaux.

4) There's a million things that I wish I had done in Paris. One thing I did manage to do was eat what Paris by Mouth named the number one tarte citron in the city. I also ate two Eric Kayser versions, one by Le Pain Quotidien, and two from little bakeries in Montmartre. They were all my favorite.

5) One Sunday it was freezing and after picking up some brie melun and tome de chevre from the neighborhood market, I went into Le Petit Cambodge and orderered what was basically pho. The waiter seemed really concerned that I had ordered this, but he didn't speak English and I wasn't understanding most of his French. He brought it to me despite his concerns and it was great. After I ate it, a beautifully friendly and beaming waitress helped me with my French. She taught me to say "J'ai fini" instead of "Je suis fini" and then she said "from the verb 'to be'" and I said, "Oh! J-a-i" which phonetically was like "zhay ah ee" and she smiled  and nodded and I smiled because it was good to have this one piece of a massive puzzle fall into place and she was just that kind of person that you can't really help smiling at profusely.

6) On the day I walked around the Ile St. Louis I was annoyed that there were twelve million people in line at every location selling Berthillion ice cream. They just want it because of the name, not because it's actually good, I thought to myself. Then I passed by a window with a short line so I said oh what the hell, and stood in it. I ordered one scoop of salted caramel ice cream. One taste and I knew this was the best ice cream I had ever had in my entire life and maybe ever would have. I stood on the bridge over the Seine and ate it. Then I turned back and happily stood in line for 20 minutes for two more.


Le Petit Cambodge 


The bridge that lead to La Marine in my neighborhood.
(The red awning is La Marine) 


Craft, a coworking space/cafe, that I loved so dearly.
Also in the 10th, my neighborhood. 



Oysters at the Bastille market on Sunday 


Nutella crepe, same 


Rue Cremieux, near Bastille 



A door in Le Marais 


You just see this kind of thing everywhere you look. 


World's Best Ice Cream 


The sun came out while I was eating the World's Best Ice Cream 



The outfit everybody was wearing in Paris and the shoes
I deeply regret not buying. 







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