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I’m Back

1 May
Pistache-Amande from Beatrix

Pistache-Amande from Beatrix

The above viennoiserie was a wonderful flaky pocket filled with pistachio and almond paste. So buttery, so sinful, and so wish I had Beatrix here in Hong Kong. Yes, I’m back. Sigh…just came back from a huge family gathering at Shatin with CHINESE FOOD. I have to admit I kinda missed it…but right now I’m totally missing French food and my pastry destinations more.

I didn’t end up going to the Louvre yesterday morning as I still hadn’t finished packing. So instead, I woke up at 8 (slept at 3) and finished packing, but still managed to go out TWICE in between lol. Once to get the aforementioned breakfast. Then I realized I needed sturdy boxes to hold my macarons in and went out again, and of course had to get something from Pain de Sucre too. My first sweets from Paris was a Pain de Sucre macaron and marshmallow, and I have to end with Pain de Sucre too….it makes my trip complete. Sigh.

My last Pain de Sucre haul before returning to HK

My last Pain de Sucre haul before returning to HK

The two macarons were caramel and the green one was Angélique du Marais Poitevin et fromage de chèvre!! I’m not sure what the first part is, but I assume it’s some kind of herb? The filling is goat cheese flavoured. PdS’s macarons are really uniquely textured…very dense and chewy, unlike anything other macaron in Paris. You either hate it or love it. I find them interesting. The goat cheese one was distinctly cheesy, but you definitely had to concentrate to taste it. Not like Pierre Hermé or Ladurée’s VERY strongly flavoured macarons! Review of those will come in separate blogs after I’ve finished everything I’ve brought home.

La Renauderie: Pâte à choux croustillante, crème mousseline à l’épine noire

La Renauderie: Pâte à choux croustillante, crème mousseline à l’épine noire

This is the pretty-looking éclair-like pastry. I actually found the pâte a little soggy. The crème had a beautiful, light texture though. I believe l’épine noire means prunes…correct me if I’m wrong. It was quite alcoholic. The other green thing wrapped in saran wrap was a Tea-time, which is a little pistachio flavoured sponge cake studded with cherries which I ate on the plane.

Oh, I was just BARELY in time for boarding because checking out of my apartment took a little longer than expected. I wanted to go for a last Ladurée haul at the airport before boarding, but didn’t have time too. Sighhhhhhh…

My fridge after my trip

My fridge after my trip

Oh well, guess I should be satisfied with everything I got in my fridge for now. Lol…wait for reviews!

Hectic Tuesday

26 Apr Passionata from Boulangerie Julien

This morning, I spent the morning scrubbed in with Dr. Pulvermacker in the OT. As I caught a cold, I wasn’t feeling very well and left early….

Really small

Really small

Headed to the Musee de l’Histoire de la Medécine at the 2nd floor of the Faculty of Medicine in the université de Paris V René Descartes. It was really small, occupying just one room. Interesting…but not TOO interesting. Gonna go to Musée Dupuytren tomorrow, which holds a lot of wacky medical specimens. Should be more interesting!

Un Dimanche à Paris

Un Dimanche à Paris

Being a bit hungry, I headed across the street to Un Dimanche à Paris to get one of their mini trio sets. I wish I bought more of their stuff, as everything was really good! The mini lemon tart was….very tart! But had a sweet lingering citrusy note….the tart base was very crispy. The eclair was OK. I’m beginning to think I don’t really like eclairs lol because I’ve had 2 just OK eclairs these 2 days from 2 great patisseries, so maybe it’s just me. Finally, the mini chocolate fondant was verrrrrryyy melt-in-your-mouth. I wish I had a giant version of this.

Then, I headed to Montparnasse to look for Des Gateaux et Du Pain….i kept on walking in the wrong direction till i got there 1 hour later 😦 with very sore feet. And………….found out it was closed. 😦 Argh!!!! I really wanted to try the Pomme Tatin. Don’t think I’ll have time to come all the way out there in the next few days either. Oh well…next time.

So i went back to the Les Halles area as I wanted to go to the kookai outlet which closes at 7:30. I got there at 7:00 pm, and they didn’t let me in anymore. BOO. To heal my disappointment, went into Monoprix to get a Petit Pain aux Raisin Poilane (which tasted not very special either). Then I went to Rue Montorgueil…wanted to run into cute salesguy at Kayser. He wasn’t there, so I left (JUST KIDDING…I wanted a ficelle and they were out). Ok. Maybe NOT so kidding haha….nonetheless, I headed to Stohrer instead to do the same thing (KIDDING…although the salesguys at Stohrer ARE incredibly cute). Actually, I wanted to get their tarte aux fraises bois, but they were out ALSO 😦 It’s only 7 pm! So I got some chocolate thing called a Marie something…which was dark chocolate wrapped around praline with half a cherry glacé on top and half on the middle. It was…kind…tasteless. I threw it away after 2 bites.

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I’m Not Contemporary Enough

25 Apr

Last day of my Easter long weekend, and a busy day like the rest of my weekend! Woke up bright and early and headed to the first stop of today’s itinerary……..Eglise Saint-Eustache. Unfortunately, it was closed. Since it’s right next to Rue Montorgueil, I headed over there for some breakfast.

Stohrer's pastry case...well, half of it

Stohrer's pastry case...well, half of it

Stohrer again! This time my target was one of their éclairs…they’ve been voted as one of the best in Paris. I got a vanilla éclair as those aren’t very common. Let’s just say I’ve had better….the choux pastry was tasteless, dry, and the creme was kind of tasteless and too sweet too. I think my neighbourhood bakery makes better éclairs.

Pasteis, which wasn't very good...even KFC's is better

Pasteis, which wasn't very good...even KFC's is better

I also had a pasteis (de nata), which wasn’t very good either, much like the one I had at the Bastille market. I guess I shouldn’t complain as it’s my own fault for having a Portuguese pastry in a French shop?

So my next plan was to head over to the University area to check out the sights there. On the way, I passed by Saint-Chapelle, and noticed that the lineup was REALLY SHORT! Like 10 people short. It’s usually at least 3 times the length. I then decided not to miss this opportunity and lined up. I’m glad I did so, as the church was so beautiful.

The beautiful stained glass windows of Eglise Saint-Chapelle

The beautiful stained glass windows of Eglise Saint-Chapelle

I literally stood in the middle of the hall for a few minutes just to take in the beauty of it all. This was one of the smaller churches I’ve been to, as it’s mainly just for pilgrimage, holding the relics of the Passion, including the purported Crown of Thorns of Christ. Apparently, King Louis IX paid more for the relics than building the church! After being awestruck by the church, I headed next door to the Conciergerie, which was the Medieval royal palace of France. Later, it became a prison during the Revolution. I got to see the cell where Marie Antoinette was kept.

Then, finally, headed to my prior planned destination.

Took a look at the universities and the areas around it. Then I went to the Musée Cluny, which is actually the Museum of the Middle Age. The lady at the ticket counter was very nice and let me go in for free, even though supposedly only under-26s from the EU could do that! =D The entire building is very cool….built in the 14th century!! :O It used to be the town house of the abbots of Cluny. The entire structure was also built on the ruins of Gallo-Roman baths dating from the 3rd century!!!!!! Mind-boggling.

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Bastille Market

24 Apr Breton galette for meeeeee

Today I planned to wake up early to head down to the Louvre before going to Versailles (yes again) to watch an equestrian performance at the Grand Ecurie. Unfortunately, I’m just not one for waking up early and I woke up at 8:45, which would mean huge line-ups at the Louvre, especially since it’s Easter. I was planning to go to Sunday mass at Notre Dame at 10, and I didn’t think I would make it if I went to the Louvre. So I headed out for some early morning wandering instead…

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

All-You-Can-Spread at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is a chain store selling organic breads in “naturally” decorated cafés with lots of wood panelling, communal wooden tables, and lots of bread. But that’s not what made me happy. I ordered a croissant au beurre for here, and what was ON the table made me happiest. ALL YOU CAN SPREAD spreads!!! They had Brunette (hazelnut butter), Noisella (nutella dupe but organic), Blondie (white chocolate spread), Noir (dark chocolate spread), and various jams, but who cares about jams when you have unlimited chocolate spreads? Ok, just kidding, their cherry jam was excellent paired with the dark chocolate spread. So, for 2.20 euros, I had a croissant as a side dish to my million different kinds of spreads. And also went through my guidebook (which I only started reading today. Yes, my last week. lol) trying to decide where to go.

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

Easter Sunday Mass at Notre Dame

I decided I would head over to the Île de la Cité a bit earlier in case there were lines at Notre Dame, and thank god I did, as the lines were SNAKING. Ah spring break. Fortunately, I got into the cathedral just as the Gregorian mass was about to start, and attended my first mass in…many years (not since I switched high schools from a Catholic one to a secular one I believe). It was calming, and I must admit I sort of missed it. 🙂 Not to mention the venue was gorgeous and it’s breathtaking to imagine mass a few hundred years ago here. The picture above is of the English mass, after the Gregorian mass, which I snapped as I was leaving.

My next stop was the Bastille market across the street from the Opéra Bastille, a starkingly modern structure in contrast to everything else in Paris. I actually read about the market in the guidebook this morning, and I’m glad I did. Or else, I would’ve missed the chance to experience an outdoor market!

Bastille Market

Bastille Market

It was bustling and lively. There were stalls selling all kinds of things: raw meats, rotisserie, fresh oysters, Breton specialties, North African goodies, Greek deli items, Italian stalls, cheap clothing, shoes, fruits, vegetables, Chinese food, Bob the Paella guy (I think it’s a franchise), breads, LOTS of cheese, Portuguese food, and street musicians. Oh, and underwear. Yea. Kinda reminded me of 女人街, except the food they sell is a lot classier.

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Skiver

19 Apr

Today I skipped school to go exploring. SHHHH. It was such a beautiful day (and I went to bed so late last night), I didn’t want to go to school.

First I visited the Arc de Triomphe and went up to the top. It’s honestly hard to imagine how they built such an amazing structure so long ago! The same can be said for almost every other building in Paris…

I then strolled over to the Champs-Elysées for…Ladurée of course! What did you think…shopping?

This is the address of Louis Vuitton, actually. Our store on Canton Road is more impressive I think...

This is the address of Louis Vuitton, actually. Our store on Canton Road is more impressive I think...

Ladurée. Sneaky picture taking as I've heard they don't like photos!

Ladurée. Sneaky picture taking as I've heard they don't like photos!

Their Champs Elysées store is very dark inside which gives an air of mystery. There is a tea room and a bar attached. The bar looks super swanky! Unfortunately, I had no one to drink with…

Laduree viennoisseries

Laduree viennoisseries

Laduree cakes

Laduree cakes

The line was super long, and people were getting tons of things. I saw someone getting a GIGANTIC box of macarons (jealous!). I still had plans later in the afternoon though…so I only got 3 things to munch on the way.

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Tour Eiffel…again…at night

18 Apr

Uber tired today. Went up to the Tour Eiffel after school and with the long lines, it took a while before I got home. It’s sooo beautiful at night though.

This morning I gave Beatrix’s “aux amandes” viennoisseries another try. I had the pain aux chocolat et amandes.

Pain aux Chocolat et Amandes from Beatrix

Pain aux Chocolat et Amandes from Beatrix

This was much better than the croissant aux amandes I had yesterday morning. The pastry wasn’t tough, and the chocolate made it very rich, with a yummy almondy topping. It was very sweet, the way I like it. Could have used more frangipine though. Off to school it was…then after school, I visited Hugo & Victor which I’ve tried before.

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A Royal Visit

17 Apr

I woke up early this morning to go to Versailles. Took the bus to Saint Michel-Notre Dame RER station, and boarded the RER C to Versailles Rive Gauche. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice that the line splits after Champ de Mars, and I stayed till the last stop on the other line. The driver of the train, when he found out I wanted to go to Versailles, was like “oh….c’est très loin, très très loin….” and shaking his head. I had to go back all the way from Pontoise to Champ de Mars, then back to Versailles. Haha…instead of taking half an hour to get to Versailles, it took me 3 hours. Whoops. Fortunately, on the way back, I had a really cute kid (he looked around 5?) who got on the train at Pontoise sitting next to me. He kept on chatting to me in French, and I answered him in very bad pronunciation which he obviously didn’t understand, but he kept on talking to me anyways. Then, he refused to sit with his dad and wanted to sit next to me, and on the way he kept on pointing things out the window. And we played with his toy cars. There was one point where he kept on saying “qu’est-ce que c’est?” while handing me one of his cars, and I’d answer “C’est une voiture!” everytime. Then I did the same back to him. His dad was laughing…oh I love kids. He also had a little brother (looked around 3 years old) who repeated practically EVERYTHING his older brother was saying…word for word.

LeGay Choc

LeGay Choc

Well, back to what food I had that day. Breakfast was a croissant aux amandes from LeGay Choc (gotta love that name…pronounced as: Le Gay Shock). Apparently they also sell dick shaped baguettes on Saturday afternoons. Gotta check it out next week.

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