Monday, October 25, 2010

Paris: Strikes, Tarts and One Amazing Lunch

So I am back from my trip to Paris (and also Portugal which is why so long between posts) and I wanted to share with you the highlights of the trip I had. I was a great trip, it certainly tested my skills of "okay, if this won't work, let's try this" way of thinking.

If any of you are keeping up with international news, you might have noticed that two of the four days that I was in Paris that there were transportation strikes. It was only kind of frustrating to get around. When we arrived on Wednesday, only half the metro was running and no trains from the airport into the city. But, the bus was running. Yay! So, on the bus we went.

It took us to a metro stop in the city that we could now use the RER (inner city train, if you will) to get to where we needed to go. We bought tickets, went through the gate and then noticed the yellow tape across the entrance. No RER, still. So, after stopping to get my first macaroon ever, we were finally on a working metro.

I got to my hotel room with little adventure (which was fine by me). My friend who was staying at the other side of the river, called and asked me to meet her at Notre Dame Cathedral. A little personal history for a second: we were not brought up in any particular religion so I am by no means "religious" in the sense of the word. Usually in religious spaces I find myself a little uncomfortable, but this building was staggering. I mean, it is Notre Dame, right? It was too amazing in person for these little words. Sorry, only one picture.

That night I was solo for dinner. After debating about whether I wanted to eat alone in a restaurant, I decided to go to the Bon Marche food hall and gather dinner. Now, I know I have proclaimed to be indecisive, but add a foreign language and mad hunger on top of that — you have a recipe for destruction. It took me almost an hour (one hour!) to pick out three things for dinner. I got out of line three times to force myself to get more stuff and still only walked out with three things. I almost left the store with only a bottle of water for the night. But instead, I left with (my water) and dinner:

Sorry the tart is half-eaten, but I was starving! It was a tomato, zucchini and fresh herb tart that was out of this world and then some super dark (and super pricey) french chocolate. Along with my German water, I was in heaven. I went to sleep early for the next morning was the Louvre. (Are you excited?!)

Pictures from my walk to the Louvre from my hotel:

And then, the Louvre. This is the Louvre:

This is the Louvre on STRIKE!:

Yes, my dear friends, the Louvre was on strike. Those people inside the pyramid aren't tourists, they are angry museum workers. You didn't know a museum could go on strike?! Neither did I! No matter, we decided to go to the Musee d'Orsay. But as you can probably guess, that was on strike as well. So. We walked to a cafe to regroup, had insanely expensive coffee and tea ($6.40 and $6.20 respectively) and decided to first: check the Orsay again, and then buy me coat if closed (it was really cold in France) then lunch. The museum was open, but since the line was huge, we went and did some shopping to return later that day.

After the purchase of a coat and going to the Musee d'Orsay, the next thing we did was amazing. We had lunch. Not just any lunch, but lunch at l'Atelier of Joël Robuchon:

***Warning: some of the next photos may not be suitable to people who *do not* eat foie gras or oppose it. If you are one of these people, stop reading and come back tomorrow. I eat it. I like it. And I will talk about it. I assure you, if you have nothing nice to day about foie gras (and you are entitled to your opinion), I don't want to hear it. You will not convert me. Back to lunch... ***

First course for me was a tower of eggplant, fresh mozzarella, zucchini, sundried tomato and a pool of basil "essense". I don't know what this actually was, but it tasted like the purest form of liquid basil. Maybe that is what it was? My friend had foie gras (and again, for those who oppose, don't sell your tale here, we are foie gras friendly on this blog. End of story.) and toast. Hers may not look as appetizing, but I will tell you it was fantastic and won the first round:

Next was a dish of pan-fried scallops with thinly sliced white truffles nestled on top, resting on (I think Greek) macaroni slathered in a cream sauce. Excellent! And my companion had langoustine and black truffle filled ravioli with a sauce that I can not recollect. It was good, but my scallops definitely won round two.

Next up were lamb chops with a mound of fluffy mashed potatoes. This may seem boring, but these also were some of the best tasting lamb chops I have had ever. Ever! Seasoned and cooked to perfection. My friend had a tower of bone marrow on toasts. Full of flavor, rich and delicious. This time it was a tie between whose was better. They were both worthy of swooning.

Finally we split dessert. A gilded orb of chocolate came out, that was melted with warm liquid chocolate, to reveal the pear, tart and fabulous cookie that hid inside. It was incredibly cool to watch. Here are some shots:


Add warm chocololate:

And enjoy:

After that lunch, we went to a bistro that night. Had crepes the next day and had wine at a wine bar, after our visit to the Louvre (so I did get to go!). Truly a wonderful and foodie-worthy mini vacation. One of the last places we visited was a great kitchen-supply store. They had everything a home (and professional) kitchen could want. Rows of pans, knives, molds, dishes and things I have no idea what there were for, filled two floors of this old Paris storefront.

It was truly amazing. I know, no fabric, but I was eating too much :)  As much as I love sewing, I do love food equally. Sewing will be back...right after my post about Portugal, where our hotel was right next to the fabric district (although no purchases, but I do have some pics). 

And just to prove that I actually went inside the Louvre here is a parting shot (not of Ms. Lisa, but of an equally famous lady):



  1. WOW! How decadent - that food looks amazing. I was thinking what it would taste like, as I scrolled down the screen, whilst licking my lips. You need to eat sometime, in between sewing! Ah, Paris - wouldn't be the same without a 'good strike'.

  2. Sounds like a lovely trip. I shall go and read more. I live in Melbourne and love to cook, eat, sew and make. I am off to London, Paris and Japan in December and January.

  3. Sounds like some amazing trips! My sister went to Japan earlier this year and loved it! If you are an adventurous eater, you will have a great time :)

    I will post about Portugal soon, I had some other things that I had to deal with last week (will post about today).