Well. Since I am bored with nothing to do, might as well write about my great food adventures across the pond in Europe. (Note: I did not take pictures of every single meal.) Our first post on this blog. Yay! Let us start off with Paris!
I was not particularly impressed with my culinary experience in France, and I wish I knew where to go for really good food…but alas, our tight budget limited us to dine at cheap(er) touristy restaurants in Paris. The first night, we failed at finding the Latin Quarter and stumbled upon this alley with cute-sy restaurants. Well, to be honest, every restaurant was cute-sy. Especially on this first day, where we were all in awe of everything we saw since it was our first time in Europe…ever.
So picture-esque. Even the way that waiter is standing there taking orders. Is it just me that thinks this picture just screams “Europe”? Ok maybe.
So we go in to this restaurant that we found, and I’m immediately drawn to the croque monsieur because it was the one French dish that I knew on the menu (that was a decent price.) So I order it, imagining a big ham & cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce on it to come my way in a few minutes. However, when it arrived at our table, I was disappointed. What is this? Am I at Denny’s? Did I order a club sandwich??
Not at all what I had imagined. And it tasted like a regular ol’ ham and cheese sandwich. Something I could have made at home, perhaps even better than this. Sigh. So far, Paris was disappointing me in terms of food.
The next day, we went to a crepe stand for a snack after visiting the Notre Dame. Here’s the cute crepe guy that made our crepes.
I got a lemon-sugar crepe. Who knew something so simple could be so good?? It’s really just simply sugar and lemon juice wrapped in a crepe. It was the perfect snack! :)
For dinner that night, we went to the Latin Quarter (yes, we found it this time.) We went into a restaurant and I ordered the duck confit.
This dish, unlike last night’s “croque monsieur”, was delicious. The duck fell off the bones, and melted in my mouth. It was so flavorful. Is it typical for French dishes to come with frites? I think I got them for almost every dish I ordered in France. The fries were ordinary fries. But the duck!! Mmmm. I started to have hope in French cuisine. :)
One thing I absolutely LOVED about France were the PASTRIES. Oh my nom, every pastry I had in France was SO. GOOD. It’s not terribly sweet like American pastries (I always feel like I’m going to get diabetes whenever I eat sweets in the U.S.), and it’s very light and has a delicate taste. Does that even make sense? Probably not. But I guess all you need to know is that you have to try sweets in France because you. will. fall. in. love.
Of the many selections, I tried the following:
- Mille feuille (layers of puff pastry and pastry cream/whipped cream OMG)
- Pain au chocolat (duh, why would you go to France and NOT get this)
- Tarte aux pommes (apple tart fasdfaasfdkjfa)
- Flan (Oh Mai, you were so right when you said this is SO GOOD)
- Pot de creme (whoa, what the fuck?? this was by far the BEST dessert I had in France. It literally translates to “pot of creme/custard”. So creamy yet not too rich. I’m salivating just thinking about it.)
- Creme caramel (similar to flan, but with caramel sauce. also VERY GOOD. Jesus, what ISN’T?)
- Financier (I’d had these in Japan so I gave them a try in France. Tastes very similar to the Japanese ones, which makes sense because the Japanese are obsessed with making French pastries! Super good. Want to make soon.)
After all of this, I still felt like I didn’t have enough pastries. What’s wrong with me? Nothing’s wrong with me, actually. Any sane person would want to eat these pastries 24/7. But for the sake of my pant line, I had to have some self control.
Okay, this next day was by far my favorite day of France. :) After walking around the Jardin du Luxembourg, we went to go get lunch near the Panthéon. We found a cafe with a prix fixe lunch course, so we decided to go in. It was gorgeous outside, so we decided to sit outside in front of the cafe.
Let me paint the picture for you so you get a better understanding of just how perfect this was: It’s 75 degrees outside. The road is lined with cafes, is not too crowded, and not too loud, perfectly hidden from the busy intersection of Paris. We get seated outside, under the warm sun. Not too hot, and definitely not too cold. We had made a new friend from France. We engage in conversations, about each other’s culture differences, about the French culture, getting to know each other. We make jokes, we laugh, we cry (quite literally. I laughed so hard for a good 30 minutes and I cried. What a good ab workout.) Our food comes. AND EVERYTHING IS DELICIOUS.
First time trying escargot. The pesto sauce was so flavorful and yum!!!!!!!!
Steak with pepper sauce, with mashed potatoes and veggies. UGHHH.
My creme caramel. What a delicious way to end my meal.
I was such a happy camper after this meal. For dinner we grabbed some baguettes, rillettes (kinda like paté), and camambert cheese at the grocery store. It’s a light but filling meal that we continued to have throughout the time that we were in Paris. :)
Aside from the fact that our group got split up due to miscommunication for a few hours later that day, this day was absolutely perfect. We took a tour of Paris at night on a boat and it was beautiful.
The next day we went to the catacombes, and went to a nearby bakery for lunch. LOOK AT ALL THE PASTRIESSSSSS.
I grabbed a tuna sandwich. I LOVE that they have these sandwiches EVERYWHERE! They’re such a great meal when you’re on the go.
Later that day we met up with Jasmine’s friend Joanna and had dinner with her at a (supposedly?) famous restaurant called Chartier. I tried beef tartare for the first time!!!
It was very…raw. I could eat it for the most part, but I think the part that bothered me the most was the horseradish in it. And then the texture started getting to me, and I started thinking “I’m eating raw meat.” so…then I kind of decided I didn’t wanna eat the last few bites. I don’t think I’ll be trying it again, but I’m glad I tried it!!
Our next stop was Nice! This place was absolutely lovely.
For the first night, we had kebabs. You might be thinking “Why would you eat kebabs in France?” To be honest I’m not sure, Mai can clarify me on this one. All I know is that she told me they were good in France, so I decided to drag everyone along and try it out. And indeed, it was nom!!
In Eze Village (about a 20 minute bus ride from Nice), we had galettes. If I remember correctly, mine mad prosciutto, egg, and red peppers.
Close up. Yeee.
Yeah. Definitely scarfed that down.
The second night, we ate at a restaurant in the heart of Nice, in the square. I had baked fish with risotto (not French, I know.) (Also I don’t have pictures at the moment…will post when I get the chance.) It was good, but not out of this world. And the waiter was a douche.
That’s all for France. My favorite part was and always will be the pastries. :)