Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Our final destination was Paris. Ah, Paris…What can I say about Paris that hasn't been said already? She is timeless yet trendy, sexy yet gritty, thoughtful yet restless and raucous (at least where our apartment was—we didn't get a wink of sleep). She is sophisticated, fashionable, romantic. Paris is, most of all, delicious.
Which brings me to my point. I didn't go to Paris for the museums and churches and all that stuff, I went for the food.
Like the perfect duck confit at the friendly Chez Dumonet (117 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 01 45 48 52 40).
It was preceded by a perky gazpacho served in little pots so adorable I had to get myself a set.
And after a brief wait that understandably elicited feelings of impatience in the one soufflé virgin in our group…
A glorious Grande Marnier soufflé.
The hyperactive puppy at the next table (which would never go over with health inspectors here) provided endless distraction throughout the meal.
We were equally amused by his owner, a pretty young lady who hungrily devoured a plate of langoustines and then an enormous hunk of meat—I love French women and their hearty appetites! The duck confit, by the way, was so highly recommended and so eagerly anticipated that all six of us ordered it.
We grazed our way through the city, devouring everything along the way…A crêpe so large that the husband and I couldn't finish it between us.
Many a poulet roti, saucisson sec, and all sorts of cheese, especially goat cheese.
Including a mild crottin.
And this creamy Banon.
A meal at Au Pied de Cochon that was more fun than delicious.
A sandwich from Bellota-Bellota.
Which was actually Spanish, not French in origin. It takes skill to carve that jamón by hand.
And fresh baguettes and pastries, pastries, and more pastries. We picnicked in the fantastical Jardin du Luxembourg and watched the children sail their miniature boats.
Speaking of picnics, the Parisians really know how to do it right.
We circled the Place de la Madeleine.
The ritzy food shops were outside our budget, but it was fun to browse. There are stores devoted to gourmet foods, mustard, tea, honey, caviar, and truffles. We followed our noses into Maison de la Truffe just in time to witness the weighing of the truffles, the precious fungi spilling off the scale onto the counters and floors.
I also went to Paris for the shopping, and not the designer clothes shopping but the cookware shopping. The famed Dehillerin required more than one trip just to admire the gleaming copper.
The place is crammed full—it's overwhelming.
The stairs look inviting enough.
But when you get to the basement, you wonder if you're even supposed to be there.
I was terribly disappointed to learn that they were all out of Mauviel copper tarte tatin pans (the ones with the stainless steel, not tin interior), the one thing I really wanted.
(For the record, my husband has since gotten me a tarte tatin pan, and also for the record, I have since made him a nectarine tarte tatin in appreciation.) I did pick up a set of tin financier molds though. Around the corner is Mora, a shop capable of making any pastry chef or baker weak in the knees. I went on a little shopping spree there, acquiring a miniature terrine, individual lidded charlotte molds, and an adorable glass butter pot. I picked up some miscellaneous porcelain cups at La Bovida, and I bought the aforementioned porcelain pots at A. Simon. Librairie Gourmande was a fun stop—only in France can you find a section devoted entirely to macarons.
I visited Printemps for the first time, where I swooned over the rainbow buffet of Sabre silverware.
It took every bit of will power I could summon, but I allowed myself only one single piece: a most fashionable vegetable peeler. U.S. department stores are way behind. The surprisingly affordable tableware vendor La Vaissellerie was the perfect place to pick up gifts for the family.
Though it's been said before, it bears repeating—Paris is absolutely delicious. And I haven't gotten my fill yet…
Previously: Abbiocco in Emilia-Romagna.
Next up: Marvelous Markets of Paris.