While I have been busy with school, I have escaped to Paris to enjoy some delicious meals. My classmate planned a really sweet all-girls brunch at the LaDurée on Champs-Élysées. There was a fire last year at this location and they just reopened in October. We were lucky to sit upstairs and see LaDurée in all its remodeled splendid glory.
I call the picture on the right: “The leaning tower of treats.”
For 36.50 euro, you get orange juice or grapefruit juice; fruit salad; hot chocolate, tea or coffee; three pastries; bread rolls; three macarons; yogurt; two mini sandwiches AND scrambled eggs. Talk about a ton of food! Everything was so incredibly good and I especially loved the pastries. I had a moment at the table with my almond croissant. The only thing that was lackluster (besides the not-so-great service from our waitress) were the mini sandwiches. They were dry and pre-made. But, I definitely wasn’t running short on food. I think we all rolled ourselves home after that brunch. I know LaDurée is so touristy, but I would say it’s worth going at least once and getting the brunch. It’s a real Parisian experience sitting in this gorgeous room and drinking your tea out of delicate, pastel-colored china.
Korean Food at Paris’s Dawa. Are you salivating just looking at that bibimbap?
I’ve been craving Korean food and my blogger friend, My Red Kitchen, was kind enough to introduce me to Dawa, located at 5 Rue Humblot in the 15th arrondissement. I had high hopes and Dawa met expectations. It’s a small restaurant owned by Koreans and it’s got that hole-in-the-wall feel to it. MRK and I shared hot kimchi stir-fried with thin slices of pork (also served with a cold side of tofu), japchae (stir-fried noodles with beef and vegetables) and we each ordered our own beef bibimbap (stone pot rice). I am literally obsessed with japchae and bibimbap and both dishes totally satisfied my craving. I had zero complaints about the kimchi too. We demolished our food and ate every last grain of rice and leaf of kimchi.
Bar Food at Verjus
My classmate made homemade pumpkin pie and it was a little taste of home.
A couple of my classmates and I planned a Thanksgiving potluck at school to celebrate this wonderful American tradition. This was only my second Thanksgiving spent away from my family, so I was definitely feeling a little homesick. The potluck was a huge success! My classmates and I had a fantastic time eating our hearts out and feasting on an international array of food, including Chinese tea eggs and French cheeses. We literally demolished all of the food. One of my classmates made 5 kilos of beef (almost 9 lbs. of meat) and we licked that pot clean. Another of one of my classmates made homemade pumpkin pie, including making the pie crust from scratch and cooking a real pumpkin for the filling. I explained to her that in America, we tend to make pumpkin pie from a puree that comes from a can. I was so impressed with everyone’s contribution.
ESSEC’S MBA Luxe Class of 2013
For the potluck, I wanted to make mashed potatoes so I researched online and found the absolute best recipe for mashed potatoes. The trick is to steam them and not boil them. It’s amazing how different the consistency of steamed potatoes are. My mashed potatoes were smooth and naturally creamy. I had to refrain myself from eating the entire pot. I posted the recipe at the bottom of the blog post.
Fight on, Trojans!
On top of celebrating at ESSEC, my alma mater, University of Southern California, also held a Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend. Apparently, it’s the biggest event that the USC Alumni Association of Paris plans. We had people join us from London, Munich and Madrid! I was very impressed because the alumni association rented out a restaurant for 60 people. AND, our free-range turkeys were flown in from Italy! While Paris does have roasted turkeys for Christmas, most butchers don’t have turkeys available this early in the year. Leave it to USC to get creative to make sure we, Americans, got our tryptophan fix.
USC’s Thanksgiving in Paris
On top of a great meal, there was also a fun trivia game and our table won (go team 5)! There were definitely some memorable moments like dancing to PSY’s “Gangam Style” and Christophe serenading the room with Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration.” Our prizes were USC alumni T-shirts, which is perfect because I didn’t bring any USC gear with me to France. Thanksgiving in Paris was a blast and I’m glad that I was still able to celebrate with friends and family (because at USC, we are all part of the Trojan family).
Chanel’s La Petite Veste Noire Exhibit
I’ve become extremely efficient with my time in Paris. Yesterday, not only did I meet up with three different friends separately, but also I visited Chanel’s “La Petite Veste Noire” exhibit at the Grand Palais. Two days before that, I caught the last day of the International Herald Tribune’s “Eye on the World” exhibit, a photo montage to celebrate the newspaper’s 125th anniversary.
Why yes, that is Yoko Ono dancing in a top hat (middle).
Chanel’s Classic Revisited by Karl Lagerfeld
Up Close and Personal With Some of the Photos
After seeing New York fashion editors Instagram and blog about La Petite Veste Noire earlier in the year, I knew I had to see it. The exhibit is small (but free!) with two rooms featuring Karl Lagerfeld’s photos of celebrities wearing a Chanel classic, The Little Black Jacket. I loved the photography, most of it in black and white, and how Lagerfeld was bringing back old Hollywood-like glamour.
International Herald Tribune’s Eye on the World Exhibit. Photos of Claude Monet and Paris’ Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore (top right).
Gene Kelly in an American from Paris (top left); Franklin D. Roosevelt giving a speech before the 75th Congress (bottom left); Coco Chanel (right)
Chipotle Paris: Tacos, burrito bowl and most importantly, guacamole
I dreamt about Mexican food a few nights ago. It was heartbreaking to wake up after dreaming about a carnitas taco from La Taqueria. After I had been warned by multiple Americans that there is no good Mexican food in Paris, I humbly accepted the fact that I would have to wait until I returned back to California to get my carnitas fix. Side note: I can’t find flour tortillas or tortilla chips in this country. I seriously considered making my own from scratch.
I’ve never been so happy to see American fast food in my life.
Imagine my sheer and utter delight when my classmate Vinnette (the only other American in my program) emailed me the day after my dream about Chipotle in Paris. I had no idea there was a Chipotle in this great city and apparently, it just opened earlier this year in May. We took a special trip to Paris just for Chipotle. Yes, you are reading that correctly. I took the 1.5 hour commute to Paris to eat Chipotle.
Chipotle is in the heart of the city in the 9th arrondissement at 20 Boulevard Montmarte. I was so happy to see that it was exactly like how it is in the U.S. I was worried they wouldn’t have corn (my favorite) or the same salsas. Fear not, the menu and offerings were completely the same (except for apparently they don’t have white rice, only the brown rice). They even had Chipotle Tabasco sauce!
Excuse the blurriness, I was too excited.
Basilique du Sacré-Coeur
Ever since I was a little kid, I always had a strange fascination with the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur. I’m not sure why, but it always appealed to me more than the Notre Dame Cathedral. In a lot of ways, I thought it had more of a presence because it is an all-white church on the top of a hill (the tallest point in Paris). I’ve always wanted to visit the Sacré-Coeur, but weather always stood in my way. There is practically no point in visiting if it is raining. Last week, I was finally able to explore the Sacré-Coeur and its neighborhood, Montmartre.
I loved the little details, like the hearts leading up to the church.
Some advice if you’re going to go to Montmartre– wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. I knew visiting the church would require walking up a giant hill, but I wasn’t expecting the whole neighborhood to be full of uneven cobblestones.
Posters for sale, the “I Love You” wall, Art Nouveau Metropolitan sign and the Moulin Rouge.
Montmartre is known for being the artsy neighborhood and it’s really quite charming watching artists paint on cobblestone sidewalks. There were so many pieces that I wanted to buy, but I had no idea how I would ever take it home with me back to the U.S.
It was a foggy day, but that was the view from the church.
Thinking with every single muscle in his body, Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker.”
I was glad to finally escape my room on Sunday and meet up with My Red Kitchen (MRK) for brunch. MRK and I first met in May at Bocado in Shanghai. I am so incredibly grateful for how small the world is and how there is an immediate bond with fellow bloggers. After meeting the manager at Bocado and giving him my blog business card, he introduced me to MRK who was sitting at the table next to me. A Parisian with a food blog who would be returning to Paris in June? It was a match made in heaven (by the French food gods).
Eggs & Co. in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés
Eggs & Co. is a small restaurant that specializes in– you guessed it–eggs. I was surprised that brunch is a popular meal in Paris because everything tends to be closed on Sundays (in retrospect: I don’t know why I was surprised since the French enjoy having really long meals). MRK assured me that brunch had been popular in Paris for quite a few years. At 2pm, the restaurant was still packed with people waiting aside (definitely make reservations beforehand). It’s a tiny restaurant with seating upstairs and squished tables. Don’t expect a quiet meal.
Everything is a set menu at Eggs & Co. so your meal will come with orange juice, tea or coffee, your main egg dish and then a giant pancake with fruit. The price range is around 25-30 euro. It’s a lot of food so come hungry.
I ordered the Coco meurette, English muffins with poached eggs topped with mushroom, bacon and shallots in a red wine sauce. Oeufs en meurette is one of my all-time favorite dishes and I was SO happy because the dish did not disappoint. The sauce had been reduced perfectly; it was thick and incredibly flavorful. MRK ordered oeufs à la coque, which are soft-boiled eggs that are served with mouliettes (perfectly shaped breadsticks to dip into your egg). She asked me what the translation was for oeufs à la coque in English and I realized Americans don’t really have anything like it. Yes, we have soft-boiled eggs, but no one will go through the effort to cut and toast little sticks of bread for you. I don’t know why because it’s the best idea ever. The pancakes were served with maple syrup and a fruit salad. They were OK (too thick), but my expectations weren’t high since it’s Eggs & Co. and not Pancakes & Co.
The Gardens Were Gorgeous
Rodin worked on “The Gates of Hell” for 37 years, until he died in 1917.