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My Italian Adventure

July 17, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Hello friends! I have pulled another disappearing act on you. I know, I know, this is like the tenth bazillion time this year, but hey, what can I say? Senior year keeps you busy. At least it’s over now. (Thank goodness! No more high school ever! Balloons!)

For my graduation, my wonderful parents whisked me off to the land of beautiful carbohydrates — Italy — for twelve days. A foodie since my elementary school days, I’ve always wanted to go, intrigued by the promise of a country filled with every type of bread and pasta imaginable. And don’t get me started on the gelato daydreams. (You know ice cream is my kryptonite!)

My expectations were beyond fulfilled. I’m surprised I’m not a 350 pound bowling ball right now from all of the delicious goodies I ate from the Veneto to Tuscany to Cinque Terre.

We first arrived in Venice, our first destination, via water taxi, which was awesome. No better way to shake the airplane blues than a clear, sunny sky and the wind blowing in your hair!

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For lunch, I demanded pizza. Of course. Being the veggie queen I am, I opted for a vegetarian pizza loaded with squash, onions, and eggplant.

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Damn. I love pizza. This phrase will be uttered countless more times over the course of this post.

After wandering around Venice, we stopped for some gelato on the way back to our hotel…

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…did I mention how amazing apricot turmeric gelato is?! Seriously. What a killer flavor combination.

For dinner, we went to this adorable restaurant on a canal called La Zucca, which specialized in veggie-centric food.

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This asparagus and zucchini lasagna we split as a starter was simply divine, as was the chocolate-hazelnut semifreddo we had for dessert.

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If I hadn’t been in public, I would’ve picked up the plate and licked it clean. Sometimes I do consider chocolate the most important thing in my life.

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After another lovely day in Venice filled with canal traversing, alley exploring, and yes, more gelato, we departed for Tuscany, stopping en route in Bologna for a stretch and some lunch.

While Bologna is known for its meaty specialties, it actually has fantastic gelato, too. Out of all of the frozen treats we ate on our trip, this was #1. (And believe me — I consumed a tremendous amount of gelato.)

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La Sorbetteria Castiglione, you stole my heart. I had white chocolate with caramelized bits and coffee/mascarpone with chocolate-covered coffee beans in a cup cone. Genius. Amazing. Much wow. (Also, I saw a sign in the shop saying they were opening a location in — you guessed it — New York City. Our love was meant to be.)

For the next six days, we puttered around Tuscany, visiting towns big and small all over. The hotel we stayed at was gorgeous, with a beautiful nighttime colors against the cypress trees.

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AH.

Now, a smattering of nibbles and photographs from the Tuscan portion of the trip. Here’s some tasty food served at our hotel…

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Some scenes from Florence…

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And a few other shots from around the countryside (plus some pizza)…

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(I clearly need a Vespa. Can someone get me one? Please?)

After six gorgeous days in Tuscany, we hit the road again for Cinque Terre, stopping on the way in Lucca for a stroll and some chow. (And by chow, I of course mean more gelato.)

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(I clearly need a Vespa for every outfit. Maybe one day when I take over the world.)

We stayed in Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, which was picturesque. European beach towns > American beach towns, at least in my snobbish opinion.

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I had my favorite pasta dish of the trip our first night in Monterosso. Seated at a table by the sea, I was brought an enormous skillet filled with penne pasta, seafood, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and wine. Can you say HEAVEN?!

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The next morning, we hiked the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, the next town over. PHEW. Can you say steep? I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life, and that’s saying something. (Have you ever taken an ashtanga class in August with no air conditioning and fifty other people in a small room? Serious competition here.) The views were incredible, though. And somehow, my milkmaid braids held up. Good job, hair.

Here’s me in all of my sweaty potato glory, and Vernazza, where I promptly proceeded to jump into the ocean in all of my clothes. (This will not be pictured, hehe.)

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From Vernazza, we took the train to the remaining three towns in Cinque Terre. The highlight for me was of course the food. We had scrumptious fried seafood in Riomaggiore and I, being the diehard foodie I am, took the train all the way back to Vernazza just to try some gelato I had seen there previously. (I will do anything for food.)

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(It was worth it.)

Cinque Terre was so beautiful…

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The following morning, we departed for Pisa, where of course I had to take some insanely dorky selfies…

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…and we returned to the U.S. the following day (cries).

Italy was freaking fantastic. I can’t wait to document more of my adventures next year and beyond. 🙂

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Abby and Natalie’s Amazing Adventure

June 30, 2014 2 Comments Print this page

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Friends, this is proof that the internet is amazing. A year ago, I would have never thought I would meet my best friend online of all places. I also would have never thought that my best friend could live 1,500 miles away and that she’d get on an airplane to come and visit the East Coast for the first time. I think this is proof enough that technology is just wow.

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This is my best friend Natalie, who runs the blog The Clean Eating Teen. She lives in Texas, I live in Connecticut. One year ago, we were introduced via the Just Eat Real Food page on Facebook, and as we began communicating, we discovered that we had more in common than we thought. Eventually, we became really good friends and convinced our parents to let Natalie come to the Northeast and visit New York City for a few days.

We had a BLAST, although both of us are still exhausted from all of the sight-seeing and excitement. I wish she didn’t have to leave, but unfortunately, all trips do.

Here are our highlights!

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After picking up Natalie from the airport, we went back to my house and I showed her around my (very small) town. For dinner, I made a southern-inspired meal: pasture-raised babyback ribs with homemade barbecue sauce, red cabbage coleslaw with apples, and gluten-free/dairy-free cornbread. It was DELICIOUS. Natalie doesn’t have access to good-quality red meat where she lives, so she was very happy about the ribs. (They were so tender most of the meat actually fell off the bones!)

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For dessert, we had vegan carrot cake ice cream (recipe coming soon!) with homemade candied pecans and raisins. Rich, creamy, and wonderfully pigmented, everyone loved this cool, tasty treat! I love making ice cream.

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The next morning, we did a workout together and went over to the Westport Farmers’ Market to pick up some goodies. It’s still early in the growing season in Connecticut, but there was still plenty of fresh produce to be had!

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Check out these Easter Egg radishes. Aren’t they beautiful?!

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We picked up some fresh strawberries, scallions, kale, salad greens, shiitake mushrooms, organic corn tortilla chips, local honey, and fresh goat cheese. Lots of nibbling was to be had!

After the farmers’ market, we went over to Craft Butchery to pick up some pasture-raised, grass-fed meat. We decided to go with kalbi steaks (very thin steaks cut from where the short ribs are) and duck breasts for dinner.

We then ventured over to Rainbow Thai for some yummy food for lunch. Natalie had never had Thai food before, so it was really cool to take her to such a good restaurant for her first try!

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We started with Tom Kha Gai–coconut soup with chicken, tomatoes, and mushrooms–then shared pad thai and Massaman curry with extra vegetables.

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YUM! So flavorful, colorful, and delicious. I hope Natalie enjoyed her first taste of Thai food.

Once we finished lunch, we took a long walk and did a little shopping. On our way, we stopped for some tea at David’s Tea, a tea store that makes over a hundred (I think) different blends of tea. Cool!

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Natalie got Forever Nuts (the one on the left)–an herbal tea steeped with almonds, apple, and cinnamon–and I got Guava Cadabra–another herbal tea steeped with mango, apple, guava, and hibiscus blossoms. We enjoyed our teas very much, but not as much as we liked sniffing the loose teas of all of the different varieties!

We then went home to cook up dinner: Asian-marinated kalbi steaks with sauteed mushrooms and onions and a kale salad with strawberries and hazelnuts. My dad also made some fresh sourdough bread with raisins and local honey. Not gluten-free, but a tasty treat for Natalie’s special visit.

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After a good (well, good enough) night’s sleep, we headed into New York City the following morning for an action-packed day of fun. Natalie has never been to NYC before, so it was really fun to be a tour guide! We started off with the High Line…

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…and had fresh, yummy popsicles from People’s Pops along the way! People’s Pops is a popsicle company that makes its frozen treats from in-season fruit and organic sugar, which I love. I got the Blueberry Rhubarb, and Natalie got the Tart Plum and Mint. Both were excellent and super-refreshing.

By the way, the High Line is great to walk down, especially on a beautiful day. So if you live in New York City or nearby, I highly suggest you go for a visit this summer.

From there, we took the subway up to Chelsea Market after Google Maps steered us in the completely wrong direction. (We wound up at a dry cleaner’s, not Chelsea Market!) Anyway, once we arrived, we wandered around for a bit before having lunch at The Green Table, a casual sit-down restaurant with plenty of local, organic options.

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I was feeling boring so I got a pastured chicken breast with kale and emmer berries, all tied together with a tasty au jus. The chicken was moist and flavorful and the sides were perfectly cooked. We also split some wild mushrooms with sesame seeds to start, which were also very good.

We were in the mood for a little something sweet, so we went over to the One Lucky Duck raw vegan cafe for a smoothie.

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Natalie and I split the Strawberry Blonde, which had strawberries, pineapple, banana, coconut water, and vanilla. DELICIOUS! I’m usually not a big fan of smoothies–I’d rather eat all of that fruit–but this one was particularly nice.

We then took the subway up to Times Square…

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…and over to Rockefeller Plaza to go to the Top of the Rock for some incredible views.

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It was such a beautiful day–perfect for taking photos!

After our ears popped and we went down the elevator, we took a bus back uptown to my grandmother’s apartment, stopping for macarons from Ladurée en route.

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Natalie had never had one before, so of course we had to get a bunch of flavors! We sampled the dark chocolate, strawberry and poppy, chocolate with coconut, coffee, raspberry, pistachio, and rose–all little bites of French patisserie perfection.

Later, we ventured out again for dinner at Persepolis, a cool little Persian restaurant about five minutes from my grandmother’s apartment. I think Natalie and I can agree that this was probably our favorite meal out.

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We started with the eggplant trio: the baba (roasted eggplant, Persian goat cheese, walnuts, and onions), the eggplant mirza (roasted eggplant, tomato, garlic, and yogurt), and the eggplant halim (roasted eggplant and lentils with yogurt). I would marry all three of these tasty eggplant spreads–they were SO good. My favorite was the one in the middle, which I believe was the baba…yum!

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For my entree, I had the Fesenjan–a chicken stew with pomegranate, walnuts, and spices–over a bed of sour cherry rice. Oh. My. Gosh. So flavorful. So perfectly balanced. So wonderful. I was in heaven.

Natalie ordered a chicken/lamb kabob combo with some orange and almond rice, which was also very tasty.

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For dessert, we shared some baklava–layers of honey, nuts, and flaky phyllo dough–and pomegranate, orange and raisin, and rose ice cream. The baklava was incredible–I wish I could find a way to make it gluten-free at home! While the flavors of the ice cream were interesting, I still thought my ice cream (which is vegan, by the way) was better.

After a movie and a good night’s sleep, we ventured out again the following morning to the Union Square Farmers’ Market for some fresh goodies.

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If you’ve never been, the Union Square Farmers’ Market is incredible. There are so many vendors, all selling the best fresh, local produce. We stocked up quite a bit!

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I first got some beautiful purple carrots…

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…then an enormous bag of cherries…

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…and a little box of sweet, juicy little tomatoes, along with some blueberries, fresh dill, red popcorn, and apples. We also had glasses of sweet apple cider, which was surprisingly good for the summer months.

From there, we took the subway down to Chinatown for a quick stroll…

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…saw (and probably smelled) a bunch of durians…

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…and went into a mushroom store where some of the mushrooms cost over $2,000 per pound. You’d probably have to pay $50 to get a pinch of mushroom dust! Ridiculous.

We then took the subway back uptown to Candle 79, a delicious organic vegan and vegetarian restaurant. I got the market plate with chipotle black beans (read: I AM OBSESSED WITH BLACK BEANS), polenta fries, sweet plantains, and garlic-sauteed broccoli, all served with homemade ketchup, chipotle sauce, and avocado-tahini dressing. Delish, man.

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To walk off a bit of our lunch, we took a promenade in Central Park…

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…and saw some REALLY cool giant bubbles! Check this out:

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I’m super proud of this picture. Just wanted to show off.

We then headed back to Connecticut for a dinner of duck with rhubarb sauce, sauteed red cabbage, and roasted sweet potatoes…with more ice cream for dessert.

The following morning was Natalie’s last day, so we took a long walk and made some cookies to bring home for her family. What a sweet way to say farewell!

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I really didn’t want to see this girl go. How can you send your best friend 1,500 miles away after you finally had the chance to meet her in person? I don’t know.

I hope Natalie can come and visit again soon, so we can see each other…and eat more good food!

What’s the best food you’ve had in New York City? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

Oh, by the way…Follow my blog with Bloglovin


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A Teenage Foodie’s Guide to the Big Island of Hawaii

April 22, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Aloha everybody! I’m home…well, my current home, that is.

For the past week, I’ve been away in one of my (two) favorite places on the planet: the Big Island of Hawaii.

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I don’t remember why, exactly, but last February, my family and I decided to make the eleven hour flight (EEK–it’s as bad as it sounds) from New York to Honolulu, then take an island hopper to Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Our expectations were low, but oh boy, were they beyond exceeded.

ADORED the Big Island. And I don’t just say that about every place I visit. No, it’s not what you think Hawaii is–there are few white sand beaches and palm trees are sparser than expected–but it’s so unique. There are five different micro-climates on the island, and in a matter of minutes you can go from sunny and eighty degrees to pouring rain and fifty five. There are farms, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants EVERYWHERE, many with organic, gluten-free, and/or vegan options. And, best of all, the fruit is just plain weird.

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I’m really not kidding. Pretty much the main reason why I’d live on Hawaii is all of the delicious fruits and vegetables that are available year-round.

So I could be eating potatoes and carrots in the snow for months–neither of which I have anything against, mind you–or I could be basking in the sun and chowing down on fresh papayas and dragon fruit, which is either white or purple depending on the season.

Which would YOU pick?

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OK, so maybe it’s just a crazy dream of mine. I’m not even sixteen yet, for goodness sake, but a girl can have a goal. And that goal is one day to move to Hawaii.

…or France…I haven’t decided yet…perhaps both…

Anyway, I love the Big Island.

Even though the flights going there and back really, really sucked.

Forget about the travel aspect. Let’s talk food which, on the Big Island, is absolutely delicious, in my opinion.

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In the seven days I was there, we visited…hmm…four farmers’ markets, all teeming with ripe fruit, vegetables I won’t see for another four months here in the Northeast, and macadamia nuts and honey galore.

(I should mention that I got a TON of honey. I think I amassed five different varieties in all. I’m not ashamed.)

So, without further ado, let me show you the highlights…so if you do plan a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, you’ll know where to go, and will be inclined to take me with you.

WAIMEA HOMESTEAD FARMERS’ MARKET

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Cute, quaint, and casual, the Waimea Farmers’ Market was a fitting choice for our first foodie destination on the Big Island. It was a little chilly and rainy (as it usually is in Waimea), but the food we selected was delicious.

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First, we tried some samples from Big Island Goat Dairy, a farm that makes fresh goat cheese, feta, mozzarella, and many other types of delicious cheese. Our favorite was this cheese, the Kalehua Crottin, which, as my mom said, was, “The best goat cheese ever.” Light and creamy on the inside with a firm rind on the outside, this cheese could easily rival the fancy chevres I tasted in France.

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After selecting some fresh papayas, avocados, and strawberries, we walked over to Gelato Ono, where we sampled some coconut chocolate orange peel and red banana sea salt caramel gelato, all vegan and gluten-free. While I do prefer the incredibly rich, creamy texture of my vegan ice cream, I loved the exotic varieties available, especially the red banana sea salt caramel. Be on the lookout for a version of my own on the blog soon.

KEAHOU FARMERS’ MARKET

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When we finished up at the Waimea Farmers’ Market, we headed over to the Keahou Farmers’ Market, where we went last year and sampled our very first dragon fruit.

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When we went last February, we sampled yellow dragon fruit, which we ADORED. This April, however, we found out that yellow dragon fruit was in season only until March, and spring was the time for purple dragon fruit.

Purple is my favorite color, so naturally, I was very excited. It made amazing dragon fruit sorbet, which will soon be featured on the blog for you all to try yourselves.

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My dad and I also went over to the Tai Shan Farms booth, where we sampled about six different varieties of raw, local honey made from bees who pollinate dragon fruit trees. We got our two favorite kinds–the ones infused with cinnamon and ginger–as well as some Honey Cups, a delicious little treat made with oats, coconut, brown sugar, and honey. Mmm. I want to devise a recipe for those, too.

PUNALU’U BAKE SHOP

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When I’m on vacation, I try to make healthy choices, but sometimes, I just throw them out the window and eat what I like. No, I’m not chowing down on processed potato chips and Oreos–usually, my choice “unhealthy” items are fresh baked goods and homemade pasta or ice cream.

Last time we went to Hawaii, my parents and I drove two hours from our rental house to the southern-most bakery in the United States for malasadas, a doughy Portuguese doughnut that’s famous all over the state. And you know what? I DIDN’T HAVE ONE.

I was crazy. How could I resist? This time, I was sure to sample several bites of the six flavors we selected.

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Surprisingly, I found most of the malasadas we had to be only mildly sweet but high on chewiness. My favorite flavors were the lilikoi (passion fruit) and taro (as pictured above), the latter mostly because it was purple.

No, these were not gluten-free, but I think I might try to make a version of my own. That is, if I get past the other two dozen items on my to-make bucket list.

WHAT’S SHAKIN’

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I’ll admit it: I’m not a huge smoothie girl. Honestly, I’d rather eat a banana and a cup of strawberries as opposed to blending them up with some ice cubes. I just find eating more satisfying than drinking.

But this smoothie, oh my gosh. It was DELISH. We had the Pacific Passion, which contained fresh papaya, banana, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Smooth, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this was probably the best smoothie I’ve ever had. The best part? All of the fruit was grown on the restaurant’s fruit orchard out back!

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For lunch, I had the wild-caught salmon burger on gluten-free bread with fresh avocado, tomato, cucumber, and sunflower seed sprouts. I also enjoyed the salad, fresh papaya, and banana that it came with as well. All fresh, tasty, and not too heavy on the stomach.

SUSHI ROCK 

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I love sushi. When I was younger and my dad would be out for dinner, my mom and I would have our favorite meal of fried chicken and California rolls to celebrate. Man, those were the days.

We went to Sushi Rock last year and loved it so much we came back again. It’s situated in a little town called Hawi (pronounced Havi, although I prefer it like Howie) which is full of cute boutiques and sleepy shacks with fruit trees in the backyard. It’s kinda in the middle of nowhere, but I love it all the same.

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After splitting a drink with pineapple and lilikoi juice and bubbly water, we had my favorite Japanese appetizer–‘weed (seaweed, to be exact), followed by the Purple Passion roll with ahi, purple sweet potato, apple, and sashimi with brown rice…

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…and the Kohala roll with ahi, papaya, cucumber, and macadamia nuts.

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While both rolls were delicious, my favorite was the Purple Passion. I liked it so much that I was using my finger to swipe off the last of the sweet, sticky sauce from the bottom of the plate.

For dessert, we had a gigantic slice of the purple sweet potato cheesecake and, yes, demolished the entire thing.

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As my parents said, “We flew 5,000 miles just so you could have sushi.”

Yes, I have expensive tastes. Very expensive.

KILAUEA LODGE

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After going to Volcanoes National Park last year, my family and I went in search of some vegetarian restaurant I read about online. We searched for half an hour with no avail and decided to go to the Kilauea Lodge instead. Our expectations were low, but we were pleasantly surprised by the cozy interior and delicious food. (I had chicken curry for lunch then, which I highly recommend.)

This time, we went for dinner and were again pleased with our choice. We shared some bread made with millet, sorghum, and sunflower seeds (it was excellent), and I started off with the Hunter’s Soup made from homemade rabbit stock. For my main course, I had antelope fillets, which I found both unusual and very tasty.

HOLUAKOA CAFE

Holualoa

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While there are organic options available at almost every restaurant in Hawaii, if you’re looking for really fresh, local fare, the Holuakoa Cafe is one of the best places to go. It’s a casual place with a koi pond and an open garden, and the food is outright awesome.

I had the pork “sandwich” (although it wasn’t much of a sandwich) with Kona coffee barbecue sauce, crunchy apple slaw, and organic cornbread. My oh my, it was exactly what I was craving, and everything blended so perfectly together.

I also had some Bengal spice tea–my favorite cinnamon-infused beverage–that I discovered there last year. Thank goodness I can get it back at home, too.

ISLAND LAVA JAVA

Kailua-Kona

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On our last full day in Hawaii (sniff), we visited a garden in the morning, then went to Island Lava Java for lunch. I had a chai latte with almond milk while we waited for our food (because hey, it was my last day, and it was good), then enjoyed half of a roasted veggie wrap with roasted vegetables, hummus, macadamia nut pesto, a homemade tortilla, and brown rice, along with (the entirety of) a side of sweet potato fries. Maybe I carbed out a little too much, but it certainly was AWESOME.

Oh, and the cool part? They grow the vegetables on their farm! Good thing I took the opportunity to eat as many of them at once as I could.

BROWN’S BEACH HOUSE

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For our last dinner on Hawaii, we decided to go to Brown’s Beach House at the Fairmont Orchid, where we enjoyed one of our best dinners ever last February. Once again, the chefs, service, and setting did not disappoint: in my (very picky) opinion, it truly is an excellent restaurant.

After a fun (and tasty) amuse-bouche, I started with an apple banana and kabocha squash bisque topped with a macadamia nut crumble. The flavors were perfectly balanced, the texture pleasantly creamy and light, almost like sipping away at a dream. While I thought it would’ve been better without the crumble, the bisque was undeniably amazing, and I would’ve licked my bowl if we hadn’t been in public.

For my main course, I selected the eleven (or was it twelve?) spice duck with foie gras (YES), forbidden rice, and some kind of exotic green, which was again incredible. The duck was cooked in just the right way and paired beautifully with the chewiness of the rice, the creaminess of the foie gras, and the crunchiness of the green. I am partial to the duck I cook at home, this was a phenomenal preparation.

For dessert, I chose the milk chocolate mousse, which was good, but not great. I should’ve listened to our server and ordered the unbelievable masterpiece I had last time, the Mississippi Mud Pie ice cream cake. My mom’s macadamia nut-bourbon-chocolate pie-like-thing, however, was mind-blowing. I adored it. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I’ll be able to recreate a version that does it justice. Oh well.

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Well, I think that’s about it for my incredible adventure to Hawaii. It was a freaking blast.

Time to start bugging Mom and Dad to take me back again soon.

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Have you ever been to Hawaii? If so, which island(s)? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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A Teenage Foodie’s Guide to Paris

December 10, 2013 2 Comments Print this page

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Hi everyone! I hope you all are well and enjoying this holiday season.

Where have I been? No, I did not have a baby. It seems like food bloggers disappear unexpectedly usually because of a birth, but not this girl!

At the terrible cost of missing three days of school, my family and I went to Paris (AKA my favorite city in the ENTIRE world) for a week to visit my grandmother. Even though it was gray, cold, and rainy most of the time, I was so happy to be walking around such a wonderful place. I know it’s cheesy, but je t’aime, Paris. I love the narrow cobblestone streets and rotisserie chickens rotating on every corner and the smell of Nutella-stuffed crepes and chestnuts wafting through the air. I will live there one day; just watch me. Le Cordon Bleu, here I come.

I ate really well when I was in Paris. I cooked dinner four nights and we went out the other three; we often ate lunch at our or my grandmother’s apartment to finish up some of the leftovers. If you ever have the chance to visit Paris (or just want to dream about the city of love), here are some places you’ve gotta check out…

Marché Biologique Raspail, Boulevard Raspail (6th arr.)

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And I thought farmer’s markets in the states were big. This open-air market spans at least three blocks, and EVERYTHING–yes, everything–is organic. They have everything: dozens of fruit and vegetable vendors, butchers where the birds still have their heads on, fresh cheeses and sausages, vitamins, eggs, jam and spreads…they really have everything. I picked up some romanesco–a favorite of mine that I can never find in the Northeast–a butternut squash, fresh mushrooms, chestnuts, and a rotisserie chicken for lunch. What a great selection…although I love my farmer’s market  dearly, this one is pretty incredible.

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City Crêpes Café (73 Rue de Seine, 6th arr.)

We were EXHAUSTED when we got to France. It’s worth it, but being in transit for almost 12 hours is exhausting…and it’s not like you can sleep in those tiny, uncomfortable airplane seats! After stumbling around the neighborhood, we went into City Crêpes Café because everywhere else was busy or unappealing…and we were pleasantly surprised! The restaurant was small but cozy, and their menu was really creative: all of the galettes (savory crêpes) had New York City-themed names! I ordered a Union City (the name is very French, I know): a traditional galette with scrambled eggs, smoked sausage, and potatoes. No, it was not the healthiest choice on the menu, but it sure was tasty. They had plenty of salads and non-crêpe main dishes to try, too.

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Blueberry (6 Rue du Sabot, 6th arr.)

For our last night in Paris, I wanted sushi. I know what you’re thinking: sushi, in Paris? Are you CRAZY?! And yes, I am crazy, but we’ve already established this. After a week of French food (that I cooked myself), I wanted something on the lighter side: no braises or butter, just something fresh and tasty. I was poking around Trip Advisor and found Blueberry, which had gotten fabulous reviews from pretty much everyone. We decided to give it a try, and boy, were we wowed.

We started with a seaweed salad with mango (because I am OBSESSED with the ‘weed) and pancakes with crispy duck…both were flavorful, textually appealing, and the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and salty. We then split the Little Miss Yuzu (which was on the sweeter side with mango and raspberry), the Unagii (EEL!!!),  the Ponyo (which used a pancake instead of rice and had a nutty, spicy dipping sauce), and two others with tuna whose names I am forgetting. All were fresh and delicious…we couldn’t stop eating them! For dessert, we tried some mochis: a glutinous rice (which ironically has no gluten in it) wrapper around vanilla, green tea, cherry, and violet ice cream. They were unlike everything I’ve ever eaten before…sweet, chewy, creamy…I HAVE to try making them myself.

Overall, this was my favorite meal out in Paris, and probably the best sushi I’ve ever had before. A definite must-go.

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Rue Montergeuil (1st arr. and 2nd arr.)

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Stretched between the first and second arrondissements, this street is a destination dedicated almost exclusively to foodies. There are butchers, fish mongers, cheese shops, chocolate shops, fruit and vegetable stands, bakeries…you name it, it’s there. If you aren’t satisfied with one shop you see, no need to fear! There are plenty of options to choose from. Oh, and there’s also a giant snail sculpture on top of a restaurant sign, which is pretty cool, especially considering how obsessed I am with les escargots.

While walking down the Rue de Montorgueil, we bought coquiletes (young roosters),  romanesco (huge shocker), fingerling potatoes, a big persimmon for dessert, and a bag of Fuilliants d’Or, my mom’s favorite chocolate ever. (I don’t even know what’s in it; whatever it is, she’s addicted to it.)

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Rue de Buci (6th arr.)

Like the Rue de Montorgueil, this pedestrian street is full of food shops teeming with fresh oysters, meat with the offal still in tact, and cheeses as pungent and mild as you’d like. Luckily for me, this street was right around the corner from where we were staying, so I walked over almost every day to buy food for lunch or dinner.

The little butcher shop was definitely my favorite. The people there seemed a little surprised to see a fifteen year-old girl in a rabbit hat call all of the shots about the food, but I think they got used to me by the end of the week. Butchers in France are COMPLETELY different from those in the states, especially the variety when it comes to poultry. They had at least four or five different breeds of chickens and ducks, plus little birds and giant birds and even a dinde, or turkey. The French really do eat everything: I wish Americans were more like that!

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Ladurée (21 Rue Bonaparte, 6th arr., but also other locations)

OK, I’ll admit it: I am madly in love with macarons. They’re actually pretty paleo-friendly, too: the basic ingredients are ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar, so there’s no gluten nor grains! (No, I am not condoning them as healthy, either.)  To have a really good macaron, you really have to go to Paris: in the States, macarons are usually frozen and shipped over, which definitely impacts their quality. At the shops in Paris, the macarons are made fresh every day, and you can taste the difference.

All of the flavors are excellent, but my favorites are the Ghana chocolat (a dark chocolate macaron made with really high-quality cocoa), guimauve chocolat coco (a chocolate macaron with a fluffy coconut cream filling), and café (COFFEE!!!). Each one is like biting into a pillow of magnificence…there’s truly nothing like it.

Well, there’s one more thing to add to the list of foods to recreate.

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Pâtisserie Viennoise (8 Rue de l’École de Médecine, 6th arr.)

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(See that beret?! I am obviously destined to live in France.)

Because Les Deux Magots, my go-to place for chocolat chaud, was closed for renovations, I was on a quest to find another tasty cup of goodness to savor. After a disappointing cup of pretty much warm milk in Montmarte, I was determined to be satisfied. After searching around the internet, my dad and I decided to try Pâtisserie Viennoise, which was only ten or so minutes away from our apartment.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a huge display of rustic pastries and two women behind the counter busily trying to keep up with orders. We sat down at a tiny table in the back, and ordered our chocolat chaud: with whipped cream for my dad, none for me. When our drinks arrived, our waitress deposited several packets of sugar on the table, which I laughingly pushed aside. Who needs sugar when I have chocolate?!

This chocolat chaud was wonderfully bitter, and just rich enough to be satiating but not overly-indulgent. It was the perfect size, too: not too big, and not like a shot of espresso, either. While I will be returning to Les Deux Magots the next time I’m in France, I will definitely come back to Pâtisserie Viennoise for their chocolat chaud.

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Sugar Daze (20 Rue Henry Monnier, 9th arr.)

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A shout-out here to my friend Cat, who owns this cute, funky cupcake shop! I really admire her for following her dream: she always wanted to open up a bakery in Paris, and guess what?! She did! I hope I get to do something like that one day…hey, would anyone be interested in visiting a paleo-friendly café in the City of Love?

Cat’s cupcakes are beautiful, tasty, and so creative: she names all of her goodies after songs, including “I Want (Cotton) Candy,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Personally, I think her cupcakes are so much better than the mega monsters from Crumbs and Sprinkles…do we really need to eat an overly-sweet cupcake with a cup of frosting on top, anyway? Cat’s cupcakes are perfect, and you should definitely try one, if you get a chance.

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And now, for the pièce de résistance: the meals I cooked in Paris!

SUNDAY NIGHT:

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Roasted wild duck, roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar, three different kinds of mushrooms, and sauteed onions and apples with chestnuts…

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…braised veal shanks in a sweet tomato/red wine sauce and roasted romanesco…

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…braised rabbit in a mustard sauce with haricots verts (also with butternut squash soup and roasted pears, not pictured)…

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…and roasted coquilette with roasted romanesco and fingerling potatoes.

All four were delicious–probably four of the best dishes I’ve ever cooked–and all made in my grandmother’s cozy apartment kitchen. But I made it work, and, well, it worked well.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little montage to my favorite city on earth. My stomach and I can’t wait to go back!

Have you ever been to Paris? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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