Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Foraging for food with Little Chan

Finally, a much delayed foodie post. After several months of being in Paris, I made the trip to Pierre Hermé again and bought the famed "Ispahan" to try. For those of you who don't know already, Ispahan is PH's signature cake - a giant macaroon flavoured with rose and lychee cream and garnished with fresh raspberries. The verdict? A bit cumbersome to eat with a fork (I found out the night after devouring my cake from a fellow student that the best way to eat Ispahan is "like a hamburger"!) and too sweet for my liking. After trying various different Ispahan pastries, I am not convinced of having lychee especially when you can never taste it? Being a bit of a lychee snob, it also irks me that PH only uses tinned stuff, yuck! The other thing I bought from PH was kouign-amman aux fruits rouges - a buttery and caramelly tasting flaky pastry with red fruit filling, originally from Brittany I think? Despite eating it the morning after I had bought it, it was absolutely divine - could eat a whole tray of these things! :) For me, PH's kouign-amman aux fruits rouges is a perfect illustration of his ethos, "un univers de goûts, des sensations et de plaisirs"......a universe of tastes, sensations and pleasures.

We had our first bank holiday of the year at the beginning of May which meant a perfect excuse to go out and eat. A few classmates and I took advantage of the mini-break and headed to Les Cocottes in the 7th for a spot of lunch. Its a casual dining spot which takes no reservations and most people sit on a long bar in the middle of the dining room. Les Cocottes is famous for serving its food in little casseroles or "cocottes" giving it that rustic chic kind of appeal. I plumped for a main of lamb with spring veg and finished off with one of the signature desserts, waffles with salt caramel sauce. The lamb was very nice and amazingly tender, my waffle was a little on the dry side but the sauce was very moreish. Had a bit of a mini-disaster with the pot of tea that I had ordered. I had failed to realise that there were 2 handles and grabbing hold of only 1, managed to pour the entire contents onto the floor of the restaurant! Luckily, no-one got scalded but a bit embarassing for me - it was one of those moments when you watch everything happen everything in freeze frame but are somehow helpless to do anything whilst everyone in the restaurant looks on in horror! A pleasant lunch but a bit pricey for what I ate, 30 yoyos alone for the lamb dish.... 

After lunch, we paid a visit to Secco, a boulangerie in the same area which was formally home of star boulangerie, Poujaran. I picked up a couple of nibbles, brioche ecorce d'orange, pain aux noix et figues and a baguette. Baguette was a bit on the salty side, pain aux noix et figues was tasty enough but the brioche was nothing to write home about.....

I met up again with some chums from school on Sunday afternoon for a spot of lunch before hitting the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie. Sunday is never a good day to eat out in Paris as most places are closed, and especially on a bank holiday weekend. After much rummaging through my guide books, we ended up at Le Petit Marché, a small bistro in the 3rd. The food was solid; simple starter of juicy white asparagus with aioli, generous portion of duck in ginger sauce and tasty strawberry gratin to finish. No real complaints except the service could've been friendly, I mean, just because we are table of Asian faces doesn't make us unworthy tourists! Speaking of tourists, am kinda half glad that they've all gone home for the time being and everything is back to normal in Paris -the metro is no place for sauntering on and off without any consideration for your fellow passengers!    

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