Monday, 21 September 2009

Downtime - le weekend

Morning shift means the working week starts on Tuesday and ends on Saturday with the following Sunday and Monday off. When Saturday finally arrived, I decided to make the most of my weekend and had the best time meeting with friends from school, laughing a lot, going clubbing for the first time in Paris (not very good but hilarious finding out about French clubbing etiquette from my friend!!) and as usual, doing a lot of eating :)

Our shop has a reputation of doing something special every month, usually known as a "fetish", dodgy sounding I know but not my idea! This month's fetish is "millefeuille" so in addition to making all the regular cakes, we make extra millefeuille in a variety of the shop's signature flavours. To date, I bought the "infiniment vanille" (all vanilla) and "Ispahan" to try at home and had the opportunity to try the Montebello and 2,000 feuilles at work. Despite the richness, my favourite was actually the Ispahan, followed closely by the vanilla. The others that I tried at work aren't very nice and am glad that I didn't have to fork out any dosh for the privilege of tasting them!

As an aspiring pastry chef, I am always up for trying new shops and the hottest ticket in town pastry-wise at the moment is a place called "Pâtisserie des Rêves", opened by MOF Philippe Conticini. The shop is located on the very chic Rue du Bac in the 7th and the shop is very different compared to other pâtisseries around town. There is no traditional pastry case; instead, there is only one of every available cake on display under a large glass bowl. Usually, one has a mosey around all the cakes, once decided, the trick is to collar 1 of 2 vendeuses (not the easiest to do when there is no queuing system and you are doing battle with feisty Parisian ladies who lunch) to place your order, pay for your goods and then wait for your box of goodies to be packed. Since it was such a struggle to track down a vendeuse in the first place, I went all out and bought myself a madeleine, brioche feuilletée, Paris-Brest and tarte citron. Apologies as there are only pics of the latter 2, cute box, huh? The verdict? Hands down the best brioche feuilletée I have ever tasted, the reason for no pic is that  I scoffed it down outside the shop in record time :) The madeleine was pretty normal, the Paris-Brest was exquisitely made but still a little rich for me and the tarte citron was a bit of a disappointment.  The brioche feuilletée is worth going back for but am still debating whether all that battling for service is really worth it.

My partner in crime finished her stage after my 1st week back of stage so needless to say, we had to go out and celebrate her "escape" in style, hence a visit to "L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon." :)
I had actually been to the London branch a few months ago with JD and wasn't entirely impressed by our meal there so was a little hesitant at going again. I needn't have worried as  our meal turned out to be very enjoyable. I plumped for a couple of small starters (clams, pigsfeet), a main (steak tartare and the most amazing chips) and a dessert (assortment of tarts). All my dishes were very well-made and tasted good, not scrimping on produce or quantity this time....if you do want to try this restaurant, I recommend coming to the Paris one. The really weird thing though was that everyone in the restaurant including the waiters all spoke English here in Paris and yet when we were in London, everyone including waiters and clients all spoke French - talk about role reversal!! Don't be put off as the food in Paris is comparably better on all counts.

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