Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Scenes from Paris

We arrived in Paris yesterday afternoon, minus a wallet (mine, which I left at home after re-arranging a bunch of stuff in my purse last minute) but on time and with all our luggage! Trust me, this is a rare feat for Noah and I when it comes to our foreign travels. We checked into our apartment in the 2nd arrondissement and then set out for a quick tour of the neighborhood. We chose the 2nd because on our last trip we fell in love with the local market street, rue Montorgueil (pictured above). It's mostly pedestrian and full of patisseries, fromageries, boucheres and marchand de vin.
One look in the window of all the patisseries and I knew we had to get ourselves a traditional bouche de noel (aka yule log, only so, so much swankier) for Christmas dinner. So this afternoon (day 2) we took a trip over to the 3rd, to one of David Lebovitz's recommended patisseries - Gerard Mulot. We bought the Feuille d'Automne, a dark chocolate and carmelized almond delight.
And since it's Christmas, we had to have a tree! I bought a tiny, plastic one at Urban Outfitters and stashed it in my suitcase as a surprise for Noah, along with a string of multi-colored lights. The mini-tree (oh yeah, it's classy and plastic and white) sits on our living room table, the lights are strung up on the flower box outside our windows.
And tonight, we took the metro over to our most favoritest restaurant in the world. Literally. Hiramatsu is a Michelin starred French restaurant that was established by a famous Japanese chef. The food there is full of French flavors, but with a deft (and light) Japanese hand. We had dinner there in May 2006 during our honeymoon and it was #1 on the list for this visit. We were not disappointed - the Delices Gastronomique (chef's tasting menu) was superb. The highlights this time included a safron risotto in a bouillabaisse with pan fried cod. The fish was perfectly cooked and the flavors of the risotto and the bouillabaisse were brilliant. Our other favorite was a perfectly cooked young duckling breast served over chantrelles cooked in a foie gras cream with black truffles as an accent. Decadent and dreamy. The desserts (one used as a palate cleanser, a combination of frozen and granita'd citrus fruits) were equally as stunning and will probably have my lactose intolerant self paying at some point tonight for my sins. It was worth it!

The picture above was taken during the metro trip home. It's an advertisement for Orangina, which they sell in vending machines at most stops. It cracked me up and creeped me out in equal parts.

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