Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last Night Paris

Pierre Herme pre-opening Tuesday morning I had a "private" visit to Pierre Herme on 185, rue Vaugirard to take as many pictures as I wanted from both sides of the counter. YAY!

Dusk in the Marais Later I decided on a late run to my photo shop in the 6th - camera problems. It was dusk in the Marais. Irresistable for marching around on foot.
Starbucks Paris I passed a Starbucks on rue des Archives and peeked in. Starbucks is hugely popular in Paris with the French to my surprise! They love the big loungie chairs and relaxed atmosphere.
velib The banks of Velib bikes everywhere is a delight! These stations were empty during the strike/ greve last week. Next time I'll get a Navigo card so I can use one. I'll bone up on my biking skills too before I come...ahem
Hotel de Ville I passed the glorious Hotel de Ville enroute to the left bank -always spectacular at night.
crossing the Petit Pont Cross the Petit Pont...
Notre Dame To the other side where Notre Dame awaits...
Notre Dame at night Awaits every tourist in Paris. Sometimes it's nice to be a tourist...
Art galerie on rue de Petit PontA small art galerie on rue de Petit Pont with large, mysterious Medieval style paintings...

Shop window on rue de Petit PontA shop window nearby with tiny, adorable Limoge snuff boxes...

Le Select bistro At St.Michel I popped into the Metro and came out at stop Vavin facing my favorite bistro - Le Select. You can't go wrong here for tons of old Parisian ambience. The food is irrelevant.

L'Opera Garnier Another night I took this shot of the L'Opera Garnier.

No flash required.
Walking around Paris at night is a delight.

Jean-Charles Rachoux ChocolatThe streets are not so crowded and perfect for leche-vitrine / window shopping with no chance of maxing out your credit card.

Laduree shoppers Late shoppers still max out their credit cards. Lines, lines, lines plus you feel the tension and anticipation - will there be any macarons left?Cafe Deux Magots Here winners of a box of macarons at nearby Cafe Le Deux Magots...

Hotel Beaumarchaise in the Marais A pretty "boutique" hotel I spotted walking around another night in the Marais...

bla bla bla I hope you enjoyed all my Paris "bla bla bla"
Please don't ask me where you can buy this product.

Or if I can buy one for you and your mother in size 8.

I shoot and run.

I forget ALL names and addresses instantly.

I am neither a personal shopper nor a tourist guide.
I'm an artist who loves to look at everything.

Paris MacaronsI couldn't leave you without some Paris macarons could I?

Please take a bite from my collection...

I'll be on AirFrance 0008 tonight coming back to you.

A bientot!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good n' Plenitude

I can hear you now...

At last she's finally giving us a watercolor on her last few days in Paris! And a Pierre Herme watercolor at that.

The "Surprise Plenitude"


Pierre Herme in the rain.. Well I just happened to be passing by yesterday in the rain on rue Bonaparte...and the ever present line of worshippers was nonexistent.

Who could resist entering?
Pierre Herme seductressesThe usual suspects tried to seduce me with their intense, shiny colors and glossy textures...but I was looking for something different. Something I hadn't tried before. And something that would survive the rain and the Metro...
The Surprise Plenitude caught my eye and my tastebuds... Plus I will go through hell for anything containing CARAMEL and all 12 versions of the Plenitudes do! Along with dark chocolate, marscarpone cream and a touch of chocolate macaron - irresistable.
Did you know that "plenitude" connotes:
1 : the quality or state of being full : COMPLETENESS

2 : a great sufficiency : ABUNDANCE
This baby lives up to all expectations and more...
Along with that essential information, this baby will survive the Metro and Paris rush hour happily.

The box did not do so well, malheureusement...ahem Another sticker or auto-collant would have aided survival enormously...

Have you ever been to England during Xmas and had the mad experience of British party poppers. Wearing a paper party hat is bad enough...hmmm

Let me reassure you opening the Surprise Plenitude is nothing like that.

I had to dissect this baby...

Still the mysteries eludes of what makes this melt-in-the-mouth extravaganza such a delight. Inside lurks a surprise soup of caramel with a macaron base to support the lusciousness. All desires are satisfied here.

I've seen perfectly respectable, well-dressed French women, around the corner from the Pierre Herme Bonaparte boutique, gobbling up citron tartes IN THE STREET! How I longed to capture their image for you. But shock and common decency stopped me. What is France coming to when everyday folks eat in the street. And on the Metro I might add?

Has Paris been liberated again?

I also got the packet of 3 chocolate pH3 Plenitude "bowling balls"? These too are loaded up with caramel soup and other indeterminate but deliciousness. I went back and bought extras so I could inhale them while painting the watercolor for research purposes of course.

You MUST try Plenitude for breakfast or you haven't lived...

"Plenitude est une experience 100% jubliatoire"

Monday, October 29, 2007

My Dimanche...

I thought you might like to tag along with me on Sunday/Dimanche for a tour around Paris... A friend said you MUST see the new Branly Museum so I arrived at opening time - 11 - the line didn't look so bad...After a 30 minute wait I got a real view of the line - there's a whole S-curve curling off to the left you can't see here. Not for me!I headed over to the Galliera museum in the 16th for an exposition of French Twenties fashionAt the Musee de la Mode et du Costume de la Ville de Paris just accross the Seine.Inside yours truly, the photo thief went to work! Unfortunately it was very dark inside... Unfortunately a guard spotted me...Twenties makeup at Galliera Not that that deterred me in the least...Twenties perfume bottles at Galliera From taking you along. More French parfum bottles...
Papaya salade dejeuner at Musee GuimetNo cafe in the Galliera so I stopped in the Musee Guimet for a quick bite of green papaya salade and a very strange duck dish...hmmm
SALON CUISINEZ cooking demos Next stop - the SALON CUISINEZ! sponsored by Kitchen Aid, Cuisinart, Krups and Elle a Table and held at the Carrousel du Louvre.
French kids cooking at SALON CUISINEZSALON CUISINEZ! is a 3-day cooking demo marathon with classes for kids,
Salon CuisinezAs well as adults. Yours truly gets to attend as "presse" since Salon du Chocolat. THANKS Paris Breakfasts readers! Please note the sardine action going on -very crowded it was indeed.
Chocolate bars at Salon Cuisinez Of course there were chocolate bars lined up like sardines on sale as well as other goodies...
Foie Gras - the French snack of choiceThe classic French snack - a huge slab of Foie Gras on country bread...
Piscine in Las HallesFairly exhausted by this time, I headed back to the Marais. Inside the Les Halles metro station I discovered a fabulous public swimming pool/piscine - something I forgot to do this trip and could certainly use to fight off all those macarons :(
Gelato at DelzieFollieNever mind. I ended off the day with a gelato from Delziefollie on rue Montorgueil. It's impossible to pass a gelato shop without testing their pistachio. Here an excellent pistache + a little-too-sweet canella cornetto at 3 euros for a petite. I hope you enjoyed tagging along. I've begun to pack up for my return to the real world -> New York. But there is a little problem of a strike/greve at AirFrance..ahem It's supposed to end tonight but there are no guarantees (a Fr. word!) in France of anything. Please cross all your fingers and toes and say a prayer that I make it to seat 29D on Wednesday!
A bientot!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The French Macaron

Macaron en gris This is not another post on all the grey fashions in Paris.Remember I was late to the Gerard Mulot visit?
Gerard Mulot Macaron Tower I decided to do a "make-up" session since I'd missed one meeting by going off to Provence bla bla bla.Meeting The French Macaron guide Florence Our lovely macaron guide, Florence admiring the chocolat.Gerard Mulot Macaron Chef LeclercMacaron Chef Leclerc inside the kitchen/cuisine.Chef Leclerc shares his Macaron secrets Chef happily shares his macaron secrets with us. He is present from morning to night making sure the macarons are perfect and they are.Macaron topsHere Chef explains that only some of the macaron shells/ coques are flavored, like cafe, chocolate, pistache.Macaron raspberry colorantChef adds raspberry/framboise colorant to the egg whites.Once the eggs are beaten to perfection, Chef Leclerc goes handson up to his elbows, folding/macaronage in the sugar and almond flour to exactly the right consistency. 
Macaron danceThe chef does.
Macaron danceThe Macaron Dance!
He knows when the batter is perfectly mixed. Eighteen new seasonal flavors /parfums are added seasonally. Final approval comes from Gerard Mulot and the board. Wouldn't you love to sit on that board judging new flavors?
macaron dance Here Chef gives a helping hand pouring the batter into the macaron making machine. Occasionally the machine messes up. The chef throws the batter back in till it behaves properly.
Macaron batterThe framboise-colored macaron batter.
MacaronsOut come perfect macs ready for the oven/four.
Macarons ready for the oven At Gerard Mulot, they rest just 10 minutes, not 1 hour as at my Lenotre class before going into the overn.Macarons twirl inside the oven The revolving oven is new at Gerard Mulot and can bake many more macarons.
80 kilos are made per day.
8 macarons in 100 grams.
1 kilo(1000 gr.) should equal 80 macarons.
1,600 macarons per day.
Macarons removed from the fore Removing the hot trays at exactly the right moment. Many of the stagieres/workers are from Japan. There are 18 Gerard Mulot shops in Japan selling ONLY MACARONS! They all come to Paris to get the training. American pastry chefs get off your duffs and get on it!macarons resting The baked framboise lids get their beauty sleep for 24 hours but I may have gotten that wrong in my excitement.
Macarons ready to receive their fillingsThe shells wait to be filled.
the Macarons get their ganache filling White chocolate ganache is piped into coconut macaron lids. This worker looks very happy.
Macarons waiting for their tipsMacarons await for their tops.
Nougat Macaron reward As a reward for our patience we taste a nougat macaronmaking the chocolate ganache Then into the chocolate kitchen to see ganache made. That's another post that will have to wait dear readers.
Over at Jean-Paul Hevin they are celebrating JOUR DU MACARON too. No one is waiting. Here you buy a box a box of 5 for 6.90 euros and they give you 1 free raspberry mac.
They donate 1 euro for you. Hmmm...
There are 2 other pastry chefs celebrating today. I'm off to check them out and report back. It's a race against time - MSN keeps shutting down my internet for no good reason. As I raced to post I wolfed down my free macarons :(
I MUST replenish supplies at once. I forgot to taste them!
A bientot!
back inside Gerard Mulot shop