Pastry Shops, Restaurants

Je Kiffe Au Passage!

There seems to have been a trend towards casual restaurants serving french-style tapas and a selection of inexpensive wines catering to the younger, bobo-esque crowd in Paris. Au Passage is one such place focused on market fresh ingredients with a menu that changes daily and a pretty sick list of super value for money wines! Au Passage’s location is somewhat low-key, wedged between two small lanes with a very simple and non-descripto facade. If you were to walk past without knowing that it was located at that very spot, you wouldn’t give the restaurant a second glance. The only reason we had any knowledge of the place was because of the millions of rave reviews online! Olivia, Britt, Reed and myself decided to check out the hype after a long day at school. We got there at 7:30pm and were the first ones in the restaurant– still can’t comprehend how the french can eat so late! But anyhow, it was a good decision to mke our way there early because there was only one table that was without a reservation, phew! We started off the night with a delicious and fruity red wine from Beaujolais. And then followed with another red, and a sweet rose dessert wine (both of which I don’t remember the names of and didn’t take a photo of because we were all too excited with consuming everything that was brought to the table).

Appellation Morgon, Beaujolais, Burgundy

Appellation Morgon, Beaujolais, Burgundy

saucisson platter
saucisson platter
beets and chevre-- classic

beets and chevre cheese, beet chips and cherries

Loved the cherries in this dish!

 

tender squid morsels in squid ink and parsley

This was definitely a dish to remember. The squid was so goddamn tender! It almost semed like it melted in my mouth. Definitely sous vide, i bet! With a savoury squid ink sauce and a garnish of parsley for some kick and OOMPH.

escargots

escargots

Au Passage’s take on the escargots, served on a piece of toast.

hamachi sashimi

hamachi sashimi

au passage

Leeks with stuff we couldn’t figure out. Tis is the problem with the simplicity of the restaurant, being unable to decipher what goes into a dish which is probably best for the restaurant, I guess. Although it really drives me crazy when I’m unable to identify an ingredient in a dish, especially when it’s so goddamn delicious.

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doughnuts

doughnuts

Pain perdu with creme anglaise

Pain perdu with creme anglaise

This was one helluva dessert that was so simple yet so well done! French toast with creme anglaise, how unexciting it sounds but what a rindonkulously decliious dessert!

We also had a few more plates of food that I didn’t manage to take pictures of before everyone at the table devoured it. One of which was a sick rendition of a foie gras pate! I think they called it a Foie Gras parfait, served as a cut block of pate that was so creamy and rich but sooo light at the same time! Mousse like texture with an amazing flavor! I bolded that so you would notice, if you were just looking through the photos on this post and missed out on reading the text, this is the only thing you need to really read! ORDER THE FOIE GRAS PARFAIT if they have it on the menu.

The bill came up to about 45 euros per person, which I thought was super reasonable for the amount we ate and for the 3 bottles of wine that we had. Definitely going to be back a few more times while I’m here.
I love the simplicity but subtle quirkiness of the decor, the dark wood tables and chairs, the extensive and amazing and value-for-money wine list, the ever-changing seasonal menu, the deliciousness of every single plate that came out and als the overall unpretentiousness of the place. This is the kind of restaurant/establishment I would like to own one day. I’m gathering resources and trying new things, getting one step closer each day!

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Croissant Isphahan from Pierre Herme

Pâte à croissant, pâte d'amande à la rose, compote de framboises du Haut-Vivarais.

Pâte à croissant, pâte d’amande à la rose, compote de framboises du Haut-Vivarais.

I made the short trip from school to St Germain de pres today to retreive some Poilane sourdough bread for my sandwich tomorrow. I then realised how close I was to Pierre Herme’s shops and decided to pop by to see how long the line was, and then make a decision on whether it was worth the time to wait to procure one of his famed pastries or macaroons. Lo and behold, there was no line! 🙂

I waltzed into the shop, took a look at the macaroons and gateaux on display, and then my eye turned slowly towards the baked viennosseries in the corner. A lovely glazed croissant with deep red rose petal decorations was sitting on the shelf beckong to be bought– the croissant iphahan! I’ve heard stories about how wonderful this croissant is so I had to try it for myself (and it only cost me 1.80 euros!)

Now everyone knows that I am an absolutely sucker for anything puff pastry related. A dough leavened with lots of butter, what could be better! But this was an absolute beauty, not only to the eye but such a seductive little thing on the palate too! It’s glazed with a simple syrup, i’m assuming, then sprinkled with a row of candied rose petals. It smelled absolutely delicious! Perfumed with a delicate aroma of rose, and I thought that was the treat!

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But then I bit into it and OMG ISPHAHAN FLAVORED PATE LINED THE INTERIOR OF THE CROISSANT!! What a treat indeed! Rose and raspberries and flavors of everything beautiful exploded in my mouth. This was a crispier croissant with thicker layers which I actually prefer to the more delicate and thinner layers of regular croissants, because of the firmer flakiness it had which gave it almost a sort of crunch which definitely gave the croissant more OOMPH and kick with the glaze and the rose pate. Preferably, would have liked it with a little less glaze/sugar, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I LOVE THE CROISSANT ISPHAHAN!

PIERRE HERME YOU ARE A GENIUS. AMEN.

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Gateau Basque

 

 

Today in pastry class, we made the famed gateau basque from the Basque region of France (well, duh). The crust is made with an entire block of butter (meaning 4 sticks or 250g) which is bound to taste absolutely sinfully delicious but also makes it one of the worst doughs to work with– super buttery and soft and so delicate, even working on a cold and generously floured marble worktop was challenging.

It is then filled with a layer of pastry cream, or almond cream is also used, and a layer of black cherry jam, covered with another layer of delicate dough, scored and then baked til a little over golden brownLe gateau basque

Not sure how I feel about the gateau because I am not a cherry fan unless they are fresh cherries. The chef did say to try it when it was chilled, which gave the crust time to come together and not completely crumble when picked up, and gave some time for the cherry jam and pastry cream to meld together. I’m pretty sure the gateau basque has its fans, but I personally don’t think I want to be splurging my precious calories on this :/

I think the one slice I had contained about 2-3 tablespoons of butter!

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Jacques Genin’s Tarte Aux Citron

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting up with 2 friends from secondary school that I haven’t really kept in touch with. It’s strange how life brings people together, 3 Singaporeans studying in different countries, but meeting up in Paris and of course, over food! 🙂

Vivian brought us to Jacques Genin’s chocolate boutique/cafe, a famed chocolatier in Paris. Vivien was raving about his chocolate eclairs and his tarte aux citron so we really had to find out what all the hype was about. So if anyone has ever visited Jacques Genin’s shop, it’s massive for a chocolate shop, and looks more like a jewelry boutique than a place that someone would purchase something edible from. But with good reason, Jacques Genin makes some of the finest (and most expensive) chocolates and pates aux fruits in Paris (I think chocolates start from 90euros/kg).

We ordered the hot chocolate, chocolate mille feuille, and the famed tarte aux citron. We will have you know that Jacques Genin’s pastries are no longer for sale over the counter (rumour has it that his sous chef and team have left and hence, he is concentrating his efforts on his chocolates instead). But nevertheless, a limited quantity is available if you dine at the shop.

Tarte Aux Citron from Jacques Genin

Let’s just dive right into the tarte aux citron– it was absolutely delicious! The filling was not overly spiked with citrus, there was a nice balance between the sweet sugariness and the tart citrus notes and then there was such a delightful surprising note of basil which really won me over. Tarte aux citron is such a common item in France so I was definitely skeptical at first. But definitely one of the best and most interesting and most delightful tart aux citrons I’ve had the pleasure of eating 🙂 I think it made my shitty-weathered-day-in-paris that much better!

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un nouveau debut

I am in Paris. In culinary school. At Le Cordon Bleu. This is something that I’ve been dreaming of doing for the longest time, way before Cornell and Hotel School, and I’m finally here. And while I’ve been telling everyone for the past semester that I’m leaving the USA for Paris, now that I’m here, I still pinch myself every now and then because it feels so surreal, but in a good way perhaps. This is a huge step and change in my life. First of all, I’m in a country where I don’t speak the first language (and have a very rusty grasp of it at that). Secondly, I’m living in a huge and bustling city which is something that I can’t say I’ve done before (Singapore doesn’t count). Thirdly, I am completely on my own. This only means that things can only get better 🙂 I’m starting right at the bottom, completely out of my every comfort zone but I can already feel myself adjusting to the hustle and bustle of living in a city that exudes such charm and energy, I sense my body adjusting to the crazy hours of school that we have, and I feel my french improving ever so slightly.

The first day I was here, I cried my eyes out because I’ve never felt so terrified or lonely before. But now that I’ve made some friends in school and gotten slightly more adjusted to the Parisians, things are looking up. God is amazing and works in awesome ways and I know He’s watching over me every step of the way. So here’s to a new beginning in France, a whole new world of food and friends, a whole new and exciting city and an amazing education, to 2013 and to Le Cordon Bleu, and to ethelinparis.

A la votre! 🙂

 

 

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