In the next post I’ll be taking you on a very cold boat ride along the Seine, where we’ll be passing some famous sites until we just can’t take the cold anymore! But before we go on that tour, we’re going to eat breakfast at a local patisserie, stumble upon a Parisian street market and then take the Metro to Lafayette Gourmet to get some picnic supplies for later (and to just generally ogle the food). (Since we’ve already talked about all of the foreign food available here, today we’re sticking with French goodies.)
We discovered our little local patisserie on our first full day in Paris. While I wish I had photo-staged it better, the quiche I had (pictured below) was seriously the most delicious quiche I have ever eaten – the crust was perfectly buttery and flaky and the filling was pillowy and savory – heavenly! I was so enamored with this quiche that I decided I would eat one (with different fillings) every morning for the next/last two days of our stay. Little did I know (until the next morning) that this patisserie is closed on both Saturdays and Sundays (I said “awwwwww” for an inordinate amount of time after seeing the place shuttered Saturday morning). Well, at least for one day I enjoyed the perfect quiche and Steve a great baguette (I still don’t understand how water, flour and yeast in one country can end up with such a different result than water, flour and yeast in another, but French bread is so much more chewy and substantial than the bread here).
While Saturday left us disappointed upon discovering the patisserie closed, we were happily surprised to see a street market setting up right outside our hotel window. Paris has these wonderful little street markets that pop-up on specific days of the week in every neighborhood. While there are also some “bric n’ brac” markets, this was a quintessential Parisian food market – complete with produce and meats and fish…and, of course, cheese!!! As we didn’t have a kitchen, all we could really do was admire the food (okay, confession – we did later buy some cheese at the grocers and kept it on our window sill overnight [can you imagine storing Camembert inside your hotel room?!]).
So, instead of quiche we “made do” with some buttery pain au chocolates from another local patisserie we passed on the way to the Metro. We took the Metro to Galeries Lafayette, or, more specifically to the foodie floor, know as “Lafayette Gourmet.” Not only is this market filled with upscale French and foreign groceries, but there are numerous counters selling freshly prepared food as well as little mini-restaurant stalls with tables to boot. There’s all of the French food you can picture – from cheese to pastries to foie gras, and even a fish market/restaurant (as well as the foreign food I mentioned in a prior post). Since you’ve probably figured out I’m a foodie and watch too many shows about food, then hopefully you won’t be too appalled when I tell you that hearing about foie gras all these years had gotten the best of my curiosity. While I was photographing the foie gras stall I noticed that behind the counter there were very small samples on crackers….I spontaneously felt compelled to ask for one – this is Paris after all and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So, how was it you ask? Since I grew up eating chopped liver, I’m used to and like the taste of liver (and hence Tuscan crostini which is topped with it)….it had the taste and consistency of liver-flavored butter (which either sounds delicious or disgusting, depending on your point of view). While I was happy to have tried it, it’s nothing I ever need or want to eat again, so please no one gorge a duck on my account.
I did buy two treats at Lafayette for our hotel-room picnic that night – some salmon terrine and a mini bottle of Bordeaux. Add some cheeses and a baguette from the local grocer, and voila – dinner! (Well, add some pastries, too….). As always, sorry they haven’t invented taste-o-vision yet, but enjoy!