Day 2 in Berlin started off on a serious note with a visit to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a.k.a. the Holocaust Memorial, a site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.
Then, the Topography of Terror, formerly the headquarters of the Secret State Police during the “Third Reich” and now a documentary center.
Hallo Berlin :)
My home for 3 days, a lovely apartment right in the Mitte neighborhood. Thank you Ms. A for being the most wonderful host!
And thank you Berlin for three full days of sun and blue sky.
Add: 74 rue des Archives, 75003
Tel: 01 42 77 23 62
Hours: [Wed-Thu] 2~11pm [Fri-Sat] 12pm~12am [Sun] 12~11pm
Price: [dessert menu] €19~42
Visited on: Sep 2013
Dessance, Paris’ first gastronomic dessert bar, has been open for around 9 months now. My first visit back in January was a rather pleasant experience, and I finally got a chance to go back to see what’s new. In addition to the a la carte options (€19) and the carte blanche sweet menu (€36), there is now also a carte blanche salé/sucré menu (€42), which includes one savory dish followed by four sweet dishes. On the particular day we visited, this menu started with beef carpaccio, roquefort cheese sorbet, and celery root baked in hay and seaweed, a light dish perfect for those who like to pad the stomach with something non-sweet first.
Drinks are not included in the menu, fyi. Jasmine tea (€6).
First sweet course: green peas, green pea puree, and orange carrot granité. Bright and light, a pleasant combination with a good balance of sweet and savory.
Second sweet course: burrata with mustard leaf sorbet, orange confit, and saffran/mustard leaf powder. The orange confit, though just a small part of this dish, was nicely done – soft and tender but still preserving a tiny bit of crunchy texture. I’m not familiar with mustard leaf as an ingredient and wasn’t quite sure what I was tasting, but the whole ensemble with burrata, orange confit, and saffran was original and lovely. Like the previous dish, this one wasn’t really sweet, but rather a combination of sweet and savory.
Third sweet course: raw and cooked mirabelle with eucalyptus crème brûlée, marjoram granité, and an acidic crumble. This dish, while interesting in terms of unique flavors to explore, wasn’t an enjoyable one for me as I found there to be too many thimgs competing for attention at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
Restaurant David Toutain
Add: 29 Rue Surcouf, 75007 Paris
Tel: 01 45 50 11 10
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 12~2:30pm, 8~10pm (closed Sat & Sun)
Price: [lunch] €42 [tasting menu] €68~158
Visited on: Sep 2014
I first tried David Toutain’s cuisine at Agapé Substance, where I had one of my most memorable meals since moving to Paris. This young chef, having worked with some of the world’s top chefs like Bernard Loiseau, Marc Veyrat, Alain Passard (Arpège) and Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz), opened his own restaurant at the end of 2013 to much public acclaim. The style remains the same – clever, beautiful small plates made up of pristine ingredients – except it all tasted even better than what I remembered from two years ago.
In terms of space, Restaurant David Toutain is much more spacious and airy compared to Agapé Substance. Service, warm and friendly.
Carte blanche tasting menu can be either €68 or €98 depending on the number of courses, with optional wine pairings at additional cost. During lunch time, a three-course menu is available for €42.
We chose the €98 tasting menu, an extended affair of 15 courses that started with boeuf, framboise, parmesan – beef carpaccio wrapping raspberries, topped with parmesan.
Un Dimanche à Paris
Add: 4 Cours du Commerce Saint-André, 75006 Paris
Tel: 01 56 81 18 18
Hours: [Mon] 12~8pm [Tue-Sat] 11am~8pm [Sun] 11am~7pm
Visited on: Aug 2014
Un Dimanche à Paris remains one of my favorite pastry shops in Paris, largely because I spent 5 very happy months here as an intern right after Ferrandi. It is in this kitchen where I first learned the ways of a professional pâtissier – sure, the pastry program at Ferrandi is wonderful and I wholeheartedly recommend it, but school just can’t prepare you enough for working in a real kitchen. The team at UDAP has almost totally changed since then – only one current pâtissier (salut Alex!) was there during my epoch – but I happen to know the new chef, Nicolas Bacheyre, as we had worked together for a little bit at Fauchon where he was the sous chef. It is indeed a very small circle, this pastry world in Paris, and thanks to that I can go back to snoop around in the kitchen from time to time :)
It’s barely over half a year since Nicolas started working as the chef pâtissier at UDAP, but he has already came up with plenty of new creations, many with interesting flavor combinations that you can’t find elsewhere. When I saw the picture and description of the latest Chou Bijou, for example, I simply had to go taste it…and of course came back with a bit more than just that.
Here it is, Le Chou Bijou (€5.40), a jewel-like chou filled with black currant compote and topped with mirabelle tea chantilly cream. Black currant is not new to me as it’s a fruit frequently used in French pastries, but I had never tasted it in combination with the mirabelle tea flavor (and for that matter, I’d never had mirabelle tea before) and it’s really quite a lovely match. Like all the choux and éclairs at UDAP, this one is baked with crunchy bits of cocoa beans for extra flavor and crunch.
Add: 91 rue de Rennes 75006 Paris*
Tel: 01 45 44 66 13
Hours: [Mon-Sat] 10:30am~7:30pm
Price: single origin chocolates €7/box
Visited on: Aug 2014
Patrick Roger, awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) chocolatier, is a chocolate madman well-known for his majestic chocolate sculptures and his innovative flavor combinations. I first visited his boutique back in October 2012, and have loved his creations ever since. Excellent choice whether as a treat to oneself, or a gift for a friend.
*Various locations available, check website for full listing.
Just yesterday, my roommate received this coffret de chocolat (€36, available in different sizes) as a present, and we had such fun trying each bonbon chocolat and savoring their flavors – we probably tasted about 7 of them before we decided that a break was necessary.
In this box:
- Amazone – the harmony of caramel and the sharpness of lime
- Trinidad & Tobago – the fleeting flavor of creole rum
- Zanzibar – a fusion of thyme and lemon
- Delhi – essence of lemon and basil
- Mistral – creamy plain caramel and flower of salt
- Maracaibo – a subtle blend of northern cocoas
- Tendresse – strongly roasted and caramelized Piedmont hazelnut
- Desir – crunchy wafer on praline
- Katamandou – the richness of jasmine blossom
- Corsica – essence of orange rind
Add: 66 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Tel: +33 1 42 22 32 15
Hours: [Tue-Sat] 11:30am~6pm
Price: [drinks] €2~5 [sweets] €4.5~5.5 [lunch] €10~15
Tasted on: Aug 2014
This cozy tea room near Le Bon Marché is now bigger and brighter than its former self after renovation, but it remains charming with the usual homely pastries and friendly waitstaff. A lovely spot to come back to for lunch and afternoon tea.
Following my days at Un Dimanche à Paris and Fauchon, I spent the next five months of my pastry career at Carette, a classic Parisian pâtisserie/salon de thé that has been sitting on Place du Trocadéro* since 1927. Carette pastries, as you might remark from the photos in this post, are more traditional in comparison to those from UDAP and Fauchon, and it’s a style that I very much appreciated re-learning as I haven’t done much of this since leaving pastry school. My days at Carette were truly happy ones largely thanks to the lovely people I worked with, and the five months here really flew by despite the long hours. I only just left a few days ago, and am already missing the good moments in this pastry kitchen…
* There is also a second, newer Carette boutique at Place des Vosges.
**Because I only have shots of the kitchen, I borrowed the first four photos of this post from Carin/Paris In Four Months, a dear friend of mine who also happens to be a fan of Carette. Thank you love :)
If you have read my previous pastry kitchen diaries, you know that life as a pâtissier isn’t as dreamy as how most people imagine it to be. For one thing, my days at Carette started at 4am everyday, which means that I had to wake up at 2:30am and bike to work since there is no metro at this hour, and there is no suitable night bus for my route. The journey wasn’t super long – about 20 minutes on the bike plus a few minutes walking – but it did involve going uphill (so I was often breathless when arriving at work), fickle Parisian weather (it said it wouldn’t rain this morning but of course it poured), frequent troubles with Vélib’ public bikes (flat tire, broken chain, missing paddle, or just no bike at all), and encounters with all sorts of fun characters (think drunk party goers and crazy football fans during the World Cup). Well, at least I got to burn off some calories…which I consumed right back as soon as I got to the kitchen. Freshly baked pastries for breakfast, who would say no to that?
Day 2 in Croatia, we visited the beautiful Plitvice National Park. 16 lakes arranged in cascades, with water colors ranging from azure to green, grey, or blue. Just gorgeous!