Thursday, January 08, 2009

Paris, Day Two

Okie Dokie, Day Two in Paris. Here's the run down folks.

We didn't really get out of the hotel until around 11 this morning....(jet lag is still a bitch) However, after getting out of the hotel, we made our pilgrimage to Poilane. To the uninitiated, Poilane is the bread everyone talks about. By everyone, I mean EVERYONE. So, obviously, I had high expectations. Let me tell you, they didn't let me down. There was a LARGE line. Once we were able to order, we ordered a croissant(this was really was the flavor of pure butter suspended between layers of flour. Crispy and melt in your mouth all in one.) and apple tart, a roll and a quarter miche Poilane. The last one was what I was really anticipating. Here's the run down. Super crispy, bitter crust with a dense natural yeasty interior. You can't buy this in the US. I've had a lot of good bread and this is hands down the best I've ever had. There's a reason that in a city of bread bakers on virtually every corner, Poilane stands out.

Pierre Herme is a god. If the fact that I'm talking about food with spiritual references bugs you, please click here.

OK, so I said it. He's a god. I've heard the stories, I've seen the write ups. Again, there's a reason there's the hype. I've included video from his shop below, but I've got to add this. We returned to his shop later in the afternoon and the line was out the door. It's not like there was a half off sale at the Dollar General or Ryan's was giving away 1/8 inch steaks(with the purchase of the 'sneeze and hack' bar) folks. This stuff is not cheap and there was a line out the door. People even stopped by to look at the displays in the window like it was a jewelery shop. Really awe inspiring. But, like I said yesterday. These people take their food seriously. Really seriously. So, we loaded up on macaroons, canelle, and a puff pastry and butter tart that I can't remember the name of, but will be back for more tomorrow. Here's the skinny on macaroons. I love them. I'll drive to Baltimore just to get a dozen at my favorite bakery downtown. Pierre Herme's are in a different league. One bit of the caramel and fleur de sel macaroon and I caught myself making that stupid face you see people on food travel shows making at every bite. They bite into squid shit or something like that and then almost as if on cue, their eyes roll back in their head, they smack their lips and then give a banal description of what they just ate. Well, my eyes rolled back in my head, a blissful smile crossed my lips and I couldn't speak a word. Nothing. Nothing from the guy who can rip apart just about any food item in .5 seconds flat. I've never done cocaine, but that's what I imagine it feels like to shoot up. And....just like a junkie, I went back for more later in the afternoon. Yes, we spent a total of $48 on macaroons.

After, Herme, we went and visited the Cluny Museum. I've been told that this trip isn't all about food,(what?) so we managed to squeeze in an hour of museum looking. Sweet.

This pic isn't of the Cluny museum, but of Invalides....I just thought it was a nice pic.

After Cluny, we visited the Bon Marche which is sort of like the size of a Macy's with the quality of products like a Barney's.(not the purple stuffed animal. The store on the east side of Manhattan) Aside from being a big ass department store(I LOVE shopping!!!! Nothing makes me happier than staring at tile floor with the other guys waiting to move to a new part of the store They should put a bar and a bowling alley in department stores.) Anyhow, the Bon Marche as 30,000 square feet of food court(if you're not good with visualizing square feet, suffice it to say, it's HUGE). No, not food court like Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A. Food court like every prepared product you can imagine. Mustards, pasta,chocolates, strawberry flavored marshmallow Fluff(this was actually in the American part of the store)..... freakin' everything. We only popped our heads in and then left because I decided that if we went too far toward 'the light' I'd get sucked in by the tractor beam that is 'cool food' and we'd be late for our reservation at Helene Darroze.

Dinner at Helene Darroze. I'll spare you the nitty gritty details. Let's just say it was a fine Michelin two star experience and I learned a lot. Yes, learned. It's impossible for me to go out to eat anywhere nice without my wheels spinning....but I'm gonna bring a whole load of ideas home.

STRANGEST THING I SAW TODAY: Outside the Cluny museum....there were some pay phones that had graffiti all over them. Right in the middle someone had sprayed 'fart'. I saw that and it just made me laugh. See, fart jokes are funny in any language or continent.

BEST THING I PUT IN MY MOUTH TODAY: This one's a toughie. I ate a TON(my pants still fit) of awesome food today. I gotta give runner up to the macaroon at Pierre Herme. It was awesome. The winner? The miche from Poilane. It was simply amazing and I've always wanted bread to taste like this. I don't know why we can't get it in the US, perhaps bakers don't want to make bread with such a bitter bite, but it really was a point in my life when my perception met reality and I was really happy about that.

WORST THING I PUT IN MY MOUTH TODAY: OK, I gave him bit 'props' earlier in the post, so I can take a shot at him now. Also, I understand that when you swing for the fences all the time, you're gonna strike out some times. Maybe it was my mistake for even buying it but, here goes.....White truffle and hazlenut macaroon from Pierre Herme. This was actually gag-inducing. Sorry, dude.

A word about photos: I'm having trouble loading photos. I actually got some today, but they are slow to load to blogger, perhaps because of my connection. I'll try and do better tomorrow. UPDATE: Pics added!!!

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