Bread and Roses (Paris)


In the heart of the Madeleine/Concorde districts, Paris meets Beverly Hills. Designer boutiques and frilly cafés welcome the classiest array of Parisians and tourists. Needless to say, I felt a bit out of place arriving in my white jeans and tank, but Bread and Roses' reputation and gorgeous menu convinced us to enter. We wanted to splurge on a delicious salad and chic lunch experience. And we got just that.

Although the mediterranean vegetable tart is a typical entreé, we split it three-ways as an appetizer. The rich goat cheese, buttery pastry crust and lightly roasted veggies combined effortlessly. The fresh fig slice on top was a sweet extra touch.

The restaurant is also known for its fine salads. I had trouble choosing between the ten options because, honestly, every single one sounded delicious. Madison and Hannah both ordered the grande salade of shrimp, avocado, grapefruit, haricot verdes and grilled chicken. The vinaigrette was super light, highlighting each ingredient well. I enjoyed the buratta des pouilles salad, which was served deconstructed to showcase each element. The red, green and yellow field tomatoes were beautiful, the olive tapenade was addicting, and the bundled buratta in olive oil was gooey yet mild. My only complaint was the dryness of the cornbread, but I just used the table bread instead.
We loved our lunch so much...we had to come back for breakfast!
They're known from their brioche (tea bread), and now I see why. It's like a buttery, flaky version of challah. I couldn't get enough of it. The portion was so large, Hannah, her mom and I couldn't even finish it!

The fresh pressed orange juice was delightful. Bread & Roses stresses that they do not make this juice before it is ordered! I believe it. It tasted just like my orange-grapefruit pressed juice at Colette earlier in the week. I wish Paris adopted the concept of free refills...

Ah, the scone. This Bread & Roses specialty is served with strawberry jam, butter and real whipped cream. The pastry is dense but sweet with huge raisins. I was demanded to try a scone before leaving Paris, and I'm so glad it was my final meal before heading to the airport!

And Just Like That, Au Revoir, Paris


How could this be?!

I blinked, and my summer abroad was over.

Five weeks flew faster than any other trip I've been a part of, and it's still all soaking in. I have handfuls of more restaurants to tell you about and even more memories to share. Despite its overwhelming nature, Paris is awesome. I've fallen in love with it; everything except the metro (I was so squished this morning that I thought my feet would actually levitate from the ground!).

Hannah and her mom took me under their wing for the loveliest last full day I could have dreamed of. We ate very well at Le Village and L'Avenue, discovered that Ladurée has ice cream with a macaron on top (could it get any better than that?) and enjoyed each other's company throughout the Champs Elysees and Le Madeleine neighborhoods.

artichoke, asparagus and parmesan salad from le village

Just because I'm heading home to Memphis does not mean I'll stop talking about this European paradise. I have a few critiques to catch you up on; and if you're in need of tips or travel advice, just let me know and I'll be happy to share.

Au revoir, Paris. I'm not even gone yet and I already miss you!

thai chicken spring rolls from l'avenue

strawberries and burrata from l'avenue

seabass from l'avenue

Georges (Paris)


Talk about a view.

Besides the once-in-lifetime Eiffel Tower setting at Le Jules Verne that my parents and I enjoyed earlier this week, our dinner on the roof of the Pompidou museum was quite possibly the neatest venue in Paris. We took six sets of escalators to reach Georges, a glass window-enclosed dining spot with sleek decor, modern art and 300 degree views of the entire city.

The Justin Timberlake music made me feel like I had entered a nightclub, but the single rose on each white-lit table and backdrop of the Parisian sunset felt like a romantic escape.

To begin, I ordered the lobster salad. Can't go wrong with that. Hannah had the coolest appetizer by far: Caesar salad rolls. Instead of the Vietnamese rice paper roll ingredients, chicken, lettuce and Parmesan were tightly wrapped in rice paper with a tangy Caesar dipping sauce on the side. Such a creative concept.

For the entree, I was impressed by my shrimp risotto: jumbo shrimps covered the plate with the richest, most unbelievable risotto I have ever tasted. Ever. And if you've read this blog, you've seen how often I order risotto. The texture, flavor and temperature made this risotto number one in my book.

The sweetness in our millefeuille and berries & cream was top-notch, and the sparkling Eiffel Tower (which only happens at 11 p.m. and midnight each evening) made our dessert course even more magical. I was so excited to be with my Memphis "family" in Paris!

Le Jules Verne (Paris)

Eating inside of the Eiffel Tower is an absolute treat. There's no doubt about it. After escalating 125 meters in the exclusive Le Jules Verne elevator, we entered a classy dining room and were greeted by about 10 servers as we were led to our window table.
Now, since this is a "critique," I must fill you in on a few details that most reviews won't tell ya.
1) The restaurant is so high in the air...I felt as if I were in an airplane. Couldn't tell many buildings apart, unfortunately.
2) The meal is outrageous. Yes, you're paying for one of the "best" views and dining experiences in Paris...but, come on, a 25 euro glass of wine and 88 euro lobster appetizer is a bit ridiculous, in my opinion.
But now, I'll quit my complaints and show you some of the best quality food and presentation I have seen this trip.

I did mention that each glass of wine was 25 euro on average, yes? Well, we didn't take the (half) glass for granted, ha! A gorgeous basket of breads, ranging from croissants to whole wheat rolls, began our lunch. The embossed butter was a fabulous touch.

Mom ordered the chicken and duck fois gras with purslane and country French bread. We were disappointed with the consistency - I was looking for something much smoother and spreadable. But you have to admit: how gorgeous is that plate?

Dad's salmon marinated in lemon, caviar and vodka with mimosa garnish had killer presentation as well. He described it as "pretty good!" We'll take it.

I saved my appetizer for last, cause it was out of this world. I picked the chilled garden pea soup with wild mushrooms and farm egg, which was lightly fried on top. I enjoyed the contrast in texture and found it interesting that the peas were served whole and as a pureé. I truly loved this.

For our main course, all three of us got the John Dory fillet (cooked in a cocette) with spring vegetables and "condiment." It was grilled to perfection, and we all enjoyed the mix between warm roasted tomatoes and cold cabbage. The dish was light and very tasty!
On a side note, please excuse the photo...I started eating before taking a picture! Welcome to the life of a foodieholic.

For dessert, fruit was the main ingredient. While the portions were tiny, the strawberries were fresh and each complimentary baby macaron and vanilla bean marshmallow popped in my mouth in one bite.
Our unique lunch at Le Jules Verne was a memorable final date with my parents in Paris - we made the most of every minute from the height of the city!

L'as du Falafel and Giverny

Though my weekends are jam-packed with adventures around Europe (London last weekend and Florence in a few hours!), I have learned that taking advantage of every free moment during the weekday afternoons is the real way to see Paris. From the 4th district of Marais and a duck confit dinner at Le Petit Vendôme in the 2nd, to Versailles and Giverny, it's clear that we're doing our best to soak up every single minute.

Our Monday afternoon was spent wandering in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, which I had learned was the known Jewish quarter in the city. Left and right were kosher bakeries, orthodox boys and constant reminders of Israeli culture and my Jewish heritage. Memphis or Austin do not suggest any Jewish iconic symbols as you walk down those cities' streets, but something in the Marais neighborhood just made me feel like home.

Alas, we stopped at the famous L'As du Falafel. Boy, was that falafel sandwich freakin' good. And freakin' messy. Even David Lebovitz claims that “…you can’t come to Paris and not have a fallafel at L’As du Fallafel. It just isn’t done.” I really loved the combination of ingredients: a warm pita, spread of hummus, vegetable salad with cabbage and 8-9 steaming hot falafel balls. Talk about a bang for your buck, considering I only paid 7 euros for the most monstrous portion.
Yes, all four of us cleaned our plates.
On Tuesday, I entered the closest thing to heaven I had seen in a while. Literally. Giverny, a tiny town about 45 minutes outside of metropolitan Paris, holds the famed Impressionist painter Monet's home and gardens. We toured his chateau, gardens and water lily pad area in complete awe and amazement.

Words and pictures do not come close to describing the beauty of this paradise! Hannah and I wished we could stay at one of the many adorable bed & breakfasts and cottages in the surrounding area of the town. Or just live on the gardens' grounds. That would be pretty ideal, too.
Our last escapade of our three weekdays in Paris (on top of morning classes!) was Versailles. Oh, to be Marie Antoinette. She built an opera house simply because she loved the Opera and wanted to invite girlfriends over? Psh, in my dreams! 
The landscaping was unreal and went on for miles and miles. Madison, Hannah and I roamed the grounds aimlessly for hours...until we hit a rainstorm! We took shelter in Marie's estate until the "train" transportation arrived and took us back to the main building without getting us too soaked.

After touring the main chateau, the three of us stumbled upon Angelina, whose hot chocolate was on my list. I had no idea that a location existed at Versailles, but we jumped on the opportunity.
With a high of 85, we were hot...and drained. So when I saw that iced chocolate existed, I freaked. Three of those arrived at our table immediately, along with a vanilla bourbon millefeuille and berry almond torte. That torte could have easily been the most expensive dessert I have purchased, since it was the size of my small palm; but guys, it's worth it.

Cheers to another sweet week in Paris and an unforgettable weekend in Florence!

Cafe de Flor and St. Germain

I've fallen in love with St. Germain. The overall city has already surpassed my expectations, but there's something about that 6th district neighborhood that makes me want to buy a house, learn French and people-watch over a café créme every afternoon for the rest of my days. And maybe it's because I had the loveliest dinner at my friend Bunny and Jeff's St. Germain apartment on Monday...but still, it's a pretty magical feeling.
A "Parisian" Memphis Homecoming

Let's begin with Monday's dinner. I could not have been more anxious to feel the beloved Memphis hospitality on the other side of the world! Bunny and Jeff arranged a warm gathering at their roof garden apartment. They invited me and Hannah, along with some other Memphis visitors and local friends. 
Their colorful buffet ranged from Gerard Mulot savory and sweet pastries, to Le Bon Marche cheeses and vegetables, to Bunny's own seared tuna with ginger and herbs. My favorites were the steamed white asparagus, a rare vegetable in the United States, and a 24-month-old aged compte cheese with cherry paste. She whipped it all up within in an hour. I was impressed and inspired. We finished plate after plate while sitting around the gorgeous, open living room and talking about Paris and the connections between each of us.

The highlight was our champagne toast and Gerard Mulot game, which involved dividing each of the six pastries into fourths and going around the circle to bid on desserts. I scrounged the raspberry and amaryllis macaron, salted caramel shortbread, and torte tutti fruiti! They were gone within minutes.

Café de Flore

Hannah and I had to bring our friends back to St. Germain. After a picnic lunch in the Luxembourg Gardens (where we coincidentally ran into Bunny and Jeff again!), the six of us found Café de Flore, a prestigious cafe known for its hot chocolate, famous clientele and elaborate Art Deco decor from before World War II. We didn't see any famous clientele, but we DID enjoy the richest hot chocolate I could imagine!

The consistency was legitimately melted chocolate. Each person received a delicate pitcher that held enough for three cups worth! And did we leave a drop? No way Jose. I didn't think a drink could physically fill me up, but this one did.
The Smiths Bakery

Of course, though, we weren't finished. We walked along the St. Germain art district, passed Gerard Mulot, which was, to our disappointment, closed on Wednesdays. We walked through the Marche St. Germain, a market that physically took up an entire block. We settled on a quaint bakery called The Smiths Bakery. Hannah and I split a slice of chocolate chip banana bread and ate on the cobblestone sidewalk right outside the entrance. The experience was delightful!

Lovers Lock Bridge

After wandering even longer, we dead ended at the Lover's Lock Bridge on Pont de l'Archeveche of the Seine River, which Hannah and I had been wanting to visit for months. I'll admit that this was one of the cheesiest things I have ever EVER done, but I'll never EVER forget it. And the idea of adding a lock with my and Alex's names felt pretty freakin' cute.

St. Germain dés Prés, I will be seeing you again!