La Bisquine (Honfleur)


Sunday morning, we stepped off of the coach bus into a dreamland. And it's called Honfleur, France. Our program had already spent Saturday in Caen to experience the D-Day museum, Utah and Omaha beaches, memorials, and cemeteries on the event's 69th anniversary. The powerful yet emotionally demanding day called for a relaxing Sunday in Honfleur and Deauville.

Omaha Beach

Hotel Normandy in Deauville

The picturesque scene of our lunch patio mirrored Impressionist paintings of the Honfleur harbor I had witnessed minutes beforehand in the Edmond Boudin museum.

Since Honfleur is a port town, I caught on that seafood was a must. I wish I could've ordered the 65 euro seafood tower that I saw on our walk throughout the restaurants! But I must be frugal, living in Europe as a student and all.

Our group of girls was pleased with our final choice: La Bisquine.

I ordered the mussels in white wine. The meat itself was smaller per shell, but the portion was huge and the white wine taste really came through. Sautéed onions also soaked up the wine, and the parsley added extra freshness to the dish.

Allison ordered a Gallete, which I learned is a savory crepe. She chose the traditional gallete with ham, cheese and egg. The ingredients were similar to a Croque Madame, which is on my list of dishes to try.

Carly ordered grilled Salmon with garlic mayonnaise and "chips." Maybe it was because it had been so long, but those fries were crispy as ever!

The rest of the girls craved classic American brunch, so they ordered fine herbs and mushroom omelets with cheese. I had a taste and thought they were delicious. European cheese really makes that much of a difference.

I will say that the food is enjoyable, but the scene makes this place a must. I'll never forget it. Or the fruit "candy" shop I found a few doors down :)

Chez Flottes (Paris)


Let me be clear: I love my bread and I love my Brie.

But last Friday, I was craving a healthier, heartier and more "Parisian" meal.

After five hours of exploring the heart of Paris - Place de la Concorde, the Opera House, upscale shopping districts, antique stores, la Madeleine, and other architectural highlights - we needed a dinner to match the fine city and fine atmosphere. Madison, Hannah and I browsed almost every cafe menu we passed, but one caught our eye: Chez Flottes.

Housed in a gorgeous, cobblestone side street in the first district, Chez Flottes was a quaint, classy space with a serene café patio. Outstanding service is hard to come by in the city, since tip and the English language are both discouraged around here. However, our waiters greeted us in English and treated us above and beyond the average cafe would. I was instantly at ease and ready to order a Parisian feast.

We began with a bottle of chilled white wine, which quenched our thirst and cooled us off after walking in 75 degree weather in jeans for hours (did I mention no one wears shorts here?).

Madison and I ordered escargot since 1) We're in Paris 2) It's a delicacy here 3) I was feeling bold. I was thrilled and frankly relieved when our waiter brought the escargot deshelled and broiling in garlic butter. It's just like home! But better! We soaked up every bit of remaining garlic butter with the baguette.

Next was soup. Madison ordered classic French onion soup with more cheese than soup. Hannah and I loved the tomato gazpacho, which matched perfectly with the summery weather on our patio.

When we didn't think our meal could get better, it did. Oh, it did. Madison's foie gras (which I had never tried before) was mild and smooth. It paired well with the vibrant mango chutney and sprinkle of sea salt on each bite.

Hannah and I both ordered the grilled salmon on a bed of fresh wilted spinach. The light, lemony butter sauce was served on the side in a small copper saucepan - how adorable! I enjoyed being able to control the amount of sauce so I could get the most out of each ingredient.

The meal was pricey, yes; but it was 100% worth it. I ate every bite out of pure enjoyment...and because it's considered rude if you don't clean your plate. I'd go back in a second!

Soufflé, s'il vous plaît?


My first week has ended, and my experience gets better and better every minute. Our globalization and consumer behavior marketing courses have been demanding yet engaging. The afternoon and evening discoveries of sites, cafés and shops will be etched in my mind forever. I just don't think it's going to hit me that I'm HERE in Europe until I'm sitting on the plane next month.

I have checked many more sights off my list, including some new food experiences to share with you, my wonderful foodie audience.

Le Bon Marche

Imagine Bergdorf's. Now imagine the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin. Now imagine them combined...and on steroids!

My friends and I walked in the doors in utter amazement. I've never seen so much luxury fashion in one place. The building itself blew my mind, but the shoes, bags, clothes and jewelry were literally unlike any other. I knew I was in the fashion capital of the world as soon as I entered.

The department store is attached to Le Grande Epicerie, or "The Great Market," where we picked up dinner and specialty foods to stock the apartment. I'm pretty positive we spent an hour roaming the aisles and departments, which housed the most unbelievable assortment of meats, fish, produce, cheeses, wines, prepared foods and dessert. I wish I could've bought it all to bring home to Memphis and cook with...too bad the food would not last and my wallet would be empty.

I settled on a few items that I knew I couldn't find at our local grocery or anywhere else in Paris. First, fresh wheat raisin bread, which I will pair with a strawberry jam from Honfleur and Brie. Next, Chardonnay. The cheapest item in my basket, as always. Next, fresh blackberries - plump and bright violet - and soft almond cookies from the bakery. For dinner, I found Vietnamese rice paper "ravioli" in the prepared foods section with shrimp, chicken, mushrooms, basil and brown rice. The sweet soy sauce on the side didn't overpower the filling, and I enjoyed getting in my Asian fix!

The sweet ending to our Le Bon Marche experience was that we ate in the park next door. The spontaneous piqué nique was relaxing and let us take in the extraordinary department store and market.

Le Soufflé

After a fancy dinner at Chez Flottes in the first district (or arrondissement), we immediately began another venture for dessert.

Coincidentally, we didn't have to look far. We turned ONE corner and I read the sign "Le Soufflé." Then it clicked! My dear friend Bunny had recommended the spot for the "best soufflés in the city."

We walked in and were humorously placed in the back room since we had not made a reservation beforehand. But our tight booth did not take away from the experience - we were there for soufflé, si vout plais!

We ordered the classic chocolate and caramel soufflés. While tempted to order another bottle of wine, we stuck with water. The soufflés arrived quickly, popping over the serving dish and literally calling our names. The waiter cut into the chocolate soufflé and poured steaming hot chocolate sauce in the center. Hannah was closing my jaw at this point.

The soufflés were divine but surprisingly different from American soufflés. They were more mild, less rich, and evenly fluffy and foamy throughout. In America, the center is usually raw, almost like an uncooked brownie. I enjoyed mine at Le Soufflé because of their lighter, airy texture that was more satisfying than overwhelming.

Hannah also asked for a side of vanilla ice cream. Great call. It melts beautifully with the warm soufflé.

Stumbling upon the best soufflé in town was just what the doctor ordered - it was the perfect ending to another perfect week in Paris. Below are a few more shots!

goat cheese, honey, arugula from au metro

Pique-niques and Pastries


Since I am a food blogger, I've decided to center my travel tales around the meals and foodie experiences around Paris. I have only been here for four days, and this has been my eating pattern since arriving:

Café créme (Coffee with cream...the serving is half the size of a Starbucks tall. I have to adjust.)
Café créme

Was this unexpected? Psh, no way. However, our 22 hours of classes so far on Economics, International Marketing, and Globalization have distracted me from eating every pastry in sight. I am not going to bore you about our daily schedule of metro stops and classes (although our campus, ESCP Europe, is both architecturally and intellectually impressive!). 
On a side note, I will tell you that we had a breathtaking bus tour last night around Paris. I felt like we were constantly in circles because of the roundabouts, but I was in awe of the city's landscape and sites.  I'm still on a high from the beauty of this place. I hope to see as many gems as possible! Luckily, I can already cross the Eiffel Tower off my list (as you can see above).
But overall, I will highlight a few stories from a foodie and attempted-Parisian perspective I'm trying to achieve!
A picnic (also known as "pique-nique") was a must, Hannah and I agreed. The bridge next to our dorm leads to a running trail, so Hannah and I picked up groceries (the wine was the cheapest item, might I add) and headed toward the park. We picked a bench, set out our baguette, brie and olives, and people-watched in complete bliss. It was so nice to unwind after an overwhelming first day of class and final hints of jet lag!
After class yesterday, a few of us jumped on the metro to Champs Elysees to try the one-and-only Laduree. This place epitomizes elegance. I wish we could have stayed for tea, but the line for seating was over an hour long. I picked out vanilla, salted caramel and café macarons. Seriously: when everyone claims these are the best, they are telling you the truth. These were to die for. Next time, I'm ordering a pastry too.
Here's to many, many more macarons and memories!

Passport to Paris



Don't I already sound Parisian? I'm working on it.

Here I am, two days into my summer study abroad program in Paris. I still have not fathomed that I'm actually in this overwhelmingly stunning city. Besides the fact that it's unacceptable to smile or glance at strangers for longer than one second, I think I'm going to love it here.

Hannah and I had a rather dramatic entrance into Europe involving lost luggage, a stubborn cab driver and a two-hour adventure to find each other in airport terminals that somehow turned out to be 2 miles apart. We finally embraced with tears and smiles on Sunday morning and arrived at our dorm in utter relief.

Our first meal instantly changed the mood and helped us ignore jet lag for a few hours. We wandered around our neighborhood, which was surprisingly not touristy and full of Parisians, both young and old. Passing bakeries and cafés left and right, I couldn't stop smiling. I even smiled and waved at a bus driver, which was apparently a weird and wrong move.

The street has a gorgeous Plaza, as you see above. The architecture in this city is gorgeous...

We ended up at a small café, Au Metro, and took a seat on the gorgeous patio. The weather is perfect in the afternoon - mid 60s and sunshine.

The waitress was shocked we did not want wine - I'd fall asleep instantly if I had a glass - but she was sensitive and kind about our complete lack of French language knowledge. We both ordered the Salad Nordique with smoked salmon, crab, shrimp, avocado and asparagus. The vinaigrette had a hint of horseradish that complimented the seafood well. Bread and freshly whipped butter accompanied the salads. I was a happy camper.

Our group of almost 30 girls - and two guys - was lured into a touristy restaurant in the Latin Quarter near Notre Dame for our first dinner together. I wasn't too pleased with the basic tomato salad and spaghetti with tomato sauce, but Hannah and I split a four course meal for only 12 euros! A pretty good bargain, if you ask, I'd rather save my money for pastries any way.
I just arrived home from the Champs Elysées district (fashion heaven) and am preparing for a bus tour of Paris (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, etc.), so look out very soon for a post with some breathtaking photos and a recap of our "pique-nique" in our neighborhood park. Xoxo.