Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Crochet projects - winter's on its way

Autumn is my favorite season. Those colours! How beautiful, especially in a week like this with lots of sunshine and mild temperatures. We even hit a 20C yesterday.

But cold days are ahead and I'm getting ready for it. I just finished these fingerless gloves (so I can still get zippers to work and pick up my phone quickly when ringing). 

A while ago I finished the Japanese lace scarf too. It was the inspiration to my lace edging on my gloves. I will work up a nice pin for it to match with the gloves.

So, just a warm up for cozy patterns comming your way later. I hope before winter kicks in.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Paris - Bon Appètit [Part II]

So, yesterday I shared with you day one in food. Our second day was not as much eating wonderuful food as day one. But we made up for that buying some great stuff to take home. Which looked like this.

I had to be a little picky on what to buy because I only had one small backpack (26L, Dakine) with me. Which was good for my budget, really.

We started our second day off with a big laugh. You need to know we took quite some foodies with us for the long bus ride. Most of which we ate. But the cake we took to our hotel room and turned out to be breakfast at day two. My friend told me she'd bring a cake with her, I just didn't expect a whole cake including the baking tin. It did help to transport the baby in a whole, though. And it tasted great (thanks goes to the friend of my travel friend who made the cake).

After that we went serious, heading for Rue de Bretagne to visit Marché des Enfants Rouges. At 10:30 I think we were a little too early for the real buzz. Most restaurant stalls were busy setting up tables and polishing table ware. But the food stalls were open and hell, did they look good. It was a pity not to be able to bring home the fresh sea food and vegetables available for nice prices at this small covered market. We were day dreaming about having an apartment just around the corner of this market and make amazing dishes with these fresh ingredients.

Thankfully, they also offered great food to bring along too. I settled on a small 100g jar of Moutarde de Dijon à la Provincale. I've paired it with with some different snacks by now. Chicken, crisps and a Dutch bitterbal. It tastes great. But being such a small jar results in getting at the bottom already...

But it's not just the market that rocks this streets. It's all of the small shops and cafes along this street too. Like Fromagerie Jouannault, right next to the market entrance. I didn't buy cheese here though and went with a small tastefull sliced nut bread (at 2,95 euro) for the bus ride home. But in case you do buy cheese, they pack vacuum, to make sure your cheese can blow your taste buds away at home.

We also bought a few bottles of wine and rosé at Le Repaire de Bacchus. They had a great selection of wines and also champagnes. The rosé I bought turned out to be Italian, actually. Which is proof of me, not being such a good drinker. But it did make a great gift for my parents at home.

Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, 39 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
Metro: Arts et Métiers (line 3 and 11), Temple (line 3), Fillets du Calvaire (line8)
Open: Tue-Thur: 08:30-13:00 and 16:00-19:30, Fr-Sat: 8:30-13:00 and 16:00-20:00 Sunday: 08:00-14:00
Fromagerie Jouannault, 39 Rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris
Le Repaire de Bacchus, 40 Rue de Bretagne 75003 Paris

After a dissapointed look through the vintage (on the high-end price) shop Kiliwatch, we had lunch at Bistro Burger. The food wasn't anything special, but it's a family friendly place, judging on the number of families with (young) children having lunch there at that moment.
Not to mention there is a great natural food shop opposite. 

Bistro Burger 26 Rue Montorgueil, 75001 Paris
Metro: Les Halles or Étienne Marcel (line 4), Sentier (line 3)
Open every day from 12:00-22:00

On our way home from La defense, we made a stop at Ladurée at the Le Printemps warehouse to buy our batch of macarons. But before I tell you all about it. I have to make a confession. I didn't know about Ladurée until I searched on Pinterest for 'Paris'. Laugh at me, but I'm a relative newbie to food-love. Which means that a few years ago, I wouldn't mind food so much. It has grown on me only in recent years. I guess the train trip from Amsterdam to Rome I mentioned yesterday opened my eyes on how great, truely great food can be. That was only two years ago. So, bear with me as I go crazy on icons that are established centuries ago. 

On day one we had a look at the small (and much more stylish) shop at Rue Bonaparte, but we wanted to bring these expensive babies home as fresh as possible. Which meant that we had to wait one more day with our buy. After an Asian tourist before us, commanded the staff to fill his 80-something box with more and more coffee taste macarons. As Dutchies with an asian look, felt like we had to make up on the rude impression the man before us, left the helpfull staff with. Ordering a humble six-piece box and try to make a choice out of their wonderfull tastes. 

To be honest, I couldn't believe I spent 15,80 euro on just six of these sweet treats. But I have to admit after tasting them, I'd happily go and buy again. In order of heavenlyness (is that even a word?): Lemon, Pistachio, Salted caramel, Chocolat, Rose and vanilla. I now have a very good reason to come back to Paris some at some time. And then, I will buy, in a more fitting style at the small Rue Bonaparte location. 

We hit a big tourist trap miss at our diner restaurant, but it was raining (again) and we were hungry. We concluded that we had to miss at some point during this food filled trip, anyway.
We closed the day, relaxing at our hotel room. Watching the only English chanel we had, BBC News, snacking supermaket snacks (cheese and chips).

At Sunday morning there were no café's open near our hotel, so we took one more metro trip to République. Just before heading home we catched our first and last real sun rays at the terrace of bistrot POP. It was a wonderfull goodbye to Paris.

Bistrot POP, 3 Avenue de la Republique, 75011 Paris, France
Metro: République (line 3, 5, 8, 9, 11)
Open every day 08:00-02:00

Take care and have a wonderfull start of your weekend!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Paris - bon appétit! [part I]

It's already a month ago that I went to Paris. The 7 to 8 hour bus ride (thanks to a mid-city stop at Brussels during rush hour) from Utrecht to Paris gave me a last fling of an evening, two full days and a morning to spend in the capital city of France. For that short amount of time, I'd say I spent most of my time and money on food (same goes for my friend). I could split my travel in Paris in two parts, the eating food part and the buying food part. Sharing with you our fist day of Paris in food.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, they say. Same thing goes for French. This saying went out of the window as we went Asian, for the first meal in Paris up until lunch the next day (with an exeption for the pain au chocolat as a breakfast). 

We stopped at Toma Sushi, a short walk from the Ibis Budget hotel we stayed at. It didn't look so convincing and warm welcoming, but we went in anyway the menu looked promising.
We were in for a surprise. Ignore the neon lights and big menu's on the outside windows and inside you'll find a nice, asian decorated seating place. We had a little trouble making a choice from the diverse menu. In the end I settled with a sushi plate and my friend went with some kind of lunch or diner box and a small salad and miso soup as an entrance. The salad was the star, fresh and crisp. The main dishes were great too. We also got introduced to Japanese late night business meetings, as a group of business walked in and started out their banquet at, what, ten in the evening. Talking loud and with visible food in their mouth. Make sure you face the other side of the restaurant, which I did, thankfully.

The next day after the awesome Opèra visit, we walked down Rue St. Anne. We were told that this is kind of like asian town of Paris. To be honest we were a little dissapointed. There were plenty of restaurants, but we expected a little more atmosphere maybe. Like our Amsterdam China town. But, we did find a great supermarket, K-mart Kafeteria. I think it's a great place to stock up on Korean and Japanese ingredients and snack at this big place. At the back they sell very fresh cut sashimi for 4 to 5 euro. That was a nice snack along the way. Also we took a stroll through the Passage de Choiseul. A nice and lively passage filled with all sorts of small restaurants, cafes and boutiques. We took a seat at Steam &Soup. A Dim Sum concept presented all in french. So we pointed at the menu and  I guess we ordered a mix of Dim Sums. Vegetable, fish and meat. Taking three small Steaming bowls up the steep small stairs to enjoy our treats.

Toma Sushi 20 avenue de la République, 93170 Bagnolet.
Metro Gallieni (line 3).
I couldn't find their opening hours, but they were open relatively late.

K-mart Kafeteria 8 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris.
Metro Pyramides (line 7, 14) or Quatre-Septembre or Bourse (line 3)
Mon-Sat 10:00-21:00

Steam&Soup 58 Passage de Choiseul, 75002 Paris.
Metro: Quatre-Septembre (line 3) or Opéra (line 3, 7,8) 

After the dim sum we banned the Asian theme and went French, as much a possible. Starting at one of my favorite neightbourhoods in Paris (even with the tourists), Montmartre. We stumbled up on a Kusmi Tea Shop just outside the Metro station Abbesses. Thanks to the shop attendant, we had a great time smelling and tasting teas. There were literally walls of flavours to chose from. Little overwelming, in a most beautiful way. Loved the 1kg tins, I'll have to bring a car next time, really. But don't worry they sell smaller sized tins and boxes too.


This lovely tin of 125gr black tea with apple scent went home with me. It smells and tastes great (telling you that, as I'm taking a sip of my cuppa!). In case you cannot make a choise, they sell combination packs with smaller tins in different flavours.

Kusmi Tea has different shops all over Paris (and is sold world wide), but thanks to the great service I give you the address we enjoyed so much. Kusmi Tea 15 Rue des Abbesses, 75018 Paris (metro: Abbesses, line 12)

When I was travelling through Europe by train (Amsterdam to Rome), I fell in love with this tiny place, Chéri Bibi. I have never forgotten the Salmon plate I had here. It's pretty local, not in the most warm and buzzing street in Paris at all, but still pretty much next to the butte Montmartre. We watched couples out on diner or a (first) date and a group of friends gathering and people chill and chat at the bar and at the sofa area. It's tiny and all squeezed in though. Almost sitting at-your neightbours-table-tight. They work with three course choice menu for a set price (eighter 25 or 28 euro, excluding drinks). Although, we skipped on dessert (you do still pay for the three course menu, though). The salmon was as good as I remembered, just plated slightly differently this time. And the starter salmon salad was a good one too, quite filling. The best end of our fist day in Paris we could have wished for.

Chéri Bibi 15 Rue André del Sarte, 75018 Paris.
Metro: Anvers or Barbès Rochechouart (line 2), Château Rouge (line 4).
Open: Mon-Sat 18:00-02:00

See you tomorrow for part two!