Bisou Bisou - Tidbits on Paris

Everyone has been asking but there really aren't any words that do justice for a city like Paris... all I can say is it's sooo gorgeous and I love it! I'll leave it at that.  

Miscellaneous tidbits I noticed as a first time visitor:
Other than being effortlessly fashionable, the French are all about: bread, cheese, desserts, coffee and wine. It's interesting. Parisians walk super fast like, I-have-a-really-hard time-keeping-up fast but when it comes to eating they're super slow. Not in a bad way at all. I think it shows food is a huge huge part of their culture, they really enjoy it and the people they get to spend it with. Once you sit down you can stay as long as you like. Because of this tables are turned much slower if even turned at all, so making reservations is highly recommended. In the US dinner is usually between 5 to 7pm. In France, 7pm is considered very early so check business hours on Google Maps beforehand. There were def a few times we showed up to restaurants assuming they were open and they weren't! We learned real quick haha. And sometimes we couldn't even get into a restaurant because it was completely booked. Thus making reservations in advance is highly recommended. You can use their version of Yelp, La Fourchette (The Fork) app. 

Like other euro cities, cafe culture is strong in Paris. There are boulangeries and pâtisseries pretty much on every corner here which makes it soo hard for me to choose! During lunch hours it's normal to see locals walking and eating at the same time, usually a baguette sandwich of some sort eaten straight out the paper bag. My favorite is watching the locals walk home with a baguette or two sticking out of their work bags... makes me smile every time.

Parks are very relevant and used by locals often, especially on the weekends. The bigger gardens like the Tuilleries and Luxemborg are tourist hotspots but it's just as normal to see the locals bringing their children, dogs and catching up with friends and family. Some are working out, some read books by the fountain, others take naps (literally some of the chairs are designed to lean back so cat naps are a-okay). Parks are a lifestyle here and I love that. 

For those of you wondering, I don't speak any french. Non, other than the basics like bonjour, bonsoir, merci, au revoir, s'il vous plaît, etc. I have been learning on my own using an app called Duolingo and Coffee Break French podcasts which are on Spotify. It wasn't much but I found it helpful to have a little bit of knowledge and an idea for pronunciation. Also you hear french 95% of the time, so I learned some new words and phrases, yay! Hopefully once I move I learn a lot more with the help of french friends. Side note: if you are french and in Paris, let's be friends. Like for reals.

100 Days of Josie

You know when everything just magically comes together? This was that. 

Lately my girlfriends and I are trying to get more into styling so we had a lot of fun planning and decorating for Josie's 100 days dinner. We bought a bunch of eucalyptus and florals to jazz up the space and designed these name place prayer cards (aren't they the sweetest?). I baked a chocolate cake with earl grey curd, some mini cupcakes and doughnuts. Jin cooked up angel hair pasta aglio e olio with fried garlic and steak. Sam and Kate cooked an asparagus bacon side while David tossed up arugula salad with fresh cherry tomatoes. In the midst of all this preparation, I love taking a moment to pause and watch my friends working side-by-side in the kitchen, cooking sometimes without even speaking. I swear, food is a form of language and it brings everyone closer together. 

More nights like this please.

Paris + Pâtisserie School

Ah where to even begin? So much has happened and it's only been a month into 2017. There's a lot so I'll get straight to it.

After 4 awesome years I left my art director / graphic design job to pursue a new adventure in baking. When I left I had no clue what my next step was, I had zero plan in place. Aka I was unemployed (technically still am) and it's not an ideal position to be in. Panic attacks ensued. When I don’t know what I’m doing next or what’s coming down the pipe, I get anxious. It’s uncomfortable for me because I’m the type of person who likes to plan things out to the T. Making lists are my forte and scheduling gives me satisfaction. It makes me feel like I have control of my life and I really, really like that. But this time as scary as it was, I let all that planning go, threw it up in the air and trusted Jesus would take care of every single thing. And He did. Beyond better than anything I could have ever imagined or done on my own.

Around Christmas time I took a leap of faith and applied for a pâtisserie (pastry) school in Paris… I got in! I’ll be at Ferrandi Paris or the full name in french, l’Ecole Française de Gastronomie. The program starts in September and it’s a 5 month intensive program for international students with a 3-6 month internship afterwards, at a renowned pâtisserie or restaurant in Paris. Yes, it will be a challenge no doubt and I already know I’ll be crying plenty of times, but wow. This is an absolute dream come true and I’m still in shock it’s happening in real life, in my life.

And you guys were all there at just the right moment to say the most beautiful, encouraging words precisely when I needed to hear it. To go big and try rather than never try and always wonder, what if this what if that. What's stopping you now? We talked about the difference between small safe changes verses big, real life impacting changes. To not be scared and embrace change because it leads to exponential growth. It made me realize how important it is to have community, family, a close group of friends who inspire and challenge me to pursue my passions. Agh, you guys are the freaking best. My heart is full and I'm so thankful. Now I’m not saying things will be easy once I move to Paris. No way. Just look at the paperwork that’s required to move, there are finances to be covered, a new language to learn and the list of obstacles goes on. What I do know is there’s a ton of change on the horizon, it’s coming and I’m ready for it.

Next week, mon père (my father) and I will be taking a 2 week trip to France. We'll be in Paris for the first week to check out the school and visit apartments. The second week we'll be traveling up the coast of southern France, starting in Marseille and ending in Nice with a quick visit to Monaco. Lots of feasting, espressos and bakery visits will happen and all will be documented. Stretchy sweatpants will be our uniform, though I hear wearing sweatpants in public is a huge no-no in Paris. Stay tuned for more updates and follow along on Instagram. If you’re curious about anything or have any Paris recs you'd like to share, leave me a comment below!

 

-L

Maru Coffee

Maru Coffee

I don't know why but this place struck a chord in me. Probably because it's a cozy cafe with giant windows that lets that intoxicating LA light flood in... and the decor is ridiculously simple but still mod and homey (how do they do that?). But mostly because it's a cafe that was started by Koreans. I don't know, I guess I find that inspiring and empowering. I feel asians are a minority that are often left out or kind of forgotten so knowing there are Korean people doing super cool things like Maru, puts a smile on my face. Keep it coming guys. 

Shop Johan

Shop Johan

I swear, every single garment and product Laura brings into her shop is perfection. My friends and I have been visiting her back when she used to run the shop out of a garage and now she's all grown up, in this light and airy space. You can see the intentionality behind every decision of her carefully curated product mix and she supports local designers and small businesses, so you know it's the good stuff. Shop Johan is a must pitstop for all you minimalists. 

Persimmon Ginger Pie

Perhaps the very first thing I learned how to bake – pie. This one combines two of my favorite flavors and forever reminds me of fall.

Ingredients

PIE CRUST
2 cups flour
2 sticks of cold butter
2 tbsp of ice cold water

PIE FILLING
3 cups Fuyu persimmon, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch salt

DIRECTIONS

Prepare pastry crust. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of flour, nutmeg and cinnamon with all of the salt. Then with the machine on low speed, add the cubes of butter, a handful at a time, until the butter is completely incorporated. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour until just blended. Add the cold water in increment splashes until dough forms and pulls together. 

Dump dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, divide it equally in two and form each piece of dough into a flat, round disc. Wrap with plastic and chill for at least one hour. If you don't plan on baking right away, the dough will last up to two days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen up to three months.

While dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Peel persimmons and cut into 1” cubes. Put persimmons in a stove pot and mix on low heat. Add the sugar, fresh ginger, vanilla bean paste, ginger powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. As the filling cooks, the volume of persimmon will cook down or shrink. Mix lemon juice with corn starch and add to the filling, this helps with thickening. Mix and taste. Persimmons should be soft but not overcooked and the taste of ginger should come through. Cover and chill filling while dough is rolled out.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Generously flour work surface. Place one chilled, unwrapped dough on the flour and flour the top of the dough. Gently roll your dough out from the center until about 1/8” thick and at least 13” round. Lightly flour the top and fold in half and in half, again. Place folded dough in pie dish and unfold. Use hands to form dough to dish. Repeat the directions and roll out the second disc of dough. Flour and fold, lay aside.

Fill pie dish with chilled persimmon filling and place the second rolled-out dough on top. Using a knife, trim any excess dough around the dish. Using hands, press or crimp edges of the dough together to seal. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cut vent holes into the middle of the pie and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until crust is deep golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Let pie cool and set before slicing. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you dare.