Made so much pâte à choux this week! Final products were choux créme pâtissière chocolat (filled with chocolate pastry cream) and chantilly, éclair chocolat, religieuse, and salambo.
They weren't joking around when they named the program, 'intensive'. Week 1 focused on the different tart crusts, fillings and techniques. We made classic flavors like tarte au flan, tarte aux pommes (apple), tarte bourdaloue (pear) and tarte citron (citrus).
We ended the week with an offsite trip to the famous Rungis International Market at 4am - the largest wholesale market in the world. It's about 30 minutes south of paris near the ORY airport and they sell everything. Meat, seafood, dairy, cheese, fruits, veg, even flowers. This place is literally its own village and it's the mega center where all french restaurants, hotels and patisseries purchase their produce from. Trip was capped with breakfast where wine at 8:30am was highly encouraged, ha! C'est la france, c'est la vie.
Bonjour de paris! I made it, I'm finally here and fairly well settled into my studio apartment which is in la 5ème (5th arrondissement). It's off the Seine river on la rive gauche (the left bank), a few blocks from the Notre Dame cathedral. Everything went very smooth, spent most of the week getting my place situated and taking care of misc errands like medical checkups etc and paperwork of course (the french lovee their paperwork). Huge huge shoutout to my mom for trekking across the world to europe with me to help me make the big move. She's quite the wonder woman and I don't deserve her.
Currently exploring the city and adapting to new everything before school starts. Miss and love you all.
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 gorgeous and I love it.
Some things 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 part of their culture, they really enjoy it and the people they 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 make sure to check business hours on Google Maps beforehand. There were several 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. To summarize, making reservations in advance is highly recommended, especially for le week-end. You can use their version of Yelp, La Fourchette (The Fork) app.
Like other euro cities, cafe culture is strong in Paris. Boulangeries and pâtisseries exist pretty much on every corner which makes it difficult 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 or purses. 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.
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. 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.
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!
So this happened. Thank you Mother Nature, for keeping us all on our toes.
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.
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.