Category Archives: dessert

Top 10 favorite eats in Paris

Mr. F and I really maximized time in Paris by prioritizing our meals and getting personal recommendations that we cross referenced with Eater, Trip Advisor, and Yelp. Here are my top 10 favorite dishes from our 9 days in Paris.

10. Fresh crepes and croissants for breakfast every day at our spectacular Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe Paris. I adored eating all the decadent pastries and having all the sweet breakfast options possible.  I’m so very thankful to have been my company’s North American representative and participate in such a dynamic discussion based conference.

9. Macarons at Pierre Hermé A good college friend recommended going to Pierre Herme over Ladurée and turns out, this is a popular French opinion too. I appreciated that Pierre Herme was slightly less expensive and I didn’t have to wait in a 10 + person line. There was also a store within a 10 minute walk from our hotel on the Champs-Élysées.  I got one of each flavor and my favorites were the Mogador (milk chocolate and passion fruit, on the top row, second from the far right), Huile d’Olive a la Mandrine (olive oil with mandarin orange, top row, furthest right), and Arabesque (apricot and crunchy pistachios, top row, second from the far left).

8. Escargot at L’Huîtrier.   I had to have snails in France and these were delicious! They were swimming in butter and a small amount of pesto. I was surprised that escargot were not on more menus so I’m glad I had, at least one chance to have them, in Paris.  However, we were super intimidated by the palm sized oysters (I guess we’re spoiled by the half dollar sized WA and BC ones?)

7. Beef bourguignon at Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet.     We asked the concierge for a traditional French restaurant for beef bourguignon and they readily recommend this restaurant. The portions were huge and the service was excellent and we had the best time. Each dish was perfection and the beef bourguignon was the best we had ever had, by a significant margin! (I also tried mille feuille, just for the experience, and I was a little turned off by the pigeon served rare. However, when in Paris, one must try the local specialties!)

6. Soufflé at L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon This passion fruit soufflé was elegant and delicious especially since it was paired with passion fruit sorbet! It was sweet and refined, and was a treat to the eyes and palate. It melted on your tongue with the perfect amount of tartness.

5. Grand Marnier Soufflé at Restaurant Joséphine Chez Dumonet. This almost tied with the previous soufflé  but was slightly better because it was massive, even more fluffy, but not overwhelming. To me, this is what a soufflé should look and taste like, and it was the perfect size to split with my husband.

4. Steak frites at Les Oreilles et la Queue was the phenomenal start to our Paris week, especially since  I was starving after traveling and it was hard to find a lunch place open on sunday. The french fries were perfect and the lemon mousse was magnifique!  

3. Macon-Bussieres Les Clos (white burgundy) at L’Avant Comptoir. This tapas bar with a French flair had the best wine and eats of our whole trip. It was so fun to pick what you wanted from the hanging signs. We had other favorite dishes but this place had the most concentrated quality, by far.  (Not to mention, they served whole artichokes, which is one of my most favorite vegetables!) Mr. F loved the caramelized fennel too. 

2. Blood sausage macaron from L’Avant Comptoir. This may sound really weird but it tasted amazing. The sausage was fully cooked and not runny and the macron was a slightly sweet crispness that made the combination sing.   This was such a different and fun experience that it deserves a separate rating than the other dishes at this tapas bar.

1. The Foie gras amuse bouche at L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon. (French translation of amuse bouche, is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre.) It was perfectly foamy and well balanced. It was approximately two bites and in a shot glass. To me, this is a classic French appetizer  and one of the best things about French cuisine. This was wonderfully executed and a delight to eat. We also really enjoyed watching the kitchen during our meal and it definitely contributed our fantastic food experience.

As you can tell, it was hard to chose only 10 favorite foods from Paris, so I had to include a few extra favorites. I’m so happy that Mr. F was able to join me for my work conference and that we were able to make the best of the trip by having romantic dinners every night.

Sunday in Paris

We had the most fun day ever in Paris starting with a tour of the Catacombs, walking through the Jardin de Luxembourg, playing with French ponies, eating fabulous French tapas, crepes, seeing sensational stained glass at Sainte Chappelle, and having a cute traditional French dinner.

 My college friend’s little daughter made the underground tunnels, filled with bones, less scary by looking for a bear around each corner. She kept saying, ‘come on’, ‘let’s go”! After the Catacombs, we took the bus to Jardin de Luxembourg. This stunning park has the imitation of the Pitti Palace from Florence, a huge pool with little sailboats floating, a big playground and pony rides! I couldn’t believe they let people take the ponies around the park for more than 15 minutes. Little Maeve was very serious and held on tight the whole time!  The ponies were so sweet and well trained. They were not startled by the children running around them and even stood still when they were not tied up!

For lunch, Mr F took me to a place he had been earlier in the week, called Les Avant Comptoirs par Yves CamdebordeIt’s a tapas bar with a French twist. We loved the blood sausage macaron. We also had delicious croquettes,  caramelized fennel, artichokes, pate, fresh bread and white Burgundy. After lunch, we remet up with Megan and her family for crepes! To walk off our wonderful lunch, we walked through the Latin Quarter to Ile Sainte-Louis.

We walked around the Notre Dame   and to Ile Saint-Louis for ice cream!  Berthillon is one of the best places in Paris to get ice cream! We avoided the long line by getting a table inside. I enjoyed both Megan’s sundae and my passionfruit sorbet!I’m so glad we got to go on a sunny day. The top floor of the small church was breathtaking with the most stained glass I’ve ever seen and sparkling rainbows on the ceiling. As a friend said, it was like standing in a jewelry box.  Megan and I also enjoyed all the fleur dis lis since we were Kappa sisters together! After Sainte Chapelle closed, Mr F and I walked along the Seine to the Au Petit Tonneau, near the Eiffel Tower for dinner.

Our dinner was in a small, charming little restaurant where we had French onion soup,    veal and lamb chops with amazing salted chocolate mousse for dessert! 

It was a wonderful end to our last full day in Paris!

A Friday whirlwind in Paris

My conference ended at 2pm on Friday so we packed the afternoon with a walk to and through the Louvre and the Notre Dame before dinner. It was an 8 mile loop!   My favorite paintings were the Botticelli and the Mona Lisa!    Mr F liked the Egyptian art.  It was a lot to take in, but I’m glad we were able to go when the crowds weren’t too bad. We might have stayed a little longer but the weather was sunny and nicer than it had been all week!  Walking towards the Norte Dame, we saw a cute cat gallery!   We arrived at the Notre Dame in time for the 5:45pm Friday mass so we got to hear gorgeous organ music and the choir, as we walked around inside the chapel.  Sunset on the Seine was majestic.    We rested our feet for a few moments in the Palais Royal prior to our dinner reservation at Verjus. The daffodils are just opening in Paris! The restaurant was suggested by Eater and it was in a cute corner, perfect for people watching.  The prix fix menu was innovative and intriguing.   I really enjoyed the beet puff pastry with pork three ways. The sunchoke ice cream with stewed apples was fun and different too! Overall, we wanted more stereotypical French food, so we prioritized this for our weekend meals!

A Wednesday and Thursday in Paris

This week’s kaizen conference was filled with tons of information, dynamic discussion and great food. I love that kaizen is Japanese for change for the better. My Wednesday and Thursday work days were long but filled with amazing food at our five star hotel. The breakfast buffet is phenomenal. I love having crepes everyday.    Plus, the conference lunches were three course affairs with delicious desserts and amazing presentation! 

On Wednesday, Mr F made a fun dinner reservation in the Le Marais neighborhood, at Cafe Breizh. It was a 50 minute walk so we took a cab instead. We did not realize that 7pm was Paris rush hour but fortunately our reservation wasn’t given away, even though we arrived 30 minutes late!

This wonderful creperie was recommended by college friends. I really enjoyed the savory crepe with eggs, bacon and lovely gruyere cheese. Mr F got a sausage crepe (turns out it was tripe so it was super smokey tasting) with salad on top. We both loved the crepe Suzette and ginger sweet crepes.  Thurday’s meeting was again over 10 hours straight, so I was so happy that we were able to grab a cab and see another part of Paris for dinner. This time we went to Montparnasse for traditional French food, at Josephine, Cafe Dumont.  We had boeuf bourguignon and also pigeon! We really enjoyed the soufflé for dessert too!! It was one of our most favorite meals in Paris!

Our second and third day in Paris

We woke up leisurely to catch up on sleep and had a fabulous hotel breakfast on Monday. I only had one free hour before my conference started, so we went to the Arc du triomphe for more up close pictures and then my number one priority was to get macarons from the highly recommended Pierre Herme!

The conference was dynamic, small and fun. It was full of lively discussion. After 5:30, I met Mr F for a walk to the Eiffel Tower and we arrived in time to see the lights turn on! We then walked to meet my team at L’Atelier Renault. There were about 30 of us!

Tuesday was much more work oriented and jam packed with discussion and LEAN training. It was an intense day that started at 8am and went until 6pm! Fortunately, Mr F made reservations at a Michelin starred restaurant nearby based on a colleague’s suggestion and it was an amazing end to the day. We went to L’atelier de Joel Robuchon near on Champs-élysées which was a quick 15 minute walk. Mr F met me in lobby at 6:15 and we went straight to dinner. Since I was dragging due to jet lag, it was fantastic to walk outside and immediately eat dinner. We arrived before the typical Parisian dinner hour so we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. The amuse bouche before the 3 course prix fix menu was a foamy foie gras that was utterly delightful with fresh bread. We loved our appetizers of chicken tartine and sole carpaccio.  Our entrees were also fantastic of steak and grilled fish. The presentation was stunning and tasty!  Mr F and I both agreed to get the passion fruit soufflé  so we didn’t have to share and it was a stunning and lovely displayed dessert. The soufflé was light and fluffy and served with passion fruit sorbet! The best part was we were done eating by 8:30 and asleep by 10! It was so nice to go to bed to early after a long day. While I was in the conference, Mr F walked over 10 miles! We were exhausted!

Two weeks ago, we left Lucca, Tuscany!

We got back from Italy two weeks ago and it’s hard to believe it! Our favorite meals and part of our trip was in Lucca.

On our last day of vacation, we explored more of Lucca. We had a wonderful breakfast buffet in our bed and breakfast, La Romea14463168_805680962212_8088265215643267060_n made by the host’s mother. Our host suggested another great restaurant for lunch too.

First, we went up the nearby Torre Guinigi (a tower with trees on top) to see Lucca from up above before 14479632_805681860412_1504338499767170563_n  touring the Cathedral of San Martino and walking the walls around the town.  14440935_805684574972_8415438116148072558_n Inside San Martino, there’s the “Sleeping Beauty” tomb that is so beautiful, there’s an urban legend that single ladies rub the nose for good luck, and in hopes of meeting their future husbands. 14462890_805684684752_7313612262319336910_n I liked the painted ceilings, especially over the altar. 14370101_805684704712_8797992724567790587_n 14390710_805684859402_3542697954917504580_n

For lunch, we had an amazing Tuscan feast at Trattoria da Ubaldo. In this goth, rock and roll styled restaurant, 14469682_805685792532_1404321614716240668_n we had delectable chick peas 14457289_805685897322_559927644705074898_n and peppers, as well as the traditional Lucchesi dish, tordelli, 14470436_805685852412_7526009934855775682_n which is similar to ravioli. The owner looked exactly as he does on the menu and 14484656_805685847422_6275614827224872831_n the wine bottle label! He totally looked like a gothic biker, pirate!

14469472_805837857792_6017284883593105659_n On our circuit around the town, we saw a beautiful botanical garden 14448882_805837897712_3162007815470796516_n and decided to walk in.  14462967_805838207092_4551838483463686280_n Inside, there were many local plants, greenhouses with succulents, and ponds with lily pads. 14440614_805685567982_4622342709753261333_n

In the late afternoon, we left Lucca, by bus back to Pisa, to fly home. It was a great way to see more of the countryside! 14470548_805838935632_2705827509478271328_n We arrived in London after 9pm so we decided to get a good night’s rest instead of going into the city, since we had been on our feet all day around Lucca.

14492353_805839150202_7879508549621896522_n Our flight from London to Seattle went smoothly, including having global entry and making customs a breeze. We bypassed nearly a thousand people in line, with our global entry pass and got in a super short three person line. The whole process from getting off the plane to getting my parent’s car, took only 10 minutes. Global entry was the best purchase we made on our vacation. I highly recommend it to everyone and it also includes TSA pre-check!

The most comical part on our return, is that we had to hike into our neighborhood, when my parents dropped us off! The city was resurfacing our street, so my parents had to drop us off two blocks from our house. It was a rather fun and ironic way to end our vacation!

Lucca!

It’s hard to believe that we got home from Italy a week ago!

After several days in Cinque Terre, we took the train for a short stay in Tuscany before flying home. 14462915_805550922812_4149721723144403262_n We changed trains in La Spezia and Viareggio before arriving on the outside of the walled town of Lucca.

Fun fact: the walls around Lucca are 4km, or approximately 2.5 miles, and are now used as a promenade around the town. Seattlites may compare this to the 2.8 mile path around Green Lake.

Mr F and I loved spending a day and night in Lucca. Our accommodations, at the La Romea Bed and Breakfast14469476_805593362762_5528839897463212748_n were fun and spacious, and the host, Giulio, was super helpful. We enjoyed his restaurant recommendations immensely and thanks to him, had our some of our best meals in Italy. We had the Blue Room, which had frescos on the ceiling 14359166_805551446762_399185931823395807_n and a huge bathroom overlooking a church. Giulio told us there were 99 churches in Lucca!

Our first order of business in Lucca was to try the local food. Cecina is a garbanzo bean crepe 14359197_805551661332_752449757416269427_n and a Lucchesi specialty, plus the best place to try it (Pizzeria Da Felice) was a few doors down from our room! It was the perfect snack and healthy too!

We spent the afternoon in Lucca wandering inside the city walls, through Napoleon’s sister’s (the Princess of Lucca’s) palace grounds, 14368621_805592664162_1336268666550091615_n viewing neat statues, and the town amphitheater. My favorite place was the Basilica of San Frediano, with its beautiful golden mosaic. 14440633_805592828832_7423556768817275320_n

Later as we walked to dinner, we heard a Puccini concert from a nearby church!  14469453_805592584322_384505747300321730_n   (Side note: Puccini, the Italian composer of Madame Butterfly, and other opera standards, was born and raised in Lucca!)

Our best meal in Italy was in Lucca, at Ristorante Giglio. (Giglio means lily, which reminded us of our cat!) 14390671_805593452582_6328259852912207912_n We had a lovely table in the courtyard and had a phenomenal bottle of Chianti with our first course, 14358878_805593437612_2632651674644493852_n  of Polpo croccante, melanzane e dragoncello. 14448944_805593472542_5825665313623417660_n The plating was striking and the octopus was perfectly cooked! We also found out that eggplant puree and basil pairs excellently with octopus. 14222315_805593542402_5926433826901611910_n The restaurant had the best service and when I asked if we could move inside, since I was getting bug bites, they moved our actual table inside, because all the other tables were taken! 14448882_805593517452_917601373914837587_n The frescos and chandeliers inside were amazing, in addition to the mouthwatering primi course of 14449843_805593537412_4449029045634717651_n tortelli au ragu (stuffed pasta similar to ravioli) and the spectacular secondi course of Bistecca alla fiorentina. 14358832_805593632222_6017758406892763565_n  Steak florentine is a wood-fired porterhouse steak that they only serve rare, or mid rare. We typically like cotto or well done, but this was the Italian experience and it was delectable. We also found out that our last name of Fette, means slices in Italian!

To top off a wonderful, last official dinner in Italy, we had the Panna cotta al sesamo, caramello salato, mela verde, avena e lapsang souchong. 14449028_805593657172_1507902341629036708_n The sesame flavored panna cotta with caramel, green apple, oats, and tea syrup was easily the best panna cotta I’ve ever had, but also the most complex flavored dessert that I’ve ever appreciated.

It was amazing being in a smaller city where the service and presentation are at a very high level of excellence. All of our dishes were beautiful as well as delicious, very reasonably priced, plus the sommelier was incredibly helpful and helped us find the best wine of our trip! We enjoyed the Chianti with dinner and tried a bottle of Brunello Risvera for the next day!brunello We’d love to return to Tuscany and spend more time in small towns, like Lucca. I highly recommend this town to anyone who’d like to visit Italy.