Category Archives: French Food

Trader Joe’s best French desserts

Trader Joe’s best French desserts

Every year, in France’s Provence, locals celebrate the Holidays with the traditional “12 desserts,” a selection of dried fruits, nuts, fresh fruit, cakes and sweet little nothings, an age-long Christian tradition (the 12 desserts symbolizing Jesus’s apostles.) These desserts are best enjoyed during le Réveillon de Noël, (Christmas Eve,) at the end of a copious dinner. This weekend, if you can’t be in France, you can still plan your own version of les 12 desserts, (or 8, or 10,) with minimal preparation, thanks to Trader Joe’s French desserts. Trader Joe’s, in case you have lived under a rock and have never shopped there, is the French expat’s best friend in the US. Are you ready? Mesdames et Messieurs, chers gourmands et gourmets, I give you: Trader Joe’s exclusive farandole des desserts. 

Trader Joe’s French Desserts: Les Macarons. 

You may find them too soft, too crunchy, too sweet. “Pierre Hermé does them better,” (as do many neighborhood boulangeries in France without the Hermé price tag, by the way.) They come in many flavors (“variés.”) They are bite-size, and therefore guilt-free. I enjoy any of them, as long as they are not pumpkin-flavored. This French Girl may have become americanized over the years, but let’s not push it. Pumpkin, as far as I am concerned, is best left out of desserts, soap, or coffee beverages.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Even if I am not a fan of macarons, (shocking, I know,) I take a bite and am instantly transported back to those sunny Bordeaux afternoons when I sampled local specialties in my rental apartment in the spring.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s French desserts: Les Canelés

Didn’t I just mention Bordeaux? This is where these wonderful little treats come from. Ah, the soft interior, the vanilla flavor, the caramelized crust… Once again, Trader Joe’s gets it right. Take the box out of the freezer. Take the Canelés out of the box. Let them sit on a plate for about 20 minutes. Enjoy.

Trader Joe's French desserts

They are pretty and delicious enough to serve to your guests for dessert, or to the book club ladies in the afternoon. A single bite is a one-way ticket to la Belle France.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s French desserts: Les éclairs

Need I introduce these custard-filled wonders? So many “French” bakeries in the US get them wrong, falling short in the filling department where strange mixtures, reminiscent of whipped cream, replace the traditional crème pâtissière (pastry cream.) Yet Trader Joe’s (or should I say “Trader Jacques?”) delivers.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s French desserts: Les {mini} crêpes 

it isn’t a French dessert party without crêpes. Trader Joe’s knows that, and saves you one step: Theirs come pre-filled with chocolate. How bad can they be?

Trader Joe's French desserts

Verdict: They are different, They are good. Truly.

Trader Joe's French desserts
Ohhhhhhh… (Photo credit: Trader Joe’s)

Trader Joe’s French desserts: La tarte aux fruits

Dear Trader Joe’s: You broke my little French heart when you retired the amazing pear tart you offered several years ago. It was almost as good as la tarte aux poires I used to buy at my local boulangerie when I lived in Paris. I enjoy your current selection, la tarte aux fruits rouges. It’s so pretty, and so lively! You would not believe how often I have spotted it at my friends’ homes over the last few years! I always keep one in the freezer. Thank you for rescuing this busy working girl, averse to baking, when she needs to bring dessert to a party!

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s French dessert: Les viennoiseries

“Quoi? It isn’t breakfast, you know. Croissants or chocolatines pains au chocolat for dessert? Pourquoi?” Answer: Because I can, that’s why! Miam!

Trader Joe's French desserts

Look at this photo and tell me: Are you going to stick with les traditionalistes and pass, or join French Girl in Seattle as she takes a bite?

Trader Joe's French desserts

I thought so.

Trader Joe’s French desserts: Les bonbons

Not everyone has a huge appetite. After all, you may want to pace yourself if you are going to try and enjoy 12 desserts. Here’s one that can be handled swiftly and painlessly. Watch out! Like another sweet French icon, les Carambars, these soft and gooey silent attackers have destroyed more tooth fillings than you know. You have been warned.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s French desserts: le pain au lait

Here’s another classic, and a favorite of young French school children’s on their way home. Take a pain au lait, slice open lengthwise. Introduce chocolate bar or lather spoonfuls of chocolate spread. Enjoy.

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe’s favorite French desserts: Do-it-Yourself (la Pâte feuilletée)

I added this one to the list for two reasons: This rich, butter flavored puff pastry is only available during the Holidays, and you should stock up while you can. In addition, my ears have been buzzing since I started writing this article, with the sound of comments along the lines of: “This is sooooo easy to make!” “Why would you buy this when you can make your own?” “Homemade ones are sooooo much better!” — To all of you Julia Child heirs, I reply: “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I will still stick with Trader Joe’s French desserts. If you want to slave away, be my guests. Here’s just the product for you. Bonne chance!  I will be over there on the couch, sipping Nespresso and nibbling Trader Joe’s canelés.” 

Trader Joe's French desserts

I think we got ourselves a party. All we need is drinks. Trader Joe’s to the rescue, once again. It is the Holiday season. We need some bubbles, French ones, if possible. Here are my two favorite options. Choose your French region: Champagne ou Bretagne?

Trader Joe's French desserts

Trader Joe's French desserts

Bon appétit et à bientôt! 

Read more about Trader Joe’s on French Girl in Seattle here.

 

A Message from Véronique:

The French Girl in Seattle blog is turning 7 this year, and to celebrate in style, it will be getting a make-over in 2018. Thank you for following my adventures, and for joining the conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. There will be more good stories coming your way next year. Sign up for La Mailing List on this page, so you don’t miss a single one. I hope to meet you here again soon, and wish you all a happy Holiday season, wherever you may be. 

Joyeux Noël et bonnes fêtes! 

 

All photos, unless otherwise noted, by French Girl in Seattle.

Please do not use text or photos without permission.

29 Responses to Trader Joe’s best French desserts

  1. Glad you are finding tastes of home in Seattle. The thing I wish I could get in France is good Mexican corn tortillas. Everything else I can make from scratch, but the industrial corn tortillas on offer at the supermarket are a pale ghost of what you find at a real tortilleria.
    Bonnes fêtes et, surtout, bonne santé!

  2. We have a Trader Joe’s just down the street, so I have tried almost all of these wonderful treats. We always get a tin of their Sipping Chocolate . We sip it by the fireplace and pretend we are in Paris! Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and can’t wait to see what is n store for us in 2018!

  3. Tray Joe’s is the greatest!!! Tee hee—Bonaparte feels the same way about cannelés that you do macaron! I’m makeup by Meringue mushrooms to dit on the Bûche de Noël and I’ve made the puffs for profiteroles. I’ll hav this take a drive down ti get the frozen croissants ! Joyeux Noel to yo Véronique and all the best for 2018!!!

  4. That’s it! I’m writing Trader Jacque to come set up shop in my dusty southwest town inNew Mexico. We have a Target and Chipotle…why not? Merci! They just need one next to chipotles and I’m set! Lol

  5. I always go there to get this stuff, read the ingredients and the salt, sugar and fat content snd walk out empty handed. Does anyone else have this problem?

  6. Awesome post,Véronique…very helpful! Trader Joe’s is less than a few minutes drive away from home…I’ll be right back! 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Thanks for the tips on Trader Joe’s desserts! I had no idea they make caneles, I have never tried them and will see if I can find them at my TJs. Have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. We have a Trader Joe’s, a little inconvient for me, but you have convinced me! What better time than les fêtes to try some delicious new treats?

  9. Great article… We have bought many of TJ’s pastries for our Alliance Française board meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. They are fabulous and taste homemade – well almost!

    I will have to try the cannelés next time.

  10. We enjoyed the tartes aux fruits. Ingredients lists don’t lie so I was really impressed to see raspberries listed as the first ingredient! The tart was chock full of berries, including redcurrents which I love but can’t seem to find this side of the Atlantic (except dried)… blame it on a marvelous dessert I once had at the cafe in the garden at Versailles… anyway, the tart also has real butter and real sugar, no fake ingredients! Thank you for providing me the excuse to trek on over to Trader Jacques. My teenage daughters has a blast. They loved the pain au lait – sweet like the Hawaiian rolls they like, but I have to give a shout out to the Pain Pauline. Certainly a play on Pain Poilâne, and it does a respectable job – hearty whole wheat and sour like you’d expect from San Francisco. Now if Trader Jacques could import some amazing French yogurt in 2018… *sigh*

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Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

A few days ago, I took you along as I explored one of Paris’ most charming neighborhoods, les Batignolles. The area offers an eclectic mix of eateries from traditional bistros and cafés, to hip restaurants and bars popular with the younger crowd, including Bobos (bourgeois bohemians) who have discovered the neighborhood in recent years. There are established businesses and newer, trendier places.…

11 Responses to Chez Gaston (Batignolles, Part 2)

  1. Hoping to visit your suggestion when visiting France in 2018. Thank you for sharing & yes, I hope it doesnʻt change before I go there.

  2. What a pleasure to admire those delicious photos!
    Especially that first one: you look “divina” as we say in my country and…having dinner with the proverbial Mr. Darcy, no less! 🙂

    As for the food I see, it looks delicious of course, but…very familiar…They are part of the French-British heritage in the culture of the countries that belong to the Rio de la Plata basin.

    Your narrative is impeccable, as usual. Thank you so much, Madame Veronique.
    Maria

    P.S.
    I’d like to share with you this little piece of music called “Le Cygne”, written by a compatriot of yours, the revered Romantic era composer, Camille Saint-Saëns.
    Monsieur Camille wrote the melody especifically for violoncello, with accompaniment for one or two pianos.

    Many musicians have produced arrangements for the keyboard of this sublime piece: Lucien Garban, Leopold Godowsky and Alexander Siloti among others.
    I chose Godowsky’s version because Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff liked it best.

    Camille Saint-Saëns-Le Cygne

    http://youtu.be/Cw_yDcwzuHo

    played by Wibi Soerjadi, born March 2, 1970 in Leiden, Netherlands.

    Last but not least, what an adorable couple make your “mamita” and your “papito”.

    • Dear Maria. Merci de votre visite. I have been blogging now, on and off, for over 6 years. I know my blogger friends would agree readers like you are a rare breed online today. They take the time to visit; read and appreciate the narrative; and leave thoughtful and informative comments. I am listening to le Cygne as I type this. I was not familiar with Godowsky’s version. Thank you for sharing it. What a beautiful piece! You are correct, my “mamita” and “papito” are, indeed, adorable. I treasure the time spent with them during my too short visits. You are incorrect, however, about the gentleman pictured at the beginning of the story. He is, of course, the famous Peter Olson, and like everyone who has been lucky enough to explore Paris with him, knows, the most gracious guide (and dinner companion.) Peter is not, however, Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy, you see, remains the Holy Grail, the shining and unattainable light many women – including this French Girl – can only dream about. It is my hope that Elizabeth Bennett will get distracted and look away for a few minutes one day, just long enough for me to finally approach Mr Darcy and make him my own. L’espoir fait vivre, n’est-ce-pas? Bonne année, Maria. I hope you return soon.

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17 Responses to French markets: a thriving tradition in Lyon

  1. Still my favourite place to shop for produce, at the market. Despite having lived in France for years, the excitement of the market has never waned, it is now a part of my general routine!

    • I love les Maras des Bois. They are so tasty, just sweet enough. Baguettes and Mara des Bois? Sounds like a good French lunch to me (had I been around, I would have come over with some saucisson too. You need those proteins. ;-))

  2. It would be hard to say what my one favorite thing is about France, but the French market would for sure be in my top 5, maybe even top 3. Do you have a favorite? I like all of them in Paris, but esp Blvd Raspail and also Richard Lenoir. The ones in Provence are wonderful, too, such as Vaison de la Romaine, Ile sur la Sorgue, etc. I would love to go to Lyon and see the city and the markets.

    • Bonsoir Harriett. I used to live near le Marché d’Aligre in Paris, so I would have to say that is my favorite one. I lived in Vincennes as well with my family, and loved the market there. That’s the beauty of France: There are good markets, large or small, everywhere. A bientôt à Seattle! 🙂

  3. Après ce bel aperçu de Lyon ,il ne reste qu’une envie ,celle de prendre le train pour en faire la visite .

    Merci Véronique pour cette escapade .

  4. I would truly love to buy this beautiful produce. You are correct that here we don’t get the opportunity. Not only are there not markets, but there is no place to put it. Things are too spread out here and inconvenient. How I would love this! Great post. Thank you much!

    • Merci de votre visite Debra. To be fair, there are markets in the US: Pike Place Market in Seattle, of course, which is always fun (but touristy and crowded,) and in New York City, the {covered} Chelsea market. The atmosphere and vibe are different, though. Still, I’ll gladly visit a market wherever I go.

  5. Votre pique-nique est parfait! The last two trips to France have been marked by the purchase of Opinel knives. The first in Strasbourg, the second, after a little bit of searching, in Avignon. Since we make-do with only carry-on luggage for our trips to Europe, we haven’t been able to pack a knives for our “picnic kit” and have had to purchase them on arrival. The Opinel knives are perfect. The ones we have bought fold up into their handles for easy transport, and are always ready to cut up the perfect cheese, baguette, or fruit (ou même le poulet rôti !). Since we have had to buy new ones each trip, they have been great souvenirs for loved ones back home.

    • Bonjour Sandra. I can only agree. The beautiful folding Opinel knife you see in the picnic photo has been traveling with me for over 25 years, not to mention the picnics, or work lunches here in the US. This is a great, traditional, made-to-last French product. I have never had to sharpen the blade, believe it or not! As you point out, what a great gift too. A bientôt.

  6. Great story and the accompanying photo’s only made my mouth water and my stomach rumble as I imagined eating such delicious food. When I lived on Whidbey Island I always loved the Summer Market there. Asian markets are different then the one’s in Europe I imagine.

  7. I want to try and figure out a way to grow strawberries here in Seattle as close to those delicious mara Des bois! In Paris I about died, they were incredible!

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Savoring Lyon’s food

Savoring Lyon’s food

You followed French Girl in Seattle around Lyon a few days ago. We looked at historic streets, buildings and churches, scenic riverbanks, and at least one world-class museum. Let’s be honest: We can’t talk about that magnificent French city without discussing Lyon’s food. Tout un programme. A long story. Lyon is said to be the French (even the…

15 Responses to Savoring Lyon’s food

  1. What fun you must have had finding the restaurant, wonderful! Everything sounded delicious. I’m looking forward to Part 2. As an aside, Marita and I booked our tours in Paris and Bordeaux. We are taking a 4.5 hr cooking class in Paris and we are so excited!

    • Merci Cherie. So happy Marita and you are returning to la Belle France soon. I know you will have a fabulous time, including at the cooking school in Paris. You will have to report back when you return. Enjoy Bordeaux too. Another beautiful French city to explore. Bon voyage!

  2. Finding a bouchon was confusing for us…most menus offered many of the same dishes which were unfamiliar even though I have spent a lot of time in France. But I think we found a gem, recommended by one of those lovely, warm and helpful people who worked at the desk of our small hotel. It is in la Presqu’Ile and I would recommend it but would love to know your thoughts if you go back. Another food related experience was the fabulous market! And a little restaurant serving only poulet de Bresse and decorated with chickens and roosters of all types everywhere you looked!
    http://www.bouchonlejura.fr/bouchonjura/

    • Bonjour Heather. I wonder if your “little gem” is not the place a local friend recommended to me during my stay. I never made it there, but I just looked at the restaurant’s website, and it seems the shoe fits. Will show it to her and report back to you. I see it does belong to the limited list of official “Bouchons” I mentioned. Ah, Lyon, so many restaurants, so little time…

  3. I gained five pounds (2.5 kilos?) in Lyon and never got rid of them. We ate and ate and ate and reveled in every second of it, from the simple bouchons to two-Michelin-starred restaurants (that was the limit of our budget, and 2 stars in Lyon already guarantee amazing amazing food).
    Your friend from Notre Maison gave good advice for choosing a restaurant in any city: limited options, not too many translations. Also, not too obvious. I’m thinking of a street in the heart of Brussels that’s lined with restaurants, most with covered (for the rain) outdoor seating and a maître d’hôtel who is more carnival barker, cajoling passing tourists. At the end of the same street is a severe building with one of the best restaurants in town. Nobody begging anyone to enter. No menu posted in 27 languages. Easy to walk right past.

    • Merci de votre visite. Gaining a few extra pounds in Lyon is an easy thing to do, I can see that. I was only saved by the impressive number of steps I took to explore once again as much of the city I could in two days, and by the other ways I sustained myself (more about that in Part 2,) the rest of the time. Good observation about restaurants in touristy cities. I have not been back to Brussels for a long time. Now I want to return 🙂 Bonne journée!

  4. If you don’t have the time to try them all… good local advice is clearly helpful… and an article like this one!
    I remember a visit to Lyon with the kids, when they were young. They were unfortunately not yet at the age to appreciate “les bouchons” (we had to lie a little about what they were really having on their plates), but I know that they have been back as adults … and have appreciated. It’s really special!!
    (I have been lucky enough also to make Bocuse and Troisgros… That’s also an experience, but different!!)

    • Dear Peter, I can see why you’d have to lie to kids about what’s in their plate if they are having local delicacies such as andouillette or gras double 😉 As for you, Bocuse and les Trois Gros: Only the best for Peter Olson…

      • You can still enjoy a Bocuse experience at the 2 star ( or toques) level- we dined at Brasserie Le Sud and it was terrific!

  5. Bonjour! This post is made my mouth water. I love how the restaurants support one another, such as when they couldn’t accommodate you, they took the time to recommend another great place for your to try. That’s a great indication of a quality establishment!

    I have never been to Lyon, but you’ve made me particularly interested in making it my next France excursion! 🙂

    • I highly encourage you to go to Lyon, Jessica, even if only to get away from big tourist crowds in other French cities like Paris. I loved how all these restaurants took food (and each other’s businesses) so seriously, and they did their best to save me from a fate worse than death: eating in a tourist joint with a menu translated in 5 languages! 😉

  6. I would say your sour evening turned into lemonade. I always try to eat early or very late when I travel to avoid the long waits for food. One must savor and enjoy your meal and France is a great place to do that. Although I have only been to the country once for a couple days, I managed to see Paris and Toulon in that time and take in the sites. Although as you said being a female traveler does tend to get you better service then being a young male. 🙂

    • Bonjour George! You are not kidding: I fully enjoy the perks of being a solo female traveler. I basically never have time to get bored in restaurants. Either the people at the table next door, or the waiter will invariably chat me up. Hope you get to return to la Belle France soon.

  7. Merci FG, exactement ce qu’il me fallait. Tant de choix, sans doute. Et en plus, ton blog me fait penser qu’il faut faire les réservations, bien que je sois tout seul. Je doute que j’aurai la même bonne chance que tu as eu. Encore merci !

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Sampling crêpes in le Marais

Sampling crêpes in le Marais

Not all Holidays are created equal. On February 2, France celebrates a Catholic holiday, la Chandeleur (Candlemas.) This is a favorite one. For most French people, here is an opportunity to sample savory or sweet versions of the famous crêpes, (a national treasure, hailing from the beautiful Brittany region, la Bretagne.) It is also time to indulge in fortune…

29 Responses to Sampling crêpes in le Marais

  1. Those crepes look wonderful! I loved watching as he gently corrected the person speaking French. That has happened to me many times in our visits to Paris. Next time we go we will check this place out. And also your new YouTube channel. Merci bien French Girl.

  2. Merci biloute! I’ll try in April, when I finally visit Paris, from the wild north, Chez les Ch’tis, after over four and a half years in France. I love crepes, and j’énvie pour quelques maintenant. My revered agéd one is taking us to Paris for a few nights after our wedding on 9 April (j’ai réfusé la premier Avril!) at his expense. Bonne chance pour la chaine Youtube petale, et bon courage pour un autre semaine! I’ll never speak either language properly again, after living with the Chtimis, who are, as mad as us Northern Irish, with all the mixes of accents and dialects. Vive la difference! A bientot biloute! x

    • Cher biloute. Merci de votre visite. I do not get too many comments from the Northern Irish, especially one who lives chez les Ch’tis. You know, I lived in Lille (Lambersart, more precisely,) for 5 or 6 years during my elementary school years. I have fond memories of the Lille area and les Ch’tis. So do my parents. Thank you for subscribing to my new YouTube channel. I will try and update it soon. I have a few more video clips to share. Last but not least, I confess to being intrigued about “[your] revered agéd one.” I fear something got lost in translation. 😉 A bientôt. FGIS.

      • My mangled version of English, before I murder French even more petal! My father is the revered aged one. 80+ and still pulling the younger girls, without trying! Pmsl. Know the Ch’ti backline petal, as that was why started following you in first place couple of years ago. Shared the crepe video with my soul sis back in Norn Irn, who coming over with my dad, for her first ever flight, and first ever visit to La belle France. Coming for the wedding Chez les Ch’tis first – poor chile gonna have a severe culture shock!! Not really other than language, the northerners hers, not much different to us. After wedding, my da paying for few days à Paris! Gawd elp the poor Parisians with my terrible ungrammatical “French” dotted with totally ungrammatical dialect, and Chtimisms!! Have visited the beautiful Morbihan several times, and the poor Bretons at least ask ‘Vous est un nordist monseur?” “Ah bienvenue Monseiur le Ch’ti”! Pmsl/mdr. Revered aged one is my father who is 81 this year, and still young and spritely at heart, pulls more young women, and has more energy than me damnitt, but the French docs give me bucket loads more medications than the Brits/Irish ever did. If you up visiting your old pottes in the sch’norrd in April, and passing on 9 Avril, drop in and take embarassing photos of our wedding petale! I hope you enjoy the fun of English English, and American English, and the dialects, slang, etc, as much as me. Vive la difference. I never knew, or thought France had so many diverse dialects, til I arrived, or before visited the lovely crazy sis in the Morbihan. My nefs et nieces me fait apprendre un peu de Breton. The poor Bretons actually think I’m a Chtimi! Nordist deux fois – Née en Irlande du Nord, et adoptée par the chti. I dinnae ken whit language til talk hie bay! Bon fin de weekend petale. Bon courage pour une autre semaine. A bientot biloute. xoxox

  3. OOO and crepe day is the 2nd! perfect timing!

    what did he sprinkle over the nutella on the crepe? Cinammon?

    Thanks for the yummy video!

    • Bonjour Nicole. Yes, Crepe Day and la Chandeleur are the same holiday and happen on February 2. As I recall, the friendly crepe guy sprinkled coconut on the Nutella crêpe. You can hear the young lady order “une crêpe Nutella – Coco (noix de coco,)” or something along those lines. A bientôt.

  4. I returned back to the U.S. after five weeks in Bretagne, visiting a French friend who lives in a small town there. (I was actually in France during the Paris attacks…). Of,course, crepes are a staple in Bretagne and, even having to be gluten-free, I could enjoy les crêpes de blé noir, made solely from buckwheat, which is not wheat at all. Delicious! One day my friend and I stumbled upon a crepe- making demonstration and the guy let me try it. I did a terrible job, but he informed me that it’s really an art, to smooth the batter just so. I bought the wooden tools to spread the batter and flip the crepe, then got some buckwheat flour and one of these days I’ll see if it can be done in a cast iron skillet.

    I miss France so much! Your post was pure nostalgia for me!

    • Bonjour Lynn. Merci de votre visite. How wonderful to spend five weeks in la belle Bretagne. I am glad you got a private crepe-making lesson. Be warned buckwheat crepes are notoriously harder to make. It can be challenging to get the batter consistency just right. I have fond memories of a weekend spent in a very old home in Brittany owned by a friend and co-worker who was 100% Breton and loved to cook. One Saturday afternoon, we walked around the village and got each ingredient we needed to make les galettes (buckwheat crepes) from small shop keepers in the area. Lait, beurre, oeufs, and of course, la farine de sarrasin. It was carefully wrapped in thick paper and my friend brought it home as if he were carrying a trophy. I watched him prepare the batter. He cooked the crepes in an old pan in the giant fireplace and they came out just right. I have never sampled – or watched – anything that special in a kitchen since. A bientôt.

  5. Lynn the crepes Bretonne are very different, and more for a meal type filling – love em too. My sis in law to be (enfin le date de mariage est 9 Avril! yeeeehaaaaaaa!) in the Morbihan, Valérie, put us on to them, and are available in most supermarkets, prepared thankfully, for us maladroit. The finished products, not always, but the raw materials and preparations are very reminiscent of my natal Northern Ireland. Good quality contents, and nitty picky preparation (and if not perfect scrapped, and reused, or chucked out – usually to the dogs, cats, or birdies, circling yer feet!. That is another reason, when you come to France you are gobsmacked with the numbers, sizes, and types of pans (poeles) in use in Frebch kitchens – one for nearly every different dish. Sometimes French cuisine is like a martial art – if you don’t have the right weapons, you will never win the battle. Bon fin du weekend biloutes, at bon courage pour la semaine d’arrive.

  6. De bonnes adresses à noter pour les crêpes, merci!! Vous étiez à quel hôtel dans le Marais? Et merci pour la vidéo que je partagerai avec mes élèves~

  7. Comme toutes les photos gourmandes sont tentantes ! On ne demande qu’à déguster .

    Vous sauvez nos traditions ,une seule consigne ” que les crêpes sautent pour la Chandeleur ” 🙂

  8. V MY MOUTH IS WATERING …watching the crepe man in action is truly like poetry the flip the turn the press down OH LA LA-looks so good BRAVO on the youtube channel I am so excited another “I knew her when” moment – congrats onward and upward-best of everything to you and as ALWAYS here is to your goals and dreams coming true-

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Paris Picnics (Travel Tips Series)

Paris Picnics (Travel Tips Series)

“Paris is expensive!” “Did you know many restaurants in Paris serve frozen, reheated food?” Ah, Paris. So many Michelin-starred restaurants, so little cash. So many neighborhood bistros. So little time. What to do? Here is French Girl in Seattle’s guide to successful Paris picnics. Picnics may seem like the easiest, most affordable way of sustaining oneself while enjoying…

15 Responses to Paris Picnics (Travel Tips Series)

  1. I’ve done this before. Went to a Monoprix and got some seasoned “carottes rapees” and something else.
    In the US, when my girlfriends and I are not working, we very often meet at Whole Foods or Erewhon and get our own food. It is fast, we get as much as we want and no tips to leave. Of course, a fast food restaurant would be cheaper but we don’t go to them. I have never been to McDonald or Subway in France but is it possible to order a sandwich to go?

    • Picnics are the way to go, as long as you can sit comfortably AND the weather cooperates (admittedly easier to achieve in your neck of the woods than mine, Nadège.) I have no idea if you can buy McDo to go in Paris. I steer clear of the Golden Arches if I can. Why would you pick up food for a picnic there if you can find saucisson sec, rosé wine, and some fresh fruit next door? 😉

      • I have never been to a McDonald in France but for tourists, they might feel more comfortable eating what they are used to and it might be cheaper too. From what I hear, a lot of americans complain that they cannot find good food in France. It always surprised me and I never asked if it was because eating in restaurants was too expensive. Like you, I think that picnicking is the way to go. If I can have a good salad, a bowl of soup and a piece of bread, I am a happy camper.
        I have sent american friends (the ones with money) to eat at “L’Arpege”. Great food, but very expensive.

  2. I once saw a grounds keeper turn on the sprinkler to clear a group of Paris office workers off the grass. There seems to be ample chairs everywhere so it is easy for me to respect the local custom of simply looking at the grass.

  3. Je trouve le blog magnifique, les commentaires ça va à peu près, avec l’aide de Jocelyne on comprend, mais le choix des illustrations est vraiment “top” aussi bien pour les tableaux, que pour les photos ou les dessins!! Un seul mot continuez pour notre plaisir…

  4. Thanks for the post and the pics! Six more weeks and I’ll be purchasing baguettes and my beloved Abbaye Citeaux and enjoying a lunch outside on the grass with Bonaparte!

  5. Salut Véro, Dan and I are back from our petit séjour à Paris, and we had such glorious weather that we could easily have spread our blankets on the pelouse (autorisée bien sûr). However, whether sitting on a park bench, a blanket or on a chair in café, you can eat like royalty wherever you are in Paris. Dan’s already missing the fromage he indulged in every night.

    We need to catch up very soon.

    bisous, M-T

  6. another really helpful article. I love the way you put it all together-I prefer meals like picnics to meals out-there is always SO MUCH to do and see that sitting for hours in a restaurant seems a waste-not that it is not an adventure in and of itself -and sitting people watching on a terrace, well that is just time well spent…I just relish the walks-the sights-the doing-so picnics are a true favorite of mine. AS ALWAYS thank you for sharing all the great ideas.

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26 Responses to Le Picotin: Great French bistro food in Paris

  1. What a sweet, approachable place, just like a small donkey, its namesake. And being bilingual, a boon for visitors who need a language assist.
    Paris seems so much more friendly to me in recent years than in my first travels there as a teen 35 years ago. It’s almost as if they “got the memo”. 😉

    • Good question. I lived in Paris 30 years ago, and always helped tourists when they asked, because as an adopted Parisian, I was proud to show off “my” city. I am guessing many Parisians did the same thing then, and still do. As for globalization, and the fact that English is more widely spoken now, no doubt this benefits international visitors. Le Picotin is definitely a place where everyone feels welcome. Kuddos to the owner for creating such a great bistro!

  2. Sounds delicious and delightful. Excellent timing re a French bistro since we are going to Lynn’s Bistro tonight. I will think of you. I will add this restaurant on my list of places to go next time in Paris, I hope in the near future! Cheers

  3. OMG, ma chère Véro, cela fait une éternité…………but I’m still here and still thinking of you and following your travels. Le Picotin goes in my list. Monsieur Dan and I are hoping to visit Paris in April, as a friend will be running in the Marathon and has insisted that we be there at the finish line. Eh bien, how could we refuse?

    Big bisous to you and the little man in your life,

    Ciao for now, M-T

  4. This is definitely one for my ever growing address book! Welcoming, authentic and sensibly priced sounds good to me. I can’t remember the last time I had a baba au rhum but it was a regular treat when I was living in France. The carambar was a nice touch too! It’s those little details which are memorable and make all the difference.

    • Bonjour Miss b. You’re right, the elusive Baba au rhum is always a welcome sighting on French menus! This one was tasty, and a bit different from the version found in most pâtisseries. I hope life is treating you well at the beginning of the new year. A bientôt !

  5. Quand j’habitais Picpus, cela s’appelait autrement et il y avait un vélo accroché au plafond. Comme j’habitais tout près, j’y mangeait de temps en temps.

  6. This looks like a nice modern place. Last night I was reading a small book of essays on several Paris bistros in the 1960s and 70s. First of all, as you know, “bistro” is just a slang term for a small café, and not a very nice term as that. Usually they had a zing bar in the front where everybody (les habitués…) drank and a tiny room behind for some food. The food was almost always the same dishes, like boeuf bourguignon, tripes à la mode, etc. and the deserts were mousse au chocolat, crème renversée et pudding, that’s about it. I see by your bistro that they certainly have evolved and modernized with the time – “a beef carpaccio” or “porcelet” that is certainly pas trop the style of cuisine menagère je pense. But now that there are so many tourists, I guess Paris is quite different from the Paris I grew up in, and the bistros have to reflect modern times so they can get an international clientèle. By the way, have you looked at some of those ugly love locks while in Paris? I just wrote a post on them – what a tragedy.

    • You are correct, Vagabonde. Times change. The young Chef running le Picotin does some pretty creative things, I have heard, but also puts his own twist on “classics.” Everything tasted fresh and homemade, which was the point. I really enjoyed “le cadre” as well. Will stop by your site now so I can read your post about the dreadful Love Locks.

  7. Bonjour,

    Pour répondre au commentaire d’Alain (même s’il date un peu), “Chez Gudule” existe toujours et n’a rien à voir avec Le Picotin!
    “Chez gudule” se situe à l’angle de la rue Sibuet et il s’agit plutôt d’un bar qui fait également restaurant mais qui ne sert absolument pas le même type de produits qu’au Picotin.
    Avant Le Picotin le restaurant s’appelait “Les galopins”.

    Merci en tous cas French girl in Seattle pour ce bel article.

    Le Picotin

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French expats in Paris: the game

French expats in Paris: the game

What happens when French expats return to Paris on vacation? First, they spend quality time with their relatives, if they are around. Then, they play a game. The name? “Let’s delve into French rituals with unbridled abandon.” The players? This French girl, and, I suspect, other French expats. The rules? Easy to follow. Read on.…

27 Responses to French expats in Paris: the game

  1. Quel beau cadeau d’anniversaire (aujour’dhui!), cette visite de “ma ville”. En lisant, j’y suis à 100%, ce que l’on ressent… En admirant le papier d’emballage du fromage, le garçon de café tenant son plateau en équilibre, pendant qu’il cherche la monaie, et, ah, le Monoprix. Qu’ils sont beaux. Et les pharmacies.. Merci de partager vos émotions et bon séjour !!

  2. Yes, that’s it ! Last time I was in Paris, last May, we went into the same Monoprix, rue St. Antoine. Also, just a bit further there is a Jeff de Bruges chocolate shop with good “bouchées” en vitrine! Yummy! I usually check all the new chocolate bars at the supermarket (and buy some too.) I start the mornings with un café crème et une tartine (de baguette.) True, prices are a bit high, but luckily my bank is just up the street, before you get to Place de la Bastille.

  3. Monique, your post brings wonderful memories of Paris to me. What a well written post you wrote today. Thanks! I can’t believe I have never bought cheese but I do linger at the yogurt isle, and purchase skin care products….by the way, why does the yogurt taste different there? Paris is always on my mind…ha ha…so glad to have visited your country!

  4. What a lovely post about Paris, sigh. I always love reading about Paris. And, yes, the yogurt is better there. Next time, I will buy more pastries, especially the millefeuille et eclair and also les fromages. Smile

  5. Veronique – Comme j’aime cette tour de Paris. In particular I love your use of the 2nd person singular to get those visions right up under your reader’s skin! So powerful! Inoubliable!

    And to Monique – MERCI for this little snippet of easy-to-understand, colloquial french!!: Quel beau cadeau d’anniversaire (aujour’dhui!), cette visite de “ma ville”. En lisant, j’y suis à 100%, ce que l’on ressent… En admirant le papier d’emballage du fromage, le garçon de café tenant son plateau en équilibre, pendant qu’il cherche la monaie, et, ah, le Monoprix. Qu’ils sont beaux. Et les pharmacies.. Merci de partager vos émotions et bon séjour !!

  6. I think 1 and 2 are universal for expats — I do the same when I go back to Olympia. There are some great things to eat and some typically PNW cafés that are just not the same as here in France.

    The others don’t apply in my case because Olympia just isn’t Paris!

  7. Do I sense a summer visit approaching Veronique? 🙂
    It all looks so, well, civilized doesn’t it? No one quite does street culture like the French, and in France, no one quite like Parisian’s.
    Best wishes.

    • Ils font le plein de beurre de cacahuètes, et si j’en crois les blogs des-dits expatriés, ils se précipitent dans leurs restaus mexicains préférés, qui leur manquent beaucoup en France, ou dans les mega grandes surfaces, comme Costco 😉 Et bien sûr, comme tous les expatriés, ils profitent de leur temps en famille et avec des amis. Merci de ta visite, Alain.

  8. welcome back v-that is what Paris was saying in her warm embrace to one of her favorite daughters WECOME BACK-not home because you have a foot firmly planted here and foot firmly planted there! A foot in two worlds for sure!

      • Beautiful pictures that made me want to go back as soon as I can and look for all these places. You should send this blog to Air France or any travel log magazines and you could write an article for them. With pictures like that so many people will want to go.

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Do as the French do: Enjoy l’apéritif!

Do as the French do: Enjoy l’apéritif!

You are in France. What do you do when a native says the following to you: – On prend l’apéritif? or, slightly more familiar: – Vous venez chez moi ce soir pour l’apéro? What if you just received an invitation reading: – Retrouvez-nous mardi soir pour un apéritif dinatoire, 19H00. Apéritif. Apéro. A time-tested tradition in la…

13 Responses to Do as the French do: Enjoy l’apéritif!

  1. v this post was absolutely delectable – on so many levels- the food pictures has got my mouth watering-I swear I cold almost taste them-the colors and presentation – no fuss but what a treat for the eyes-and the cultural aspect explained-in only a way you could do- better than any book- can I ask one question how do you know when to leave if the gathering is at a home or personal garden if the l’apero is not a precursor to a sit down meal-I felt myself getting a little nervous-that is how involved I become with your posts-like a good book-when do you leave….Well another winner here SIMPLY ADORE the cultural aspects you share-HAVE A GOOD WEEK and a HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND JR.!!

    • Merci, dear g. I am happy you enjoyed this story. To answer your question, an apéritif that is not followed by dinner, but still held at someone’s home, typically lasts under two hours. If other guests are there, you would watch and get the hint, as they start leaving. If you were the only guest, and “l’apéro” started around 6:30, then I would probably thank the host and get ready to leave around 8:00 pm (which is dinner time in France.) If the host wanted you to stay longer at that point, they would let you know, and would likely offer more food too 🙂 Bonne semaine. Hope you are surviving the cold weather on the East Coast.

  2. What a delicious post! It took me back and gave me a “heads up” on the present all at the same time – what a wonderful combination!! Of course, you know that I can never pick up a Kir without thinking of you, ma chère Véro. That would be carrément impensable!! I will be checking out all these wonderful links for future reference.

    Big bisous, my dear friend, M-T

    • Bonjour Madame M-T. Wonderful to hear from you. Yes, we have been lucky to celebrate with Kir Royal on a couple of occasions, and on two different coasts, no less, haven’t we? Great memories. Hope all is well in the Northeast… Will pay you a little visit on le Blog tomorrow. Ta-Da.

  3. Veronique, l’apertif is one of my favorite Frenchie things. I still have very fond memories of sitting on the terrace at Le Rostand with one of my best girlfriends on our first trip to Paris together, sipping champagne and discussing whether or not we should start pitching olives at the cute Frenchman seated in front of us to get his attention.

    A little Lillet, a kir, champagne and potato chips, I love meeting friends for a quick drink or two, a bit of chatter and the start to a great evening! XOXO

    • Bonjour Jeanne. So good of you to check on me and your creation, Coco the Frenchie. You know, I bet that Parisian guy would have loved being hit by olives thrown by two pretty American ladies! Maybe next time… Happy Thanksgiving, Jeanne!

  4. L’apéro is one of the French traditions which I enjoyed so much when I was living in France and during my many visits. In fact, I had my first sip of Pastis when I was sixteen and staying with my French penfriend’s family for the summer! My preference now is a Kir Royal and another favourite is Pineau which was so popular when I lived in Saintes, Charente-Maritime. It’s such a leisurely, sociable activity especially sitting outside in the sunshine. Those verrines look so appetising and the cake salé too. I hope both you and Junior enjoyed Thanksgiving yesterday. Bon week-end, Véronique!

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19 Responses to 5 reasons why le Millefeuille is the star of French pastries

  1. When I saw the box of patisseries on Facebook, I knew mille-feuilles were in there. My favorite when I was young was “Paris-Brest” but I have such a sweet tooth, I frankly wouldn’t know which one to chose now.
    They have amazing pastries in Japan too. A lot of japanese pastry chefs apprenticed with french “patissiers”. I believe that french, japanese and austrian pastries are really the best in the world, though every country and culture have some amazing ones too. In one word, I love them all as long as they are not too sweet, like they are often in the US.

  2. Having been the recipient of a huge piece of that Millefeuille, yesterday, (to go with our coffee of course), I can attest to its incredible taste, gooey and crunchy, sweet, with that caramel taste on the puff pastry. Hmmmm, so good, I might just have another piece today… Thank you, Veronique, (or maybe not) for introducing us to the world of Nora and her amazing baked goods, and thank you for sharing all the intricacies of this beautiful pastry.

    • You’re welcome Françoise. So happy I could share Nora’s creation with dear friends on Sunday. Good times are so much better when you get to share them with friends, n’est-ce-pas? Junior and I did enjoy our “section” of the mighty Millefeuille. It took us two nights to finish it, but finish it we did 🙂

    • Bonjour Helen. Yes, we are lucky to have Nora around. I wish I lived closer to downtown Seattle so I could visit her new boutique more often. Come to think of it, maybe it IS a good thing I live in suburbia? 😉

  3. om……..what can I say but DELISH looking yum yum and yum– how many people actually benefited from your pastry-oh goodness I am speechless-I will stop at ines’s when I finally make it out there…one day! a work of art I tell you AN ABSOLUTE WORK OF ART! Have a nice rest of the week v-as always a delectable post and a joy to read -thanks for sharing!!

    • Dear g. The Millefeuille was big enough to be sliced in 3 generous portions, so on the way home, I visited two friends and gave them one each! Françoise (comment above) and her husband were one of them. It was truly delicious. Françoise liked it so much she is ordering one for a dinner party she is hosting on Friday. Since I am invited, I get to enjoy Nora’s Millefeuille yet again. Yessssssssssss! Take care.

  4. Beautiful and informative as always, Veronique! Despite so many excellent French bakeries visited over the decades don’t recall ever indulging in Millefeuille, will remedy one fine day soon after reading your thorough report! Mille mercis…and hope that all is very well. All best, Suzanne

  5. Le Millefeuille is a favourite of mine too (of course you know all about my sweet tooth!) and there’s a little pâtisserie in Boulogne which we always head to when we arrive in France via the Eurotunnel. We love their millefeuilles. Your photos have me craving one right now. Not only are they delicious but so atrractive too with the layers and feathered icing. You are so fortunate to be able to pop into Nohra’s. I’d never be away from there. Her version looks truly délicieux!

    • Bonjour miss b. Are the Millefeuilles you find in Boulogne the traditional kind, with the beautiful white icing on top? It is indeed a good thing I don’t live too close to Nohra’s, as I would probably end up camping outside her boutique 😉 Hope all is well with you and will swing right over to make sure you are out and about, as always.

    • Bonjour Véronique! I was delighted that you popped over to ‘see’ me as your comments are always so thoughtful and very much appreciated. I’m sure the White Rabbit would have been unhappy about your ‘lapin à la moutarde’ but I’m sure it was a very special treat for you! As for the millefeuille, it’s the traditional one. Bon week-end!

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