Aki Boulanger

· Food

With Asian food, desserts aren’t really the part of the meal that blow your mind. I’m generally pretty frustrated after an excellent bowl of udon or an okonomiyaki that I can’t have a dessert worthy of the main course I just had. A scoop of green tea ice cream is good you know, but a creamy pastry would be so much better.

Which is why the Aki Bakery opened a while back (a year, maybe two?) in the area of the Rue Sainte-Anne : what a wonderful idea! Now we can go and have our main course in one of the numerous restaurants that line up in that particular street and leave right after the main course to go and have dessert at the Aki Bakery (Well … for lunch at least. It closes at 8h30 PM … or you can turn into a logistics master and buy your dessert beforehand to go so you can have it later).

Inside, we’re greeted by with the typical Japanese smile and accent. It’s even possible to have a quick “on the run” meal, they have pretty interesting menus … but let’s not stray from my original idea : sweet desserts! So in this Japanese bakery, you’ll find what you’d find in any typical Parisian bakery : baguettes, slices of brioche … but most interesting are of course, the French pastries with just that hint of exoticism.

Yuzu eclairs (= yuzu being a small asian lemon … hey, it could be used to vary the expressions : saying something turned out to be a yuzu is cuter than saying it turned out to be a lemon don’t you think?)

Matcha eclairs, half matcha custard – half whipped cream cream puffs!

 Matcha and red beans cake, white chocolate and matcha opera cake : such a perfect balance : delicious!

matcha rolls, matcha Napoleons (ok Aki, we got it, you’re the matcha master in all it’s variations, stop showing off already!).

There are also some words on the labels that will get one smiling, like the “azuki beigne”. For me (and for the French in general), “beigne” is a synonym for big fights with boards pierced by rusty nails thrown at your face (All that pent up violence inside of me is pretty scary isn’t it?) but it turns out the word means “donuts” in Quebec …

Are we in Paris, Tokyo or Montreal? In the end I’m kind of lost! In all cases, I’ll gladly let myself be hit by an “azuki beigne” anytime (and I’ll even turn the other cheek), for I tasted them, and they’re incredible!

All in all, the pastries are meant to be simple but scrumptious. Who’s going to complain? I certainly won’t. (English translation by Bleu Marine)

AKI BOULANGER
16 rue Sainte-Anne
75001 PARIS (Métro Pyramides)

Sweet & Savory Barcelona

· Food, Travel

Staying 2 days in Barcelona allowed me to get back to those shop signs I appreciated last time but also to appreciate the sugary side of barcelona. This is why I refused to get breakfast in the hotel (what a rebel!), preferring to try a shop where the usual Barcelona native would go to. And I went to this address:

LA RAMBLA 31

as the name would suggest is on…. The Rambla…. at number 31 (oh spirit of deduction, you’ll always surprise me!)… But a bit far from the touristy center. I don’t know if it’s a bakery chain like our Paul here but it’s quite good and I noticed that plenty of Spanish came in as regulars.

Inside, a similar layout to our french bakeries except that there is a little desk in the center with high stools for getting coffee, a patisserie or in my case, breakfast. So, I’m telling you now, I mixed everything in my breakfast: sugary, salty, chocolate, orange juice… If there was a spicy option, I would have taken some too. You see, It doesn’t bother me having a sauerkraut in the morning. You have been warned.

What you could find on my tray; little sandwiches with an omelette, tomatoes with goat cheese, a ham croissant… I also tried this spanish bun called Ensaimada, a specialty you’ll find on the Majorque coast. Very light, you can also find some filled.

I succumbed to the Cacaolat call, the local chocolate milk. It has been a long time since I drank some chocolate milk. In the end, you have to pay around 8 euros per person for a breakfast from the menu (salty, sugary, you choose anything you want) and which is substantial. So, quite interesting!

 

BUBO bakery

Then, for the snack, I stopped by the Bubo Bakery apparently quite famous, its chief Carlos Mambel has been chosen as best baker in Spain.

I didn’t note down the exact name of the patisserie I picked but I tasted some sort of a raspberry mille-feuille and I have been convinced to try more next time. Very delicate and not too sweet, it’s everything I like.

What would you have chosen, if you were me?… What do you mean everything? (English translation by Charlotte B)

Boulangerie LA RAMBLA 31
Rambla Catalunya 31
BARCELONA

Pâtisserie BUBO
Caputxes 10 (près de l’Eglise Santa Maria del Mar)
BARCELONA

Je me souviens…

· Food, Illustration, Travel

I remember the blue sky, the ideal temperatures, this panoramic view, from the top of the Mont Royal…

I remember how all the people I met were so incredibly nice. And when I told our bus driver I found the Montreal people always very galant toward the ladies, he told me about this very popular saying in Caribou-Land : “if ya ain’t pretty, be polite”…From what I got to see during those few days in Quebec, the proverb also works for the pretty … which gives us an incredible amount of lovely people by square meter.

I remember the lively streets, and how the Montréal people absolutely insist on using French on almost all road and shop signs. For example, whereas here in France, Starbucks Coffee is called just that, in Montréal, it is “Café Starbucks Coffee”, and all the “Stop” and “Go slow” signs don’t say Stop and Go slow (like they do in Europe) but “Arrêt” and “Lentement” …

I remember a work of art in Old Montréal, titled “Entre Nous” (Between us- by Andrew Dutkewych) that symbolizes the trasmission of culture and history by the witnesses of the past, but also exchange between humans (yes, it’s full of good intentions and all that)…for if you look closely, the two sides of the statue seem to show in “negative” two profiles looking at each other. Interesting!

I also remember our trivial jokes regarding “suçons” (hickeys in english) that are just maple syrup lollipops in Montreal, but you see, when in good company, even the tiniest of thing makes for a good joke!) …Jokes that we may or may not have repeated at least 10 times during (and after) the stay…I also remember the giant pine tree air fresheners on exhibit in the city center…

I also remember the “Bad Burger” (Bacon, blue cheese, caramelized onions and home made fries) that we ate at the “Bad Beef” ( Méchant boeuf ) , on our first night there. It wasn’t the best burger I ever ate, but the fun atmosphere and people around me almost made me believe it was.

I remember the tagliatelle pasta with spicy pancetta, basil and confit tomatoes as well as this fabulous chocolate marquise eaten at the Boris Bistro, in the shade, on the terrace.

… of our saturday night dinner at “La montée de Lait”, where you had to choose 4 courses out of all the ones offered on the menu. All combinations were possible : 4 main courses, 2 main courses and 2 desserts, 3 main courses and 1 dessert, 1 main course and 3 desserts … or 4 desserts for “wannabe” diabetics.

I remember all the ingredients that made this weekend so special and so social. What I very much hope for the future, is to be able to go back to Montréal … to remember it even better. (English translation by Bleu Marine)

Page 193 of 199