Picnic on Monte Urgull

I finally made it to Don Serapio today. Marti suggested we pick up some goodies and take a hike up Monte Urgull for a picnic. It’s a quaint gourmet store full of imported goods as well as local, artisanal treats like hand-churned butter. Of course I grabbed some to try. We loaded up on some jamón, cecina de león, queso de idiazabal y pan for the picnic. I guess I don’t have to be in Paris to faire le picnic!

Don

The ciabatta pan was decent for Spanish bread. iQue sorpresa! Crunchy outside, hollow ‘knock’ and a hint of yeasty goodness.

Pan y queso

A lover of charcuterie, I jumped at the opportunity to try cecina de león (cured beef leg) per Marti’s recommendation. The texture was similar to jamón serano but not quite as dry. There was a subtle smokey flavor to it that lingered at the end–nice touch.

Cecina de León

Of course we splurged on a bit of jamón bellota because there’s no rival to this king of hams. So rich, so nutty, so smooth.

Bellota

Of course I saved one piece for my last bite because when you are without chocolate to end on a sweet note, bellota is a suitable substitute. Such great, thin slicing on the butcher’s part as well. Bravo!

Sunny Bellota

Though a bit chilly, the hike up the “mountain” warmed us and the sun did peek through the clouds a few times. It was a beautiful view and a perfect way to spend a friday afternoon, eating and conversing with two fellow food enthusiasts.

Sol

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Parisian Picnic

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a picnic on the Seine?

Ramzi, Orly and a Bottle of Vin

And a lucky pug siting as well!

Paris Pug

All kinds of people were picnicking along the Seine because that’s what you do on a Sunday. Erin and Laura began to harmonize The Star Spangled Banner [and later, Happy Birthday to Molly], which attracted a fellow mini-musician. The little guy was beating away all night long [past his bed time, for sure]and attracted other musicians, including a clarinet player!

Make Music

Although there were no fireworks to celebrate our nation’s independence, the sunset was incredible.

Sunset on the Seine

Since I only had one early session of practical this morning, my classmate Catherine and I decided to wander the city. First we went to the famous L’as du Fallafel which numerous friends have recommended, including my virtual ‘friend’/blogger David.

L’as L’as L’as

The mâitre d’ [dressed in white] was funny and I swear he was posing for this photo. The [vegetarian] fallafels were perfectly crisp, accompanied by a generous helping of tahini sauce, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes and other veggies. The two sauces were great accompaniments as well. It made me realize how much I miss spicy food! The spicier [red Harissa] sauce paired nicely with the clean and refreshing green pepper sauce. The spicy was manageable and if you know me, it wasn’t spicy by definition at all. It also made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve had spicy food since I’ve been eating more French food, which is never spicy. I miss my peppers!

Fallafel

Afterwards, we worked our way au pied [to burn off the satisfying yet coma-inducing lunch] to the Montorgueil area to check out the small shops there.

Les Halles

I haven’t had escargots yet this trip but this place looks endearing:

Golden Snail

After a lot of walking, we worked up an appetite again and soon found ourselves at Gérard Mulot.

Here we admired the beautiful piping work on the pastries.

Célia

But of course we were now ready for dessert and decided to take a few things à emporter to the Seine to enjoy a nice afternoon delight by the river.

Macaron Mûre et Macaron Passion Basilic

The blackberry macaron was way too oozy [the filling to shell ratio was off] and sweet. The basil passionfruit macaron, however, was tangy and just what I needed to reawaken the palate after fallafel and after this:

Chocolat

The actual name of this dessert escapes me now but you’ll recognize it by the glaze design on top. It reminds me of the technique we used in ceramics class where we put glass on top of a piece before firing and it came out like this chocolate mousse [light and dark] enrobed with dark chocolate ganache. Yum! What a great way to kick off the week, especially since I won’t have time for mini-adventures like this the rest of the week since I have triple sessions (a.k.a. 9-hour days) of classes.