Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chocolate Chickens & Boeuf Bourgignon

In case you're wondering, April last year was day after day of beautiful perfect sunny weather, where I woke up, looked out the window, declared out loud, "It's the most beautiful day in the world!!" in a British accent, and picnicked and walked and sighed and sat outside in cafes practically weeping over the wonder that is Paris in the springtime.

This year, it's like we're stuck in February and there's no end in sight.  The only dress I've worn in the past 6 months is the same one sweater dress that I have worn a thousand times already, and I've outworn all my scarves and my jackets have buttons missing from being OVER-WORN.  AND I'M SICK OF IT!  May is next week and I'm still wearing ear muffs to ride home so my ears don't fall off!!

Sorry about my anger.  I have an extreme aversion and hatred towards cold.

On Easter, I tried to wear a dress & heels and nearly froze to death.  Thought my legs were just going to freeze into place while I was riding my bike home from church, and I'd just fall over from inability to pedal.

Easter was pretty much yesterday so this is still seasonally applicable.  Let me tell you about it.  First of all, I was stressed out over the fact that Easter Sunday had arrived and I had not yet secured some delicious Easter chocolate.  It's an unbearable kind of stress.  Most places are closed on Sunday, so I figured this would be the case with the chocolate stores, but they made an exception for Easter, understanding that it was their DUTY as a chocolate shop to provide us with animal-shaped chocolates.

I headed to Rue Cler an hour before church and let the shopping begin.  Clearly this place remembered me from last year and made their advertisements specifically to beckon me forth.

Okay, okay, I'll come in!
I opted for an assorted bag of chocolate eggs and a chocolate chicken!  Because how often can you get a chocolate chicken??  
I went for the pig & the sheep last year, because what says Easter more than a chocolate farm animal?  Maybe next year the bunny stands a chance.

On to spot #2.  Awwww how cute are they??  Little individual hand-made peeps!
 The front left peep has gigantic eyes which makes me want to check out everyone's eyes.  Make eye contact with everyone and then check out the poor little guy in the middle! Fallen over. Upside down. Beady-eyed.  He's a riot.  I would have bought him had I noticed his distressful state.  I settled on a lovely bag of praline eggs...some sort of crispy nutty toffee-like eggs, you know, to have something to balance out the chocolate.

And finally, to the master, Michel Chaudun, decorated in his Easter best.  Notice people on both sides staring in the windows at his many beautiful chocolate creations.

Gigantic chocolate chicks, eggs, bunnies, turtles, lambs frolicking...and the reflection of my Spanish boyfriend, Ricardo, in his white linen Easter pants.

Not really, I don't know who that guy is.  But I now regret paying so much attention to the chocolate while Ricardo was doing his modeling lean.
This was my prize from Michel Chaudun.  A real egg, which when you crack and peel off the shell, reveals a solid chocolate interior.  How magical is that?  Well that's why I paid $13 for it.  Magic.

Behold...the Easter loot.

After I had safely secured my Easter chocolate delights, I rode my bike just down the street to the American Church of Paris for their 1:30pm contemporary service.

Then, since I was freezing, I stopped at a cafe on Rue Cler (which was always one of my favorite things to do, but I never do it anymore), to sit on the terrace with heat lamps and work on one of my 30 in 30 list items - to read Mere Christianity.
Around 4:30pm, I realized I would not survive the evening wearing a dress, so I biked back to the apartment, changed into jeans, boots, and several long sleeve layers, and then rode to Maygan & Kyle's to make Easter dinner!!

They had proposed an Easter Boeuf Bourgignon in their fabulous new copper pot from E. Dehlerin, where Julia Child used to do her shopping.  Maygan loves her new copper pot, as she should!

Ready to go in the oven!

The inaugural baking of the copper pot.  This is your moment to shine.
We also made some delicious peanut butter & oatmeal cookies from a recipe Maygan found that doesn't use sugar or flour!

As the boeuf did its slow braising for 3.5 hours, we had wine and snacks and watched Julie & Julia, as could only be expected for a moment such as making beef bourgignon in a copper pot bought at E. Dehlerin in Paris for Easter dinner.  And let me tell you...
A tradition has been born!
We decided that Easter BB with Julie & Julia would have to become an Easter tradition.
And I love that there is wine & chocolate goodies as the centerpiece.

But let's not forget the peanut butter cookies!!  Our friends Erin & Kelly came over, and Erin brought a big bag of robin's eggs that her family sent her, so we created a lovely Easter nest dessert.
Here, Kyle expresses how we all feel about Easter dinner.  SUP-AIR!!
Bon Pacques!

Incidentally, going back to that whole freezing cold thing...Another item on my 30 in 30 list is to go to the beach as soon as it gets warm.  I love, love...love. the beach.  And I waited until the last weekend of August last year to finally make a weekend trip, where I was surprised to remember HOW MUCH I LOVE THE BEACH.  So I crossed my heart and promised myself that I would go MUCH sooner this year.  As soon as I possibly could.

I've been eye-ing the weather since mid-February all over southern Europe for any potential beach destinations to get warm enough.  When I finally saw the high 60's, approaching 70's, I found a good flight price and I booked it!  So Thursday night, I'm flying to Palma de Mallorca, which is an island off the coast of Spain, right by Ibiza, AND was 36 euros one-way!!  I can't even have dinner here for that!

My first plan is to make birds fall out of the sky by blinding them with the whiteness of my entire body.  Then maybe take a boat trip.  We'll see what happens.


  1. Hi there! I found your blog over a year ago after I saw you on House Hunters. I am totally obsessed with Paris, went in 2004 after high school and swore I would do whatever it took to come back again and/or move there :) your story is very inspiring to me... from what I understand you did whatever it took to follow your dreams and move to Paris. Even before I went to Paris I was obsessed, I took French (4 years) in high school when everyone told me to take Spanish since I live in FL! My mom found out she was pregnant with me when she was in Paris so maybe that is where I get it form.

    My plan got a little sidetrack, grad school things like that and I kinda fell in love in college and my dreams went out the window. But there is still hope, I am going to Paris in 3 weeks with my boyfriend (ehemm who I hope will be proposing to me on this trip) and I have been plotting my plan to make him want to move to Paris. Your blog has been great plotting inspiration HA! Back to the point, one thing on my list that we must do is picnic by the Eiffel Tower and ride bikes. I was wondering if you could recommend a good place that is easy to find near the tower to get picnic fixings? Also can you recommend where to go for boeuf bourgignon?

    Seriously your blog is my dream! Move to Paris and have all the crazy encounters, emotional up and downs, PASTRIES!, and more. I wrote down some of the places you went to. I think I have a list of 10 different boulangerie and p√Ętisserie shops to go to. I stopped eating carbs 3 weeks ago to prepare. Why wast carb calorie here in the states when I can have the best in the world in 3 weeks!

    Ok now I am rambling and you probably think I am the biggest creep for hunting you down from House Hunters... so if you are not too creeped out I would appreciate any help :)

    -Ashley from FL and GA

  2. Hey Ashley! No problem, not creeped out at all! :) If you want good boeuf bourgignon, you have to go to Chez Josephine Dumonet. They have the best! It's very old world, like nothing has changed in 50 years. Their duck confit is delicious, too. But the beef bourg. Oh man. As for picnic fixings by the Eiffel Tower, Rue Cler is your best bet! Keep in mind it is dead all day Monday and on Sunday afternoon. But the rest of the week, there are boulangeries, pastry shops, cheese shops, wine shops, chocolate shops, fruit & vegetable stands, grocery stores, one of the oldest Italian food shops in Paris, Davoli, which has great prosciutto, parma ham, turkey, and other foods. You could also get a whole roasted chicken at the boucher or chicken shop. Anyway, it's perfect for constructing a picnic, then the Eiffel Tower is just a 5 minute walk away. A must! If you have any more questions, just let me know. Also feel free to use the code "20OFF" if you want to go on any tours with Fat Tire, City Segway, or Easy Pass Tours with a 20% discount. And I like the no carb approach! It will be totally worth it! :)

  3. Thank you for the help! I appreciate it :) Sorry for the delay, I saw your comment on my phone and forgot to check it again on the 'puter. We have heard lots of good things about the Fat Tire tours, probably will do one :) Thanks again!!