Japanese Baking In Paris

Today was well planned out. I had a list of everything I wanted to see and do and excellent directions that I was sure would not get us lost. There really is nothing worse than being lost.

First things first, I decided to give Blé Sucre a chance to redeem itself, and we headed back to see if they had madeleines. Along they way, we came across an antiques fair at Bastille and I simply had to go. We went to the entrance and the bitches had the audacity to ask us for eight euros just to browse. Now, I’m all for companies finding clever ways to make a buck, but I refuse to pay to go into a store. That seems like things are going too far. And surely, the antiques were not going to be cheap, so Jessica and I turned on our heels and stormed out of there. I enjoy storming out of places in a huff.

We walked and walked and then got to the bakery only to find that they were closed. A “fermeture exceptionalle” an unplanned closure. BITCHES! I was not amused and swore them off my list. We decided to take the Metro back, but Jessica had conveniently forgotten her Navigo pass, and therefore we had to walk all the way back to the apartment. I, of course, have no objections to walking, but after my anticipations of madeleines had been dashed upon a stormy sea, I was in no mood to suffer at length. But, walk we did.

Desperate for a tasty nibble of any kind, I purchased a macaron at the Malineau bakery two steps from my front door. Never in all my life have I had such a horrible pastry. I take that back, I had a hibiscus-chocolate macaron at the Gateway Market in Des Moines that made me physically ill. Not only was the taste vile, but the look of it was repugnant. This macaron, pathetically small, cost me a euro and was an insult to all the bad macarons in Paris. It was horribly overcooked, the filling was nearly nonexistent, and the quality of the chocolate was laughable. I’m glad I bought it just so that I could write this scathing review. I will never ever in all my days again visit this bakery. They are beyond substandard. Miss Manon continues her reign of superiority.

After a tiny break, Jessica and I resumed our excursions about the city by heading to the post office to buy stamps. My postcards were too big to fit into the conveniently sized express envelopes, and so they have to go by slower post. Oh well, they shall arrive in due time.

I checked the directions one last time in the Apple Store before we headed off to find Aki Boulanger. This shop is a very difficult concept to describe. Simply put, they offer traditional Parisian pastries with a Japanese twist. For example, I had a green tea éclair and a black sesame macaron. Both French, but at the same time Oriental. It was the most interesting shop I have been to yet in Paris. The éclair was divine–it was divinity itself. The green tea was an inspired flavoring and the look was fabulous. I love green.

Absolutely incredible. Next, I tried the black sesame macaron. This holds my prize for the oddest thing that has yet been in my mouth. At first it tasted sweet and delicate like a typical macaron, nothing extraordinary, but then all of a sudden the flavor went savory. It was wonderful, but not done yet. Then it was spicy–quite spicy and then that sensation was gone leaving a lingering taste of soy. Bizarre. I would happily have another and there are still many unique flavors I have to try.

Jessica had a piece of strawberry cake. I was not a fan as I do not like strawberries nor do I like whipped cream.

This area was very intriguing, all the shops were Japanese. I very much enjoyed my time spent there and then we were off again. I had noticed a building that was glorious, unfortunately my photo turned out quite blurry, so I won’t show you. Google the Academie Musique and it will pop right up. Instead I will show you this plaque:

I find James Gordon Bennett Jr. fascinating. I have read a lot about him because of the books I have read on the World’s Fair and other books on the history of Paris. It was very nice to see the place that I have read so much about.

I have recently become obsessed with tile. Normally, I prefer black and white patterns in square mosaic tile, but this one completely delighted me. Few combinations are better than the marriage of yellow and grey.

And then, across the street, staring me down was Pierre Hermé. I didn’t want to go in, I knew that if I did he would take all my money, but I was weak and couldn’t resist and in I went–with some of Jessica’s money–and bought myself a chocolate with a miniature macaron on top and an enormous chocolate macaron. Pierre knows what he is doing. I would buy anything there and not worry about the quality. I don’t even care about the price because I know whatever I sink my teeth into will be delicious. Thus far, this is the only shop I have awarded this status. He has yet to let me down, and I have my doubts that he ever will. I trust him.

Each was divine. The macaron was perfect, just like eating one of my own, and that is probably why I like it so much. I need to go back and try some other flavors so that I can memorize the taste for when I make them back home using his recipes. I am a very proud owner of the very, very, very, very difficult-to-find book he wrote on macarons and I’ve been very successful with it.

Jessica had been very noble with her aching feet and hadn’t complained too much, but she had reached her breaking point and we went back to the apartment. She could do no more today. I don’t know why she won’t wear sensible shoes. Sensible shoes don’t have to be ugly–there are ads all over the Métro that say that, but then again, she doesn’t read French all that well. I have found the perfect kind of shoe for me and my feet never hurt. If I wear regular tennis shoes, though, or the occasional flipflop for too long, I will succumb to aches and pains.

I wasn’t done yet for the day, so I made myself a bowl of potato soup, I really love soup, and headed out for the Galeries-Lafayette. This is, in my opinion, the most beautiful department store in the world and I like to wander around and see all the new designs and find inspiration for my own fashion and for the fashion that is in my head waiting to explode when I open my own couture house–this will happen. Unfortunately, they decided to close their doors half an hour before closing time, so I wandered around the streets. It was pretty, but highly uninteresting.

Back in the Métro, I saw this:

Immediate obsession. Is she not fantastic? Look at her! Look at the dress, the glove, the hair, the eyes! Oh my God, I love crazy old women. And then, when I got back to the apartment later on, I heard this and have deemed it my summer jam. So good.

Amazing isn’t it? She’s going to be at one of the FNAC’s on Friday. I may have to go.

I took my notebook out and scribbled and scratched away on my novel on the steps of Saint-Paul. I couldn’t stop tonight, the words are coming back to me. I have had some kind of block the past week, but I’m coming out of it I think. I’m happy for that.

I had a ton of energy still and it was getting time for bed, so I whipped out my iPod, hit play on Gaga and model walked for over two miles. I was stomping the pavement like it was my runway and I worked it. I invoked the fear of fashion in the hearts of all those I passed. They will be forever changed by my ferocity on the catwalk.

And then I model walked my way right onto a movie. Literally onto a movie. I was walking fast and determined, Gaga pounding into my head, so I didn’t notice the people frantically waving at me to move. I did eventually and I’m hopeful that I’m forever captured in one of their failed takes. Once again, they refused to give out the name of the film–so annoying–and it didn’t look that interesting. The actors were obviously of poor quality, which means they are surely highly paid. I don’t know how many times I watched them walk up and down the river talking to each other and then fake laughing as they met their marks. I would have gone to see it if I had known what it was, but I don’t, so I won’t.

Good evening.

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