France: Days and Nights in Carnac, Brittany

While in France, Monsieur P and I took off to Brittany for a few days. We stayed in the family’s Carnac beach house and rolled crepes for breakfast. “This is how you do it,” he helpfully instructed. Apparently I didn’t know how to correctly apply salted butter to the crepes. “Little even dabs,” Monsieur P noted as he looked over and frowned at my method of eagerly slicing hefty butter chunks onto the crepe, heheh.

It was also important to fold the crepe correctly. It’s first folded into quarters (a very large crepe to begin with!) and then butter is applied straight down the middle. Next you fold the right side to the middle, and do the same with the left. Once you have a thin, long triangle, you roll it all the way lengthwise from the right side to make what’s essentially a crepe-stick. Monsieur P preferred his with butter alone while I was most happy with an even combination of butter and salted caramel. He made the espresso and I poured the orange juice.

Or other mornings we had baguettes with more butter (even I was impressed by how much butter we went though during our stay here!) and a fantastic fresh apricot jam by Monsieur P’s mother.

And sometimes we’d even venture out for breakfast (though it was so cold I preferred to stay in with a cozy sweater during the mornings). A plain ham galette for me…

…and an egg and cheese for him.

For lunch we’d walk to a local restaurant, always partaking in deep bowls of Moule Frites and Oysters, a beer on the side.

We visited in the off-season, so only a few places were opened for business. It was quiet and wonderfully peaceful.

Afternoon walks on the beach? Check! A visit to the Carnac Stones? Check! And then ice cream too! That’s Mint Chocolate Chip on top, but the focus here is Salted Carmel, which as you may expect, was insanely wicked and borderline too salty. But it hovered on the side of just right, with the full-bodied, smokey, slow dripping salted caramel oozing over the top. Look how it shines. Seriously!

Monsieur P’s brother was thoughtful enough to stock the beach house kitchen with jars of salted caramel, and I smothered the sweet affair on top of everything I could get my hands on…

…cookies, crepes, palet bretons (buttery cakes, cornbread-esque affairs), and baguettes. Or even better, a finger dipped straight into the jar.

Monsieur P had fond memories Chez Marie, the oldest creperie in town and one his family frequented during the summer when he was a child. “We must go!” he declared. Three hours later, we drove out to Chez Marie and indulged in no less than two crepes a person. We learned that management changed since Monsieur P’s last visit over a decade ago. And post-dinner the two brothers concluded that the food simply wasn’t as good as they recalled. Or perhaps what’s stored in childhood memory will always be more delicious than reality? Who knows. It was still good enough for us to have a wonderful night.

This was my favourite combination from dinner – eggs, ham, cheese, and anchovies! I noticed that many of the other tables had this same combination but with mushrooms in place of anchovies.

For dessert, Monsieur P kept it simple with a butter and sugar crepe…

…while his brother had a crepe of sliced bananas, oodles of salted caramel and fresh whipped cream. My goodness!

I went the Banana FlambĂ© route, done table-style…

…with a personal tower of whipped cream on the side. Heheh, indulgence yes, but the atmosphere begged for it! A cold evening, wooden tables, a stone building, and many mugs of hot cider.

Today, it’s a windy 35F in Manhattan, a Sunday afternoon, and there’s not one decent creperie to be found! France literally feels like another world away. Alas, I’ll make do with a latte and croissant from Ceci-Cela. In two weeks I’ll be in warm Hawai’i to visit home and family, and then back again in Manhattan for Christmas and New Years. Am looking forward to trying all the new Honolulu restaurants that have cropped up since my last visit!

NYC: Thanksgiving 2010

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Here are a few shots from our all day (literally, 10am to 10pm) feast with friends, potluck-style. Much thanks to our hosts, Ben and Sanu!

Mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, fried brussels sprouts and bacon, and glazed carrots too.

Turkey ready to be carved. A little on the dark side, yes (must have been the maple syrup glaze!), but delicious underneath, especially with the caramelized onion gravy.

Plates of fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella…

…plenty more cheese where that came from! ComtĂ©, Brie, Munster, and Manchego from Murray’s Cheese.

Right out of the oven, pigs in a blanket and spinach and feta triangles to nibble on, pre-turkey.

Warm Coconut-Custard and Pumpkin Pies by Veniero’s Bakery

…dig in! I count at least five pints of ice cream on the table…

…and a little taste from Richart’s new line of Chocomacs, petite bites with a macaron bottom and ganache top ^_^

Sugar Rush’ed…

…for the week at Serious Eats New York, plus a Pumpkin Ice Cream round up, and a look at the Arctic Char Sandwich from No.7 Sub. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Top 10 Spots for Pumpkin Ice Cream in New York

Sugar Rush: Choco-Lots by Divvies

A Sandwich A Day: The Arctic Char at No. 7 Sub

Sugar Rush: Maple Cream from Deep Mountain Maple

Sugar Rush: “The Situation” Cookie and Holiday Cupcakes at ChikaLicious. Pictured above are Peppermint, Eggnog, and Gingerbread cupcakes…
…and just look at this cookie ;)

NYC: Dinner @ Greg’s

Dinner last night was at Greg’s new apartment. My computer was broken, he kindly offered to help fix it. And we turned it into a night. Why not cook? And why not catch up on Gossip Girl (heheh)? On the menu. A whole roasted snapper. Purple and white potatoes, carrots, sweet cipollini onions, lots and lots of garlic, and rosemary. Olive oil, salt, and lemon. We pan-fried the brussels sprouts separately with butter and garlic, and piled it all together on one big plate. Looks like a mini-Medieval feast. Or perhaps, more closely, like…

…this dish from Bohemian in Noho (the complete post from the Bohemian dinner). They used branzini instead of snapper, but snapper was fresher at the market, so we understandably went with that!

Satisfied? Oh, yes. We agreed that next time we do this (and there will be a next time!) we’ll add anchovies or bacon for stronger, more bold flavors. A bottle of cava and we’re good for the night.

NYC: Sunday Morning: Third Rail Coffee

Ceci-Cela’s Ham & Cheese Croissant

When I first moved to NYC, I had this ritual called “Cave Sundays.” Sunday was my day off and I picked that one day to shut off my phone and computer, along with the chaos of the city. I used that day to wander and eat my way through various neighborhoods. It was perfect to reground and recollect for the coming week.

Now that I’m in real estate, everyday is a work day. So much for Cave Sundays…Sundays are now the busiest day of the week! It took some adjusting and I do miss that one complete day of freedom quite a bit.

My compromise? Cave Sunday Mornings. Stupid name, I know. It’s a one-hour, once a week affair when I may officially cuddle alone with hot tea and croissant in the mornings. Or a latte and palmier. The specific drink + pastry combination always varies, as does the location. But the time and day, computer and phone shut off, never changes.

This morning. Third Rail Coffee on Sullivan Street. Earl Grey Tea. And one excellent, flaky and buttery Ham and Cheese Croissant, baked by Ceci Cela. Given how tiny the shop is, Third Rail carries a fairly large and well-varied selection of outsourced pastries. Muffins from Blue Sky Bakery. Three types of scones from Balthazar Bakery (including the super awesome Oat Scones). Cookies by This Chick Bakes. And even soft pretzels and pretzel sandwiches from Cafe Pedlar.

Marked me impressed. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Third Rail Coffee
240 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012