Eating my way through Rue Montorgueil

Discover Walks  invited me and a few other bloggers on a food tour along rue Montorgueil. Our lovely guide, Marie, gave us an authentic tour of this iconic Parisian street that is home to numerous cafes, boulangeries, patisseries, and butcheries. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning and all the shops were just beginning to open. Our tour concluded in a picnic with all the French staples: bread, cheese, charcuterie, and pastries…

img_0216-1

Marie posing with our baguette 

img_0095

Our first stop was a fromagerie called La Fermette. Marie told us that France has 370 types of cheeses so if you’re up for the challenge you can eat a different kind of cheese each day of the year. Roquefort is the oldest (and smelliest). The origin of the blue color is from the limestone in the Roquefort region. We settled with a less pungent Roquefort and a few goat cheeses.

img_0102-1

Next, we headed to a boulangerie Blouet to buy our baguette. Bread is sacred to the French. The French are so reliant on their baguette that there is a French law forbidding boulangeries in the same area from going on vacation at the same time. Nevertheless, I know French families who keep a frozen baguette in their freezer, just in case. There is a competition each year called the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française for the coveted prize of best baguette of the year. In 2015, the winner was Le Grenier a Pain. Originally the baguette was bread for working men who would get into fights with their bread knives. To discourage the use of knives, the longer traditional baguette was created so it could be broken, not cut. This is why now you break your baguette. Do not make the faux pas of cutting a baguette! Fun fact: the croûton or end of the baguette is supposedly the best part. It is always a fight to get it!

img_0097-1

We then stopped at a butcherie to complete our charcuterie board with pâté, garlic sausage, goose rillettes, and saucisson. We went to a park by Les Halles where we enjoyed all the delicacies we bought from the day.

img_0121

img_0215-1

#bloggers

Let’s not forget dessert. Next we strolled to Sohrer, the oldest pastry shop in Paris, where the Queen of England visited. They pride themselves on having the best chocolate éclair in Paris. We ended our tour at Fou de Patisserie, which sells all the best pastries of Paris from the most renowned chefs and shops. We sampled lemon Financiers and the Mille-Feuille, consisting of layers of puff pastry and cream. A perfect ending to the tour!

img_0104-1

img_0163

If you would like to take part in this awesome tour, use my code BLOGLOVE10 to receive 10% off.

Guilt-Free Banana Bread (v +gf)

img_1164

img_1159

img_1156

img_1178

Ingredients

3 tbsp stevia (alternatively use 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave)

2 ½ cup gluten-free flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

5 Ripe medium bananas

1 egg

1/3 cup almond milk

½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

optional

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* To make this recipe vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon flaxseed for the egg.

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the egg, almond milk, and OJ. Mix well.

Combine the two mixtures together then fold in walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take out and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.

Chefchaouen- The Blue Pearl of Morocco

img_0663

Chefchaouen 

 

img_0747

Chefchaouen, Medina 

 

img_0460

View from Salon Bleu in Tanger

We flew into Tangier, a port city on the Straight of Gibraltar. You only need an afternoon here to walk through the Medina (old city) and petit/grand Socca. Do not fall prey to the men who will offer to lead you to your hostel or hotel, as they expect payment. The next day we took a 3 hour shuttle to Chefchaouen or Chaouen, known for it’s blue-washed buildings situated in the Rif Mountains. It is one of most unique and stunning places I have ever visited. It is rumored that Jewish refugees introduced the blue walls to symbolize the sky and the heavens. Now, people also believe that the walls are painted blue to repel mosquitos. Regardless of the reason, this blue city is not to be missed!

img_0743

Local paint in Chefchaouen

img_0651

On the outer edge of the Medina in Chefchaouen

Now, on to the food! Moroccan cuisine is characterized by ras-el-hanout, a typical North African spice, which is a blend of around 30 spices including cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, paprika, and cardamom. You must try tagine, a signature Moroccan dish consisting of meat and vegetables cooked in Moroccan spices and served over couscous. Afterwards, enjoy the traditional Moroccan mint tea, made by boiling water with mint leaves and adding a generous amount of sugar. Tip: ask for the sugar on the side. The dishes are also served with bread and olives. The bread is cooked in a wood-fired oven giving it a crunchy outer layer and doughy inside.

img_0708

Snack Assada

img_0706

Beldi Bab Ssour

img_0567

Fresh Moroccan Bread!

Highlights:

Medina (old town): You can spend a whole day getting lost in the maze-like medina, where we stayed. The dazzling blue walls are lined with vendors selling patterned blankets, jewelry, and pastries.

Outa el Hamma Square: Main square where most restaurants and hotels are located. There is always something going on from religious processions to people dancing on the street.

Spanish Mosque: The Spanish Mosque is located about 20 minutes (by foot) outside of the medina and offers beautiful views of the city.

Cascades d’Akchour: A beautiful waterfall hike about 45 minutes from Chefchaouen.

Where to eat:

All the restaurants have a similar menu, but here are the ones I recommend:

Beldi Bab Ssour (Chefchaouen, Medina): A local spot that gets very crowded. It is around 3-4 euros for a main dish. We sat a communal table and met a local artist who gave us recommendations on what to order. The tagine is excellent.

Restaurant Aladdin (Chefchaouen, Medina): Located in the main square and a bit more expensive. The atmosphere and décor alone are enough to eat here. The rooms are lined with with colorful tapestries and patterned cushions. You feel like you walked into another world. Plus they have two outdoor terraces with panoramic views of Chefchaouen. However, the food was mediocre. I recommend going for mint tea or appetizers to enjoy the ambiance.

Snack Assada (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another cheap local spot that offers outdoor rooftop seating.

Restaurant Al Kasbah (Chefchaouen, Medina): Another delicious restaurant off of the main square. They have colorful tables and chairs on the street that are surrounded by plants. You feel like you are eating in the jungle.

Salon Bleu (Tanger, Medina): A beautiful restaurant that has a rooftop terrace with unbeatable views of the city. I recommend going at dusk and watching the sunset. It was our most expensive meal of the weekend, although still affordable—we paid 15 euros for an appetizer, main course, dessert, and mint tea.

img_0626

Homemade local pastries in Chefchaouen

img_0861-1

Al Kasbah

img_0427

Salon Bleu

img_6100

Drinking fresh juice in Chefchaouen!

Lisbon & Porto

As soon as I stepped off the Baixa-Chiado metro stop in the heart of the city, I loved Lisboa. I was greeted with sunshine and street performers playing music. Lisbon is the European San Francisco sharing the trolley cars, hills, 25 de Abril bridge (constructed by the same company that built the Bay Bridge), warm weather, and relaxed atmosphere. There is even a lookout point, where locals and tourists go to enjoy a drink with a view, that reminds me of Dolores Park. I felt right at home. I spent my days meandering the stone streets and enjoying lots of pasteis de natas. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful city!

17757455_10210411445099849_5596941388987857716_n

17904077_10210411588943445_7800794455369409155_n

My favorite lookout point with view of the 25 de Abril bridge

Highlights:

Free walking tour (with donation): My favorite fact I learned on the tour is that J.K Rowling lived in Lisbon! The inspiration for her character Salazar Slytherin came from a past Portuguese dictator who was assassinated near her apartment.

Village Under Ground: This is the hipster area characterized by retro themed double-decker buses underneath the 25 de Abril bridge that have been converted into cafes and co-working spaces.

Book stores: The streets are lined with small book stores, and in fact the oldest book store in the world, Bertrand, resides in Lisbon.

Lookout point: This is the lookout point that reminds me of Dolores Park. It is across from Museu de Farmacia off of rue Marechal Saldanha. Everyone basks in the sunlight and enjoys beers that they bought at a nearby convenience store.

Sintra: I took a perfect day trip to Sintra, located about 1-2 hours by train from Rossio station. It is a picturesque Portuguese town where the Portuguese monarchs lived in the 20th century. It is filled with lush green hills and pastel-colored houses. My three favorite sites are Quinta da Regaleira (large estate/park with the famous initiation well that you enter through a cave), Pena Palace (the colorful palace at the top of the hill), and Castelo dos Mouros (medieval castle). The castles and parks are a bit too far to walk between but you can take an overpriced (5 euro per person) tuk-tuk ride. I recommend taking at least one to Pacio da Pena at the top. From there, you can follow a trail down back to the city.

Barrio Alto: A trendy area filled with cute shops and cafés that is very Marina-esque—there is even a juice shop.

Azulejos tiles: Cannot be missed as they are all over the city.

Pink Street: This is where most of the bars and night life takes place.

17861927_10210411442939795_8623578337158584992_n

Pena Palace at Sintra

17884649_10210411443379806_4151779221723364155_n

Me walking up to Pena Palace

17884121_10210411444299829_5519114343136614326_n

Initiation Well

17884443_10210411444859843_2763898779765871178_n

Village Under Ground

17759668_10210411445339855_7161981094185138264_n

What to eat:

Pasteis de nata: Rich custard pastries. The custards grew in popularity because women used the egg whites for bleach and were left with excess yolks. Their solution was to make pastries, and lots of them.

Petiscos tapas: A typical one is Moelas– chicken gizzards with traditional sauce. Yum!

Bacalhau: Cod fish. Cod is a staple component to many Portuguese dishes and is often served with roasted potatoes. The fried cod cakes (Pasteis de Bacalhau) are popular too.

Sardines: Another specialty from the region.

Ginja: Traditional cherry liquor that you sip. To me it tastes like cough syrup but many people enjoy it.

Bicas: espresso!!

Where to eat:

Cervejaria Ramiro (Seafood)  The seafood restaurant recommended by Anthony Bourdain. It is very touristy and the queue is always long. We waited at least an hour. They offer champagne (don’t be fooled though—it’s not Moët) and charcuterie plates in a nice outdoor terrace while you wait.

17884540_10210411443739815_4282576896059795679_n

Pasteis de Belem (Pasteis de nata) A 40 minute bus ride from the city center but these are supposedly the best in Lisbon. I found the ones from the little shops in town were equally as tasty.

17884195_10210411441939770_3218667778885302733_n

Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau  (Cod pastry) The popular cod pastry that you should at least try once while you are in Lisbon. It is often served with a glass of port wine.

17862658_10210411440939745_9003778666110381997_n

TimeOut Market (All types of cuisine) It is over-priced and touristy but cool to check out if you have the time. Not a highlight.

17862441_10210411442179776_8487371453240029622_n

O Cantinho (Locals, traditional) Pan-fried sardines and roasted potatoes.

17759716_10210411444619837_5758737588719589948_n

Nicolau Cafe (Healthy) A marina-esque cafe offering soups, salads, smoothies, and toasts. I opted for the soup of the day (slit pea), avo toast, and a coconut latte. I heard their pancakes and french toast are also good.

17862666_10210411441059748_5439690175415138797_n

Artis (Portuguese tapas) I recommend the roasted octopus and moelas (chicken gizzards).

17759672_10210411441699764_4708131056709844228_n

Santini (Ice Cream) Best ice cream in Lisbon. I got roasted apple and mascarpone.

17861632_10210411442059773_2173218720939265685_n

Chapito (Nice, traditional) Restaurant with view. Needs reservations.

Casanova (Pizza) Best pizza in Lisbon

Topo (Rooftop bar)

Park Bar (Rooftop bar)

Porto

17904135_10210411440739740_8020836897096882020_n

Porto is a small coastal town in the northern part of Portugal, around 3 hours by train from Lisbon. To me it is a mixture between Nice and Florence. The close proximity to the water gives it a laid-back and carefree atmosphere that I experienced in Nice. The cobble stone streets, colorful houses, and cafes along the Douro River create the romantic Italian feel. It is often cheaper to fly out of Porto than Lisbon so I recommend tagging it on before/after your trip.

Highlights:

Walking tour

Port wine tour: It is where port wine originated so there is no shortage of wine tastings.

Dom Luis I Bridge: Beautiful view of the city.

Livraria Lello: The bookstore that inspired J.K Rowling.

What to Eat: 

Broa Bread: Traditional bread made out of corn.

Francesinha: A sandwich consisting of sausage, steak, egg, ham, cheese, fries, and special sauce (each restaurant has their secret recipe).

Seafood

Traditional Vegetable soup

Port Wine

Where to Eat:

Café Majestic: Touristy and over-priced but it is nice to see and enjoy an expresso if you have time.

Bread and Breakfast: A cheap alternative to Cafe Majestic, located around the corner.

Casa Guedes: Pulled pork sandwich.

Café Santiago: Where you can try the famous Francesinha sandwich. I recommend splitting it with a friend.

Buraco: Cheap local food. A main entrée is around 5-6 euros.

Fish Fixe: A nice restaurant on the water but it is a bit more expensive.

Maus Habitos (Bad habits): A rooftop restaurant known for their pizzas and salads served in homemade pizza dough.

17884101_10210411439899719_4280364989871323247_n

17522899_10210411439619712_5017167870423516016_n

Obrigado Portugal, for a wonderful week filled with delicious food!

Best coffee shops in Paris

Boot Café (Marais)

img_5872

Carrot Cake + Latte

Adorable little cafe in the Marais, extremely tiny though. There is only room for four tables. They serve gourmet coffee and baked goods.

La Caféothèque (4th arr)

img_6195

Go here to study or read. Lots of space and great coffee!

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

img_5980

Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Huguette Maison de Famille (6th arr)

img_6289

Coffee shop by the Jardin du Luxembourg. One of my favorite lattes in Paris is their Golden Latte avec curcuma, canelle, gingembre, et miel. So delicious! They also have a nice Matcha Latte.

Honor (Champs Élysées)

img_5328

Outdoor gourmet coffee shop off the streets of the Champs Élysées

Lily of the Valley (Marais)

img_6128

Pink grandma-style tea house in the heart of the Marais. They offer a vast assortment of tea (green, black, white, etc.) that you can also get to-go.

Coutume Café (6th arr)

img_6100

One of my favorite coffee shops in the 6th. They serve high-end coffee, delicious baked goods, and healthy breakfast items.

Le Peloton (Marais)

IMG_8843

A coffee shop founded by the owners of Bike About Tours. They offer artisan coffee, homemade snacks, and bike tours.

Best Healthy Cafés in Paris

Wild & the Moon (Marais)

img_8544

Acai Bowl

A vegan/vegetarian café using plant-based and sustainably grown ingredients. They offer juices, smoothies, soups, salads, vegetable bowls, and packaged snacks (kale chips, fruit bars, hummus, etc.). Located on rue Charlot in between chic art galleries and hand-crafted jewelry stores. Highly recommend.

Holybelly (10th arr)

img_7190

Holy Baked Beans + Champignons

Popular brunch and lunch spot with healthy vegan and vegetarian options. They change their menu monthly based on what is in season— exactly what I like to hear. Relaxed and casual atmosphere. They do not take reservations so be prepared to wait.

Soul Kitchen (Montmartre)

img_4441

Adorable healthy café with Vegan/Vegetarian options. Soul Kitchen, nestled by the Montmartre steps, offers a daily-changing menu with homemade dishes made from local organic ingredients. It is owned by two cheery woman who are eager to tell you about the menu. It is creatively decorated with mismatched and colorful plates and furniture.

La Guinguette d’Angèle (1st and 11th arr)

img_7830

Lunch Box (changes daily)

img_8674

Known for her beautiful and feminine plates decorated with flower petals and herbs, Angèle brings you gluten-free delicacies. Angèle is leading the way in the emerging Parisian health food movement. She has a small take-away shop in the 1er, a café or salon de thé in the 11è, and a catering service. She is also working on her second cook book and TV show on La Quotidienne. I am slightly biased because I work for Angèle, but I firmly support her philosophy of creating natural and healthy dishes.

Café Oberkampf (11th arr)

img_6191

Green Eggs + Feta, Avo Toast, Ham Sandwich

One of my favorite affordable brunch spots in Paris. They offer delicious Shakshuka and Green Eggs + Feta (pictured above), as well as an assortment of toasts and sandwiches. Again, be prepared to wait on the weekends as the café only sits around ~15 people at a time. My friend and I were so eager to eat after waiting 40 minutes that we ordered 3 entrées between the two of us! No regrets.

Merci (3rd arr, Marais)

img_8034

Butternut Squash + Lentil Salad with citrus dressing, Lavender Scones

Merci is a combined home goods store and cafe. You have probably seen an Instagram photo of girls posing in front of the vintage mini car (painted either bright yellow or red) that is located in the courtyard. The walls are lined with books and it is common for customers to bring their well-groomed dogs. Enjoy a butternut squash and lentil salad along with lavender infused scones.

13- a Baker’s Dozen (6th arr)

img_7464

Delicious healthy dishes. They are known for their homemade biscuits and gourmet coffees (must try the mocha and pumpkin spice latte). It is owned by two charming women— one from Sweden and one from the US. The cafe is very small and cozy, off of the main street and tucked away in an alley. They also speak English here.

Season (Marais)

img_7784

Acai Bowl, Salmon Eggs Benedict, Pancakes with maple bacon

Chic healthy café around the corner from Le Carreau du Temple. They offer a seasonal menu with fresh and organic ingredients. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Lomi (18th arr)

img_7869

Salmon avo toast

Excellent drip coffee and salmon avocado toast. A great place to bring your laptop and get work done.

Ob-La-Di (Marais)

img_6327

Matcha Bowls + Drip Coffee

Small coffee shop with organic coffee and brunch items.

Strada Café (Latin Quarter and Marais)

img_7743

Celery Soup + Beet Hummus Toast + Salad

Enjoy delicious lunch items and coffee in a cozy and relaxed setting. They have great wifi too! It is around the corner from my apartment so I come here often to do computer work. I love their soups, which come with salad and a tartine.

Biglove Caffè (Marais)

IMG_8825IMG_8834

Part of the Ober Mamma Italian chain. Not the healthiest brunch items but everything is delicious. We ordered the brioche french toast and truffle eggs, along with a pistachio and chocolate latté.

Other:

Le Tricycle  (10th arr) 100% vegan

Nous (9th and 10th arr)

Pinson (Marais)

Miznon (Marais)

 

 

Gluten-Free Almond Breakfast Cake

img_7353

img_7358

Serve for breakfast or as a healthy dessert. To make it more decadent add maple syrup or honey on top. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 lemon (juice + zest)

1 banana (mashed)

1/4th c honey

1/2 c sliced almonds

125 g almond flour

1 t nutmeg

1 t cinnamon

1 t vanilla

butter or coconut oil for greasing

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs, lemon juice and zest, banana, honey, and vanilla together. In a separate bowl combine the almond flour, 1/4th c sliced almonds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  2. Combine the two mixtures and transfer the batter to a greased baking pan. Sprinkle the rest of the sliced almonds on top.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.