Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.


Mar 31, 2012

RECIPE: indian-style cream of corn soup

I've been reading Michael Pollan, my new hero by the way, in that sort of "if he were one third Jamie Oliver and another third Ryan Gosling with the mouth of Gordon Ramsay, I would be his politically correct sex slave" kind of way, and his writing is so fascinating. I've seen his name scattered throughout Barnes and Noble for years, but it wasn't until his books were literally sharing the small amount of oxygen left in this tiny airport bookshop that I decided to finally buy one of his highly acclaimed investigative journalistic compendiums, The Omnivore's Dilemma. And without the intention of sounding cheesy, I'm so glad I did. It really is a life changer. The only thing I resent is that not everyone is a geek like me or even a book whore (read hoarder) like I and many others are, so the fact that he wrote a book that would take the average working human weeks if not months to read makes me sad because the content in this treasure trove of a book should be what replaces the crappy reality TV nonsense we are subjected to these days. The sad truth is my friends, if you don't already know, pretty much all Americans are made of corn. Well, unless of course you are one of the few savvy folk who eat fresh farm-to-table goods from the market or a CSA.

But what I learned from his book and the week of watching documentaries afterwards (seriously I was so disturbed I had to hunker down and watch this madness in real time action...unfortunately its even worse on the big screen than reading descriptions) was that literally everything from soda (which is 86% corn sugar and the rest water) to hamburgers (which of course are made from cows who never get to roam outside, are force fed corn when they naturally only eat grass) to the mug of hot cocoa you love cuddling up to during winter (which is corn syrup, corn starch, artificial flavor, corn based preservatives, marshmallows made of corn syrup and gelatin, with just a teensy bit of milk powder) and don't even get me started on the horrific things I learned about store-bought ice cream (if you can handle the truth just comment and I will update this post for ya!).

So as infuriating as it is to learn that government puts profits ahead of the natural health of its people and way ahead of global warming issues (because if you didn't know, corn production is slowly killing us outside of the food we eat) I decided I would not only start joining some great non-profits trying to fight this craziness but I would personally boycott the stupidity that is a 90% corn diet and make my own whole foods with whatever I have around until I can afford to shop purely from local farmers and fill in that goodness with Whole Foods or Trader Joes. First order of business you wonder? Well, creamy corn soup of course! And this soup is so freaking tasty that not only could I not stop eating it (sorry Grandma, tried to save you some!) but this is the way corn should be done. Grown naturally, harvested and boiled up in an aromatic pot of goodness. Of course you don't have to grow your corn like I did, buy it at the market this weekend and all is forgiven. Then after you finish licking your bowl and spoon to death, because you will trust me, go learn all you can about what your grocery foods are really made of. It just might be the reason you're sick right now.

makes 4 servings


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 chipotle chile, jalapeno or habanero diced
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels off
  • 6 cups vegetable stock 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 tomato, chopped 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste 
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen corn 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste 


  1. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes, or until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, chili powder and diced pepper and sauté 1 minute more. Add corn kernels then sprinkle with turmeric, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent corn kernels from burning or sticking to bottom of pan. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. Combine corn mixture with the tomato, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and vegetable stock in saucepan, and bring to a boil. Throw corncobs in pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place bell pepper in blender with heavy cream, and blend well 1 minute. Strain. Pour a bit of this sauce into squirt bottle, and set aside to use for optional garnish.
  4. Remove corncobs and pour mixture into a blender and purée 3 minutes. Repeat until mixture is completely puréed. Strain
  5. Return mixture to saucepan. Add bell pepper cream sauce, and heat over medium-low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Do not boil because cream may curdle.
  6. To serve, pour into bowls, and garnish with red pepper sauce or herbs and sour cream. Voila!

Mar 30, 2012

get rid of a cold in a day & creamy tomato soup

Hey you. Yeah you. I got a secret. It does not have to be winter or even flu season for you to catch a little something something. Can you believe one night I am perfectly fine, up late as usual, completely exhausted but feeling great nonetheless, and wham, the next morning I'm sniffling and coughing and battling sinus congestion. What kind of craziness is that. I was so shocked to see my immune system had failed me overnight. I can't be to sure of the culprit. Was it the air condition blowing on my chest, accidentally drinking from some sick family member's glass, or even fatigue and stress? All I know is I wanted it gone. NOW. I had no time in my schedule for a cold. So being the research geek that I am, I got to work figuring out how to beat a cold in one day. Here's how you can join the smart and savvy club and whip that immune system into shape no matter where you are using pantry staples. I say this because I was trapped in a hotel with no grocery shop for miles, so I used what was around. Pretty nifty right!

As soon as you wake up and feel that unwanted flow of symptoms, do nothing before brewing a cup of tea. Don't be a punk and use sugar. Sweeten your tea with honey. You can use lemon tea if you have no fresh lemon, but of course fresh is always better. If you don't drink tea at all, do hot water with honey and lemon. You can gargle saltwater if you are hardcore, but who the heck has those kind of balls that early in the morning right?

So here's the deal. Sometimes a cold can linger when you are pushing yourself to the max and abuse caffeine to go even further than you should. Don't feel guilty about resting, because you absolutely need it. Take a sick day, lay on the couch, read a book, take a nap. If you're like me, you'll take plenty of cat naps throughout the day.

Don't think you're the only one who has the age-old boring chore of cleaning up your crap. Colds rely on your immune system to clean up house, so help a sister out by avoiding sugars, dairy and solid foods like the plague. If not, you feed the infection and create more mucus. Yuck. And lucky for us, we lose an appetite anyway, but when you get the unexpected munchies, a killer soup recipe makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Find the recipe for the soup I had at my hotel below (it was insanely, incredibly delicious!). Does anyone have a chicken, tomato, or squash soup recipe they want to share? I'm always on the lookout to spice up the boring.

Bet you didn't think having a cold was an excuse for spa day huh? Well fevers are basically a way for the body to speed up killing the infection. Do your duty and indulge in a fever bath! While running a super hot bubble bath (it will cool down while you're away) brew some ginger tea by adding a few tablespoons of grated ginger root to a tea pot with fresh orange or lemon juice and a bit of real maple syrup or honey to taste. Be sure to strain. Grab the whole pot and your favorite tea cup and drink this warming tea while you soak in the hot bath. Stay for as long as its hot and drink as much as you can, then go from tub to a robe or comfy towel so your body doesn't get the chills. Time for a nap!

Since I didn't have a vitamin shop around, instead of supplements I ate about two oranges for a vitamin c binge, and you can munch on cloves of garlic if you have fresh ones around. Its not as crazy as it sounds, just a bit of a spice kick. You can even juice a whole onion and combine with orange and ginger juice. Thyme, sage and rosemary also kick but. If you have a garden outside, grab a tablespoon of either and make some tea to dry that mucus right up and revel in their antimicrobial magic.

It is so hard to make creamy tomato soup without, um, well, cream. I love me some dairy. But if you want to feel better, go non-dairy for today and save this recipe the next time you feel for soup. Your milk and cream will be happy to see you again.


  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (when not sick, use cream or milk...yum!)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts


  1. Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent and the garlic tender, but not browned. Add the salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  2. Add the tomatoes, along with their liquid and bring the mixture to a slow simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the milk and goat cheese if you wish, and continue cooking until the cheese has melted. Add the basil and stir until wilted.
  4. Using a blender or hand immersion blender, purée the mixture until smooth. Add the water to thin slightly if desired, stir in the pine nuts and keep warm until served.

image: source research: source

Mar 25, 2012

RECIPE: oatmeal cranberry choco chip cookies

Here's the thing. I woke up yesterday in my own bed for the first time in two weeks (a long story for another day) and felt the urge to cultivate some semblance of a healthy morning start, if you will. Recharge the batteries after half a month of binge eating. Well, not so much binging as a food hostage situation. The hostage, of course, being healthy food. Which was nowhere to be found ever since leaving my house two weeks ago. Days of pizza grease, even greasier chicken wings slathered in a sauce I can only presume was buffalo, among other trifling excuses for dinner like grilled cheese and chicken wraps with, you guessed it, a heaping supply of buffalo sauce. Oh and the alleged Oreo creme tart pie thingy. Don't turn away from me in disgust. It gets better!

So after two weeks of this nonsense, I wasted no time setting my sights on recuperating from the diet I let wreak havoc. A hearty bowl of real oatmeal and green tea with maybe a side of fruit. Ahh the images of all those antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins pranced around in my mind as I dragged my tired butt out of bed and up the stairs to the bizarrely empty kitchen. This kitchen desperately missed me. And I it. But what was this! Real oats are pretty, well, real. I actually have never seen them before. I've done my due diligence learning the difference between pathetic instant and the mightier Irish cut, but whole grain old fashioned oats were huge and quite tasteless. When made with just water (I was out of milk) it left little to be desired, even after adding sugar. So, feeling rather slightly deflated, I only half satisfyingly ate my bowl of oatmeal mixed with spices, honey and a bit of peach yogurt (a trick I told you guys about already). But with every loss, a triumph lurks in the distance. At least that's the way everyone should see life. So I decided to show that canister of real oatmeal who was boss. You wanna show me dry, bitter, lackluster grains? Well, I'll show you the best damn oatmeal cookies you ever did see or taste. And this is no gimmick folks. They are so good you will be calling my name. And you don't even know it. That's how powerful it is. Enjoy!

Best Oatmeal Raisin-Cranberry Walnut Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen


  • 1 3/4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon organic salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) organic unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic real maple syrup
  • 1 cup organic packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 organic cage-free eggs
  • 2 teaspoons organic pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cup organic old fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup organic walnuts
  • 3/4 cup organic semisweet chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk to combine well.
  3. In a separate bowl beat room temperature butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating each until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and combine. Add the flour mixture little by little, mixing until fully incorporated. Use a large wooden spoon to mix in the oats and the raisins and cranberries.
  4. Put the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare your baking sheets, lining each one with parchment paper.
  5. After about 10-15 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and spoon out large scoops of dough making balls about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Place 6 balls on each pan, no more so they won’t be too close together.
  6. Lightly press each ball to make a disk that is about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, turning them half way through, until the edges are lightly brown and the inside should look uncooked.
  8. After removing from the oven, leave the cookies on the hot pan for 10 additional minutes, then a few more minutes on a cool rack.
  9. Serve!

img source: here

1 comment

Mar 9, 2012

fly away with me

I've been so antsy pantsy this week; I don't know what it is. All I know is I want to get away. As far as the sky travels, that's where I'll be. And this past weekend, had I not been broke beyond belief, I would have been living it up in San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. Oh well. There's always next year. I guess. But doesn't change the fact that I want to go to all these places that I dream of so often, all the while consuming me like a disease. San Francisco. Paris. Sydney. Venice. What a life that would be. So its my absolute mission to find out how I can live like a bird...and take off without a worry in the world like so many others do. All I need is money, that's what runs this life we live. Cupcakes can make me money right? Maybe a little RV all spruced up trudging along from coast to coast selling ice cream and sweets! A shot in the dark, I know. There must be a secret to it, and I want to find it out. Until then, I'll just keep my collection of dream journals and wish boxes growing...

What about you?

"And maybe someday we'll figure all this out...and maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud." - Rob Thomas, Someday



Mar 4, 2012

REVIEW: le cosmopolitan cafe

Once upon a time I took a French 101 class, hoping to expand my freelance repertoire to include French publications. Low and behold the angels above granted me the opportunity to earn extra credit for the semester's end by eating. Eating...for credit? Oh heavens! I quickly scanned the neighborhood and found a quaint little cafe close to university. Then the night sweats set in. Me? Write in French? Who was I kidding. I tried and tried, but many drafts later I was not even close to confident enough to turning it in to my utterly intimidating professor, or any magazine for that matter. And so here it is, just for you, to take a peek at what would have been. My dear Frenchie readers, comment what you think. Lucky for all of us, I still saw, ate, and conquered. And there is a prove it.
Qui pense quel j’ai pense ce soir je regarde a le cafe. Le canopy vert est charmant avec le fancy font, et le menu est charmant aussi. J’ai faire promenade toujours curieuse, arriver de mon classe de française a le metro. C’est un nouveau restaurant assez. Un Novembre soir j’ai curieuse et la rue Chambers. Je regarde a le menu. Voici croissants, crepes avec caramel, et un petit menu du vin. Les items sont petit prix. J'ai été heureuse.
Who knows what traversed through my mind that tempestuous night I happened upon Le Cafe. When in fact, it was no accidental encounter at all. The fanciful thin gold font that spells out simply ‘Cafe’ on the moss green canopy, and the equally charming sidewalk menu had teased me many a night. I’d pass by bemused, always racing in a dazed rush from French class to the train; taking note with my peripheral of the dimly lit interior and orgy of delicate savory fragrances that drifted outside, hovering above enticed passersby. It was finally pure curiosity that made me stop dead in my tracks one early November evening while once again racing down Chambers Street. I took a quick glance at the podium menu, running my fingers along the open faced baked croissant breakfast sandwich, banana crepe drizzled with caramel, and short but sweet wine list. Nothing was over ten bucks. I was sold.

Not more than two minutes later was I inside, cozying up at a table for one in the rear of the restaurant. A perfect spot if you ask me, nestled between the pathway to the discreetly bustling kitchen and the grandiose mahogany china cabinet that housed vintage tea cups, flea market flatware, and doily covered mason jars. I was in awe at the humble embrace yet acute detail of it all. I didn’t feel like I was in France, I just felt at home. Mini coca cola bottles perched on oak shelves, metallic gilded tile basked in the warm 1930s evocative lighting, and the ancient fireplace to my right led my eyes from the nostalgic display pieces to the ornate ceiling. When my eyes came back down to Earth, that’s when I saw him. Craig Bero. A tall, slender, older man with a modest stance, gliding around the dining room, checking on the patrons, keeping things running smoothly. I didn’t know who he was, perhaps the shift manager or barkeep, but I would later find out he was not only the owner, but a Tribeca legend in his own right.

I was soon brought the menu by a petite waitress with a rearing smile. The offerings were short and sweet, which I quickly reassured myself was the typicality of bistro fare. This was a night I wanted to be daring; exhaust my Francophile tendencies. I hadn’t had crepes since my getaway to Montreal, and never before or since. My mouth salivated slightly at the mention of the buckwheat chicken crepe with mirepoix and cream sauce. I didn’t hesitate to order that, and made sure the waitress knew I would be ordering dessert. The apple crumble tart to be exact.

“This will go wonderfully with your savory crepe,” said a somber voice above me. It was Craig, who was handing me a wine glass topped off with delicious Chardonnay that did indeed match perfectly with my crepe when it arrived piping hot from the kitchen. As I eagerly took knife and fork to my dish, I wondered to myself how Craig knew so quickly what I had ordered, and how he could be so sweet as to offer me a complimentary glass of wine. It made me forget I was among aloof New Yorkers altogether. The crepe itself was the epitome of well-priced French bistro cuisine- simply plated, though a large plate indeed, with a side salad sprinkled modestly in vinaigrette dressing. The pungent buckwheat overpowered the goodness it housed inside, until I cut away into the center, revealing the aromatic and flawlessly cooked chicken with mushroom sauce, reminiscent of homemade pot pie. I would have preferred a creamier filling, but alas, I have the palate of a six year old. Kraft macaroni and cheese was my idea of a signature dish for decades.

I giddily awaited the apple tart, having never tried one before. I’ve long promised to immerse myself in French desserts, and this was a good start. But there was Craig again, standing tall above me, generously offering me apple compote a la mode. “This is fresh from the oven! I thought you might like this instead on a cold night like this, but if you would prefer the tart let me know.” How could I turn down anything fresh from the oven smothered in vanilla bean ice cream? My mother raised me better than that. I scarfed it down, but not before requesting an extra heaping scoopful of ice cream to go with the tiny bit of apple pie left in my bowl, which the waitress brought to me in a jiffy, no questions asked. I laughed quietly at the thought of being charged $7 for such a request in a place like Applebee’s.

I was stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. I sat there content, noticing that I was eating alone, for the first time, feeling completely comfortable, which is no small feat in Manhattan. I indulged in voyeuristic activity, gliding my eyes over the the couple at the front who had brought their own soup and were eating it with mischievous smirks before ordering dessert, on to the seemingly after hours coworker soiree in the center of the dining room had no end in sight, then catching sight of a chatty group of elegant French women wandering inside as I was getting myself ready to leave. After finally getting the waitresses’ attention, I beckoned for the check, then when seeing Craig emerge from the kitchen, I asked him inquisitively what the apple tart would have looked like. I couldn’t eat a drop more, but it was a shame to not experience such a classic dessert. The next thing I know, looking up once again at the shadow hovering over me, was Craig, smiling sweetly handing me a large brown paper bag with an apple tart to follow me home. I was in awe. I spent the rest of the night thinking which was sweeter- my delectable apple tart drenched in crème fraiche and caramel sauce, or Craig, the gentle soul running one of the best cafes downtown Manhattan has ever seen...

Mar 3, 2012

BLOG: like strawberry milk

If I had a blog sister, you know, like blood sisters but much less dramatic, it would be undeniably Fanny from Like Strawberry Milk. Her whimsical imagery, her poetic tongue, and her happily failing kitchen adventures. And since I know some of you are a lazy bunch, here is an excerpt from her blog below. But don't be a dud. Go visit her. Or else!

PS- Loving her recipes for chocolate loaf cake and mini marbles!

I could tell you how my dad would take me to the boulangerie after school, as I was smaller than the smallest tree of your garden. In fact, I could barely walk. But making my way to the bottom of the crumpled paper bag handed to me by the lady at the counter seemed easy.
That paper bag could hold a dozen of chouquettes. Or as I would call them, chouchou. Possibly, a made-up word from my dad.
Oh yes, I could tell you how my hands would be sticky. And my mouth most likely surrounded by pearls of sugar.
But instead, I will tell you about what happened a few days ago.
I brought milk and butter to a rolling boil. With a pinch of salt, just so; because, that’s the way to go. I added a good amount of flour. Off the heat, it goes without saying (and yet, here I am). I placed the pan back over the gas and mixed it with a wooden spoon until it was just dry enough.
I transferred it to the bowl of my stand-mixer; although arms and a spoon would do a fine job too. And add the eggs, one at a time. Until it was just wet enough.
I piped. Without a nozzle, because they all seem to be in London. And I am not.
I brushed eggwash. I scored the top with a fork. Dipped in the remaining egg.
I sprinkled sucre casson [pearl sugar].
I baked. And poured us a glass of white wine. Or perhaps it was a rosé.
And then, we ate them. Slightly warm. And guess what? Sticky hands and sugar around the mouth are a must.
Read the

images Like Strawberry Milk
1 comment

des patisseries j'adore

Salut mes amis! C'est un jour magnifique aujourd'hui, non! Voici des patisseries et boulangeries que tres j'aime. Ils sont le populaire Le Pain Quotidien, le nouveau Takahachi, et mon préféré toujours patisserie pour macarons, le seul Madeleine Patisserie. Bien, nous commencons!
Hey dolls! Its such a wonderful day today no? Well what better way to celebrate than to share my first ever bakery/restaurant reviews. You asked for it, so I am here to deliver. Here are some bakeries that I adventurously wandered into this past week and like dvery much. They include the immensely popular chain Le Pain Quotidien (which I promise, there's one near you, so check their website), the new kid on the block Takahachi, and my favorite bakery for macarons thus far, the one and only, Madeleine Patisserie. Okay, let's go!

the day: Thursday 23, September
the place: Takahachi Bakery
25 Murray St NY, NY 10007

The tempestuous afternoon soon lended itself to a quiet and drizzly evening, where me and my new friends from English class decided to take a leisurely stroll in search of food to accompany our conversations. No one cared for anything in particular, so we grazed aimlessly until suddenly, after crossing West Broadway, there it was- Takahachi, the latest Tribeca neighborhood bakery slash bistro, beckoned me with its alluring grand blue doors and welcoming open layout. The entrance literally makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland, captivated with curiosity. The shop is in a newly constructed loft building, so inside it lacked the charm of my preferred French country decor, and mimicked a direct and clean ambiance, though the exposed brick and oversized chalkboards brought on the quaintness in satisfying doses. And not sooner had we all passed the cute sidewalk menu boards and entered did we see an array of sweet smelling breads, savory sandwiches, and a pastry display that seemed to be endless. I was tickled pink at the glimpse of some rather large looking macarons in exotic flavors like green tea, matcha, rosemary, and yuzu perfectly perched next to the usual suspects- vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, and raspberry. Everything looked divine and fresh from back of house, from various small pizzas, savory croissants, cakes, to traditional bread loaves, salads, and danishes. But since no one wanted to eat but me, I was craving sweets and chocolate. I spotted mocha on the menu, but at $4.50 a pop, that was not happening. Ultimately, I ended up with the raspberry and chocolate macarons ($2.15 ea) since I am a newly appointed macaron aficionado, and then dipped my finger in the jar of bold and daring to order my first ever mini choux! It was spectacular! Perfect, perfect sugar sprinkled choux dough, with richly sweet caramel pastry cream piped inside. In all, the experience was well worth the stop in, and being so close to my school, this is for sure my new hang out spot. The line can be a bit disorganized, but service is quick and painless. Oh and by the way, the sitting area is just so quaint and clean, with windows in the back walls overlooking the baking. When you see Mexicans in the kitchen helping with the production of French pastries, under Japanese management and American, European and Indian patronage, surely you know you are in New York!

the day: Saturday, 25 September
the place: Madeleine Patisserie
132 W. 23rd St. NY, NY 10011

Twas a Saturday, so devoted readers are sure to know what I was busy doing. Window shopping at Barnes and Noble of course! And though the air had a slight chill, and the sun was reluctant to favor us, what a glorious day it was. Heading back from BN, I had to stop in Madeleine's, an authentic French bakery I discovered whilst being interviewed here for a job a few years ago (not a job at the bakery itself, it was the salon next door that was still in construction and no seating). Ever since then, I have always admired this gorgeous storefront, but never really had the mojo to go in. Sometimes genuinely French places scare me. I never know if the servers are French and rude, or if the customer base is snobbier than I can handle in one day. But nothing was stopping me this time, I finally ventured inside only to find a Pandora's box of sweet pastries all calling my name. I wanted to be daring, but boy are the prices at this place high. They only had coffee flavored eclairs left, so I just opted for macarons and a tart. $19 worth of macarons to be exact! Rose, chocolate, praline, pistachio, caramel, and so on. It was soooo worth it. I literally still have some in my fridge because these little cookies were so perfect, I am trying to savor them all week long. Perfectly crisp but not crunchy, and when at room temperature, the filling oozes out into your mouth. The best macarons in NYC hands down. The first time I was in, the cashier girls were a bit stuffy, but this day my server was as sweet as buttercream. She explained every flavor I inquired about, and waited patiently as I changed my mind a few times, picking out only the prettiest colors obviously. And the decor? Don't get me started! Tiffany blue floral wall paper, pink and gold menus, Provencial display cases and iron stands, not to mention the lovely tufted Louis chairs back in the communal sitting area. Just the way I would decorate my own shop. Ah, pure bliss!

the day: Tuesday, 28 September
the place: La Pain Quotidien
81 W Broadway NY, NY 1007 (more locations worldwide)

Stumbling tiredly out of English class once again, entranced by Shakespeare's plays and Homer's poetry, I grabbed my friend Karla and walked quickly as humanly possible back to Takahachi. Well, it was closed. Bummer. I wanted French cuisine, and I wanted it then and there! In a split second I remembered spotting the infamous (they are like Walmart, popping up everywhere there's a Starbucks, some people are bitterly annoyed, others plumply ok) Le Pain just on the other corner and we headed there instead. It was getting ready to close in an hour, but that didn't stop me. I set down my things at their signature beautifully crafted 'communal table' in the center of the restaurant (made out of reclaimed wood by the way) and wandered about the shop. There was more bread than once could want, and whimsically wrapped spreads, butters and jams in giant jars. My friend had to jot off to meet someone, so I was left to my own accord, and after hearing the croissants were only $3, without hesitation I said yes please, with a hot chocolate to boot, and headed to my seat. Its rather refreshing that they offer both table service and take out. I flipped through some magazines while sitting at that gigantic table, and within a decent amount of time my order came. I wasn't the happiest camper to find that they literally serve you hot steamed milk with the chocolate on the side for you to stir in. I needed heaps of sugar, and even then, the hot cocoa was not worth my $5 at all. The croissant however, was delicious. Moist and buttery, but not as flaky as most people prefer. I was provided a complimentary tray of large jam jars (the chocolate jar was empty, sigh). Overall, its quite expensive, but the convenient locations make it a great go-to spot when craving authentic French goods.

This post took me several hours, so hope you enjoyed. Let me know if you want more! If so, next week, a winery, local farmer's market, and Italian bakeries will be comin at ya!
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