My Parisian Adventure: The Unseen Bits

After a day of being back home, I started again looking through the photos on my phone from my trip in Paris. I then realised there were many snapshots of brief, funny and cultural moments that made my time there the more special and exciting. So, here are 10 unseen bits from my Parisian adventure. πŸ˜‰

1. We were never short on water

While I was worried about dehydration, many people used the hot weather to business advantages by setting up nearby long queues around attractions and sell ice cold bottled waters on the spot. (Quite honestly though, I probably won’t have made it through those 4.5 hours by the Catacombs without them. πŸ˜‚ Though I thought they did bump up the price to €2 there…πŸ€”)

2. Ice cream is your new best friend

On the subject of the hot weather, ice creams had become my staple diet… πŸ˜‚

3. Toilet is the new luxury

One thing I couldn’t get over in Paris was that almost every single toilets in malls and stations need to be paid for, with prices ranging from half an euro to over one euro per entry! 😠 This particular one in Carrousel du Louvre took it to another level, costing €1.50 per entry to their ‘luxurious‘ toilets…

And they also sold coloured and patterned toilet rolls for ridiculous prices! πŸ˜‚

4. Apparently being 25 is not that old at all

Being in the UK, I was used to paying for adult tickets for most things post 16. However, in Paris, it seemed that being 25 was still very much considered ‘young’ in a number of places. In Sainte-Chapelle, not only was I allowed to bypass the long queue, I also did not need to pay for any tickets. Though the words ‘European Community‘ unnerved me due to the current situation with Brexit… (I was told by a member of staff to ‘enjoy it while [I] could.’ 😬) I did get lucky though because I was only a few months away from turning 26. πŸ˜‚

Though, at the Eiffel Tower, I was annoyed that I just missed out the half price ‘youth’ ticket by a year… πŸ˜“

5. CinEiffel in the FerriΓ© Pavilion

While I collapsed in sweats and nerves after I reached the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, I got to catch this amazing clip in the FerriΓ© Pavilion section there which was projected onto a three-wall screen. (P.S. I didn’t stay for the whole thing… πŸ˜‚)

6. ‘Pardon, monsieur.’

On the line of Eiffel Tower, I was taking this picture when a little boy accidentally kicked a football at me… ⚽️ 😡

And when he came up to apologise, that was how I learnt β€˜pardon’ meant β€˜sorry’ in French. πŸ˜… (Which I later used repeatedly throughout my trip! πŸ˜‚)

7. The Metro is a whole new world underground

Vending machines on the platform? And mostly air conditioned? London underground could really take a page out of the Metro’s book!

But their exit barriers really reminded me of fire exits. (I was scared I was going to set some random alarm off when I first passed one… 😨)

8. Duck or goose?

When I was at Le Comptoir de La Gastronomie, I took a look around their shop section after my lunch. But I was a little confused by the huge variations in the prices of the different foie gras.

While most of the foie gras was in the region of around €20 to €40, this one I was holding only costed €8. When I asked for the reason, it turned out that this one was made from duck livers rather than those of geese, so it was less valuable. 😯

9. Graffiti in the Catacombs

Be respectful for the dead? (I don’t want to be haunted! 😰😱)

10. And when you’re a tourist, you just take a bunch of random pictures of stuff that you don’t even know…

Day 5: Sunny Boulevard

They always say, ‘they save the best ’til last’. And just like that, the hottest day of the year marked the last leg of my time here in Paris. β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ Since my train was scheduled for the evening, I decided to not to head out early this morning, and instead enjoyed every last bits of air con in my hotel room until I needed to check out at midday. πŸ˜‚β„οΈ (Though I did took a brief stroll around the neighbourhood at around 9am and got a sandwich for breakfast from a supermarket nearby.)

With the intense heat, I refused to stay outdoor for any longer than necessary. Therefore, after leaving my luggage at the hotel’s locker, I headed to some major department stores on the Boulevard Haussmann. I first stopped by Galeries Lafayette, where the building was well known for its stained glass dome. It even has a extended path called ‘glasswalk’ on the 3rd floor that allows visitors to walk out and look right underneath the dome. But I was a little too scared to try due to my fear of height… πŸ˜… (At least the Eiffel Tower wasn’t transparent!)

View from the rooftop. You can see the Eiffel Tower from afar. πŸ˜‰

Like many high-end department stores, the place are filled with expensive brands. Now, I got to say I don’t have a particular interest in shopping in general. (Let alone ones that are this expensive!) So, my main focus was on the food available here. The place has restaurants and cafes dotted around each floor of the building. (The place was massive, since, in addition to the main building, there were two other separate buildings that were also part of Galeries Lafayette.) I initially wanted to visit the rooftop restaurant until I discovered it was outdoor… πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ˜“ Not a chance I was going to stay!

So instead, I went to an Asian restaurant called Panasia on the floor below which turned out to be quite decent. Though I was more interested in trying their ice creams afterwards. πŸ˜‹ (A quick side story: the place was absolutely packed, so I was sat facing the sun by the window and sharing a table with a kind old lady. She was very gracious in letting me sit directly opposite to avoid the sun and be her brief lunch date lol. 😊)

Panna cotta (top) and coconut (bottom) ice creams

I then moved on to visit the Printemps, another top department store a few blocks down along the Boulevard Haussmann. Similarly, it also has a beautiful stained glass ceiling in its dining area. ❀️

Felt like the hot weather really made me craved for something cold, so I was instantly drawn to an ice cream mochi stand in the store. (For those of you who may not know, mochi is a Japanese treat made from glutinous rice and has a soft yet slightly chewy texture – a bit like marshmallows.) They were popular sweet treats in Hong Kong and my family used to fight over them. πŸ˜‚

I decided to go for less conventional flavours, and chose the mojito (top) and Sakura (bottom). Sakura is Japanese for cherry blossoms, and this had a subtle floral flavour which was pleasant but not too overpowering to eat. 😊 I absolutely loved the mojito one since I am a big fan of lime and I could definitely taste the alcohol! πŸ˜‚ (If you eat too many, would you end up drunk lol?)

However, with that, I wrapped up my final activity in Paris and headed back to collect my luggage from the hotel. Learning from my mistake on the first day, I made sure I arrived way earlier at the train station this time!πŸ˜‚ (I actually almost missed the train since I didn’t realise at first that the way we entered the platform was via a different route to others because we needed to pass through passport control and customs! πŸ˜“) These past few days almost felt it went too quick. πŸ˜• But I definitely will be coming back to Paris another time! 😁

(P.S. our train was delayed in our journey because of technical issues down the track. I am still on the train now as I write this! πŸ˜‚)

For now, au revoir!

Some Like It Hot Hot Hot

I think I may be on a meat and grill obsession at the moment, since my lunch choice today meant that I obviously had not had enough in the barbecue yesterday. Taking the bus to Angel, I visited a Japanese steak and sushi bar called Hot Stone that had been plaguing my social media in the past month (and tormenting me with delicious food! πŸ˜‚)

I tried to visit one Sunday evening a while ago, but the place was unfortunately full at the time. (Mind you, the place isn’t massive either.) So, this time around, I came at the earliest time during their lunch hours, and my strategy worked 😁! (Got to also say the place did fill up quite quickly afterwards.) As the name of the restaurant implies, it specialises in hot stone cooking. Customers who order this will be given a hot stone with choices of steak and/or seafood which they will be cooking themselves over the hot stone. I ordered a sirloin steak paired with tiger king prawns. (Would have loved to try the Wagyu beef, but it’s too expensive for me eat by myself…) It’s great fun to do and you would be given premium ingredients, though just be mindful you may be let down by your own cooking. πŸ˜…

Think I overcooked my steak slightly…. πŸ˜“

I also ordered the scallop tataki, which is scallops that were quickly seared at the sides but mostly raw at the centre. It was absolutely delicious, in fact I wished there were even more! πŸ˜‚ For those of you who may be looking for alternatives to the hot stone, there are plenty of choices of sushi and other kind Japanese dishes there. (In fact, I was awkwardly staring at the dishes the tables next to me were ordering… Definitely tempted to order more if I weren’t worried about a hefty bill! πŸ˜‚)

And, to finish, some vanilla ice cream mochi.

Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes

At the end of every weekends, there always seems to be a sense of dread with the thought of going back to work tomorrow. As one who has suffered from anxiety issues, I have had problems of ‘butterflies in stomach’ as the end of Sunday approaches. Such was a bit of a problem when I was in school, but now having grown into adulthood, I have tried to find ways of managing these problems.

What I found was that doing something that you could enjoy and relax was a great help. And, for me, the best thing to do was obviously none other than having delicious food! So after an afternoon nap at home, I hopped onto a bus for a short ride to Angel station. It is one of my favourite spots in London to come by for good food as it boasts a vast array of restaurants and eatery here.

Now, I have a few places that I particularly go often here, but today I thought I will go for something different as I headed into Wahaca. For my fellow Londoners, I doubt it is something unfamiliar (as they are virtually everywhere!) I had a strange relationship with Wahaca in that, in my first few months in London, everyone I knew would go on about how great it is but we always struggled to get into a restaurant on Friday nights, so I actually didn’t manage to have a try until some time last year (and I genuinely like Mexican food!)

Devon Crab πŸ¦€ & Avocado πŸ₯‘ Tostadas
Bavette Steak πŸ₯©
Raspberry Sorbet & Vanilla with Hibiscus 🌺 Syrup and Cinnamon-Dusted Buñuelo Pastry

I really enjoyed the crab & avocado tostadas and the ice creams, especially with the cinnamon buΓ±uelo pastry which brought something different to the table. Whilst the steak was also good overall, I thought it was a touch under-seasoned. Either way, a fiery kick start to the week!

Do you also enjoy Mexican cuisine? Do you have a thing-to-do on Sunday evenings? πŸ˜‰ Feel free to let me know in the comments!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

The sunlight is finally back in London! Having powered my way through work last night, I decided to treat myself today by visiting Central London. What’s better than eating outside when the sun is out? For lunch today, I visited Duck & Waffle Local by Piccadilly Circus. I had walked past this restaurant many times before, but never tried it until now. Duck is always one of my favourite protein to eat, so it’s really a no-brainer choice for me.

The first dish I tried was a foie gras crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e served with a toasted brioche. I was intrigued by the idea of a savoury take on this traditional French dessert. I particularly enjoyed the silky, smooth texture of the crΓ¨me brΓ»lΓ©e, and the savoury note from the foie gras accompanied well with the creaminess of the dish. Personally, I think I may prefer a thinner caramel on top as it did get slightly too rich and heavy after a couple of bites, but it’s nonetheless quite good.

For the second dish, I ordered their signature dish: confit duck leg and waffles with a fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup. This modern, French spin on the American classic was cooked to almost perfection. Waffles were deliciously crispy and the duck was scrumptious when paired with the sweet maple syrup. And the fried duck egg to me was more than a garnish as I felt it added another level of texture and complexity to the overall dish.

Those who know me will know that besides food, movies are another great passion of mine. Today, I was particularly excited coming outside because of the release of Toy Story 4. Like many of you out there, I grew up watching the franchise since I saw the first film when I was around 4 years old. To think of how many years have passed since then, it was almost a scary feeling. So many good and bad moments in the last 20 or so years, it was like a trip down the memory lane in my mind.

Grabbing a bubble tea before the movie!
Long time no see, Buzz and Bo Peep! πŸ‘‹ (I actually ended up going to another cinema nearby ’cause the ticket in this place was really expensive… πŸ˜“)
Waiting for the ads to finish before the showing…

Without spoiling the movie for people, I am just going to say it was a lovely film to watch and to see these wonderful characters again brought back so much joy and happy memories! (And to see Woody and Bo Peep reunited for the first time after all these years, it filled me with warmth and hope for the future.)

After the movie, it won’t be like me to not have some more food before heading home, right? So I ended up grabbing a chicken katsu curry and a gelato before riding the bus back.

To quote Buzz Lightyear, here is to another Saturday and ‘to infinity and beyond‘!

Create Your Sweet Moments Every Day

After a really long day at work today, I was exhausted beyond belief by the time I got home. Now, I must confess that I am probably not the tidiest person in the entire world. So having put off doing laundry for two weeks now, I finally decided to turn on the washing machine at last. πŸ˜… After stuffing it full, I collapsed on my bed and fell sound asleep with the noises of the washing machine and the TV running in the background.

Just when I thought my evening was going to smoothly run its course, I snored awake when I noticed everything in my apartment was silent and switched off. Thinking it was just another tripped fuse, I wandered half-awakened to the fuse box. That was when I discovered that not just the entire building, but the street I lived on had suddenly experienced a power outage!

Before I had time to even worry about how long it would take for the power to come back on, I realised my phone (the only one thing unaffected) was low on battery and most of my clothes now stuck in the washing machine. And yet, I found the first thing I was actually concerned about was my alarm not coming on tomorrow morning if all my appliances were dead. Thoughts and stress started racing in my head. What if I get in trouble if I wake up late for work tomorrow? Why did I always seem to value my job above everything else? Why couldn’t I stop worrying about things I wasn’t able to control?

Finally, I came to a realisation I should stop stressing myself out and savoured the peace I was finally allowed. I decide to watch MasterChef on my phone, then fell asleep again before I was awakened by the washing machine and lights coming back on two hours later. Since my laundry still needed some time to finish, I decided to go outside meanwhile for a cheeky strawberry sundae in the middle of night. (Excuse the drop of sauce dripped onto the table πŸ˜‚)

Turn out tonight wasn’t so bad after all. Why don’t we all stop and just make the most of every moments we have in our lives? Sometimes even the bad moments can still turn out to be sweet in the end.

(Clearly jinxed myself with this post ’cause the power is gone yet again πŸ˜“ when I was showering…)

An 1-Hour Trip To Tokyo

After a few days of less than ideal weather, London finally welcomed back the sun. In fact it was so hot today, I had been constantly filling myself up with cold drinks and ice creams! πŸ˜…

Despite the heat in the underground threatened to melt me alive, I continued my search for good food and arrived in Eat Tokyo. Those of you who lived in the city might be somewhat familiar with it as they do have a handful of branches dotted around London. Japanese cuisine is definitely one my favourites to eat. Before it has become such a mainstream cuisine internationally, it used to be quite a high end thing to eat back in the days. During my childhood whilst growing up in Hong Kong, my family and I used to spend ages queueing to eat in Japanese restaurants. It was quite a luxurious treat to me back then!

The one thing I like about Eat Tokyo is that, besides big, bold flavours, they serve large portions for around the same price you will get in similar restaurants. My first dish was a yellowtail sushi. Yellowtail is one of the best fish to eat raw in my opinion. It has a very tender and light texture, and pairs very well with the pickled ginger that accompanied the sushi. I must confess I have an obsession with pickled ginger, which my grandmother used to make regularly when she was still with us.

The second dish was a foie gras with daikon. Most people when they think of foie gras, their mind immediately jump to French cuisine but it’s actually also a fairly commonly used ingredient in Japanese cuisine as well. Daikon, for those of you who are not sure, is a Japanese radish. This radish is famous for its juiciness and sweetness, and it is best served after cooking for a long time in a broth or sauce, where the daikon will become very soft and flavourful. (My family is obsessed with daikon and used to fight over who gets to eat the last pieces!) In this dish, the richness of the foie gras contrasts very well with the lightness of the daikon, though I do think the sauce is slightly on the heavy side.

The last dish was what they called a katsu sara, which to me was a katsudon with rice served separately. Katsudon is a classic Japanese dish consisting of breaded pork cutlets cooked in eggs, vegetables and a sweet soy sauce, and then served over a bowl of rice. It is also an old favourite of mine since I was young. I had so many happy memories eating this dish as a kid.

I wasn’t able to finish it however, so I got a doggy bag with me when I left. At least that’s my lunch set for tomorrow!

(P.S. As if it wasn’t enough to fill me up already, I also went for a gelato afterwards…. πŸ˜‚ You heard of the saying that “you always have room for desserts”?)

Anyway, you can NEVER have too much ice creams!

It’s NEVER Too Cold For Ice Cream

Remember the iconic scene in Roman Holiday when Audrey Hepburn was eating ice cream on the Spanish Steps? Unlike her though, eating ice cream on a warm, sunny day pose more of a challenge for me thanks to the lovely British weather. (Yes, I am being sarcastic. :p)

As I walked under drizzles of rain, buying groceries in Central London today, I nonetheless paid a visit to my favourite ice cream shop in town. I stumbled across Yolkin one night a couple of months ago when I was wandering around near Chinatown. Their unique, Asian-inspired flavours are some of the most innovate ideas I’ve seen in ice cream anywhere. Some of my favourites of theirs include egg tart, mango & mochi, white rabbit candy and pocky biscuit sticks, and honestly I have been kept coming back for more ever since my first visit.

They also do the most fabulous macaron ice cream sandwiches.

Here is a link to their Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/yolkinmacice/?locale2=en_GB

Tell me about your favourite ice cream flavours and desserts in the comments!