Gevulde speculaas is not a person, if that’s what you’re thinking. It is a traditional Dutch spiced cookie, filled with almond paste. It literally means “filled cookies.” It is actually pretty random how I came across this dessert. I didn’t know what I was eating when I first took a bite of this peculiar pastry in Amsterdam, when my friend brought it from a bakery on our way to the train station. After some digging on the Internet and finding out that it’s called gevulde speculaas, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it. I still don’t.
I spent my last day in Paris completing the search for a good macaron. Not a perfect macaron, because there is no such thing as a perfect anything. The search was not deliberate at all to begin with. I’m never a big macaron person, but the combination of being in Paris, the beautiful, pearly macarons sitting behind shop windows on the streets, and the tourist mentality that macarons are just so French has made me give in and buy a macaron from time to time.
I don’t exactly know what I look for in a good macaron. But I know it’s a good one when the shell has just the slightest crunch, and after you break into it the macaron just dissolves in your mouth. A moment it is still sitting there on your tongue, the next it is gone. A chewy macaron automatically earns a strike. I want a macaron that is so delicate it is almost fragile.
The French has their own style and customs when it comes to eating in cafes, grabbing something quick from bakeries, or dining in restaurants. I am no expert in dissecting this culture, but here are a few general tips that I’ve learned in the past 4 months.
Salut mes amis! This is a short-ish, lazy post – basically a rundown of my favorite eats and discoveries in Paris that spanned the two months of October and November. My bad for flaking out in October – my fall break trip to Italy has consumed most of it, and so I figured I could just combine the two months. Check these places out while you can – I strongly recommend everything that’s mentioned here! Arrondissements are in brackets.
I’m a complete slacker, I know. Fall break was a month ago, and I finally managed to roll this out. I miss Italy. My heart aches for homecooked pasta, fresh pizzas, and cannolis. I miss staring down the entire city of Florence from the Dome of Santa Maria Cathedral, listening to live, acoustic music on top of Piazza Michelangelo, and sitting in front of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican City because I couldn’t be bothered to line up to get in.
Imagine somewhere above Earth, an artist accidentally spilled his painting palette, splattering colors all over this island of Italy. That’s Venice for you.
Third time’s the charm, and L’Avant Comptoir is the poppin’ example of that.
A popular tapas bar sitting right in the middle of the center of Paris near Odeon, this was where my friends and I have been trying to go to twice before and had reluctantly turned away because it was simply too packed. The third time, we arrived at 5:30PM on a Friday, to snatch a spot in this tiny, quirky place. There is a seafood counterpart, L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer, and the actual sit-down restaurant, Le Comptoir.
I am no tapas connoiseur, and the last time I’ve had legit tapas was… actually, never. I’ve been to mediocre Spanish restaurants, but that’s about it. This was an eye-opening, eyebows-raised experience. But in the best possible ways.