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Postcards from Paris

This week’s Postcard from Paris comes from Yael, who touches on many a subject that crosses the mind of study-abroad students: culture shock, homesickness, a very strong desire for bagels…

In general, my lunch these days consists of a boulangerie sandwich, and there are only three or so options to choose from (I do have quite a thing for those curry chicken sandwiches that are somehow so weirdly Parisian, but that’s another post). Trust me, you can put pretty much anything on a good crusty demi-baguette and I’m a happy girl… but sometimes I just need something different.

In the weeks leading up to our departure, we were warned about the imminent prospect of culture shock. We were told that we would be unable to understand the customs of the French at first, and that we should go eat American food or watch a movie in English if we were feeling too country-sick. Well, I have yet to experience this sudden desire to go back to the world of hamburgers and greasy, inauthentic Chinese food… but I’ll fake some culture shock any day if it means I have an excuse to eat at Bagels & Brownies.

Yes, you read that right. There are two categories of students in the Columbia-Penn Program in Paris at Reid Hall—the first group, when I say I got lunch at Bagels & Brownies, responds with “Huh? What’s that?” and the second group responds with something along the lines of “OMG THAT PLACE IS SO GOOD.” Continue reading Postcards from Paris

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Postcards from Paris

photo courtesy of gastronomyblog.com

Yael continues from Kelcey’s postcard last week and takes us on an adventure of the expensive but delicious delight of duck confit.  The beautiful photo is courtesy of the bloggers at Gastronomy Blog.

Full disclosure: I was this close to writing about Jacques Genin. I mean, Kelcey’s post last week didn’t touch on the best tarte au citron I’ve ever eaten (and it’s a favorite of mine; I’ve eaten a lot of them) or the walnut tart filled with gooey, buttery caramel, or any of Genin’s transcendental candy confections. But I figured you probably didn’t want to hear about the same patisserie again, so I’ll move on. Topic of the day: Duck Confit.

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the culinary miracle known as confit de canard, I’m going to warn you that you might gain a couple pounds just by reading about it. Essentially, the leg of the duck is salt-cured for a day or so and then placed in a low-temp oven to slowly (4-10 hours slowly, according to Wikipedia) poach in it’s own fat. And whoever has been served a sliced duck breast knows that these birds have no shortage of natural padding. The entire, half-inch-thick layer of fat just melts away, soaking into the meat and making it taste like nothing you have ever eaten before.

Kelcey and I had both read about Joséphine “Chez Dumonet,” a bistro located, as luck would have it, not far from our program base at Reid Hall in the 6th arrondissement. Sometimes an inspiring meal can turn an ordinary Friday into an extraordinary one, and that’s what happened when we decided to walk over there after class.

Continue reading Postcards from Paris