Thursday, October 29, 2009


Saturday is Halloween. I baked up some braincakes. Martha had a good idea. I made it better in two ways- first, "Brain Cupcakes"? Really? How about "Braincakes?" Secondly, no more chocolate cake, these babies were designed for red velvet. Red velvet braincakes!!!Yum!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

How sick of macarons are you?

My macaron posts from my trip are winding down, promise. This is the second to last. I saw these macarons in a window of a chocolate shop in Brussels, long after I had left Paris and eaten through my stash. Macarons in the middle of chocolate land! I made a bee-line over to the shop, by the time my family made it inside I had already purchased a box of the delightful little sandwiches.

Almond. Caramel. Vanilla. These ones were super chewy, not made very well but still delicious- and the buttercream inside was very slightly sweetened, which made them taste even better.

Pistachio. More almond. More caramel. I miss macarons.

These ones are from Jean-Philippe's Darcis, a chocolate shop and patisserie. Be warned- the site pictures halloween-themed macarons, which I can imagine are nothing short of exquisite. I've got a bad feeling that next week I'll be whipping up some chocolate hazelnut macarons with pumpkin buttercream...

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The waffles of Belgium. They are sold in little storefronts everywhere, sometimes with scoops of ice cream. They smell heavenly. I would always wander around, trying to find a stand that would make them to order, instead of warming ones that were already sitting out.

Inside, they're sweet, tender, and buttery. Outside they're almost crunchy with crisp areas of sugar sprinkled on the iron before the batter was poured- the sugar caramelizes into delicious waffle-y coating. Oh, and you can also get them smothered in whipped cream. Belgium is trouble.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Pain a la Grecque!

At the Dandoy biscuit shop in the city center of Brussels, you can buy these delicious slabs of butter pastry, dotted with cubes and chunks of sugar. The window is filled with them, and by mid-day, there's a line out the door. It's a pastry that's a specialty in Brussels, and in fact I don't know where else you'd get it but Dandoy.

I was the only one who liked these- they're unapologetically sweet, and the pastry is very yeasty-tasting, like a dry brioche. Kind of chewy, everyone thought they were stale. I loved them because it was a semi-acceptable way to just eat sugar.

Crispy, flaky, sweet- and a nice break from the constant munching on Belgian chocolates, Trappist beers, and Belgian waffles... Mmmmm... waffles. More on that later.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot Air Ballooning in Bruges

My sister sees a flier in our hotel lobby for hot air ballooning. We make a few phone calls. We get picked up the next morning at 7 a.m. for a a three-hour ride at sunrise, followed by champagne and breakfast.

We get picked up with the balloon in a trailer. We test the wind direction with a rubber balloon at a VW dealership. We find out that the balloonist, Christoper, a driver, and my family will be running this whole production from setting up the balloon to putting it away.

The balloon gets rolled out and clipped on, now we're ready to fill it. This is windy.

Almost there! We're in a field next to a highway- the production is slowing down traffic.

From here it becomes a chaotic shouting of "Get in! Get in!" and scrambling to get into the basket. Inside the balloon, it's time to take off.


The strangest thing about this was that you never got to see the balloon floating from the outside, except in shadows and reflections. Above is the balloon floating over a lake.

The entire city of Bruges, from 1500 feet.

At the end of the ride we got soaked in champagne and fed delicious, butter pastries fresh from a local bakery. I was a little tipsy and adrenaline filled for pictures after our "crash" landing in a farmer's field, so you'll have to forgive the missing pastry pictures.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cocktail Hour

The best part of the day when you're on vacation is the lazy time between spending the day sight-seeing, and dinner. Usually this would include a drink or two and some snacks. Bruges is a lovely place for cocktail hour. Above is my Jupiler in the middle of the city center.

Or how about an afternoon Campari and soda on the adorable shrub-lined patio outside of the hotel?

Topped off by an amuse bouche of tuna tartare, cucumber foam, microgreens and caviar along the canal as the sun sets? Perfect.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Macarons, Pt. CCCXLV

Sorry to do this to you again. But, see, these are the macarons from Laduree. They were the best macarons, (sorry, Pierre). Fun colors! Simple flavors! Chewy, crunchy, sweet, yum.

Macaron tower!

They also came in this gorgeous little box. I'm now using it to hold earrings on my dresser.

I think the vanilla macaron from Laduree was my favorite. Or pistachio. Or rose.

Ok. I promise, no more macarons, at least for a week.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bruges et moules et frites!

The lovely city of Bruges is surrounded by canals. It's beautiful, but touristy. This is where you get mussles and frites, as it is pretty close to the ocean.

Crispy, hot, frites! Dipped in aioli and in your moules.
Moules! So good. So good with beer. More than once I found extra sea creatures in my moules- once it was a teeny baby crab, and another the world's smallest scallop. Extra creatures!

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