Monday Mélange: Tastes of Home

I’m convinced that I have heightened senses. Walking down the streets of Paris, I always knew when a bakery was nearby due to the indescribably intoxicating smell of butter. Smells bring back memories for me; whether it’s the chalky smell of fresh paint that reminds me of the number of apartments my family moved to in Manhattan or the sweet musky smell of the Redwoods we would visit in San Francisco, smells bring me right back to places and moments.

I surprised my family this past weekend for Easter. My mom made all of my favorites (some of which I shamefully requested). These tastes – along with many others – bring me right back to being a carefree kid again, something that grows more and more comforting as I grow up.

P.S. PLEASE excuse the poor photo quality. I barely had time to pull out my iPhone for these photos before I dug in!

1. Tiramisu – Ahhhh. Little pillows of lady fingers that have absorbed coffee liqueur. Clouds of mascarpone and whipped cream. Chunks of chocolate on top. Bliss? Bliss.

Tiramisu | netflix & nutella

2. My Mom’s Hash Browns – I added these to my blog about a year ago, but nothing can compare to the ones made by the creator herself. They’re slightly crispy, still tender, oniony, paprika-y…you get the picture. They’re delish.

Hash browns | netflix & nutella

3. Cheese Soufflé – Cheese. Goat, cheddar, brie, Boursin, parmesan. If it’s cheese, it makes me happy. That’s all there is to it.

Cheese soufflé | netflix & nutella

4. Anything from Corner BakeryThis spot has been a favorite of ours since the beginning of time. The chocolate chip scones and brioche are to die for (as is the raspberry almond bar below). So is the corn and barley salad I get every time I come home. It has a little bit of a bite to it and has a scallion vinaigrette that’s so light and perfect for summery days.

Corner Bakery | netflix & nutella     Corn and barley salad | netflix & nutella

5. Gigi Salad – This delicious mix of shrimp, onion, string beans, bacon and roasted red pepper brings joy to my mouth in every bite. The name maybe reminds you of the Leslie Caron character, but to me, it’s the salad my mom makes every spring and summer that I can’t get enough of.

Gigi Salad | netflix & nutella

*The blood in my veins: My Mom’s Tomato Sauce. Something that – if there’s any justice in the world – should be jarred and on shelves one day. (I’ll work on it.) Since I was driving and not flying this time, she gave me a vat to bring home. I (not so willingly) shared with my friends in a first-night-back-chicken parm dinner to show them how spoiled I was growing up.

Chicken parm | netflix and nutella

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The Steak Place

Throughout my travels in Europe, I’ve learned something about myself: I have really keen senses.

They transport me back to memories I’d forgotten – smelling trees like the Red Woods we used to visit when I lived in San Francisco, catching a whiff of my mom’s perfume on the bus, or biting into a piece of food that transports me back years ago.

My family first visited Paris when I was in the lower school, and though I remember loving it, the few specific memories I have come from pictures, including the Christmas card photo we took in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

When my sister’s friend came to town and treated us to a beautiful dinner at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte in the 8th arrondissement (the first one of the famous chain as my factual sister pointed out), I had one of these flashbacks. One bite in and I was transported to the memory of eating the meat with my family at least 10 years ago.

The waitress asks you how you like your steak cooked, scribbles it down on your paper tablecloth, and returns with a simple frisée salad with walnuts and the best vinaigrette you’ve ever tasted. Oh and baguette. Always baguette.

steak and fries

Then, you receive a plate of steak with fries, the perfect vehicle for the sauce which is so unbelievable that the recipe is still unknown to outsiders. It’s buttery, herby, creamy, saucey…the list goes on. By the last bite, you’re a bit full, but wish you had just one more bite.

Then comes 4 more pieces of steak and a refill on the fries. Heaven? Heaven.

If you can make room, get a bit of dessert. My pick was the profiteroles.

profiteroles

If you don’t mind being a bit spendy and like a good piece of steak, this place is definitely for you. Come hungry, but expect to stand outside in line for at least 30 mins (even on a Tuesday night).

Le Relais de l’Entrecôte
15 Rue Marbeuf, 8ème Arrondisement