Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Taking My Pâtisserie Adventures To Greater Heights (Literally)


"The end of a journey marks the wonderful beginning of a new one."

Winter greetings from the 'gorges' town of Ithaca in upstate New York! It has been slightly more than a week since I've arrived, and the weather conditions here are a stark contrast to the abundant sunshine I've been basking in for the last month-and-a-half. School has been decent thus far, and I'm actually enjoying most of my classes this semester (despite the arduous workload that lies ahead of me).

Honestly, shifting gears and assuming a brand new semester of college life after being back home wasn't an easy switch. I was missing home dearly the whole of last week, and being the complete foodie that I am, sought refuge in the simple comfort foods that reminded me of the pleasures of home. I was completely satisfied with waking up to a steaming mug of Milo (filled to the brim with chocolate-malt goodness) and jam with bread, and ending my day with a hearty bowl of herbal chicken soup decked with bok choy, Chinese cabbage and bean sprouts. And to add on to that, I am extremely grateful for the Lunar New Year tidbits that my Mom made me pack along.

So the week came along and went, with me ending up at Mont Tremblant in Quebec during the weekend with my three other girlfriends. We planned for this winter ski trip since two months back, and I am thoroughly glad we did it since it did alleviate my spell of homesickness. Mont Tremblant was beautiful and intensely cold, and though we had our fair share of explorations, retail therapy treatments and snow-laden adventures (tubing was absolutely thrilling, by the way), surprise surprise - eating was by far the top activity on our list.

Entering this quaint little crêpe cafe, La Crêperie, on a Saturday morning just made me feel like I stepped into a typical Parisian coffeehouse. I was warmly greeted with wafts of sweet crêpe batter sizzling gently on an open pan, bright blue wooden furniture, and an eclectic collection of country-style paintings and chef figurines displayed proudly all over the cosy interior of the restaurant. Moreover, the French-speaking Canadians just made the seemingly European atmosphere all the more believable. I settled for a Mediterranean-style crêpe loaded with aromatic flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach, olives, feta cheese and the likes.


Scrumptious.

And finally, the highlight of the meal: Dessert was simple, comforting but exceedingly satisfying. I took a amateur video documenting the works of our banana split crêpe à la mode covered with a blanket of golden caramel sauce and a thick glossy chocolate glaze.

video



After our drooling Brittany dessert, we wandered around the ski resort and stumbled upon an interesting maple syrup store that sold Maple Taffy On Snow. The owner basically pours strips of melted maple syrup on a barrel of ice and you simply roll it up into a taffy stick after 15 seconds of freezing.





Just when I was convinced that Durian Ice Kachang was the best thing you could use shaved ice for...

I guess there's always room for innovative frosty ideas when you are constantly living in 50 feet of snow.

Anyhow, moving on again, my awesome girlfriends surprised me with an early birthday treat during our final Mont Tremblant dinner together. How could I resist a huge slice of this gorgeously moist multi-layered chocolate confection? (Though amusingly, it did remind me of Bruce Bogtrotter's chocolate cake-eating scene in Roald Dahl's Matilda...)


But of course, I wasn't at all aiming to pull any sort of Bogtrotter chow-down scene any time soon. Mmm... just look at the rich and moist interior glistening in all its pleasurable chocolatey glory. A definitive sweet ending to our girly weekend getaway, I'd say.


...And as Julia Child would exclaim, "Bon Apétit!"

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