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Le Petit Gouter

3 Aug
In celebration of my 16th birthday, my family and I spent a weekend in Paris. We toured the breathtaking city of lights, visiting museums and monuments galore. But by far the most memorable aspect of Paris was the food, specifically the pastry. Host to countless patisseries and chocolatiers, Paris offers a wide array of meticulously-crafted pastries and desserts. I visited some of the city’s most acclaimed pastry shops, sampling numerous sweet treats.

The Parisians are known for their impeccable attention to detail, especially in the culinary arts. Each individual pastry is assembled to perfection; a dessert-lover’s fantasy.
La Patisserie des Reves, the most innovative of all the boutiques I encountered, offers original creations unavailable at mainstream pastry shops. Individual glass domes encapsulate each pastry, allowing the viewer to closely admire the pastry as one would view a masterpiece in a gallery. Their most well-known piece (pictured above), the paris-brest, combines eight airy hazelnut cream puffs into a single seamless wreath. My family and I picked up the paris-brest and walked to a nearby park to enjoy the dainty dessert. Each one of us tore off a bite-sized puff and popped it into our mouthes, relishing the delicious moment.
French chocolates exceeded my expectations. The Patrick Roger Chocolatier presents the finest, most diverse variety of homemade chocolates available in Paris. From rich truffles dusted in chalky cocoa powder to rustic dried fruit and nut clusters dunked in creamy milk chocolate, Patrick Roger crafts all its specialty chocolates on a daily basis to ensure only the highest-quality products for its customers.

Abra la Boca: A Visit to Barcelona’s Boqueria Market

25 Jul
 The past 10 days in Barcelona have been incredibly memorable. This beachside city hosts numerous outstanding restaurants, quaint boutiques, and distinctive architecture. On Saturday, my family and I visited the famed Boqueria Market.
Located on the bustling street of La Rambla, the Boqueria remains Barcelona’s largest, most eclectic marketplace. Street-goers hustle in and out of the vast warehouse, seeking only the freshest ingredients from the Boqueria’s various stalls.
I wandered aimlessly through the aisles, marveling at the building’s sheer vastness and its seemingly endless supply of products.

For breakfast, I dined at the Boqueria’s acclaimed Pinotxo Bar. Foodies from around the world flock to this hole-in-the-wall joint, enjoying simple Spanish cuisine of high-quality ingredients. I indulged in one of the bar’s signature treats: the xiuxo (pronounced chucho). The pastry’s flaky, sugar-crusted exterior and its light, custardy interior provide the ideal flavor balance.

In many ways, the Boqueria reflects Barcelona as a whole. With its contagious energy and creative distinctiveness, the widespread marketplace represents the cultural and artistic diversity that defines this vibrant city.

La Pequeña Isla de Mallorca

16 Jul
Earlier this week, my family and I arrived on the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. I peered out the car window as we drove through the cascading mountains, staring wide-eyed at chalky Mediterranean villas, rustic vineyards and the rippling, crystal-blue ocean.
With its thousand-year-old olive trees and ripened fruit orchards, Mallorca contains endless natural beauty.

After a relaxing few days on this quiet island, I am ready to absorb the bustling city of Barcelona. ¡Hasta luego!

London Calling

11 Jul
My family and I landed in London this past Saturday and have since fallen in love with the picturesque city. The weather has been mild and delicately sunny, relieving us from the scorching Los Angeles heat. Today, we strolled the beautiful Hyde Park, filled with vibrant rose gardens and bushels of lush, overgrown plants.
In light of the pleasant weather, people flocked to the park with newspapers and picnic baskets in tow.
Harrods remains one of London’s most eclectic department  stores, carrying an extensive range of luxury items. My family and I visited the renowned Harrods food court where we purchased delicious specialty cheeses, cold cuts, and breads for our picnic in the park.

My few days in London have been so memorable. I admired the exquisite architecture, marveled at historical artwork, and indulged in delicious foods. Though I am reluctant to leave, I can barely wait to revisit Spain. In the coming weeks, I will share more personal photos and anecdotes from my unforgettable European vacation.

Greetings from Paradise: Costa Rica 2010

25 Dec

The natural beauty present throughout Costa Rica remains unmatched by any other destination I have visited. The pure blue sky, crystal-like ocean water, rich tropical leaves, and diverse wildlife appear completely foreign to me, a Los Angeles native. In every way, Costa Rica embodies the definition of paradise.

I want a pair of these flip-flops!
Do not be deceived by this monkey’s adorable outer appearance, he nearly attacked me while I was taking the photo.
Yes, this is a grasshopper.

par·a·dise [paruh-dahys, -dahyz]
A place of extreme beauty, delight, or happiness.