Hi, I’m Louisa, and I’m a chocoholic.
But actually. Even if I eat a lot and feel sick, and tell myself I could never eat chocolate again, 20 minutes later I’m back for more.
Hey, there could be worse addictions.
This post starts from last Thursday night, and goes until Sunday morning. There was a lot of chocolate during that time period. There are not pictures of it all (I’d like to spare myself some judgment), but even so– just know that it was there.
Although I had told myself that I should save up my chocolate intake until the weekend… I had a really hard time doing that. On Thursday afternoon, after a long day of work/a long walk across Paris, I decided to check out a neighborhood chocolate shop for the first time.
Blame David Lebovitz’s Paris Pastry/Chocolate app for the iPad. It’s a virtual chocolate shop directory.
Au Chat Bleu is a chocolate shop on Rue Mi… I love the old-time atmosphere of the shop. Walking in makes you feel like you just time-traveled back to the 1940s. Or you know… any old time.
The chocolates were fantastic. I picked up their signature praline, marked with a blue dot on the top, and also a milk chocolate mouse with praline on the inside.
In retrospect, I didn’t have any chocolate on Friday (gasp), except for the awful awful chocolate sauce on my waffle that night. So obviously, I made up for it on Saturday.
Dumon chocolates. I walked by this place Friday night and saw quite a few framed reviews by the door– which is always a good sign.
The woman in the shop– which I believe was Mrs. Dumon– pointed out, after hearing I was from the States, Rick Steves’ family Christmas card on their wall. Now that is a very, very good sign. And the same woman also offered me two free pieces of chocolate, “just to taste.” I picked up 3 boxes of 30-piece assorted chocolates for less that 30 Euros, which is a great deal. For great chocolates.
The next chocolate episode of the weekend was on Sunday morning, when I decided, after a less-than-satisfactory breakfast experience, to redeem my poor choice with some hot chocolate.
Hot milk and a chocolate lollipop. So rich, so amazing.
I don’t think I’ll be able to have hot chocolate any other way again.
The source of such amazingness was this little chocolate/candy shop on the corner of Rozenndedkaai and Eekhoutstraat. And they give you a free sample of their homemade marshmallows in chocolate fondue if you buy something! That alone was worth it right there.
And so concludes 4 solid days of chocolate. Don’t worry, though. Chocolate never really stops for me. I think I might have to use the word “Detox” figuratively, since I’ve already broken it. But that’s a post for another day!
Wow. I need a week of detox after this past weekend. I made it back to Paris with my pants buttoned, thank you very much. But thank goodness for stretchy jeans, amiright? (note. I do not own jeggings.)
But my plans for Detox December are for another post. For now, let’s have at it!
I arrived in Bruges Friday night after a bit of a train blip. Honestly, I don’t understand how the train schedules expected me to change from a train that arrived at 5 to a train that left at 5:06. Everyone knows the French are late. So, I waited around for an hour at a freezing train station in Lille for a train an hour later. When I got to Bruges, I was starving. Lucky for me, the guidebook a friend had lent me suggested my hotel for the classic Belgian meal of Mussels and Fries. “Good hostel, great restaurant.” Plus, guests staying with them get a free beer.
It wasn’t my idea of cheap, but then again, seafood never is. To save money, I’d suggest refusing the white wine addition. When asked “with white wine or regular?” I just sort of spat out whatever came first (the alcohol, duh), not realizing it was going to be an additional charge. Whatever, I’ll blame the language barrier.
Very good. Very delicious. Very filling.
After dinner, I stopped by the Christmas market in the Markt (no, that’s not a spelling error) for some Gluhwein and a waffle. With chocolate sauce. There are no pictures of this because, well, after taking two bites, I promptly threw it in the garbage. It was hard to taste the waffle underneath the dark substance that one could compare to really gross Hershey’s chocolate syrup.
I’m not a chocolate syrup girl. I’m a chocolate sauce girl.
My hotel charged me 5 euros for breakfast, and there are no photos of this gastronomical event either. Nothing exciting. My family loves bed and breakfasts for the sole reason of waking up in the morning to a wonderful spread of food that other people have made for you. No spread here. Also, not a very welcoming atmosphere.
But aside from the various chocolates/cookies picked up during my morning travels (let’s give the sugar its own post, shall we?), the next “meal” was lunch. I opted for a Nutella waffle. Nutritious, right? I know. But you know, “when in Rome…”
I’m sure if you’re a waffle person, you’d have liked the waffle. But I’m realizing that I’m just not a waffle person. Slathered in Nutella is preferable, but I’ll take real maple syrup any day over Nutella. I can’t believe I just said that.
Now, onto Saturday dinner. I’d really love to give this dinner it’s own post, it was that good.
First of all, if it’s a Saturday night during Christmas season– anywhere, actually– you’ll want to make reservations at a restaurant. I did not do this. Ergo, it was very hard to find a restaurant. I popped into a few ones, but was very kindly turned away as they were already completely booked for the night.
You should know there are a ton of Italian restaurants in Bruges. I don’t know why. But I started realizing that I would need to expand my “Belgian food” restaurant prerequisite and just go with anything that looked good.
That’s why, when wandering down a little sidestreet, I spotted this place and decided to give it a chance.
Sale & Pepe. Three guesses as to what that means.
It’s an Italian restaurant, but absolutely charming. When I walked in, the waiter said that they were fully booked but because I was alone, he would try to see what he could do. A minute later, he came back and said if I didn’t mind, I could sit at the table by the door. I was fine with that, and even happier when I learned it was right next to the heater!
Excellent prices for what they offered. Which was great food in a great atmosphere. I snapped a picture of the inside, but it didn’t turn out the best. It should help to give you an idea of the place, though (and the roaring fire!).
I started off with a glass of white wine, and the waiter also brought out a free appetizer of zucchini pesto and salami. I left the salami. I have not yet reached that point of meat flexibility.
It was so good. And the goodness didn’t stop there.
I ordered a pasta dish of Strozzapretti, swordfish, almonds, mint, eggplant, and tomatoes for my main course.
Amazing. So light and healthy for a pasta dish.
And the swordfish was amazing. THERE. I SAID IT.
I skipped the dessert, because the dinner was too good to forget. I took a photo of the menu, however, just to give you a better idea of some of the other offerings.
My dish was the first one under pasta. Add that to a 3.50 Euro glass of wine, and you have a fabulous dinner for under 20 Euros. In Paris, that’s hard to do.
The restaurant would win the Hank Savage seal of approval, and that’s saying a lot. I only wished my family could have been there to share it with me! We love finding restaurants like this and going back again and again. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do if the restaurant is overseas…
So let’s move on to Sunday food. Sunday was marked by some poor choices, like feeling the need to grab breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, locations also in Paris and New York, just because the inside looked nice. But I really don’t like chain restaurants, and I’m actually disappointed in myself for buying an unnecessary breakfast there when I wasn’t even that hungry.
Obviously, I made up for this with an amazing hot chocolate. Expect to see this photo make an appearance in an upcoming belgian chocolate post.
Really, I’ll have a hard time going back to hot chocolate made any other way. Hot milk and a chocolate lollipop? Yes please.
I picked it up at a wonderful chocolate/candy store, but I couldn’t find the name of the place on the outside.
Plus, if you bought something, you got to stick a homemade marshmallow in their chocolate fountain.
After this, I actually got really sick… so much chocolate in so little time! Everywhere I looked, I saw more chocolate. I actually had to sit down and wait for the dizziness to pass.
And that concludes the end of Food in Bruges. An excellent lead-in to Detox December.
It was a long post, so here are some highlights:
- Mussels and Fries at Passage de Bruges
- Gluhwein at the Christmas Market at… the Markt
- Dinner at Sale e Pepe
- Hot chocolate at the anonymous candy store