Saturday, March 25, 2006

This Moment's Pastry!

The hand-lettered sign in the lighted display case, red letters on a cream-colored card edged in black, was intriguing:

Patisserie du moment

"Pastry of the moment" is the literal English translation. What a great concept!

Of course, we are familiar with the idea of "soup of the day" so "pastry of the day" wouldn't be very surprising. But, "Pastry of the Moment"? Now that's an idea that the Ingredient Sleuth can wrap her brain around!

The setting, of course, was a French-speaking locale, in this case Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport. For a change, I had time to spare upon my arrival there, at the end of my Paris visit. What better way to pass the time as I waited for my departure than to visit just one more eatery!

Front and center, in the display case next to the cash register, the pastries glistened. Croissants, brioches, some savory, some sweet. But just there, right in the front, was the astonishing item: patisserie du moment!

You have to LOVE the idea of a pastry of the moment -- at least if you LOVE pastries half as much as I do! It's not simply sufficient to have a featured pastry of the DAY. Let's feature them at a moment's notice!

Undoubtedly, this designation provides additional opportunities for the baker to feature more items, more frequently. In addition, the baker doesn't have to be concerned with just how many of any one item to have on hand. When the first pastry (and moment) has disappeared, another can't be far behind! Or, as a more-pedestrian explanation, maybe it is just a great marketing tactic: feature the same item all day, but make it APPEAR extra-fresh by calling it the pastry of the moment!

In any case, at the moment that I happened to stroll in, the featured item was apple tart. And, as billed, it did taste very fresh, with the anticipated juicy apples on a buttery bed of pastry. Just the thing to fortify myself for that walk to the departure gate, through the jetway and down the aisle of the plane.

A lovely slice of delicious apple tart to remember contentedly as the engines roared, wheels rolled, and the beauty of the French countryside glistened (once again, it was raining as I departed Paris) beneath us.

And a reminder of oh-so-many lovely moments in the City of Light.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Eating on Stilts in San Clemente?

There are so many great things to eat and drink, so much pretty scenery to see, all over Southern California. What a fabulous thing it is to combine all three in one experience!

In the city of San Clemente, for example, a well-known and well-patronized surfing beach offers plenty of entertainment for those who are less water-inclined than the blond and bronzed surfers! Oceanfront streets feature restaurants for a wide variety of tastes and budgets.

Slices of pizza, assortments of sushi, and pita sandwiches are just a few of the "ingredient" options available for beach picnics. Curving slightly, the street facing the San Clemente Pier is hilly and picturesque. Grassy areas, complete with picnic tables, are available for impromptu picnics! Wide-and-sandy beach is also ready and waiting for picnic-basket (or carryout-sack!) dining.

For restaurant dining, complete with all the trimmings, additional restaurants may be found along the oceanfront street and throughout the city. On the pier itself, two restaurants even offer above-water dining! What a pleasure it is to listen to ocean waves lapping underneath you as you sit at your table, perched high above the water.

Look east while you eat and see steep hillsides, palm trees and pastel houses. Look west to find surfers, sailboats, possibly a dolphin or two if the season is right and, of course, the blue Pacific for as far as your eye can see. Look north or south and enjoy visions of miles and miles of sandswept beachfront. There really isn't a bad side of the table, scenery-wise, in this setting.

It's kind of like gazing -- and eating -- on stilts. But, even better, your hands are free for knives, forks and goblets!

Happy travels and bon appetit,

Marilyn, The Ingredient Sleuth

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cross the Tracks in San Juan Capistrano!

Just across the train tracks from the Amtrak station in San Juan Capistrano, the Los Rios Historic District lies waiting. It's not a long walk -- some of the buildings back right up to the train tracks.

Charming indoor/outdoor restaurants -- one of them complete with English Tea Service as an option to its regular menu of lunch and dinner choices -- and small gift shops comprise the "retail" spaces. Housed in houses (is that redundant?), the historic charm of these establishments is palpable.

Next door to retail spaces, more houses from San Juan Capistrano's early days, many still occupied by families, round out the neighborhood. One homestead even allows visitors to tour its barnyard areas and enjoy viewing the animals.

If the adobe construction and design didn't tip one off, the huge trees and other greenery (from cacti to bougainvillea) would leave no doubt as to the historic nature of the block-long district.

It is always a joy to "follow the swallows" to Capistrano -- and to follow them across the tracks to the Los Rios Historic District!

Happy travels & bon appetit!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

INDEX to Ingredient Sleuth Blog

Dear Readers:

In recent months, the “Search This Blog” feature has ceased to operate effectively on the Ingredient Sleuth blog. (The software that I use to publish the blog is under revision by the provider and updates to this search feature are in progress -- so there's still hope!)

To assist readers – and myself – in retrieving recipes and info published to-date, I have put together the following Index of Topics, Articles and Dates. I hope that this will make it possible for you to easily delve into the archives to find specific material.

A link to the index will continue to be available in the sidebar under "Links" as well.

Fingers are crossed, hoping that the search feature is operational again very soon! Bon appetit!

Marilyn, The Ingredient Sleuth

INDEX – Topic/Title/Date

Almonds, Green (Green Almonds: Baby-Fresh!): April 8, 2005
Artichokes (Artful Artichokes): October 21, 2005
Baguettes (Baguettes, Baguettes, Everywhere): October 14, 2005
Balsamic Vinegar (Aceto Balsamico di Modena): August 12, 2005
Beets (In Beet-historic Times): May 13, 2005
Caramel, Spreads (Caramel-icious in Any Language!): June 24, 2005
Casseroles (Casserole Construction): September 16, 2005
Chick Peas (Chick Pea Flights of Fancy): July 29, 2005
Cookbook, Vintage (A Cookbook Gem/Family Favorites): October 28, 2005
Chocolate (Some Chocolate Helps!): May 27, 2005
Claro’s Italian Market, Limoncello (So THAT’S Italian! And lemon-y!): July 22, 2005
Coconut Milk (The Coconut Connection): April 22, 2005
Cucumber, English (Cook as a Cucumber, Even in August): August 5, 2005
Eggplants, Miniature (Egg-zactly Like Mama!): May 13, 2006
Eggs, Hard-Boiled (A Hard-Boiled Egg Story): April 15, 2006
Endive (Endive’s Identity Crisis): April 15, 2005
Farmer’s Markets (Farmer’s Markets – and V.I.!): April 29, 2005
Fennel (Can’t Put Fennel in a Funnel): January 6, 2006
Feta Cheese (Fridge-Friendly Feta): March 5, 2005
Figs (Figs – Unwrinkled!): July 1, 2005
Fish, and Door County Fish Boil (A True Fish Story): April 1, 2005
Flatbreads (Space-Saving Bread): September 9, 2005
Gazpacho (The Soup of Seville – Via Sheboygan): August 19, 2005
Heirloom Vegetables/Tomatoes (Tomatoes of Heritage): August 26, 2005
Herbs of Provence (Magical Herbal Helpers): March 11, 2005
Honey (Honey, You're Not Too Sweet): January 15, 2005
Japanese Grocer (Mitsuwa Japanese Grocery): May 4, 2006
Lavender (Lavender: A Magic Carpet of Scent & Flavor): June 3, 2005
Mattern German/European Market (Hiking Food – Austrian Style!): May 20, 2005
Milk (Got Bottles?): July 31, 2006
Monet Cookbook (Speaking for Monet): September 8, 2006
Mushrooms (Marinated Mushrooms): November 29, 2004
Olive Oil (Andalucian Hillside .../Striking Oil): Nov. 27 & Dec. 1, 2004
Pastries (This Moment's Pastry): March 25, 2006
Peaches (Peaches and Herb -- Revisted): August 12, 2006
Pumpkin (The Great Pumpkin Pie): November 18, 2005
Radicchio (A Great Red Head – Radicchio, That Is): February 25, 2005
Radishes (Radishes – For Looking and For Eating): July 15, 2005
Rice (Rice Makes the World Go ‘Round!): March 24, 2005
San Clemente, CA (Eating on Stilts in San Clemente?): March 18, 2006
San Juan Capistrano, CA (Cross the Tracks in San Juan Capistrano!): March 16, 2006
Second Harvest Donations (New Math Grocery Shopping): September 2, 2005
Squash Blossoms (Squash Blossom Bonanza!): June 10, 2005
Swiss Chard (I’ll Leaf It to You to Decide!): March 17, 2005
Tomato Paste (Paste Pitch – No More!): May 6, 2005
Trader Joe's Market (Trader Joe’s – A Southern California Institution): December 4, 2004
Vegetables, Miniature (Egg-zactly Like Mama!): May 13, 2006
Vegetables, Miniature (Veggies – In Miniature!): February 17, 2005
Whole Foods Market (Whole Foods Market): November 11, 2005
Wine, Organic (Wine Aid – Organic and Otherwise): July 8, 2005
Wine, Surplus (Wine Overboard!): June 10, 2006
Wine (Red Bicyclette (TM) Wine): February 3, 2005
Yogurt (Yogurt Tales): November 4, 2005