Less isn’t So Bad Afterall


The crust is my favorite part of the pizza. I’m a firm believer in the idea that “the best should be saved for last,” which is why the inventors of pizza placed the dangerously delicious doughness we now call “crust” around the END of the pizza. (Because it’s the best.)

This belief might be due to the fact that I’m from Chicago, home of the incredible deep dish pizza. (Miss you, Lou’s. I’ll be back one day.) The deep dish pizza — one slice’s width, length, depth all bigger than the palm of my hand, requiring silverware in order to enjoy it. My need for a fork and knife is probably a good thing so I don’t step over the barbaric line in public and just inhale the whole thing. The past three years while I was on campus in Champaign, deep dish (done well) was always difficult to find, so I would religiously make a trip to Lou Malnatis, my favorite pizza joint, every time I visited home. One deep dish pizza, Lou’s salad, and a side of pepperoncinis always did just the trick.

So once my bags were packed and we said our good-byes, (Me and Lou Malnatis, that is), and made the difficult decision to go live in Italy for a semester, you can imagine my disbelief when I found out that Italians enjoyed their pizza THIN-CRUST!!!!

“Wait a minute. You mean to tell me, there’s LESS crust? LESS?! I just don’t understand… What’s the point?” 

Simply put, I was pretty upset.

Anyway, trying to be the open-minded and not-typical- ethnocentric-American individual I am, I gave it a try.

Confession: I actually liked it. 

My roommate from sophomore year and oldest friend came to visit Italy for her spring break. For her first night, a few of us from the same hometown decided to all go out to dinner and celebrate. We chose San Matteo as the venue because it was highly recommended across the board to be THE best pizza in town. Plus, apparently news had broken out that one of the employees was a former model, so not only was it famous for its pizza, but also for the adolescent girls flocking for some eye candy. Both reasons were enough for us to make a visit. Dinner and entertainment? Done.

The menu was long and extensive with pages after pages of different pizzas. The four of us are very indecisive individually, so collectively, it took that much longer to order a dish. We each perused the menu carefully reading each description under pizza name, and finally settled on three that we decided to share family-style.

{ Italian thin crust is something entirely different from Chicago style. The crust is thin and chewy, crispy around the edges. The sauce is light and fresh as opposed to the usual thick and creamy tomato sauce. This one was topped with shredded cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Despite the thinness, it was actually very filling! }
{ Fresh mozzarella and prosciutto shaped in a heart. I didn’t fancy this one too much because the prosciutto made each bite a little too salty, but the other girls really liked this one. Despite the thinness of the pizza, it was surprisingly very filling and satisfying. Between the four of us, we were struggling to finish the last slices! }
{ Cooked spinach and fresh mozzarella  This one was one of my favorites. Between the thinness and freshness of the ingredients, it really brought out the complex flavors of cheese, tomato, and buttery goodness. }
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My lovely dinner dates. 

I keep finding myself craving for thin-crust pizza now. My palate has expanded — not that I’m abandoning my first love by any means — there’s enough [ food ] love to go around for this chick.

Eating in Paris

There are a lot of things I say that I don’t mean. Like…

“I’m on my way now.”

“Just five minutes away.”

“I’m gonna start dieting today.”

You get the point?

But there is also a list of things I am very reliable for. Like remembering really obscure quotes from movies. Taking 900 photos while on vacation. Owning an odd amount of nail polish. And more importantly? If you ever, ever need a breakfast/lunch/dinner date, I am your woman.

But speaking to this blog, one thing I promise to always be reliable for is bringing home food porn. (: Starting with Paris.

Let’s begin. 

They say you glow when you’re in love; and by looking at this photo, I think it’s safe to say that that statement is fully warranted. After two long months of separation anxieties and coping mechanisms of flirting with generic coffee, I was finally reunited with my love, Starbucks, and it was the sweetest reunion ever. (: And yes, Starbucks totally constitutes for food porn. Just ask every Instagramm-er out there. Better yet, look up #latteart.

(So maybe I’m not exactly glowing, but my eyes do look a glossy. Tears of joy?!) While we’re on the topic of all things American girls love, I bring you my next goodie.
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That’s right. Paris not only has Starbucks but also CHIPOTLE! It was like I died and went to foodie heaven. (: My order? A burrito bowl with extra white rice, half steak, half chicken, medium salsa, tomatoes, corn, salad dressing, and a wittle bit of sour cream. My taste buds didn’t know how to handle this surprise treat, but they were so delighted that the excitement transferred beyond control and translated into flailing arms, random shrieks of OMG’S, and eyes opening as wide as a pair of Asian eyes can. I was given some dirty looks from Parisians at the other tables but you know what, true love has no shame.
After curing a case of food-sickness, I got on the Parisian bandwagon and devoured dined Parisian cuisine. For one of the meals, we went to BREIZH CAFE because it was recognized for its phenomenal crepes and cider. I think the entire city of Paris believed the hubub because Breizh Cafe was ridiculously crowded. There was a maximum time limit per reservation for one hour. If this was America, those servers would be making BANK with that many turned tables a night.
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We ordered a bottle of pear cider for the table and it was plenty for the four of us girls. The taste of alcohol was subtle and just sweet enough to complement the meal.
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My beautiful dinner dates! (: This meal — and Paris, in general — was SO, SO much fun with these girls. I’m so happy I got to experience such a beautiful city with such beautiful people. Two are from my program, and also my hometown, and the last girl on the right is actually currently studying abroad in Paris right now so we met up with her for dinner. (: She was the one who actually introduced us to this cafe! IMG_3894_Snapseed
The menu was long and complex like anything that’s in a foreign language, so we decided to order a bunch of dishes and share so we could try them all. Family style! (: For starters, we ordered a salmon crepe. How CUTE is its presentation?!
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The ultimate symbol of accomplishment.
Although the items were a bit pricey and portions were rather small, Breizh Cafe was a really enjoyable experience, from the food to the service to the ambience. (: It was unique and lively! Would I go there again? Eh, probs not… dat green tea ice cream, doe.

We went to another Parisian favorite, CHEZ JANOU. PLEASE do yourself a favor and go here. Oh, and did I say that Breizh Cafe was crowded? That was NOTHING compared to Chez Janou. Their waiting area + bar + foyer was comparable to a bathroom, and everyone was bumping and grinding on each other waiting for a table. Not even exaggerating. I wish I had proof because I’m pretty sure it exceeded maximum capacity by way too many and was the EPITOME of a fire hazard. And if your table was even approximate to the front, forget intimacy or even a decent conversation, because the people waiting will bump and grind all over your table, too. We made our reservation for 10 pm, and weren’t seated until close to 11pm. I know, I know, why did I tell you to go there? Because it’s awesome. And the people are hilarious. And the food is delicious. And they give out unlimited chocolate mousse. Yes, you did read that right. Just trying to save the best for last, that’s all. (:
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Lamb shanks with green beans.
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Duck with a side of potatoes.
And this is the massive bowl of chocolate mousse. It was bigger than MY HEAD! And I, unfortunately, have a very big head. They kind of just PLOPPED it on our table and told us to dig in. We really wanted to do them proud by eating the most they’ve ever seen because then maybe they’d give us bumper stickers or put our pictures on the wall or something… but we could barely even put a dent in it. Not a whole lot of accomplishment going on here. But I probably made up for it later that night. Anyway, if you like good, timely service and your own personal space, then stay far, far away from this place. All your fears will come alive! But, if your love for chocolate mousse trumps all, then… I think we can make for good friends in the future. (:

Hope I delivered a fine share of food porn. Ciao for now!