by Holly on December 29, 2010

in breakfast,eating out,French,travel

Food + travel are two of very favoritest things.

The former I get to enjoy on a daily basis while the latter is something that takes months of planning, time off work and oh yeah – money.

I can rationalize spending money on food. I eat it everyday, usually 3-6 times a day, and it directly contributes to my health, happiness and overall well-being. Rationalizing constant travel vacations is quite another conundrum. First, my vacation time, while generous, is still limited. Three weeks a year. Second, it takes much more logistical planning to make a travel venture happen. That’s if said vacation time matches up with my work schedule. Third, it takes dolla dolla bills. Not just $5 or $10 – I’m talking hundreds to thousands of dollars.

I make travel happen, because I love it.

But in those interim months when I perch myself before Kayak scouring for cheap flights to exotic global destinations, daydream about canoeing the Zambizi River in Africa and brainstorm random, legal ways to make some extra dough to fund my whimsical trips, I turn to food.

No matter if I am at home in Madison, Wisconsin or visiting family in Minnesota, I can be instantly transported to a Parisian sidewalk cafe and feel that quintessential French je ne se quois with just a strong espresso and droolworthy pain au chocolat.

Last week, amongst the crazy birthday + wedding celebrations, I met up with my college roommate Jess for a lovely brunch at Barbette, a French restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis.

Eclectic, local, organic, casual + environmentally-friendly, this bistro has it all…

…including cherry macadamia white chocolate scones.

 I still regret not ordering one.

I slowly sipped (read: gulped) my coffee, breathed in its comforting smell, closed my chocolate chip brown eyes and pretended I was in the 7th arrondissement sitting in a chic cafe across the street from Musee d’Orsay.

It worked.


Jess walked in, and I looked outside to find massive amounts of snow on the ground.

Yeah, I was still in Minnesota.

{wah wah}

I found the menu nearly impossible.

How could I ever be forced choose between Grand Marnier French toast, poached organic eggs with arugula, lardon + truffle oil and a gorgeous buckwheat crepe filled with spinach, roasted tomato and chevre? 

But I had to choose.

After all, I was “in Paris,” and the French just don’t mess around.

At least not with quiches of the day.

Green beans, peppers, onion, arugula + parmesan in the most delectably buttery crust I’ve ever put to my Everythingtarian lips.

Each bite was better than the last.

The company was spectacular.

The service was lovely.

I didn’t even mind eating a side salad for breakfast.

As Jess + I polished off this fruit bowl full of fresh berries, pineapple, melon + apples, I decided I should probably actually go back to Paris and try to live the real thing again. 

Because I actually hate Paris.

For the four days I was there, it downpoured rain from morning to night. The fact I had almost died hiking in Austria two days before arriving didn’t help either as the shock was still wearing off. It was also the last leg of my European backpacking trip, which means I was living in (almost) poverty. Breakfast consisted of baguettes with Nutella. Snacks were apples. Lunch was baguettes with Nutella. Snacks were also cheap bottles of wine. Dinner was baguettes with Nutella.

But I digress.

Because if Paris is anything like Barbette, then I should probably log-on to Kayak, start saving and rationalize how to eat my way through every French bakery while I’m there.


Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Oh, I loved Paris. I expected to hate it, but really enjoyed it. It was the 2nd stop on my backpacking through Europe trip though. I do see how that helped. I got to experience more than baguette + nutella meals. Not much more, but enough to like it.

That little cafe looks like a good sub in though.

sofia December 29, 2010 at 1:03 pm

ooooh, what a delightful spot barbette appears to be! I love how you wondrously describe the romance that is supposed to be Paris… and then tell us that you hated it :) considering I only spent time in a paris train station (boyfriend at the time hated Paris and refused to leave said station to explore the city) I can’t say whether I agree with our sentiments, but this Midwestern establishment seems very much like my kinda place.

Erica December 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm

What a cute spot! Love a good quiche and that fruit bowl looks awesome. I like how they cut the fruit. Happy almost 2011~

Mellissa December 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I love Barbette, such a great place to people watch!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Mpls has GREAT restaurants. I know I am partial and biased since it’s where I grew up, but honestly, if it wasnt for the weather that’s awful (for me personally) a good 6-9 mos of the year, I would consider living there. No wait, I love the ocean. But I would also love grand marnier french toast. Oh my. Delish!

And travel DOES cost time + money. Worth it, but not something always easy to come by, of either of those things :)

Kacy December 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Just so you know, La Vie en Rose just happened to be on my Pandora whilst I was reading this post. It was perfection. And can you believe I’ve never been to Europe or eaten a crepe? I need help…

Alex @ IEatAsphalt December 29, 2010 at 2:57 pm

You definitely need to give Paris a second chance. People can be mean and not willing to help when you struggle to communicate in broken French, but oh my the food. I didn’t get to see much of the city, but stayed with a family in a small suburb. It was by far one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Although I did seem to consume a similar amount of nutella.

Susan December 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I hated Paris too. It rained, it stank, and every hot chocolate I ordered was cold. And coming from a French region of Canada, the language didn’t feel all that “enchanting.” Lately I’ve been dreaming of doing a road trip across the United States!

emily (a nutritionist eats) December 29, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I ALMOST went there for lunch TODAY! (Location changed due to my country location of eagan :) ) Love your Paris story…

Megan (Braise the Roof) December 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I’m sorry you had a bad experience in Paris! I studied abroad there and loved it despite the crappy hostel I lived in for the first 2 weeks and the hugely expensive price of groceries! And I can point you in the direction of a few lovely cafes that very much resemble Barbette. :)

Fi December 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I didn’t like Paris either!but u have to admit the French do do bakeries well! X

Lo December 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

i want to go to greece and italy, so lets make this happen? :)

oh and i love u.


julie December 29, 2010 at 4:02 pm

i still would love for you to come make me your epic sweet potato sandwhich (i feel like that’s what it incldued right?) i dream about it all the time..

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum December 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Next post: The complete story on your near-death experience in Austria! :)

kate December 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

i LOVE this place. so many memories of my uptown days have occured in there. i also may or may not have made out with art for the first time in the parking lot ;) nothing like a too much vino and romantic atmosphere to bring on a snog session.

Amy at TheSceneFromMe December 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm

This restaurant looks right up my alley. What a cute lil bistro to eat lunch at!!!

Lauren December 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Food and travel are also my passion but sadly, I have not been able to (afford) traveling outside of the USA. Hopefully, next summer (2012) I will be accepted into an exchange program in India :) Then from there… I might have to travel around Europe.

Instead of going to Paris, go to Portugal! That’s where my family is from and the Portuguese are way more fun then the French :)

Steph December 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm

If you make it back to Barbette, I highly recommend their mimosas. They are fantastic!

Lauren December 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Wait you hated Paris? That’s so sad to hear. I’ve never been but I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who had a bad experience there. Ugh, that’s the worst.

Okay but this lunch seriously had to make up for the less than perfect trip. OH MY GOODNESS that looks too good. Where do you find such amazing foods in Minnesota? You are really bringing the gourmet out of this state. ;)

BroccoliHut December 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Ya know, I don’t think I’ve ever had quiche. I guess I need to change that, huh?

Jess December 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I LOVE quiche. My gma made it for Christmas bfast. Twas delicious!

Baguettes+nutella? Sounds delicious, but over and over again. Nahhhh ;)

Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) December 29, 2010 at 7:37 pm

This cafe is adorable!

I’ve never been to Paris, but I’m always glamorizing it in my mind. All the time. It’s the one place where I truly with all my heart want to visit. Someday. :D

In the meantime, I need to find a cute cafe like this one. :D

Katharina December 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Oh Holly how I’ve missed you!!

“I slowly sipped (read: gulped) my coffee, breathed in its comforting smell, closed my chocolate chip brown eyes and pretended I was in the 7th arrondissement sitting in a chic cafe across the street from Musee d’Orsay” You just transported me, and I smiled when I read chocolate chip brown eyes :D I love that!

When you wrote about your 4 days in Paris I couldn’t help but think… everyone has a baguette any how ;) Next time you go, you should make it part of the beginning of your trip. I plan on moving back to Germany next year… (can’t believe next year will actually be here in a few days), and if you find yourself in Europe we should meet up! And hopefully meet up before then!!!

XOXO to the moon and back!

p.s. go back and get that scone! And one for me too hehehe

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

I absolutely adore Paris – it was my favorite city I visited in Europe!

Erica D (Gratitouille) December 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

I wanna hear more about Austria sometime! Especially because all I know is that I love Sound of Music, and that the Salzburg chocolate-covered pretzel you’ve been photographed with looks fantastic.

And just for the record, the twin cities are on my must-visit list :)

Jessica December 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

It’s official. You’re visiting me in Spain this semester and then we’re going to Paris! I promise the second time will be better than the first, especially if the food is like THAT! So the weather is crappy…I won’t let that ruin my European travels! No sir.

By the way, I cannot wait to explore each and every cute little cafe Europe has to offer! Coffee, omelets, crepes & fresh fruit?…I’m so in.

By the way x2, you need your own show already! You have this talent for describing food in such an eloquent way…IT’S GOTTA HAPPEN! I KNOW IT! xoxooo

Jessica December 29, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Ooh and that “chocolate chip brown eyes” comment also made me smile :) love you!

Ellie December 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm

I too was less enamored of Paris than most – I studied abroad there January-March my junior year of college which I’m pretty sure are the three worst months in Paris, weather wise. Will you tell the Austrian hiking story?! I’m so curious now!

Mimi (Gingersnaps) December 30, 2010 at 1:50 am

Those are two of my favorite things too! I’m so excited about London.

Hehe, I don’t care for Paris either. Give me a nice southern French town like Sarlat or La Chatre any day! I want to visit northern France during my study abroad. What’s the number one country you suggest I hit up while I’m there?

Jen December 30, 2010 at 5:48 am

What a fun little restaurant, all of the dishes sound amazing!


Madeline - Greens and Jeans December 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

Well, Paris will only be a quick train ride away when you are in London in the fall…

brandi December 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

uh, yum. Can I visit that place with you next time?

jenn (GH) December 31, 2010 at 12:19 am

I love to travel almost more than anything. My hubby and I were engaged in London. In high school, I spent one summer in France and I have to say Paris was not my favorite part (although I did sneak out with my chaperone and have an awesome night dancing into the morning) but a little town called Annecy….picturesque. Dreamy. I’d love to backpack through Europe someday. It’s on my family bucket list.

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