Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vegan Butternut Squash, Apple and Onion Galette with Bleu "Cheese"

(I would just like to put out there that I typed this entire post without the usage of the "s" key on my computer. That's right...copy/pasted the letter in all it's various forms. Much harder than you'd expect!)

Ah, Paris. The City of Lights. Last winter, I went through a serious quarter-life crisis. I booked a flight to England, bought some train tickets, found some couches to crash on, filled a backpack, and away I went! It was easily one of the best months of my life. I met some amazing people, saw some awesome sights, and ate FANTASTIC food.
Being a vegan in Paris was definitely a challenge. I had done a bit of homework before I left, leading me to the likes of La Victoire Suprême du Coeur, the deliciously rustic Le Potager du Marais, and my life saver, Maoz Vegetarian. Fellow vegans, do yourself a favor and don't expect Parisian restaurant staff to help you veganify your dinner. It just won't happen. They will scoff, they will glare maliciously and they might even laugh at you. There are exceptions, of course, but definitely have the names and locations of veggie friendly eateries or Bio Coops written down somewhere secure for your travels.
I couldn't find a place to crash my last two nights in Paris, so I found a cheap hostel in the Marais District. It stated clearly on their website, "No check in before 3pm, but we will hold your bags in the office starting at 9AM. " I like to think of myself as a savvy traveler, and the thought of trusting my bags in the hands of some stranger didn't exactly make me feel cozy inside. Plus, the reviews on the hostel booking website said the owner could be a real douche ball. Alas, my aching feet spoke loudly. I knew I couldn't lug my world around all day and not be burdened. I rang the bell.
Owner: "Hello!! What you WANT!!"
Me: "Um. Yes. I'm booked here tonight. I just want to leave my bags. The website said I cou..."
I enter his office. He shuffles about angrily a bit, grabs my bag and sits down at his desk.
Owner: "Last name?"
Me: "Shagrin."
Owner: "Whaaat?! You spell!"
I spell.
Owner: "What you do today in Paris?"
Me: "I'm going to try to find this Vegan restaurant I've been dying to try."
The owner's demeanor immediately softens. A HUGE smile spreads across his face as he morphs into an entirely different human being.
Owner: "You Vegan?! I Vegan too!!"
I nod, secretly sighing relief. He pulls a small paper-back book out of his desk and shoves it into my hands. It is the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association, known to many as Supreme Master Ching Hai International Cult, handbook. I try really hard not to laugh, but at least it's a Vegan cult...and at least this guy's not being a meanie anymore. And he even sent me to a hole-in-the-wall where I could buy all vegan pastries! Baguettes, eclairs, croissants, and of course...galettes! It was so delicious.

If fake bleu cheese is not your thing, check out this little beauty...


Anonymous said...

i was lucky enough to try this and i gotta say it was absolutely amazing. i can't believe the dough was vegan, it had such a real-tasting pastry consistency.

pure talent! now i am hungry!

Anonymous said...

Yes... I will also testify! These were so delicious... I could have eaten a whole one all to myself :)

Jenn Shagrin said...

Thanks, ladies! I didn't want to out you two as being part of my sampling crew without permission ;)

Jet said...

I live in Paris, where is this hole-in-the-wall with vegan pastries.

¡Yo Soy Liz! said...

I studied abroad in paris years ago and I had a hard enough time being a vegetarian there (I pretty much survived on chocolate, cheese, and bread--which would explain the 15 lbs I packed on in six mos there!) but I can't even imagine going back as a vegan. That's so awesome that you went to La Victoire Supreme du Coeur--it's number 4 on my top five veggie restaurants in the world.

Adriana said...

Your food is always gorgeous!

Jenni (aka Vegyogini) said...

Your galettes were seriously delicious (and thank you for making the onions easily removable)! It was so great to finally meet you in person and I hope we can all get together again soon. I've been to La Victoire Supreme du Coeur, but I didn't see Maoz when I was last in Paris (a little over 2 years ago). (P.S. I tried to comment when you first wrote this post, but the captcha thing wouldn't show up on my Mac.)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Oh man, this looks incredible!

quarrygirl said...

OMG i remember this story!!!! so THAT was a supreme master as well.

btw, i also remember this galette and it was one of the tastiest things i've ever eaten.