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It may be cliché, but Paris calls to me. Softly, quietly it’s a sirens song that pulls at my heartstrings. And my stomach. Everytime I visit, she welcomes me back like an old friend, no matter how much time has passed. I love nothing more than to wander about with no real plan, looking in shop windows and discovering little pastry shops on every street corner. The bakery culture in France, Paris especially, astounds and delights me. It’s not uncommon for me to start early in the morning with a list of patisserie shops and purchase something from each of them, six or seven easily depending on the neighborhood, before noon. I love to experience a city through it’s food and this is my favorite way to go about it in my favorite city. Paris’s lure may be quiet and subtle, but my friend Jane is more persistent. She’s been on my case to come for a visit for months and truthfully, it has been a few years since I’ve walked those beautiful streets. I was due. So this summer in the middle of my countryside visit, I hopped a train north and found myself in the middle of the Montparnasse train station in a mere 5 hours.

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Have you ever had an idea that you can’t quite seem to make real? For me, it’s a frequent occurrence. Usually with a recipe idea but it could really be anything – an outfit, a paint color for a dining room wall, I suppose even song lyrics. Your idea seems to make so much sense in your head but then when you try to make it real, put it to paper, something just doesn’t look right, tastes off, or sounds different – just wrong in every possible way. This tart was like that for me.

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So lemonade versus limeade. I think in most cases, when given the choice, most people would choose lemonade. Which is a shame because limeade is pretty fantastic. In fact, I actually prefer it. Why can’t you regularly order vodka limeades or lime-y Arnold Palmers? Why isn’t there lime Italian ice? Or is there? It always seems to center around lemon. Limocello? Is that thing? I think, perhaps out of habit, we defer to lemon when a juicy lime can be used. Now that prices seem to be back to normal – I just bought 10 for $1 – I say let’s jump on that bandwagon for a while.

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I find it hard to believe that Labor Day is this weekend. Am I alone with this thought? One minute it was the first week of June and I was running around getting my Chinese visa application in order and then suddenly it’s the end of August. Where did the summer go? Granted, I spent those weeks in between having a grand ‘ole time but still, I think I’m missing a few weeks in there somewhere. I guess it’s true that time marches on despite our wishes so I think this weekend is time for a really good BBQ blowout. Consider it a celebration for 12 really great weeks. Hey, it might be your last BBQ for a while.

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After traveling a good part of the summer, I just wanted something simple, comforting, not much of a mess. I wanted cake. Not a layer cake – too fussy with it’s fillings and frostings and glazes. I wanted a homey type of cake, maybe with fruit. And I wanted it now.

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So. I took a little break. I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision, necessarily. Life, as it sometimes does, interceded. Distracted. Took up more time than I had anticipated. I had wandered back into the business world full time, full of hope and promise and came out the other end uninspired and unfulfilled. Disappointed in people and their promises. If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s to not stay in a situation that makes me unhappy. I was too busy to cook; didn’t want to cook and things weren’t turning out anyway. So I made some changes.

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I don’t drink much Guinness these days, which is a shame, but I have a deep, fond love for the stuff. It goes back to my college days when, tired of watered down $2 pitchers of Coors Light, my friends and I would save our pennies and splurge once in a while on Guinness pints or Black & Tan’s at our local Irish Pub. We’d eat bowls and bowls of free pretzels, play really bad games of darts and coerce Colin the bartender to do handstand push-ups on the bar. I loved that place far more than the cheaper pitcher joint packed with the pretty people. Quirky neighborhood joints with interesting clientele have always been more my thing.

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