As we are getting ready to open, I thought I would share some photos of all the hard work (plus some sweet stuff).
Happy to report we passed the health inspection today ... now for some serious grocery shopping. ;) During the opening weeks, the salon de thé will be by reservation only. To make a reservation, simply visit the main page on the website (www.maisondecastelnau.com) and there you will find a magic button which will help you attain all that you desire.
Thanks for all the love, patience and support from everyone. The opening is so close I can almost taste it (har har har).
We've just been busy getting ready for the plumbing inspection, which we passed today! I took these photo last week, so a lot has changed even since then. I will share that I almost required oxygen the day I walked in and found the store looking like this - I had no idea! Joking aside, the contractor and plumbing team really has worked hard to get us to this point. It was dirty, smelly, backbreaking, thankless work, so I'm saying right now: Thanks guys - excellent job!
There are more changes in the space than may be obvious in the photo: among other things, the ceiling grid is in, as is the vent for my oven, and concrete has been poured in sections of the flooring where we exposed bare dirt. The contractor has been working non stop, so kudos to him and his team. Keep up the good work!
Presenting Le Fleuriste: a traditional French dark chocolate cake perched atop a nougatine table (because, why not?)
Created in the 18th century, the Madeleine is a rich, buttery, little shell-shaped delight with a distinctive dome on its back. Never a day old treat, this treasure is best eaten minutes out of the pan, or cooled just long enough to take a dip in chocolate. You can enjoy these in the Salon de Thé where they will be baked fresh throughout the day!
Can be really frustrating. But it all paid off because today we passed our first inspection: rough framing.
There is a bookshelf in my kitchen at home. Upon this bookshelf you will find, nestled among all the formal textbooks produced by famous French pastry schools, little paperback cookbooks I have acquired in grocery stores and tabacs in many of the little villages we have visited in France. I hold the textbooks in extremely high regard: they are the epitome of elegance, precision and innovation. Indeed, if there is a brain behind French desserts, these books are an excellent place to start studying it.
But there is also a heart, and when I want to feel its rhythm, I look to the little unassuming 2€ cookbook showcasing the desserts of the region in which I found it. It is in this spirit that I have created a series entitled Les Spécialités Régionales: in each edition I will highlight a regional dessert and the city which claims it as its own. To begin our journey, we start in Lyon, a city with 2000 years of history, situated in the southeast corner of France at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Of course it probably shouldn't surprise you too much that you will find lions in the architecture pretty much wherever you look.
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3352 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue • Chicago Il, 60659