Blowing out the candles

Happy birthday!

Birthday cake with candles being blown out

Desserts of Paris

A couple months ago, I posted a photo of a delicious cherry tart from Stohrer Patisserie in Paris. Just looking at that photo makes me hungry. Here is another photo from that same night, our collection of “winnings” on display. Each of the three tarts was absolutely delicious and macarons were quite good, too. Personally, I think a buffet of desserts is a great way to finish a visit to Paris.

Pastries from Stohrer Patisserie in Paris, France

Great pizza, bad photo

Italy knows pizza. I know this isn’t a groundbreaking revelation, but the pizza in Italy is unlike the pizza anywhere else in the world. It’s not overly complicated. Fresh, thin crust. Fresh ingredients. Delicious sauce and cheese. Done. No stuffed crust. No greasy crust. No crust flavors. Simplicity. No need to cut the pizza into pieces, just throw it on a plate and serve it. There are many things I miss about Italy, and the pizza is definitely near the top.

This is a bad photo of a great pizza. The composition is not good, with the knife and fork both getting cut off on the sides of the photo, the bottoms of the glasses and the basket of bread above the plate are distracting, and the depth of field isn’t deep enough for the entire pizza to be in focus. But with such a delicious pizza in front of me (and taken many years ago before I really considered composition), can you blame me? This pizza was photographed then eaten in a restaurant in Taormina, a quaint village along the coast of Sicily.

Photo of a delicious vegetable pizza taken in Taormina, Italy.

Dessert in Paris

Fake Online Reviews

Remember the good old days when you could trust the reviews on websites like Amazon, Trip Advisor, Google, etc. to provide trustworthy reviews that provided unbiased, accurate information? Unfortunately, this seems to be less and less the case, and on more than one occasion I have found myself not purchasing an item I was initially interested in because a large number of the reviews were clearly fake. A few months back, one of the podcasts I listen to mentioned a great tool for checking the reliability of reviews, fakespot.com, a site that automatically determines how many reviews are likely fakes and how those reviews affect the review scores for the item of interest. This is a lot faster than what I used to do, which involved reading a large number of reviews to see if they seemed reliable and checking other reviews written by people who reviewed the product/restaurant/etc. (Trip Advisor in particular seems to be especially bad about how many reviews are written by a user who has written only one review, which I have zero faith in being legitimate). I’m not sure Fakespot is the end all be all, but it at least gives a quick idea of how much reviews can be trusted.

Cherry Tart from Stohrer Patisserie

Paris is known for having amazing bakeries (or patisseries, in French), so when we visited, of course we had to experience one ourselves. In this case, my research on Trip Advisor (which I have more and more issues with, but that’s a story for another day) was definitely based on legitimate reviews, because the well-regarded Stohrer Patisserie did not disappoint. I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising, as a business does not survive for 290 years if they do not know what they are doing. We visited once early in our vacation and the tart we purchased was so amazing that on the final night in Paris we decided to have a “tart buffet” as the grand finale of our vacation. The “buffet” included the cherry tart that is the main subject of this photo, in addition to the strawberry and raspberry tarts which can be seen in the background. They all tasted amazing and it was impossible to choose a favorite, though the cherry tart was the most photogenic.

Delicious cherry tart from Patisserie Stohrer in Paris, France