This vegan and allergy-friendly banana bread is loaded with flavor and tastes just as good if not better than the real deal. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, dessert or just as a snack, it will be your new go-to quick bread!
Tag: allergy friendly
Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a morning person. Some people aren’t morning people but when they travel they suddenly get up at the crack of dawn because there is so much to do and see. That’s not me. I like to begin my day leisurely. After all, I am on vacation.
I also am not a coffee drinker. I LOVE the smell however I hate the taste. In general, my bitter taste buds never developed. Coffee, Campari, grapefruit, bitter greens, not my thing.
So, why do I have a full post dedicated to coffee shops: my husband. He is a coffee snob and needs it to function. Plus, he doesn’t always allow me to sleep in so I need at least a tea to help me get going, preferably a matcha latte if it’s available.
Whenever we travel, I do a ton of research regardless of whether or not we’ve been to that destination before. Living in a large city, I know how quickly things can change in the restaurant scene. When I look for coffee shops they have to hit at least two of the following criteria:
- matcha on the menu
- decent tea list, hopefully with jasmine green tea
- excellent coffee
Without further ado, my favorite coffee shops in the City of Light that have passed both my standards and my husband’s very high coffee bar.
Located along the Palais Royal, in the 1st, this tiny coffee shop is hands down my favorite in the city. It is our first stop every time we are in Paris (well, after checking-in to the hotel) to fuel up for a day of walking around on no sleep. Not only do they serve an excellent matcha latte, the hubs says the coffee drinks are spot on. Best of all, they have two non-dairy options: soy and almond. While they do have a few snacks as well (cakes, cookies), none are vegan but a few are gluten-free. Some other things worth noting: this place is super popular and can get crowded on the weekends, when the weather is nice they have outdoor seating right along the park, there is free WiFi but it’s best if you are sitting inside.
In terms of finding this place, you need to walk inside of the park. Google Maps placed it on the small side street that lines the park when we first went a few years ago and it took us a little while to figure out just where it was. That error does seem to be fixed now, though.
(No, that buttery fox cookie was not allergy friendly. Yes, I ate it. Yes, my stomach felt a little off afterwards but when you’re hangry you must eat…)
Shakespeare and Company Café
This is the café of the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in the 5th, just a block from the Seine and across the bridge from Notre-Dame Cathedral. There are several things to love about this place: location, drinks, food, atmosphere, and the super friendly staff. They really have left no stone unturned. Seriously.
When it comes to drinks, I suggest their matcha latte, which can be made with your choice of almond, soy, or regular milk. They also have a great list of coffee options, teas and juices. Thanks to a partnership with Bob’s Bake Shop, there is a wide selection of pastries, salads, and either items that are allergy-friendly or vegan (as well as options that are not, for our travel buddies).
The best part, in my opinion, is hanging around to enjoy your drink rather than taking it to go. Why? Because of the Proust questionnaire that lines their serving trays. The last time I stopped by I was with a girlfriend after her bachelorette party. We were exhausted and needed to sit for awhile so we sat down at one of the communal picnic tables out front and went through all the questions. It was so much fun and so relaxing. Yelp says there is free WiFi, but I couldn’t tell you if that’s true because, Proust questionnaire….
The Broken Arm
The Broken Arm is a concept store in the Marais: half clothing store, half café. The café, on the corner of the block, has seating both inside and outside, and is a popular neighborhood spot. You can expect to see a lot of friends grabbing a quick lunch together or young mothers chatting over coffee with their babies happily sleeping next to them in their strollers.
Since the area is pretty quiet, with only the sounds of children playing in the park, it is a great spot to start your day with a pastry, coffee, and one of the newspapers scattered around the café, or for a delicious and inexpensive lunch while shopping in the area. They keep things pretty basic when it comes to drinks: great coffee with regular (dairy) milk only or a small selection of teas. The food menu changes often and is updated on their website daily. I believe they have WiFi but I think it only works in the store, not the café.
This highly instagramable Aussie café is located in Montmartre just down a flight of stairs to the side of the Sacré-Cœur. They serve breakfast all day with items like avocado toast (GF available), bircher, and all sorts of eggs. It is not the most allergy-friendly place if you have to avoid eggs, but you should be able to find a few items regardless of your allergies. The staff was very friendly and helpful and did everything they could to alter dishes.
What really drew us here was their matcha latte. Their non-dairy milk option was oat milk (surprisingly popular in Paris) which lent the latte a unique taste that I was really on the fence about at first. Coffee verdict: A+ from the hubs. WiFi: sadly, no.
Boot Café now has two locations: the original, on the Right Bank in the Marais, and it’s newer and larger spot on the left Bank in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
This spot is definitely more for your coffee-loving, non-allergic travel partner. They serve great coffee drinks but stick to regular (dairy) milk and their food options aren’t necessary allergy friendly (but they look so delicious!). We always stop by so the hubs can get one of their delicious coffees while I have a pot of jasmine green tea.
If you want to sit down, you’re better off going to the location in Saint Germain as their other location is tiny!
KB Café Shop
The last of the coffee shops on my list is KB Café Shop in South Pigalle. They roast their own beans in house, have a great food selection (even though it’s not so allergy-friendly), offer two non-dairy milk options: soy and oat, and the atmosphere is great.
We stopped by on a chillier day after walking all over Montmartre when I was just dying for a hot cocoa to both warm me up and fill me more than a hot tea would. Luckily, they were able to make me a completely dairy-free option with oat milk. It’s pretty uncommon to find a coffee shop that has safe cocoa so that was a great surprise. The hubs had a cappuccino that was very good and was gone in record time. We sat outside enjoying the people watching from one of their many outdoor tables while resting our feet.
Other coffee shops in Paris that are worth looking up:
- Télescope (this is a personal favorite of my husband)
- Fondation Café
- Ten Belles (great iced drinks in the summer)
- Coutume Café
- La Caféothèque
If you have any favorite coffee/tea shops in Paris, let me know in the comments!
One of my favorite summer time foods is squash blossoms. They aren’t in season for very long and they can be very finicky, but damn are they delicious. When I start to see them pop up in the farmers market I tend to go overboard and put them in just about everything.
The first time I ate squash blossoms was at a restaurant in New York City. They were stuffed with a ricotta and herb mix then fried to a perfect golden brown. It was one of those bites of food that makes your eyes bulge open and your arms flail around while still having a mouth full of food as you attempt to make everyone understand just how good it is. Every bite thereafter was the more normal eyes closed, chew slowly, enjoy the incredible flavor as long as possible while shooing away every hand trying to get a piece. For awhile, before my food allergies got worse and multiplied, I would order them everywhere I saw them. Last year I had maybe the most insane version that was stuffed with ricotta, mint, lemon and drizzled with honey at a small tapas bar in London called Twist. We ordered 3 plates of it…for 4 people. This dish is such a rockstar that it is still on their menu over a year later.
More recently, I had an entirely allergy friendly version at Table 22 in Cannes, France, that reminded me how much I love these delicate flowers. I had given them up since they are best stuffed with cheese and other goodies I can’t eat (isn’t everything best that way?) and rarely appear otherwise on menus. But after eating this tower of lightly battered and fried squash blossoms at Table 22 I decided I would have to recreate the dish at home.
For me, cleaning squash blossoms is very annoying. The petals are so delicate you have to be extremely gentle which in turn means more time devoted to prep work. All blossoms, regardless of their gender, need their stamen removed (it’s not edible!). Since female flowers are connected directly to squash, the rest is edible, so you just have to check for bugs, rinse off dirt and remove the stamen. Male flowers, however, grow separately and their stems are not edible. You need to clean them just as a female flower but you also need to pop off the stem OR remember not to eat it after you’ve cooked it. I find it is much easier to cook them with stem on so I just eat down to where the stem begins and discard the inedible part. I do like to remove the little green leaf-like pieces around the base of the flower, though.
Since squash blossoms are flowers and, by the time you see them in the market, have been picked off their life source, they need to be used immediately. If you buy them, I suggest cooking them the same day. If you are growing them, obviously pick them right before you are going to prepare them. If life gets in the way, I’ve found you can wash and dry them then put them in a ziplock with a paper towel to absorb extra moisture for a day. They will wilt a little but they won’t be bad.
But back to cleaning the blossoms. Really check thoroughly for bugs, like two or three times. The petals are the perfect hiding place and they will cling to them. I like to soak the blossoms in a bowl of cold water then run a very gentle stream of water over each one to help release any remaining dirt and wash away the bugs that clung on for their life while soaking. I always end up finding at least one more bug. You also want to get the blossoms as dry as possible so lay them out on a paper towel and let them air dry for an hour or two. Once they are dry you can gently pull the petals apart to remove the stamen in the center.
Now we’re ready to cook! Be prepared: you will not want to share any of your fried squash blossoms so you may want to double this recipe if you are planning a meal for more than just yourself…. Anyway, all you need is some flour, salt, seltzer water and coconut oil. Yes, it’s that simple. The plain tempura batter really lets the flavor of the squash blossoms shine while the coconut oil gives a clean fry without any heavy oil aftertaste like olive oil. Plus, if you use coconut oil it means it’s healthy right? Healthy fried food? Ok, maybe not but let’s just pretend because I want to eat these every night of the week.
Combine the flour and salt into medium bowl then add in seltzer and gently stir together. Be careful not to over mix: you want the batter to look chunky, similar to pancake batter.
Next heat up your coconut oil in a deep cast iron pot or dutch oven over medium heat. You want the oil to be between 1/4in and 1/2in deep. The actual amount of oil needed will vary depending on your pot so don’t bother with measurements, just eyeball it. Once the oil is hot enough (when a drop of the batter sizzles), carefully dip a squash blossom in the batter to coat it. To avoid getting batter inside the petals, gently twist them together before dipping.
Place the battered squash blossom gently into the oil. Repeat with two or three more blossoms at a time, however many can comfortably fit without crowding. After 2-3 minutes, flip the blossoms using tongs and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until both sides are golden brown.
Remove the blossoms and place on a paper towel lined cooling rack. Repeat these steps until all of your squash blossoms are fried. Sprinkle the blossoms with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper (optional) and serve immediately or transfer to a baking sheet and place in a 200F oven to stay warm until it’s time to eat. (Or eat them as you cook, like I do!)
- 10-12 squash blossoms
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 10 oz seltzer (plain)
- coconut oil
- Clean and remove the stamen from each squash blossom.
- Mix together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Gently stir in seltzer until batter resembles pancake mix (a little bit chunky).
- Heat ¼in to ½in coconut oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, dip a squash blossom into the batter, let excess run off then gently place into the hot oil. Repeat with a few more blossoms until the dutch oven is comfortably full.
- Fry for 2-3 minutes then flip with tongs and fry the other side for another 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined wire rack to cool.
- Repeat until all squash blossoms are fried.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
Let me know if you’ve tried this recipe! Comment below or post a photo to instagram and tag me @champagneandfrites!