Carnitas and Cafés

One day, I woke up and had an overwhelming urge to COOK. 

Not in Breaking Bad style, but in a just-as-difficult style that required me to finally suck it up and purchase a pan, ceramic knife, and cutting board. I’m sorry, wallet, I will always love you. So far I’d been surviving on finger food and ready-mades from Carrefour.

Before that, though, I’d like to show you pictures from a cute café right across from the Tourism Office in Grenoble, La Forêt Noire. A few friends and I spent a Saturday afternoon together there, catching up in this cozy little establishment after our long morning run.


The pastries range from 2€ – 7€. What will really get you, however, is the warm beverages. Madison and Anna both got two bakery items while I only indulged in one. Everyone got either cafe au lait or chocolat chaud and the total came out to be almost 30€!

Next time I return, I’ll remember to skimp out on beverages, but splurge on the bakery items.

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A rum-soaked pastry. The dollop of crème on top? Delicious. Whoever made it went a little crazy when adding rum. I couldn’t finish it because it was a little overwhelming.



Now, onto the cooking!

Since this was the first anti-social weekend I’ve had since moving in, I dedicated Sunday to whipping up a new recipe.

I’d been eyeing carnitas recipes for a while, but again, I don’t want to splurge on spices if I’m only going to be staying here for a few months. Thus, the Overly-simplistic, Few-spices Carnitas Recipe was born.

A lot of recipes I’ve seen called for a huge mixture of spices, chicken broth, a combination of slow-cooker and oven-baking madness.

All I had was salt, pepper, mexican spice mix, two semi-functional stove-tops and a microwave.

green cutting board

So, I cut up some garlic, some onion and set it aside while I browned the pork.

raw pork carnitas

One annoying thing about the communal kitchen in the dorm is that the stove top turned off automatically every 20 minutes. It’s hard to slow-simmer something for 2-3 hours on a dysfunctional stove top. But I did it.

While watching Garden State. 

After browning the pork, I dumped enough water (instead of chicken broth) in the pot to cover the pork while it simmered. To make up for the loss of salt, I added a lot of salt and pepper—to taste. And then dumped in the garlic/onion mashup.



The result was an amazing, melt-in-your-mouth, onion-caramelized meat mashup.

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Other than the meat mashup, I added lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sautéed onions, and shredded cheddar.

Bon appétit! 


 You know, I think it’s because of the lack of Mexican restaurants and food that I’ve had recently that’s made me crave carnitas. And boy, it was delicious. I’m happy that I got to spend this Sunday entangled in a long, slow food ritual.

Linking up with Jenn today!

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  • Stephanie

    I was going to say, I feel like there’d be a real lack of Mexican food. I would miss that, I loooove Mexican.
    I’d totally trade it for those pastries 24/7 though, they look amazing.

    • Michelle

      I know. Thankfully, I spent all of last year learning how to make awesome Mexican dishes :)
      Pastries here… omgggg

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    Please go have a mille feuille for me. or ten.

    • Michelle

      You know, I realized the other day that I didn’t spend enough time exploring PASTRIES and CHOCOLATERIES here. I need to get on that ASAP because those dainty little things look AMAZING.