To say we enjoyed getting to know Laurie Webber, the winner of our Recipe to Paris contest, is an understatement. Her genuine enthusiasm throughout the process was a joy!
Laurie has been a la Madeleine guest at our Bethesda café since the ’80s. She told us stories of how her daughters’ elementary school was nearby and how she used to frequent the café when they were young. Her daughters were instrumental in helping Laurie navigate the entry process of our Recipe to Paris contest – from helping prop and style her entry photo to setting their mom up with her own Facebook account! It is quite impressive that through word of mouth (literally) she managed to pull in more than 1,800 votes to clinch the win!
Mini Tomato Basil Pochettes
She baked and offered her mini tomato basil pochettes to acquaintances all over Bethesda—from her hairdresser to the local fire station—requesting that they vote for her and spread the word. Laurie’s mini tomato basil pochettes really are delicious. As we head into the holiday season, you might consider adding them to the menu for your holiday gatherings. This is a simple go-to recipe that makes a great addition to any appetizer spread.
Laurie and Patrick at the Rockville la Madeleine
Before Laurie left for France, she and one of her daughters met our founder, Patrick Esquerré, and Chief Operating Office, John Cahill, at our Rockville café for dinner and wine. She also hosted a party for friends and family at the Rockville la Madeleine.
Laurie at Chateau Chenonceau
Laurie and her husband spent a week in Paris and the Loire Valley in September, and then went on a six-day bike tour with Backroads through the château country of the Loire Valley. Listening to Laurie tell stories of their trip was a treat; the food, landscape, history, architecture—what a special place! She even mentioned one French country home in particular that reminded her of la Madeleine—she couldn’t help but wonder if it had been Patrick’s inspiration when he designed some of the original la Madeleine’s. She said that the sights were breathtaking. The craftsmanship that went into building these spectacular chateaus, and the upkeep it must take to keep them in such pristine condition, is a testament to the pride the French take in preserving their culture.
Paris Fashion Week
They spent most of their time in the Loire Valley, but they also enjoyed three nights in Paris—one night at the beginning and two nights at the end their trip. While there, they were lucky enough to catch some of the sights of Paris Fashion Week.
We had made a few recommendations of “must eat” places in Paris; one in particular was L’As du Falafel. Laurie had actually been there before and agreed it was worth a return visit. L’As du Falafel is a world-famous stand in the heart of the Marais neighborhood. They also visited Musee de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries gardens next to the Place de la Concorde. There they were treated to a private tour of the recently renovated museum. Built in 1852, the Orangerie was originally used to shelter the orange trees of the garden of Tuileries during the winter months. The museum has a wonderful history, and is home to eight of Monet’s “Water Lilies,” known as the Nymphéas.
Laurie, from all of us here at la Madeleine, it has been an absolute treat getting to know you. Thank you for your sharing stories and pictures from your trip!
Bike to Chateau Gizeux
Copper Pots in the Kitchen at Chateau Gizeux
Kitchen at Chateau Gizeux