Tell your girlfriends to meet you at the prettiest flower shop in Paris– but only the ones you trust with your innermost secrets. We’ve found ourselves a hidden new lunch spot…
Wait for her by the tulips stacked on top of old books…
Next to one of the oldest tabac shops in Paris on Rue des Saint Pères, where you’ll stock up on glossy magazines to pore over during lunch together.
Leave the streets of Saint Germain behind you and head down the rabbit hole…
Follow the passage all the way to the end, past the antique shops…
Until you reach the white French doors with vines curling around the shopfront of 13 a Baker’s Dozen.
Give into the pull of the warm glow behind the glass and the scent of freshly baked goods that wrap around you like a warm blanket.
Before you can even close the door behind you, a friendly, almost familiar voice calls out to you with a hint of a southern accent, “Hey there!“
She may have even said, “Hey girl,” I’m not sure, like an old school friend I haven’t seen in years.
This is Laurel Sanderson, an American domestic goddess living in Paris. She first came here for a three day vacation– except that was seventeen years ago, and she never went home.
The chef and owner of our new little discovery, Laurel opened Treize a Baker’s Dozen in January of last year, conjuring up recipes and memories from her native South Carolina mixed with local French ingredients. This is her second foodie venture in Paris, having already co-founded another sweet spot in the city, the Sugarplum Cake Shop.
But this place is all Laurel. I imagine its exactly what her kitchen looked like back in South Carolina. Recipe books stacked on every available shelf, bowls full of fresh eggs waiting to be cracked into a cake mix, flowers she brought in from the market, still in their wrapping and left on the counter before scurrying over to check on her pies in the oven…
And of course any American ex-pat with the good sense to bring back a supply of Old Bay seasoning from home is an ex-pat I can trust!
Time to choose a nook and sit ourselves down.
Laurel brings us her menu clipped to a madeleine baking tray (naturally), and it reads like a ladies’ lazy luncheon dream…
You’ve got your ‘naughty-but-nice Franco-American’ inspired options like roasted pork, apple & butternut baked-to-order pie or your ‘ladylike Parisienne’ lighter choices from the farm & cold salads (which can either come with grilled or ‘fried’ chicken– but don’t be afraid, it’s not really ‘fried’ … you’ll see what I mean in a minute).
I suppose the decision of what to order should really depend on how juicy the gossip is going to be…
Today I’m catching up with my oldest friend from London. We haven’t seen each other since last summer, which I think calls for something a little bit naughty. Luckily, it’s Mac’n’Cheese Friday at Treize a Bakers Dozen, so we treat ourselves to a starter of the home-style good stuff.
I’m pleased to report it is the most beautifully delicious Mac’n’Cheese I’ve ever had the pleasure of shoving in my face.
For main course, I chicken out (mind the pun) and go for the healthier grilled chicken with quinoa, seasonal veggies, nuts, cheese and whatever Laurel thought might be delicious to add in to the mix today. It went down effortlessly in between giggles and gulps of natural red wine recommended by Laurel.
My girl went for the “Not Fried Fried Chicken” and veggies. Maybe I need to get myself down to the old deep south a.s.a.p, but I hadn’t heard about this little trick of baking chicken coated with seasoned cereal crumbs for a result that is every bit as tasty as its fried counterpart. Where has it been all my life?
As we’re finishing up, we notice nooks and tables are filling up and Mac’n’Cheese plates are whizzing out of the kitchen, so do aim for an early(ish) lunch to take advantage of the calmer hours. It’s actually a good policy I always stick to so I can get the most out of a restaurant’s ambiance.
By the way, if you want some tips on how to make some of Laurel’s home-style recipes (along with some good company and a few glasses of wine here and there), she hosts cooking classes you can sign up for through Treize’s Facebook page.
You can also take a bag painting workshop here that’s held here by one of Laurel’s ex-pat designer friends.
I pop off to the little girls room to find this charming surprise waiting for me ↑. I bet you’ll pick up the phone, too, just to see if there’s anyone on the other end.
And on my way back, Laurel’s cakes are literally singing heavenly hymns to me from under their glass domes. I suppose a post-lunch stroll arm in arm along the Seine should make up for a little slice, don’t you agree? The perfect start to a girls weekend in Paris (Thelma & Louise style, of course).
Find 13-a baker’s dozen down the Cours des Saint Pères at 16 rue des Saints Pères, 75007 Paris, France. Open Tuesday- Saturday from 10am-6pm.