Eating pastries in a row, rowing for fitness in Montclair (Robin’s Nest)

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As I walk around the city looking for new experiences and new people to interview, I imagine myself walking the streets of Paris and entering one of the many street patisseries and ordering some sweet treats to enjoy. while enjoying my coffee and treats.

I didn’t have to travel far at all to find a business that brought a bit of France to Montclair, Jayce Baudry French Pastry.

Jayce Baudry opened his boutique on November 1, 2021 on Church Street. Baudry was born in Bordeaux, France, and came to New York in 2013 to work in restaurants as a pastry chef, honing his craft and showing off his talent for creating delicious and beautiful desserts, pies and chocolates. He now lives in Jersey City with his wife and daughter.

When I asked why he chose Montclair for his business, Baudry said, “The pandemic has been incredibly lucky for everyone. It allowed us to stop and listen. I didn’t see it as a terrible thing. There is no longer any certainty about anything. I had the chance to spend a lot of time with my daughter and to think about the future.

In fact, Baudry had to pivot and decide what he wanted to do after being fired during the height of the pandemic when restaurants were closed.

His wife, Rebecca, bakes in the large basement kitchen of the nearby Faubourg restaurant. She was fired at the same time as her husband and comes up with ideas for new baked goods to sell, experimenting with different flavors and edible decorations for each. Other baked goods, such as cookies and cakes, are made on site at the boutique.

Robin Woods, center, visits couple Rebecca, left, and Jayce Baudry, right, owners of Jayce Baudry French Pastry (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

Robin Woods, center, visits couple Rebecca, left, and Jayce Baudry, right, owners of Jayce Baudry French Pastry (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

She said, “We put a bit of a twist on it. There are 10,000 types of pastries in France. We change all the time, inspired by the season. We want to keep customers interested so they don’t get bored.

There are 150 kinds of rotating baked goods in the shop, so be on the lookout for new arrivals and surprises. Have a chocolate covered marbled pound cake in a box to follow you home, like I did.

I was hungry and ordered the blueberry and almond french meringue, sprinkled with freeze dried blueberries and slivered almonds. With a wonderful cup of filter coffee on the side, I sat down at a small bistro table to the right of the shop, inside the lobby of The Clairidge theater, and had a second treat, a meringue with lavender and passion fruit.

Lavender usually tastes like perfume to me, but it was light and not too sweet, almost like biting into a cloud of crispy fruit.

There was so much to see and so much to choose from, cookies and chocolates, macaroons and pound cakes. Try a Paris Montclair, a puffed choux pastry topped with a homemade hazelnut praline, crushed toasted hazelnuts and a hazelnut mousseline. Don’t worry if things are too cloying, because Jayce and Rebecca don’t like a lot of sweets and prefer salty foods.

Stop by the shop between 4 and 5 p.m. daily to watch cookies and cakes being made, looking out the large window facing the Clairidge’s lobby. Buy something for dessert, for breakfast, or just because you deserve a bit of France in your life.

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Robin Woods visits Alli Joseph, manager of Row House (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

Robin Woods visits Alli Joseph, manager of Row House (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

You may have indulged a little too much in sweets and are thinking about eliminating what you ate or just staying healthy and fit. A short hike up the hill from Bloomfield Avenue brings you to Row House Montclair, where you can learn how to use a rowing machine and get your ergs in.

I researched the word for myself, and an erg, short for ergometer, is a device that measures the work done during exercise on various bikes and rowing machines.

Row House was new to me, although it opened in 2019. Growing up in New York, the term row house meant attached units that share common walls. Row House Montclair is where you go to train on rowing machines. Well, that makes sense.

I spoke with Alli Joseph, general manager of the Montclair franchise. Alli didn’t start out in fitness and said, “I wasn’t an athletic kid and didn’t play team sports. I have a very fast brain. I am always on the move. I like to move a lot. »

She has been a spin class follower since college and rode the crew while attending Vassar College. That’s what competitive rowing is called by Americans, just a little fancier.

Teaching and advocating for health and wellness follows her 25-year career as an on-camera journalist, reporter, producer and TV host. However, she has always worked in the fitness field on the side. Two knee injuries forced her to do low impact exercise, riding a bike or taking spin classes and teaching them as well.

I asked Alli to explain to me what happens in a rowing class. She said: “It’s low impact fitness, not aggressive, 45 minutes of rowing straight. This works 86% of your muscles, as you row at intervals and then move on to floor work, core work, and cardio. It’s a full body workout.

Robin Woods visits Alli Joseph, manager of Row House (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

Robin Woods visits Alli Joseph, manager of Row House (NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL)

Sounds pretty full to me, and I guess the class members aren’t singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” together.

I had never seen a rower before, and Alli went through all the steps with me before I tried rowing for the first time. I train on my stationary bike almost every day for at least 45 minutes, so the machine was somewhat familiar to me, but different in some ways.

It is made for tall people and adjustments had to be made so I could reach the pedals and sit properly in the seat. I had to keep my back straight, the soles of my feet planted firmly on the straps.

I was trained to push back with my lower body first, then use my upper back to pull my hands up to my chest while holding onto the handles that turn the steering wheel. After releasing my arms to the base, I bent my knees to return to the starting position.

It was more fun than I thought, and I can see myself taking a class once I remember how to do the leg, body, arm, arm, body, leg sequence and not forgetting to use my core while contracting my trunk muscles. Practice probably makes rowing easier, and using the legs is key to a full body workout.

Row House is open 7 days a week, starting at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. on weekends when classes are scheduled. The first course is free. You can pay per class or become a member at the level you want.

Contests and rewards follow your fitness journey, with a wall of fame showing photos of student milestones, such as rowing an indoor half marathon, 13.1 miles or 21,097, 5 meters. A trainset with signatures on it hangs for display, showing the names and photos of people who have achieved their goals of 100,000 to 1 million miles traveled, something I can’t imagine doing myself. Again, I have already surprised myself.

To complete the loop, walk back down the hill to Church Street for another meringue, madeleine or macaroon, since you’ve worked so hard. Sorry if you think I’m a bad influence. Quick walk if needed.

In this article:

  • Jayce Baudry French Pastry
    17 Church St., 973-531-6464
  • Townhouse Montclair
    638 Bloomfield Ave, 973-500-6550

Robin Woods is a local town girl, writing about activities, shops, restaurants and interesting people that catch her eye. She has written memoirs and personal essays, as well as music and fashion columns for various New York newspapers. Her writing awards include the Shirley Chisholm Award for Journalism and the Essex County Legacies Essay Competition Director’s Award.

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