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October 25, 2013

Mont Aiguille, France (via besttravelphotos)
Bundle up! Let’s go.

Mont Aiguille, France (via besttravelphotos)

Bundle up! Let’s go.

(via caro)

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January 29, 2013

frenchcinema (via uneamericaine):

L’écume des jours (Michel Gondry, 2013) trailer

No disrespect but that is the twee-est 2.5 minutes ever put down on film, right down to another g’damn round of “Ho Hey.” Feel like I need to eat something bracing, like horseradish, just to get the taste out of my mouth. And though the trailer is ostensibly in French you don’t need to know the language … or um, any language … to know what it’s about. Or, not about, as the case may be.

I suspect I may not be the market for this, though, so I’ll shut up now.

In other news, pretty sure that church is this church. In the 20th? Maybe? 

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October 17, 2012

Chocolate swirl meringues. The stunning photography is by Mimi’s husband. 
Maybe they’ll adopt me.

Chocolate swirl meringues. The stunning photography is by Mimi’s husband. 

Maybe they’ll adopt me.

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October 17, 2012

Just discovered the gorgeous Hapa food blogger Mimi Thorisson and let me tell you she is putting the rest of us to shame. Any October that doesn’t involve mushroom hunting in the idyllic French countryside is kind of waste, don’t you think?
Her boudin noir dish reminded me of something M. made for my 30th birthday dinner in Provence. If I can’t have the life, at least I can have the food — and the man.

Just discovered the gorgeous Hapa food blogger Mimi Thorisson and let me tell you she is putting the rest of us to shame. Any October that doesn’t involve mushroom hunting in the idyllic French countryside is kind of waste, don’t you think?

Her boudin noir dish reminded me of something M. made for my 30th birthday dinner in Provence. If I can’t have the life, at least I can have the food — and the man.

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August 28, 2012

Let’s go back….
(And until then, I’ll get my fix on Elizabeth's Lunch In Paris blog — and wait patiently for her next book. :)
(via provencetoujours:thatkindofwoman)

Let’s go back….

(And until then, I’ll get my fix on Elizabeth's Lunch In Paris blog — and wait patiently for her next book. :)

(via provencetoujours:thatkindofwoman)

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August 7, 2012

Aioli in Provence. I’ve been dreaming of a late-summer dinner party that’s all about a big batch of perfect aioli and tons of fresh vegetables. Something exactly like … this.
PS: It’s been almost a year since my dreamy birthday trip.

Aioli in Provence. I’ve been dreaming of a late-summer dinner party that’s all about a big batch of perfect aioli and tons of fresh vegetables. Something exactly like … this.

PS: It’s been almost a year since my dreamy birthday trip.

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December 1, 2011

Squid as madeleine
Reading the "I foraged with Rene Redzepi" article in the food issue of the New Yorker, I was reminded that I never posted about our last, glorious meal in France. It was at Le Chateaubriand in Paris, a two-year-old restaurant that trails Redzepi’s Noma — generally considered the greatest restaurant in the world — by just six spots on S. Pellegrino’s illustrious list.
I’m not sure how much foraging Le Chateaubriand’s Inaki Aizpitarte does personally (judging from The Selby's documentation of his urbane day-to-day, not much), but the two chefs are similar in their approach to native European ingredients and cuisines. I haven't dined at Noma (YET) but I know that Redzepi's guiding culinary star is Nordic, while for Aizpitarte, it is probably Basque, the region that straddles Spain and France from which he hails.
When I was 13, I spent a month in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Basque country. It sits between Madrid and San Sebastian. I lived with a well-to-do host family in a high-rise double-apartment. I went to a Catholic school where every class was in Spanish, except English, which I excelled at, and Basque, which I did not. (To date, that remains my only experience with a uniform.) The family had two full-time nannies, one part-time cook, and two little girls, ages six and eight, who were always dressed in immaculate matching clothing from Italy or France. The six-year-old was an eager-to-please treat, the eight-year-old a spoiled terror.
I remember the month as a period of non-stop jaw-dropping taste awakenings, beginning with a four- or maybe six-hour Sunday lunch where my host-father and -mother held court in the back room of a restaurant, ordering dozens of dishes and entertaining a dozen friends who came and went. It was one of the few times I — and, for that matter, my host-sisters — spent much time with the host-parents. Usually we had lunch in the kitchen with the nannies (the small TV tuned to MTV Europe), and a late dinner of torta and other odds and ends in the informal dining room, again with the nannies. (I will forever associate Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” video with Spain.)
Among the unforgettable foods that I first experienced in Vitoria are croquetas, fried balls of silky potato-cheese puree studded with jambon that were so good I stared them down in their place at the center of the table, counting down the minutes until it was no longer impolite to swipe another; morcilla corcida, its thin casing exploding into a fragrant pillow of rice and blood that I had to dare myself to taste for the first time, but not the second and third and tenth time; and the bowl of squid in its own ink that every Sunday the family’s matriarch — the host-mother’s mother — ordered up to her apartment, a grand and lonely place that was separated from ours by a locked door. (Although she skipped the weekly restaurant festivities in favor of solitude, she still donned a trim Chanel suit.)
I was never offered a taste of that squid — I was lucky if I got so much of a dismissive shrug out of the grandmother — but I got a peek and a sniff of them and was not disgusted so much as curious. If blood and rice could taste so good, why not squid and ink?

When the first course was placed before me at Le Chateubriand I was transported instantly to that apartment in the sky. Squid in ink, reimagined with summer squash, fruity tomatoes, and an unknown foraged green — and yet the smell! Yes, that is it, exactly, I thought, and then I said, “I wonder if the chef’s grandmother ate squid in ink on Sundays, too?”
I bet she did.
This is a very long way of saying that our meal at Le Chateubriand was one of those that stimulates the memory as much as it does the taste buds and olfactory glands. It was casual and fun — we waited in a queue for about an hour, making conversation with the drunk Danish chef in front of us, drinking champagne, watching Chef Aizpitarte run in and out of the restaurant like a spaniel on speed, and ogling the obscenely chic crowd dressed for the kick-off of Paris Fashion Week — but it was also very serious. 
Aizpitarte offers just one menu every night and he prices it reasonably (less than 60 euro). He puts forth a series of well-thought-out juxtapositions — strawberries and bluefish, ice cream and foraged greens, mushrooms and chocolate, the sudden appearance of the Indian spice mix supari at the end of the meal — and they are, for the most part, exquisite. (He failed to convince me that we ought to start slathering our best dark chocolate on mushrooms, but we can’t win ‘em all.)
I was thrilled by the boldness of the flavors — and sometimes, by their restraint — but I’ve got to admit it was when Aizpitarte cranked up some obscure disco song for a midnight dance break in the kitchen that he really won me over.
M. and I spent the evening with delighted smiles never far from our lips: we felt lucky to be there, closing out such an extraordinary trip with such a wildly inventive and unusual meal, the big, booming fireworks display before they put the circus animals to bed. 
Below, the photos I took and the menu descriptions, directly translated from the French with a little help from Google….
I like funky wine, and this had funk to rival the funkiest.

I didn’t take photos of the amuses bouche but this peacock plate with gougères was too pretty to pass up.

The famous squid in ink.

Saint-Jean de Luz bluefish, turnips, radish, strawberries.

Veal, “knife” (the French word is couteau??), cod liver.

Not pictured: Buttermilk, herbs, hazelnut butter.
Mushrooms, Tannea extra-bitter chocolate, Alpine lovage.

Mint ice cream, foraged greens.

After-dinner palette cleanser: strawberries rolled in a supari-inspired spice mixture.

Squid as madeleine

Reading the "I foraged with Rene Redzepi" article in the food issue of the New Yorker, I was reminded that I never posted about our last, glorious meal in France. It was at Le Chateaubriand in Paris, a two-year-old restaurant that trails Redzepi’s Noma — generally considered the greatest restaurant in the world — by just six spots on S. Pellegrino’s illustrious list.

I’m not sure how much foraging Le Chateaubriand’s Inaki Aizpitarte does personally (judging from The Selby's documentation of his urbane day-to-day, not much), but the two chefs are similar in their approach to native European ingredients and cuisines. I haven't dined at Noma (YET) but I know that Redzepi's guiding culinary star is Nordic, while for Aizpitarte, it is probably Basque, the region that straddles Spain and France from which he hails.

When I was 13, I spent a month in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Basque country. It sits between Madrid and San Sebastian. I lived with a well-to-do host family in a high-rise double-apartment. I went to a Catholic school where every class was in Spanish, except English, which I excelled at, and Basque, which I did not. (To date, that remains my only experience with a uniform.) The family had two full-time nannies, one part-time cook, and two little girls, ages six and eight, who were always dressed in immaculate matching clothing from Italy or France. The six-year-old was an eager-to-please treat, the eight-year-old a spoiled terror.

I remember the month as a period of non-stop jaw-dropping taste awakenings, beginning with a four- or maybe six-hour Sunday lunch where my host-father and -mother held court in the back room of a restaurant, ordering dozens of dishes and entertaining a dozen friends who came and went. It was one of the few times I — and, for that matter, my host-sisters — spent much time with the host-parents. Usually we had lunch in the kitchen with the nannies (the small TV tuned to MTV Europe), and a late dinner of torta and other odds and ends in the informal dining room, again with the nannies. (I will forever associate Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” video with Spain.)

Among the unforgettable foods that I first experienced in Vitoria are croquetas, fried balls of silky potato-cheese puree studded with jambon that were so good I stared them down in their place at the center of the table, counting down the minutes until it was no longer impolite to swipe another; morcilla corcida, its thin casing exploding into a fragrant pillow of rice and blood that I had to dare myself to taste for the first time, but not the second and third and tenth time; and the bowl of squid in its own ink that every Sunday the family’s matriarch — the host-mother’s mother — ordered up to her apartment, a grand and lonely place that was separated from ours by a locked door. (Although she skipped the weekly restaurant festivities in favor of solitude, she still donned a trim Chanel suit.)

I was never offered a taste of that squid — I was lucky if I got so much of a dismissive shrug out of the grandmother — but I got a peek and a sniff of them and was not disgusted so much as curious. If blood and rice could taste so good, why not squid and ink?

When the first course was placed before me at Le Chateubriand I was transported instantly to that apartment in the sky. Squid in ink, reimagined with summer squash, fruity tomatoes, and an unknown foraged green — and yet the smell! Yes, that is it, exactly, I thought, and then I said, “I wonder if the chef’s grandmother ate squid in ink on Sundays, too?”

I bet she did.

This is a very long way of saying that our meal at Le Chateubriand was one of those that stimulates the memory as much as it does the taste buds and olfactory glands. It was casual and fun — we waited in a queue for about an hour, making conversation with the drunk Danish chef in front of us, drinking champagne, watching Chef Aizpitarte run in and out of the restaurant like a spaniel on speed, and ogling the obscenely chic crowd dressed for the kick-off of Paris Fashion Week — but it was also very serious. 

Aizpitarte offers just one menu every night and he prices it reasonably (less than 60 euro). He puts forth a series of well-thought-out juxtapositions — strawberries and bluefish, ice cream and foraged greens, mushrooms and chocolate, the sudden appearance of the Indian spice mix supari at the end of the meal — and they are, for the most part, exquisite. (He failed to convince me that we ought to start slathering our best dark chocolate on mushrooms, but we can’t win ‘em all.)

I was thrilled by the boldness of the flavors — and sometimes, by their restraint — but I’ve got to admit it was when Aizpitarte cranked up some obscure disco song for a midnight dance break in the kitchen that he really won me over.

M. and I spent the evening with delighted smiles never far from our lips: we felt lucky to be there, closing out such an extraordinary trip with such a wildly inventive and unusual meal, the big, booming fireworks display before they put the circus animals to bed. 

Below, the photos I took and the menu descriptions, directly translated from the French with a little help from Google….

I like funky wine, and this had funk to rival the funkiest.

I didn’t take photos of the amuses bouche but this peacock plate with gougères was too pretty to pass up.

The famous squid in ink.

Saint-Jean de Luz bluefish, turnips, radish, strawberries.

Veal, “knife” (the French word is couteau??), cod liver.

Not pictured: Buttermilk, herbs, hazelnut butter.

Mushrooms, Tannea extra-bitter chocolate, Alpine lovage.

Mint ice cream, foraged greens.

After-dinner palette cleanser: strawberries rolled in a supari-inspired spice mixture.



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November 8, 2011

Photographer Janol Apin brings the names of Paris Metro stops to life. Witty and fun. (I’m just a sucker for a penguin in a subway.)

(Via uneamericaine.)

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October 25, 2011

Let me preface this post by saying…

we did entirely too much eating — by which I mean exactly enough — but I swear after this I am down to just *one* more meal. The most amazing of all, of course. And so without further ado, the second to the last:

The plat was but a prelude to our actual meal at Le Bistrot Paul Bert, next door.

As you do.

Out of respect for the fruits de mer that had so lately made their way to our tummies, we shared an appetizer at Paul Bert. We’re not cochons, after all. (Mmm, and now I am thinking of Cochon.)

M.’s cocotte (there that hussy is again!) of quail and girolles. It’s a tragedy but I can’t for the life of me remember what that dish tasted like. I was too obsessed with the chanterelles that accompanied my fish (really, France in fall is where this mushroom-lover wants to be).

And, of course, fromage and dessert. 

(Now you’ll understand why I returned to the States thinking hard, for the first time, about “why French women don’t get fat”. Could I accept the loss of snacking if it meant I could eat indulgently — yet mindfully? Where would I find the self-discipline to live around such temptation? Do I really want to give up strenuous exercise? Is that even a question? For now, I have returned to my usual — very typical-American — ways. I am strict about diet and exercise except when I am blatantly not. Needless to say, there are many places for improvement, many pathways to a better balance. Something to work on….)

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October 25, 2011

…and, that night, we shared a plat de fruits de mer at the very charming L’Ecailler du Bistrot. Those striped napkins, that bread with seaweed butter — perfect touches, all around.

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