David Lebovitz describes Paris patisseries that are in a class of their own; like an island, they stand alone…


When I ask people how they learned to cook, they usually say their grandma taught them. It’s true that if you grew up in the seventies or later, your parents probably benefited from prepared foods and appliances that reduced time spent in the kitchen. But at Grandma’s house, something was always bubbling on the stove or roasting in the oven. I have mentioned my Southern belle grandma more than once in this blog; we have few recipes from her because they were all in her head. For fried chicken, she sprinkled flour, salt, and pepper on a plate to dredge the pieces and fried in lard “until they were done.” Vegetables were simmered in water with a little butter, salt, and sugar “until they were done.” No one can duplicate her cornbread or rolls because she measured the ingredients in a coffee cup. I remember following her in fascination as she fluttered between the sink and the range: a splash, a dash, a stir, a poke. She knew from the smell or the sound of a sizzle when something was ready to eat. Please excuse my nostalgia… I know a few dishes by heart, but it seems the art of sensing how to make food taste good is all but lost. Some chefs have it from hours and hours of practice, which brings me back to time. Maybe that is what is missing.

Pic, a Winner

Anne-Sophie Pic, a three-Michelin-star restaurateur and the best female chef of 2011 according to Restaurant magazine, is opening not one but two French restaurants in New York!

Something’s Brewing

I still do not understand why so many refer to coffee in Paris as “jus de chaussette,” or sock juice. True, it has a bitter edge from the dark-roasted beans that I find quite pleasing. But in the Third Arrondissement, the trend is toward a better cafe. Read about the new artisan coffeehouses percolating:

French Food

It appears that inspiration in the U.S. is pouring in from Paris; brasserie fare is making a comeback. Bienvenu, oh, coq au vin!

A Good Egg

I remember the first time I bought eggs in France… I was in a little corner shop, where I searched and searched the refrigerated section. When I asked the clerk where were the eggs, he pointed to a shelf behind me. Mon dieu! Maybe Americans should just chill.

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar

Read all about the Austrian-born sommelier of Le Bernardin whose name is on the new spinoff wine bar next door.

A Meatless Menu

Famous chef Alain Ducasse is reopening his restaurant in the Plaza Athenee in Paris as mostly vegetarian. He says it is a move to be more responsible with our resources.


This minimalist restaurant in the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao is as undulating inside as Gehry’s building is outside… Even the kitchen is a clean, curvilinear space… Chef Alija’s plates share the simplicity and organic shapes, like these tomatoes injected with herb-infused syrup in a caper sauce: Here is a spectacular stewed spinach with green almonds and … Continue reading

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