Paris Hearts Time-Lapse

September 30th, 2014

Here’s a short trip to Paris for those not able to be there today.

time lapse

The Work Conundrum

September 29th, 2014


french officeLabor has been in the news quite a bit these days in France, with the Air France pilot’s strike giving the strikers what they wanted. The damage done to the tourism industry is incalculable; not only did many people have their vacations ruined by the huge cancellation of flights, but future visits will undoubtedly be kiboshed when people remember the drama of it all. Bringing the airline to its knees sent a strong message to the rest of the labor force in France: strikes work. So don’t expect them to stop anytime soon. Meanwhile, the country’s top politicians continue to seek ways to alleviate youth unemployment without weighing down the overburdened social system. (Culling the bloated bureaucracy never seems to be on that agenda…) It’s easy to think there is precious little work to be had in France—until you look on an employment website such as Mitula Emploi, which lists hundreds and hundreds of available posts. It’s all in how you look at things, n’est-ce pas?

Do the Twizy

September 28th, 2014

twizy parisHave you seen the little electric two-passenger cars zooming around Paris? The Twizy is almost like riding a motorcycle with four wheels and a bit of extra protection around you. But not much more! But they’re small and easy to park (sometimes right up on the sidewalk), and now you can rent them from the foot of the Eiffel Tower with pre-loaded GPS tours of Paris to guide you. TwizTours cost €29 for one hour per person (two people minimum) up to €75 per person to have a human guide in a second car leading the way. Note that you need a driver’s license valid for at least three years.


Saturday Silliness

September 27th, 2014

Why do the French make omelettes with just one egg?
Because one egg is un oeuf.

Where There Is Will…

September 26th, 2014

will entree paris 75012William Pradeleix, the chef, loves combining French traditional flavors with more exotic ones. Our meal at Will was a true ode to fusion food and an original on the Paris dining scene.

We started off with a reinvention of the classic French tartare, seasoned with sesame seeds, white truffle and green mango. The sesame added a fresh and crunchy twist to the chopped meat.
 My partner in crime was satisfied as well with her appetizer : hamachi (Japanese amberjack) with citrus reduction and grapefruit. The raw Japanese fish was sliced sashimi-style and perfectly cooked by the citrus and the grapefruit. A real hit, especially if you already miss those summer days.

The mains were also quite impressive: risotto style daikon with sepia ink; duck magret with passion fruit seasoning and a super tender pork belly with baby artichokes and teriyaki sauce.

75, rue Crozatier
 01 53 17 02 44

>on to dessert!

A Gourmet Holiday Tradition

September 25th, 2014

buche 2Nearly 30 of France’s top pastry chefs and 26 Bûches de Noël make for one indulgent afternoon well spent. As an insatiable gourmande, I jump at the chance to meet and speak with pastry chefs so you can imagine my excitement when the country’s top talents are together in one room.

My blogging pal Carol Gillott kindly invited me along to one such opportunity a couple of weeks ago at the Relais Desserts 2014 Prix d’Excellence, held at the luxuriant Peninsula Paris Hotel, which awards the industry’s best pastry chef, best rising-star pastry chef, best pastry book and best pastry blog. And preceding this prestigious ceremony was a presentation of the Relais Desserts members’ Bûche de Noël creations for the forthcoming holiday season, each more aesthetic than the next.

buche 1Among my favorites was the polar bear (below) from Frédéric Cassel, Relais Desserts president and award-winning pâtissier with namesake boutiques in Fontainebleau, Tokyo, Kyoto, Berlin and Casablanca. Unlike the other yule logs presented, Cassel’s was an ice cream cake, composed of a hazelnut crumble, soft caramel and two ice creams: vanilla caramelized pecan and salted butter caramel. A rich-sounding capstone to what is likely to be an already heavy Christmas feast, to be sure, but I was pleasantly surprised by its lightness upon first bite – refreshing with dialed back sweetness. When asked about the form – which he called ‘Ourson de Noël’, Cassel smiled widely and replied “it’s for all kids, big and small. How can you not feel happy when you see it?”.


Bit o’Britain

September 24th, 2014

Marks-and-Spencer in parisThe return to Paris of the British store Marks & Spencer has been so successful (food and clothing shops on the Champs Elysées and the Beaugrenelle Commercial Center in the 15th), that now they are rolling out a bunch of food-only convenience shops, M&S Food, currently at 35 blvd St-Michel in the 5th, 6 rue de la Pépinière, 8th, and 69 ave Général Leclerc, 14th. The food is mostly packaged convenience food, but it’s a great place when you’re craving Chicken Tikka Massala, scones, crumpets, or decent stilton cheese with Branston pickle. More coming in the 9th and 16th soon.


Photo Show Opens This Week

September 23rd, 2014

by Meredith Mullins

meredith mullinsIt has been fun to plan “Paris and Beyond” with my friend Richard Nahem. We have both been settled in Paris for eight years, and we both live to explore . . . and see things that have not been seen before. The exhibit opens this Thursday, September 25, at Le Galerie 102.

Our styles are very different, which will make the exhibit all the more interesting. For my part, I have selected my Paris favorites, including moments of rare snow, street stories, and those once-in-a lifetime captures that confirm that luck is a huge part of photographic success (as well as the patience to wait for the elements to align).

And, then, we go beyond. My “beyond” ventures to Budapest, Istanbul, and Central Asia. I’m also showing my hand-colored work from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kashgar—lands that I remember so vividly but that, sadly, change every day with the turmoil of the world.

Richard and I look forward to sharing our images with Paris friends and visitors. Join us!

Le Galerie 102 is at 102 rue Cherche Midi. The vernissage is Thursday evening, September 25 from 7-9 pm. Metros: Duroc or Vaneau. Gallery hours are noon to 7 pm every day until October 2.

For Plus-Size Parisiennes

September 23rd, 2014

COULEURS RONDE GRANDES TAILLESMaybe French women don’t get “fat” but they do get “ronde.” One of the best clothing brands for women shopping for size 42-60 (US sizes 12-28) is Jean Marc Philippe, a French brand with three stores in Paris (including 89 rue de Rivoli, 1st). The clothing is mostly made in France, with some items made in Tunisia, so the prices aren’t what you’d get for clothes made in China, but the quality is much better. Down the street is another shop carry sizes 42-62 called Couleurs (17 rue de Rivoli, 75001). In general, when looking for similar shops or sections within department stores, look for “Grandes Tailles” or “Femmes Rondes.”


A New Neo-Bistro in the 10th

September 22nd, 2014

porte 12 restaurant parisPorte 12, a new 32-seat neo-bistrot in the 10th arrondissement, is just a few blocks over from other standouts in the restaurant category – Albion, Abri, Le Richer and L’Office.

Chef Vincent Crepel presides over the narrow open kitchen where he inventively plays up seasonal produce in a style greatly informed both by his travels through Asia and Europe and his experience under the tutelage of venerated chef André Chiang whose eponymous restaurant in Singapore was ranked 6th best in Asia for 2014. Chiang’s cooking is anchored in French technique and hinges on a number of tenets – Unique, Texture, Memory, Pure, Terroir, Salt, South, and Artisan – many of which have followed Vincent into his own kitchen.

Tucked into a quiet pocket off the rue Faubourg Poissonnière, the space itself is discreet, subdued in style but with a few design statements that instantly catch your attention, chief among them the corset-shaped light fixtures that recall the structure’s former incarnation as a chef vincent crepeltextile and lingerie atelier. This pared down focus translates to the plate where the chef avoids pomp and highlights simplicity in aesthetic. His strength, however, is in the complex marriage of unexpected flavors and a profound respect and command of the local terroir.

I had an opportunity to try Crepel’s multi-course meal last week prior to the official opening last Tuesday, my first introduction to his cooking and vision. Each dish was more creative and thoughtful than the next but the meal truly reached a crescendo with a short rib cooked sous vide for 24 hours at 56°c, wonderfully tender and covered in a thin veil of bamboo ash and black tea. No detail of the experience was left unconsidered, right down to the coffee which, thankfully, required more thought than a simple push of a button, and had its own story.