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A Sawday's Special Place to Stay

Fri

30

Mar

2012

Discovering in Paris and in France

Spring time : time to go out, time to explore...restaurants, kitchen utensils, interesting websites and conventions, markets, movies, France and recipes...

Since January my latest post, I have discovered a lot, cooked some new recipes and wrote many facebook posts.

This newsletter/ blog will summarize them all.


 

 

Discovering new restaurants

(Have a look at the reviews on Trip Advisor)

 

Next door : I still like to have a healthy and tasty lunch at Fée Nature.

But sometimes Isabelle is full and I like to indulge next door, at  Adèle’s family a New York style Deli atmosphere, 67 rue d'Argout.

 

A new burger place has opened at the end of the street, they had an advert  on My Little Paris so it is difficult to get in. Also it is not a take away so not convenient for me when I just want to work and eat at home  at the same time.

But I think one day, I will take time to sit and enjoy their supposedly wonderful burger.

Restaurants de Paris, walking distance from rue d'Argout :

Racines, 8 passsage des Panorama. Went there with Joanna and Jim. Quality ingredients, friendly welcome, bustling passage.

We were not that impressed with the food and warmluke wine but I still liked the place and team and will give it another try.

Rice and Fish rue Greneta :  Japanese restaurant. The owner is American but his food is fresh, delicious and much more authentic than the Chinese own ones. Take the makis or bentos, you will be delighted. Thanks Betty for the address.Rice and Fish Bar à Sushi 16 rue Greneta 75002 01 42 36 63 72

 

Discovering and exploring some websites

 

Thanks to my former Californian guest Peg, I discovered about

David Lebovitz's blog.

David Lebovitz is an American pastry chef who fell in love with France, French way of cooking, of baking, way of life.

Some time ago, he decided to settle in Paris.

His blog and book relate to his experiences of France, his difficulties, with some sense  of humor, kind of Peter Mayle style in " A year in Provence"

Once I have finished the book, it will stay on my bookshelves for your pleasure while you visit.

 

The website  Yelp  is a "theme address book"   of useful reviewed addresses in the center of Paris.  I usually send the link to my guests and Parisian friends.

 

 

Setting the table with Evelynn
Setting the table with Evelynn

Discovering conventions or trade shows

  Spent a day with Evelynn at "Le Paris des chefs",we had fun discovering spices, Japanese earthenware,  attending a cooking lesson by a chef from the  San Francisco bay while Wynton Marsalis was playing.

Those who love Jazz, will know right away I am talking about the Marciac guy, yes HIM...

 

 "salon du Livre culinaire" : cookbook tradeshow

Unbielevable how many cookbooks were published.

it gave me the opportunity  to meet some publishers.

Hope there will still be some space for MY book !

But had the pleasure to see that nobody had yet written something similar to my project.

Keep posted, it will be on you local bookstore sometime whithin the next 10 years.

 

"salon du tourisme" : mostly oriented towards people wanting to travel all over the world, a few booths were dedicated to B&B and self-catered places and to professionals.

I attended some very interesting meetings on the future of self-catered places in Paris...

Discovering new kitchen utensils and searching for my future kitchen

 

 It looks like I will stay in Paris. After pondering a lot on the issue, I finally decided that I am a true Parisian, that I do not want to settle too far from friends and family so I'll stay in the City of Light.

Finding a place is quite difficult as a large house and garden in Maubourguet allow me, budget wise,  to a rather small apartment in the Montorgueil district.

I'd like to keep rue d'Argout and find another place  for myself in the same area.

Also to indulge in a kind of professional kitchen.

So here I am, looking into "la crème de la crème" for ovens, stoves, refrigerators ... What a budget ... Will my space be only dedicated to a nice kitchen ?

Everytime I visit a restaurant or some friends, I ask about their appliances and their comments. Steam,  low temperatures, convection, gas, induction cooktops ... My brain is exploding !

I'd like  something  top quality but I am not turning into a restaurant so I should stay reasonable.

Need to find my next address first ? Stay tuned, I might have found it ...

While looking into the  large appliances, I am also discovering some small utensils  like this wine aerator.

Very useful when you forgot to open your bottle of red wine ahead to decant it.

Also bought this small device from Gefu to use vegetables to the end after using their spaghetti like shredder.

 

I still found some space for these little ones in my kitchen rue d'Argout, but I am impatient to find a bigger one in the neighborhood...

 

Discovering movies


 There are  many good movies but I decided to  write only about those related to kitchens, tables, restaurants.

A New release "Comme un chef "  with Jean Reno Michael Youn.

it is not a great one ; it is pleasant and when you are interested in cooking, the movie shows how works a starred restaurant kitchen, the balance between  technics and creativity and is another  criticism of  guides such as Michelin.

Once the DVD is out, I will buy it and it will join my eclectic collection  : Old classic French movies with de Funès , Fernandel, some Italian, Norvegian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Mexican, some about chocolate " Le chocolat" and "Like water for chocolate". Of course I could not miss  "Babette's feast".

Hope you'll enjoy them with me around a good dinner ...

 

 

 

Discovering more markets

 

 Actually  discovering more about Marché Montmartre.

Twice a week it is held between rue Etienne Marcel and Saint Eustache. It's not a big one but it is such a pleasure to wander among the different booths.

It also gives me the opportunity to meet every week or almost with my longtime friend Odile.  We met when our eldest "kids" were in kindergarten. They are nearly 33 now !

Odile's family and mine were living in the same building near Etoile-Charles de Gaulle.

And after a few adventures in life, we are now meeting once a week in Marché Montmartre.

Odile has a booth next to her friend the Jeweler. Odile sells  scarves and foutas. (the Tunisian Hammam towels).

I had some in Maubourguet for the swimmingpool loungechairs.

I ordered different, blending grey ones for my future curtains... I love their "country like" style with a taste of sun and sand.

 

On Sundays I like to buy some organic vegetables, too bad they only come once a week.

When I do not need large quantities of spices (from G. Detou), I like to purchase from the spices booth on the market. They have a wide choice and a large smile.

Fishmonger : still unsatisfied, still searching THE one, still missing my dear Jacques and Eliane in Maubourguet and Montréal du Gers.

I meet them next week in  "aux Cocottes" by Christian Constant...

 

Discovering France

 

 Spent 5 days in Bordeaux and Issoudun last week.

I love Paris but it is nice to  see what exists besides in our lovely country (and the world).

 Bordeaux was a treat from my children for my birthday last year. What a nice idea ! They thought I would use their "voucher" while in Maubourguet but when I sold the house , I was too busy packing. Either way, from Paris or Maubourguet , Bordeaux is a 3-hour ride on TGV.

I stayed in a tiny hotel, very central and smiling staff. Sorry B&B owners... it was only a 2-night stay, tiny bedrooms and bathrooms, average breakfasts available but so convenient.  Hotel du Théâtre, rue de la Daurade, facing the Apple Store rue Sainte Catherine. I would recommend it to anybody who does not want to spend too much time in the bedroom and relaxing in a bathtub and who does not care about gourmet breakfast shared with some fellow travelers.

In Bordeaux I met Michel and Arlette, another Michel and Florence my former guests in Maubourguet and discover about real "Bordelaise" life.

Weather was nice and warm, so I spent a lot of time wandering in the beautiful streets. I was told it was  a nice city but I could witness it myself : extraordinary city, all XVIIIth century buildings. Formal ones one the river banks,  tiny meandering streets behind. Little squares everywhere, like in Venice. Visited the "Musée des arts décoratifs" : nice pieces but a bit old fashioned Museum. Needs some refurbishment.

Splendid city, well rehabbed by his Mayor. Bravo Mr le Maire !

Attended a concert by Jordi Savall with Arlette,  old medieval music, Mediterranean and ethnic. Great concert. He played the same tune with Arabic, Sephardic and Christian versions. A lesson to tolerance ! Thank you Arlette.

Had a very delicious piece of seabass at the theater café afterwards.

Next day, I walked along the river banks, went to the Stone bridge, through the charming little streets behind and met Arlette and Michel at the "petit commerce" rue du Parlement Saint Pierre. This place was recommended by everyone, including Jacques and Eliane, Fabrice and Séverine at la Bombance in Montreal du Gers (they all buy their fish at the same place). Was difficult to choose among all the appealing "à la carte" fish . I finally chose "Joues de lotte" (monkfish cheeks) and was extremely happy with them. On top, the team is smiling and welcoming. Yes French people can be smiling and welcoming ... !

Then Arlette and Michel invited me into their beautiful house for coffee where  I had the pleasure to meet their daughters.

Went back to the hotel where I met with the other Michel.

We strolled along the banks in "Quartier Saint Michel" and "Sainte Croix", saw all the sports facilities where young ones could play beach volley, football, pelote basque...

We met Florence at their lovely house, a true XVIIIth century gem, shared some pink bubbles and then had dinner at "Le café du théâtre" next to T N B A. Again I was able to enjoy delicious fish and was  invited to visit the restaurant kitchen  whit the chef comments : a real interesting treat : Bravo and merci !

Took back the TGV to Paris early on Sunday morning, then drove down to Issoudun to meet with Nicolle , Françoise, Jean-Louis, Lucien and many others for the closure of their fortnight art exhibition" Les amis de Montmartre".

I fell in love with several paintings by Jean-Louis Pelé again, but had to stay reasonable as my goal is to keep enough money for the future apartment and kitchen, but I know I will indulge later on and you'll be able to enjoy some more of his art at home.

 

Very kindly, in spite of their busy schedule, Nicolle and Françoise her daughter, took me to Nohant the George Sand's mansion, and to Valençay Renaissance castle given to Talleyrand by Napoleon.

The castle is beautiful and the "Empire"  furniture is amazing but the formal  decor is not my "cup of tea".

I  felt  delighted with Nohant, reacquainted with George Sand 's life. The visit made me want to read  more of her books. It would be too long to tell you all about this very modern and feminist writer, friend of the Arts. I'd encourage you to go and enjoy.

Nicolle offered me some "cuisine berrichone" cookbook.

When I browsed through it, I discovered a "weird" recipe :

"les couilles d'âne" ( donkey balls !) They eat strange things in Berry !

Actually these "balls" are poached eggs cooked in the classic Meurette way with  shallots, mushroom and wine sauce. The recipe is good, its "non politically correct" tittle made me laugh so chances are you will enjoy "couilles d'âne" sometime on my table...

Next evening we had dinner at "la Cognette" in Issoudun. Very tasty food, and once again I was treated to visit the kitchen.

 

Thanks to all !

 

 

 

 

Discovering recipes

I tried a few new recipes this winter. Among them some Cheesecake yogurt, Asian soup with broth, mushrooms, soy beans, toasted, gyosas and Red snapper (or mullet, I am not sure how you would translate  Rouget) rice, zucchini and wild rice.

 

 Red Mullet with zucchini, pastis and wild rice.

the most difficult part of the recipe is to find  good fish !

Then ask your fishmonger to remove the filets, keeping the skin.

You will grill them in your oven with some pastis and olive oil, salt and pepper.

zucchini :  I shredded them in my spaghetti like shredder and then sauteed them in a wok with some olive oil and fennel seeds.

I steamed a mix of basmati and red rice.

And made a lemon buttery sauce with some  sour cream.

Bottom of the plate, you  settle some rice, that you top with  zucchini, then fish, then decorate with some dill and around a drizzle of the lemony sauce.

 

Bon appétit !

 

The quiz

apparently it was too easy for you ...

Here are the answers for the only quiz on key2paris

 

 

 

Cheese again; do you know what kind of cheese you can find in Pouligny Saint Pierre ?

a pyramidal goat cheese

 

 

Some wine ?

 Curnonsky started a famous French magazine related to food and wine, still published today. Do you know the name of the Magazine ?

Just, cuisine et vins de France

 

What are the names of the grape varieties allowed in Champagne ? 2 red  Pinot noir  & Pinot meunier, 1 white " chardonnnay"

 

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