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The Best Socca In Nice

socca sign in vence

“The great thing about socca,” Rosa Jackson told me, as we ripped into our second double order of the giant chickpea crêpe between us, “is that even if you’re not hungry, you can still eat it.”

A few days later, while standing on the square in Vence, waiting while a young man poured chickpea batter onto a very hot oiled griddle, a timid young American woman asked him for a crêpe. He explained, in fractured English, that he only made socca, and she started to walk away.

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Nice

socca, pizza, pissaladiere, wine

If there’s anything nicer than taking a break and heading to the south of France, I can’t imagine what it could be right now. My first day in Nice, we ran from socca stand to socca stand, tasting as many as we could. Fortified, we hit the wonderful market in the old part of town to select our fixings for a lovely dinner.

socca

The way of life down here, and the cooking, are a world away from Paris. Generous bunches of basil find their way into pistou, which we pounded in the mortar and pestle until almost smooth.

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Sunday Dining in Paris

Couscous

Here’s a list of some restaurants in Paris that are open on Sunday. Note that some are quite basic while others may fall into the slightly touristy category. Nevertheless, I still think they’re worthy of a visit. All but the most basic restaurants prefer that diners make reservations.

Another Sunday dining option is to visit one of the outdoor markets and make up a picnic. Markets open on Sunday morning (9am-2pm) include Richard Lenoir (M: Bastille), Aligre (M: Ledru-Rollin), Raspail (M: Sèvres-Babylon), and Place Monge (M: Place Monge).

Astier
44, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud (11th)
Tél: 01 43 57 16 35

Breizh Café
109, rue Vieille du Temple (3rd)
01 42 72 13 77

Excellent buckwheat crêpes served in a casual, yet sparse setting. Especially busy at prime lunch hours.

Café des Musées
49, rue de Turenne (3rd)
01 43 72 96 17

Excellent French food, especially the house-made terrine and steak-frites with bernaise sauce. Desserts always good, and wine by the carafe make everything go down better.

Chez Paul
13, rue de Charonne (11th)
01 47 00 34 57

This traditional French bistro flies under the radar of many but is a great choice for Sunday lunch, especially after a visit to the nearby Richard Lenoir market. Hearty fare.

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Le Jules Verne

bread

Alain Ducasse recently took over la direction of Le Jules Verne, the high-end restaurant in the Eiffel Tower that had lost its reputation and luster as a fine dining destination during the past several years. I hadn’t ever eaten there, since its reputation had preceded it. But this week, I finally got my chance to dine there.

foie gras

We waited patiently for the private elevator of the Tour Eiffel to lift us up to mid-tower, over four hundred feet in the air, above Paris.

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Rigoletto Noir from La Maison du Chocolat

Pardon, Monsieur Linxe, but I disagree.

La Maison du Chocolat

At a recent tasting at La Maison du Chocolat, I sampled at least eight chocolates—not to mention passion fruit ganache, chocolat chaud, plus two of their newest summer flavors: melon and star anise.

It was a lot to get through, let me tell you. I normally avoid any hot chocolate that’s offered in those kinds of situations, because I find that’s the tummy-buster, the stuff that puts you over the edge. And when faced with a plate of such fine chocolates, I want to enjoy and savor every chocolate-dipped bite. A warm cup of silky-rich chocolat chaud alongside? That’s just dorer le lys. (Gilding the lily.)

My favorite chocolate at La Maison du Chocolat is Rigoletto Noir.

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Paris Chocolate Tour

We’re mid-week into our Paris Chocolate Tour here and we’re having a great time. Everyone’s enjoying the unusually fine weather, and of course, the chocolate.

I wanted to post a few shots and notes in my spare seven minutes—it’s 5:34am so forgive any typos or missed links. I’ll catch ‘em later…in my free time ; )

Jean-Charles RochouxPassionfruit sorbet

Cheerful, and the amazingly-talented, Jean-Charles Rochoux shows us a chocolate replica of his arm in his laboratory. He made it for a Halloween display at a Parisian department store. The scoop of passionfruit sorbet is from Le Bac à Glaces, an ice cream shop just a few blocks away, where we stopped to cool down.

rochouxchocolateparis

At M. Rochoux’s swanky boutique, his assistant Murielle, packs up a box of chocolate. Check out the sexy glove. Oh la la! I may need even more sorbet to cool down…

If you do stop in, be sure to get a tablet of his chocolate from Peru. This is one of my favorite chocolates in his shop, along with the tablets of caramelized hazelnuts from Piedmont enrobed in chocolate as well as his latest; a bar of chocolate with a unctuous layer of creamy caramel oozing out.

salade parisienne

A light French salad: la salade parisienne. Yes, there is some lettuce tucked under that mountain of ham, but I was more focused on the yummy house-made fries at Le Nemrod that I dove on as soon as they landed. Unfortunately, being the consummate host, I did share a few with my table mates. But not before grabbing all the crispiest specimens. Since my salad was so light, my guests knew I needed the extra nourishment to make it through the afternoon.

Did I mention how light it was? Just checking…

rose

Of course, it’s not lunch in Paris without un peu de rosé. I had a little pitcher, which was just enough to carry me through the afternoon. Well, at least until dinner.

saladnemrod

If the above salad looked too light for you, the salad with soft-cooked egg melting over a huge mound of crispy bacon and studly croutons, may be more suitable to carry someone through a week of tasting chocolates. They also make a letter-perfect croque monsieur (and madame), if you’re in the neighborhood.

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Teo Gelato

Every time I go to Austin, it seems like I’m running into town, doing a class, then racing on to the next city. So this last time, I slipped in under the cover of darkness, and arrived a day early. Sure I wanted more time to gorge on Texas bbq and Mexican food.

But what I really wanted to do was spend some time at Tèo, lapping up gelato.

Teo Gelato

The Lee family has become, I’m sure much to their chagrin, part of my extended family. Or more likely, I’ve become part of theirs. I’ve known Matt Lee’s mom for years and when she told me her son owned an authentic gelato parlor, I dialed my lawyer and had him draw up the adoption papers.

Let’s hope they sign.

Teo cappucino

Matt, aka Matteo…aka, Tèo…learned his craft in Florence at Vivoli, and his gelato is the real deal. You won’t find him in the back dumping mixes into a machine.

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The Pâtisseries of Paris: A Paris Pastry Guide

parispastryguidebook.jpg

There’s a nifty guidebook to the bakeries, chocolate shops, and tea salons, called The Pâtisseries of Paris. This handy little book is full of great addresses and tips, and is just small enough to slip in your shoulder bag when hitting the streets of Paris, should you come to Paris on a mission for sweets.

I was surprised at how in-depth this guide takes you. Naturally, the usual suspects, like Ladurée and Stohrer, are in there. And chocolatiers like Jean-Charles Rochoux and Patrick Roger are always a stop whenever I’m on the Left Bank, so I was happy to see the nods toward them.

There’s few places that aren’t quite worth the calories. Such as Au Panetier bakery, where the pastries don’t make up for the glorious art nouveau tilework, although it is gorgeous.

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