Recently in Whining category:

New Digs

Well, I did it. After nearly ten years of living in Paris, I am finally going to have a place that I can call my own. After dipping my feet in, and checking apartments from time-to-time, I decided that it was time I went ahead and did it. So I bought my own apartment. Hunting for an apartment in Paris is quite an adventure; there’s…

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This isn’t the most photogenic of posts, but one of the dirty secrets of writing cookbooks is the dishes. And this season, as the cavalcade of cooking tips comes tumbling forth in anticipation of all the holidays – and the cooking and baking that go along with them – this is the best tip I’ve ever been given. Most of you probably know how many…

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One of my great joys in life in in-room coffee. Hotels do a lot of head-scratching things, like inventing ‘turn-down service.’ Aside from a free piece of chocolate, does anyone like or want someone rummaging through their room while they’re out at dinner? Or the “hotel channel”, which shows and glorifies the splendors of your hotel, which is kind of silly since you’re already there….

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Slate Plates

Since I arrived in Paris a while back, a number of food tendances have slipped into our vocabulary. From appetizers served in Chinese-style spoons, to the alarming addition of adding sugar to savory hors d’oeuvres, I’ve learned to become diplomatic when faced with a plate lined with white porcelain spoons with a dollop of minted pea puree topped with a touch of crème fraîche and…

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I’m going to get this out of the way right off the bat: I worked with Mike Tusk at Chez Panisse – he was a cook upstairs in the café and I was downstairs in the pastry department, and although I knew he was a good cook, I was blown away the first time I ate at his restaurant, Quince. I went there shortly after…

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The TGV Lyria train makes the trip to Switzerland is just about three hours. If you buy your tickets in advance, first-class seats aren’t that much more expensive than regular fares (sometimes the difference is little as €5) and as a friend said to me, “Since I don’t use drugs, I spend the extra money on first-class train tickets.” Lest you think first-class is elitist,…

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Because they recently asked, since my last trip out of Charles de Gaulle airport, I decided that I would try to imagine the perfect airport in Paris. I sometimes take a bit of ribbing because being a good American, I can’t go too far without having le snack handy. And with airlines requiring earlier check-ins and cutting down on food service, a number of airports…

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One of the things that really wows me about Paris isn’t the chocolate shops, the bakeries, the outdoor markets, or the way people let their dogs just go wherever they happen to want to go; it’s the handwriting. The French have always been expressive, and expansive, letter writers. If you don’t believe me, you can find online and in books, elaborate forms, templates, and discourses…

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I’ve worked in the service industry since I was sixteen years old and realize how hard the work is, and how much the people who work in it are undervalued and generally underpaid. On a recent trip I stayed in quite a few hotels, a different one every day for a week, and realized they could be doing a few things that would make things…

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