Shallot jam is a wonderful addition to a number of dishes. It’s a bit sweet and a little tangy, as well as savory, and a judicious spoonful perks up roasted meats or pâté, and can easily dress up a grilled chicken breast. You might not be familiar with shallots, but they are common in French cuisine and they’re the sweeter cousin of onions. I buy them by the sack at…

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Free Falafel!

There’s a little bit of a war going on here in Paris on the rue des Rosiers, in the Marais. The Rue Des Rosiers is the Jewish street, sporting several good (and a few bad) bakeries, a few chic clothing stores, but a string of fafafel stands and restaurants. The most famous, L’As du Falafel, is always crowded, and teeming with locals, who come for…

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Stupid Boy

One of the hardest things about living in any foreign country is, of course, the language. Seriously, learning any language is really hard I’m sure, but anyone who can master French, who wasn’t pushed from the womb and spent their lifetime in an all-French speaking environment, I take my chapeau off to you. For the rest of us, it’s a challenge. Even the most mundane…

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Site Changes You may have noticed I’ve been making several design changes to the site, and I’ve been adding entries about travel to Paris. Since I get so many request, I’ve adding my tips for those who are planning to visit the city, including hotel recommendations, transportation notes, and astuces to make your visit to Paris more fun from an insider’s perspective. You may have…

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In spite of the appearance of these herbs, I assure you they’re perfectly legit. No, I didn’t open up my Pink Floyd double-album to remove any seeds. And no, I wasn’t listening to The Moody Blues at full-volume on my headphones hoping my mom wouldn’t smell anything funny (even though we rolled up a towel and pushed it against the bottom of the door.) And…

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The first of the Reines-Claudes plums are at the market. These tiny, super-sweet little green plums are 18% sugar, one of the highest percentages of all fruits. The true French reines-claudes plums are grown in Moissac, near Toulouse, and are available for just a short time during August. Get ’em while you can…

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One of the first lessons I learned on my way to becoming une vrai Parisian was to never, ever be on time. I should backtrack and say: One should never to be on time when invited for dinner party. The hosts, who called with my first invitation to a soirée about a week after I arrived in Paris, said “Come at 8pm…But you know, in…

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(Note: Some of this information was updated in October 2013. Plans and policies are all subject to change and revision by the various providers. Some updates are at the end of the post.) If you’re traveling to, and within France, many folks like to stay in touch with home, or want to be able to make and receive phone calls and get messages. So why…

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My first experience with eating seaweed was when my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Barnett, brought in a big bag of gnarled dried Japanese seaweed, presumably to familiarize us with foods from other cultures. Few of us kids growing up in sheltered New England would touch the stuff, although I took a little taste, but didn’t share her enthusiasm for the sea-scented tangle of salty greens. So…

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