The Best Paris Guidebook


Paris is reported to be the most popular tourist destination in the world. Each year people come from all over the world for their vacations. I’m sure they spend months and months making arrangements, searching the internet looking for a charming, affordable hotel, scouring web site for decent airfares, and searching my blog for places to eat.

So after all that, what do most people depend on to get around this most fabulous of all cities? The free maps from Galleries Lafayette that the hotels give out. Not that there’s anything wrong with those maps.

Ok, yes there is.


Let’s face it, Paris hasn’t changed much in the past 100 or so years or more, and it ain’t gonna be changing much in our lifetime either. So next time you come, on your very first day, stop by a Presse, or newstand, and buy one of these booklets. They cost about 5 to 7 euros, and are available in various sizes and formats. Few Parisians leave the house without this handy little booklet in their handbag or man-purse. It easily slips inside a coat pocket as well.

Mine lists all the outdoor markets in the city by day and location, addresses for all the attractions in Paris, the location of gas stations and taxi stands, where all the big department stores are, schools and universities (ok, you probably don’t need those), and a complete overview and map of the extensive métro system. And the last kicker: you can use it each and every time you come back to Paris. No need to buy a new one.

Related posts and links:

Paris Dining and Travel Guides

My Paris

Two Delicious Dining Guides to Paris

The Pastry Shops of Paris

French Menu Translation, Made Easy

Do You Own This Machine?

Do you have a Chef’s Choice Waffle Cone Express machine?


If so, I have an exciting proposition for you.
Contact me.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe


At the markets during the spring and summer here in Paris, there are piles and mounds of strawberries. The sweet, fruity scent pervades the air as you get closer to the stands. I always come home with a kilo (2 pounds), which costs about 3 euros (about $3.50) and I eat as many as I can during their season. Some people swoon for the pale gariguette berries, which are slender and pointed, although I’ve tried them several times and don’t find them much better than the everyday Chandler variety that’s normally available.

While at the market this week, being such a good customer, I got a deal on a large flat of strawberries so after much jam-making, I decided to take my ice cream maker out for a spin and whip up a batch of Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.


Unlike the stuff at the mall, real frozen yogurt is made from plain, whole-milk yogurt, fresh fruits, and some sweetener. Although some people like to drain their yogurt first for a richer end-result, I prefer the lighter style of frozen yogurt. You can use Greek-style yogurt, which is three times richer than whole milk yogurt. Slicing the berries and tossing them in sugar makes the strawberries bright red in color and can make ho-hum berries quite delicious.


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
About 1 quart (1l)

French yogurt is astoundingly good and I suggest you use a good-quality, whole milk or Greek-style yogurt for best results.

  • 1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 2/3 cup (130g) sugar
  • optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch
  • 1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Continue Reading Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Recipe…

Lucques Olives

While at the market yesterday looking for things to snitch, I bought a sack of my favorite olives, les Lucques.


Lucques olives are originally from Italy, but are now most closely associated with France and they’re unlike any other olive you’re likely to sample, free or otherwise. Grown in the Hérault region in the south of France, the Languedoc, they’re harvested in the fall and can be difficult to find depending on the time of the year. These olives are meaty and sweet, not soft, salty, or mushy like some olives can be. The green flesh is firm and bright, and the olives themselves must be kept submerged in their light brine since they discolor very easily.

While they are available in jars, I am lucky to have a prime source for these green beauties just steps away from where I live. And they are certainly one of the best things you can possibly eat. The first time you try one, you’re likely to be very surprised to find they’re unlike any other olives you’re used to eating.

These fine olives are meant to be eaten just as they are, perhaps accompanied by thin slices of jambon and a bowl of crisp radishes with a glass of rosés as an aperitif. I buy small sacks of Lucques olives at the market weekly, since if I keep too many around, I tend to eat them all at once; they’re that good.

Jars of Lucques olives can be ordered in the US here and here’s an excellent guide to olives.

How To Get Banned For Life From Whole Foods

Do you wander the aisles at Whole Foods, soaking up all the good vibes from the organic, sustainable, and good-for-you products?

Ever been tempted to snitch a sample?

Well, you’d better not

What They Say vs. What They Mean

When they say,“Non”, they mean, “Convince me.”

When they say,“We do not take returns”, they mean,“Convince me.”

When they say,“It’s not broken“, they mean,“Convince me.”

When they say, “You need a prescription for that”, they mean,“Convince me.”

When they say,“The restaurant is completely full”, they mean,“Please come up with a better story.”

When they say,“The restaurant is completely full”, they mean,“We already have enough Americans in here.”

When they say,“Do you mind if I smoke?”, they mean,
“Don’t answer ‘yes’, or we’re going to pout and scowl while you try to enjoy your dinner.”

When they say,“It does not exist”, they mean, “It does exists…just not for you.”

When they walk right into you on the street and say nothing, they mean,“I’m Parisian.”

When they say,“I don’t have change”, they mean,“I want a tip.”

When they say,“Do you want directions?” they mean, “I look forward to telling you what to do for the next five minutes.”

When they say, “I’d like the practice my English”, they mean,“For the next 20 minutes, you’ll feel like a complete idiot while I speak perfect English and demonstrate a far better understanding of world affairs than you do.”

When they say,“They’re up on the seventh floor”, they mean,
“They’re right around the corner from where you’re standing.”

When they say,“We don’t have any more”, they mean,“We have lots more, but they’re in the back.”

When they say,“It’s not my fault”, they mean,“It is my fault…but I’m not taking the blame.”

When they say, “That is not possible”, they mean,“Loser.”

When they say, “I am a Socialist”, they mean,“I’m not responsible for picking up my dog’s poop.”

When they say, “You package hasn’t arrived”, they mean, “I’m just about to go on break. Come back and wait in line for 30 minutes again tomorrow.”

When they say, “The fat’s the best part!” , they mean, “I’m under 40.”

When they say, “The cheeses in France are the best in the world”, they mean, “We are indeed a superior culture.”

When they say, “America is culturally-deprived”, they mean,“Please don’t show us Sharon Stone’s vagina again.”

Award-Winning Chocolate Friends

Every year the International Association of Culinary Professionals hands out awards for what they deem are the Best Cookbooks of the Year. Last month in Seattle, I attended the ceremony with a few friends and instead of getting drunk on the free wine and champagne and heckling the winners as usual, I was thrilled when the names were called and not one…not two…but three of my ‘chocolate’ friends won awards!

Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
By Mort Rosenblum
Award: Literary Food Writing

When I moved to Paris, chocolatier John Scharffenberger told me that I must meet Mort Rosenblum. He told me stories about what a colorful character he was, living on a boat in the Seine, and being a war correspondent for the Associated Press. Not being very adept at making friends via the ‘cold-calling method’, I worked up the verve and took his advice, and Mort turned out to be one of the most, um, interesting people I’ve ever met! Having spent a lifetime as a journalist, he tackled chocolate in his latest book, researching everything from the working conditions on the Ivory Coast of Africa to the Mexican chocolate culture of Oaxoca, and finally exploring the exclusive realm of chocolate in Paris, including the laboratoire of the elusive Jacques Genin.

Mort also writes of an interesting ‘incident’ about my experience with a certain, er, French chocolate company that wasn’t very, um, nice to me. Even though my mother always said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, blah…blah…” (she obviously didn’t have a blog), he coaxed some of the gory details out of me. The rest was a story in my chocolate book, which was later deleted, so you’ll have to wait for my posthumous biography for the real dirt.
Since I can’t keep a secret for very long, you can read about some of my encounters with them in his book, Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light.

I’ll be leading a sold-out week-long Chocolate Exploration of Paris in May with Mort that promises to be great fun and we’ll be visiting Jacques Genin* himself for a hands-on presentation and tasting. Will report on that in May.

Chocolate Obsession
By Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage
Award: Best Photography and Food Styling

After knowing him for almost 10 years, I think I’ve got his name right. In spite of my mangling his name too many times to count (we’re still friends)…and there’s certainly nothing convoluted about Michael’s sensation chocolate creations. I admire him so much that he’s one of America’s great chocolatiers, and I profiled him in The Great Book of Chocolate. After working for years in restaurant kitchens, he launched his company in San Francisco in 1997, selling his chocolates via local shops. An advocate of using locally-grown ingredients, soon Michael was a fixture at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, and gave out tastes of his chocolates to eager early-morning shoppers. Once the farmer’s market opened their spanking-new, gleaming indoor facility, Michael opened his first boutique and his fame spread far-and-wide. With creations like Key Lime Pears, thinly-coated in bittersweet chocolate, and his do-it-yourself kits for making terrifically-gooey S’Mores (hey!…I’ll bring the marshmallows), Chocolate Obsession reveals many of his secrets and tips for successfully producing chocolate desserts and confections in your own home.
And if you ever get a chance to visit his shop, his chocolate fudge brownies are a-m-a-z-i-n-g…

(Maren Caruso, who won the Photography Award for her stunning photography, and co-award winner Kim Konecny, food stylist, will be shooting my next cookbook, due for release in the May of 2007.)

Chocolate Chocolate
By Lisa Yokelson

This oversized book is almost overwhelming with the variety of chocolate recipes. Lisa likes things over-the-top, everything from Chocolate Pancakes to deep-chocolate bar cookies studded with chips and nuts. Everything here is loaded with so much chocolate that you’ll go crazy.
You may go insane.

You may end up like TomKat.

But I hope not.

*Many of you have asked where you can get Jacques Genin chocolates. A limited selection is available at Pain de Sucre, 14 rue Rambuteau (Tel: 01 45 74 68 92). As far as I know, they’re unavailable in the United States. You can also try to visit his laboratoire at 18 rue St.-Charles. It’s not a shop and normally not open to the public, but he’s quite nice and often he’ll sell his chocolates to visitors if the weather is right, the planets are in correct alignment, and he’s in the mood.

Send Rice Krispies…Quick!

Someone, anyone…help!…bring Rice Krispies!


I think I brought too many marshmallows back…