Results tagged baguette from David Lebovitz

The Barbès Market

fish radishes

Every once in a while there are contests in Paris to decide who makes the best croissant, a hot new restaurant list get published somewhere, or a market way on the other side of Paris that supposedly has great onions grown in the same soil where Louis the XIV once took a squat, becomes a “must visit”. It’s pretty encouraging to see and hear about new places, especially when it’s a young baker or chef getting some recognition for maintaining the high-quality of one of France’s emblematic pastries or breads. And often I add the restaurant to my hand-scribbled list in hopes of one day being able to say “I’ve been there!” (The jury is still out on those onions, though.)

strawberries at market

When I moved here years ago, I’d gladly cross the city to find and taste all these things. I remember one day tracking down what was known as the best croissant in Paris, as mentioned in an issue of The Art of Eating. At the urging of a visiting friend, we trekked out to some distant bakery in the far-away fourteenth arrondissement, only to find the baker closing up shop for his mid-day break. There seems to be a corollary around here: The longer you have to travel to get somewhere, the more likely it is to be closed when you get there.

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Rue Montorgueil-Les Halles

l'escargot

You might not remember the days before the internet, but when we used to travel somewhere, we’d ask a friend to scribble down a list of suggestions. And we’d often be asked to do the same in return. Then when computers became widely used, other ‘favorites’ lists started circulating, including suggestions posted in online forums and in blogs.

So think of this list as my modern-day scribblings of places to go on the rue Montorgueil. Aside from it being perfectly located in the center of Paris, it’s a great place to take a stroll, and is pedestrian-friendly and wheelchair accessible, as it’s flat and closed off to cars. It’s a lovely walk, and everything is in a three block radius, making it easy to sample some of the best food shops, bakeries, chocolate shops, and kitchenware stores in Paris in one fell swoop.

roast chicken list meringues

The area was, for centuries, the home of the famous Les Halles covered market, which stood in the center of the city. As part of the modernization of Paris it was dismantled in the 1970s, replaced by an unattractive shopping mall (which is widely reviled), and the merchants were dispatched to Rungis, a large industrial complex on the outskirts of Paris. Still, reminders of Les Halles remain, including restaurant supply shops, late night dining spots, and the rue Montorgueil, which has become a vibrant street lined with restaurants, food stores, chocolate shops, and lively cafés.

The street is the perfect place go if have just a short time in Paris, as there’s a lot to see—and eat, in a very concentrated space. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can take the métro and get off at Etienne Marcel, Les Halles, or Sentier.

You’ll probably want to visit the restaurant supply shops, which you might want to schedule at the end of your stroll, so you don’t have to lug purchases around with you.

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Blog Notes

BLT

Dinner at Hidden Kitchen

On May 13, I’ll be hosting a dinner at the always-booked Hidden Kitchen in association with the folks at Context Travel. Local food gem Meg Zimbeck will join me, and aside from a super dinner, guests will also get a copy of my upcoming book, Ready For Dessert.

There’s just a few spaces left, It’s now sold out, so if you’ve been dying to try Hidden Kitchen, or would like to get a closer look at that worrisome bald spot that appears to be growing on the backside of my head, you can e-mail your name to be on the waiting list.

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The Black Truffle Extravaganza

big-ass truffle

When I was in Cahors, I had dinner with a French woman who teaches English. She told me one of the biggest differences between English and French is that in English, we often use a lot of words to mean one thing. And not all of them make sense. I’ve never really thought about it all that much, but she was right; we do tend to use a lot of expressions and words where one, or a few, might suffice.

black, black truffles

“Hang a left”, “Hide the sausage”, and “Beat the rap” are a few phrases that come to mind because another day during my trip, someone was giving driving directions to a French driver, and he didn’t understand why one would “hang” a turn. (The other two phrases didn’t come up during the week, which was both good and unfortunate. And not necessarily in that order.)

But we Anglophones do have to use quite a few words to mean one thing. “That wooden tool that you use to spread crêpe batter on a griddle” is called, simply, a “râteau“.

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The Good News and…The Good News

blogbread&jam

I have two bits of good news that are going to make you very, very happy. Okay, they make me happy. You, on the other hand, might not give a rat’s derrière.

One is that the bakery that makes the sesame baguette is going to stay open for an indeterminate amount of time. That means that I won’t be cut off from my Crack Baguette. What that does mean is that I’m going to delete the post where I gave out the address and I want all of you out there to clear out your cache, trash your bookmarks, then delete your hard drive, and forget you ever heard of the place. Thanks.

Another tranche of good news is that I recently revisited a bakery that’s really out of the way, which I never would have found had it not been for a tip-off by Clotilde. Good, sturdy grainy breads aren’t as common here as baguettes and other crusty loaves.

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Fermeture Définitive

This always happens. You go away, then come back, and something hits you like a ton of bricks. This morning, after being away for a little more than a week, Romain looked at me, and said, “Daveed…je veux te dire quelque chose…” And before he could finish la phrase, I knew exactly what he was going to say, and I finished the sentence for him.

He was stunned that I knew what he was about to say, before he even told me. But I could tell by the look on his face exactly what was wrong: the boulangerie that makes My Crack Baguette is closing for good—Fermeture Définitive.

baguettes

I’ve been trying to organize a manifestation (demonstration) to keep the doors, and ovens, open. But I’m not having much success. Which is kind of odd in a country of people that seem all-too happy to go en grêve, but I forgot that the all-important summer vacation season is beginning, which takes precedence over everything else.

So far I’ve enlisted me, Romain, and his neighbor, the one who buys three at a time.

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My Crack Baguette

baguette

A woman who writes highly-regarded bread books recently contacted me. She’s coming to Paris, to ask me some questions about various bakeries and their baguettes, and which I liked. I wrote her back, that I didn’t want to sound like a dick, but when you live in Paris, you usually buy your bread from the local boulanger (there are four within a block of my apartment) rather than slogging through packed métro stations, being shoved from side-to-side en route or sitting next to some teenage yakking and tapping madly on their iPhone (pronounced EE-phone), and making two or three connections to get to some charming little bread bakery only to find out that they’re closed that day, for a fermature exceptionnelle…from 1:37 pm to 4:06 pm…every forth Wednesday of months ending in “e”.

I hate to have that whiff of “I’m over it, missy” air about me, but if I have a four hours to kill, I’m not inclined to spend a that time crossing Paris in search of a loaf of bread. Not that there aren’t breads worthy of taking a trip like that, but if I have four hours to kill, I need to spend it doing something useful—like I did yesterday, when I used those few hours to go to three different supermarkets to find the lait frais demi-écrémé which I use in my morning coffee.

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Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking and Shopping

A number of folks consult the site for information about Paris, but it’s always best to get some second opinions. So I asked a few friends and in-the-know colleagues about their favorite places around the city, and I’m happy to share them with you.

paris

Included are links, when available, for complete addresses and additional contact information. Hours change and places close in Paris without notice so it’s best to call first before visiting. For restaurants and wine bars where food is served, reservations are strongly advised.

If there any Paris favorites that you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments. I’d love to hear about them.

lucques olives


Favorite Outdoor Market

“Paris markets are one of my favorite subjects. I can go to the same market every day of the year and still always find something new. I regularly visit the boulevard Raspail market, a “regular” market Tuesday and Friday, organic (and expensive!) on Sunday. The fish merchants there are incredible on all days, and I adore the poultry people at the Tuesday and Friday market. I love testing one fish market or cheese stand against the other, grading them on each purchase. For 20 years I lived near the rue Poncelet market and still have a soft spot there, especially for Alléosse cheese and coffee beans from Brûlerie des Ternes.”

“When I have time, I also love the President Wilson market on Wednesday and Saturday, where of course one finds the famed produce from Joël Thiebault but also wonderful fish, fresh crêpes, and Lebanese specialties. The market is near my dentist’s office so I always schedule a Wednesday morning appointment.”

Patricia Wells, of Patricia Wells.com
(Author: Bistro Cooking and The Paris Cookbook)

Favorite Steak Tartare

“As an American in France, getting into the French staple of steak tartare means getting past it’s resemblance to an uncooked hamburger patty. At Les Fines Gueules (2, rue la Vrillière, 1st) near place des Victoires they have cap-and-gowned the French standard by hand chopping Limousin beef (the best in France) and tossing the raw meat with white truffle oil, parmesan and sun dried tomatoes. Certainly not a traditional preparation, but an unbelievably delicious part of this American’s weekly diet.”

Braden, of Hidden Kitchen

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