Results tagged sardines from David Lebovitz

Holiday Gift Guide for 2014

Hey — it’s December, and the holidays are once again upon us. While I used to reflect on all the cookbooks that crossed my desk, and kitchen counter, over the past year, I’ve lost track of what I’ve made from which book, and when. (One year I got wise, and started the list on January 1st, and continued adding to it as I went. And come December, it was all set to go.) Well, I’m not so organized anymore, a combination of not enough time, doing a number of other things, and bobbing up and down in the flow of life happening around me. So I decided to feature some things that really caught my interest this year – a kitchen tool that I found particularly useful, my favorite travel accessory, a book that may change my life (hope springs eternal…), and a few edibles.


Zoku ice cream maker

Zoku Single-Serve Ice Cream Maker

If you have friends or family who want to churn up just one batch of ice cream, all for themselves, the Zoku Ice Cream Maker Bowl promises to “churn” up a single serving of ice cream in just 10 minutes. This pint-sized gift (actually, it makes 6 ounces), can be used to “churn” up ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, or gelato whenever the needs arises. Another gift for them? They won’t have to share.


getdynamicimage

Tempur-pedic Sleep Mask

Know a light sleeper? (In addition to me…) Get them a Tempur-pedic sleep mask. I’ve lost sleep counting the number of eye masks I’ve tried that suck. Most let in light, which is the reason you buy an eye mask in the first place – or are uncomfortable to wear. This one blocks out 100% of light and after wearing it for a few minutes, the memory foam conforms to your face and it feels like you’re wearing nothing. I take mine everywhere I go when I want to block out light and get a good night’s sleep, such as when staying at hotels (what’s with all those appliance power lights that illuminate the room when you’re trying to sleep?) or on airplanes. Or even just at my place, during the months when the sun wakes up before I want to). This is my favorite travel object and I don’t go anywhere without mine. (I actually have two, because I am terrified that I’m going to lose one.) A great gift for any traveler.


marie kondo life changing magic of tidying up

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

One day, a little packet arrived in my mailbox. My publisher had sent me a copy of this book with a note tucked inside the cover, saying that it created a sensation in their office, so they wanted me to have a copy. Thumbing through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I could see why they found it so inspirational. (And with over 2 million copies sold, we’re apparently not the only ones.) Just after I started reading it, I spent a few days going through all of my clothes and shoes, and cleared out half of the drawers in my bedroom, seeing something called “empty space” for the first time in years. It was, indeed, life-changing. And kind of “magic” that I got off my duff and did it.

Next up? Getting around to the rest of Marie Kondo’s suggestions. This pocket-sized book is great motivation not just for cleaning out closets, but for making space in your life, and moving forward on a number of things. It was a great gift to me, and worth passing along to friends as well.


chocolates gift

Nunu Chocolate, Woodblock Chocolate, and Dandelion Chocolates

Who doesn’t love chocolate? In the last decade or so, there’s been an explosion of wonderful chocolate makers and chocolatiers in America. As someone described it to me, it’s a true American revolution. A few favorites that have been part of the revolution are Dandelion Chocolates and Nunu Chocolates, both owned by people who I first met in Paris – of all places.

Dandelion changes their bars depending on whatever beans they can get their hands on, and they’re roasted and ground in their tiny factory in San Francisco. They offer a wrapped gift set, which are three bars and a letterpress tasting guide, as well as sets of three bars. Due to high demand, availability may be limited. (Disclosure: I am a small shareholder in the company.) The folks at Nunu chocolates offer various chocolate assortments, including a Beer Box, blended with craft beers in Brooklyn, the Booze Box with mezcal, rye, and absinthe, as well as a Caramel Blend, melded with various nuts and salt. Bonus: Both companies will deliver gifts for you.

Continue Reading Holiday Gift Guide for 2014…

Maison Castro Sandwiches

Maison Castro

A while back, I wrote about the first food truck that hit the streets in Paris. And at the time, that truck, as well as the ones that followed, were spearheaded by folks from other countries making food from their various homelands. And I expressed some ideas for how, perhaps, the food truck phenomenon could encompass la cuisine française as well.

Maison Castro

Since then, a number of food trucks have, indeed, done that. And there are a number of people rolling around Paris, offering everything from candied nuts to Breton food. [I like the fact that their website says their salted butter caramel is “Fait camion” (truck-made), rather than “Fait maison” (homemade).] In spite of recent changes to dining habits in France, le sandwich remains a popular lunch and just about every bakery in Paris has a line that begins around noon of people clamoring for sandwiches to chow down on before they need to go back to school or work.

Maison Castro

So I was excited to hear that Jérôme Boulestreau, who previously owned the Beillevaire cheese shop (which is now being run by people he worked with), opened up a sandwicherie with the Castro brothers. And in addition to sandwiches, their tiny shop is also crammed with interesting products like sardines from Brittany, tight links of Corsican sausages, Italian pasta, and even pistachios from California.

Continue Reading Maison Castro Sandwiches…

Things I Bring When I’m a Guest for a Weekend (or Week)

A while back, someone posed the question on Twitter, asking it was okay to bring your own knives if you’re a houseguest for the weekend. It’s a question I didn’t think was all that odd, since I do it all the time. Then a friend of mine also noted recently that, like me, he brings red pepper powder with him, when he’s cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen. Which got me thinking about the mini-arsenal of equipment and foodstuffs I tote along with me when heading out to the country to stay with friends or family.

I try to be a good guest and bring food to take some of the burden off my hosts. I’ll usually prepare and freeze a few rolls of cookie dough, or maybe a disk of tart dough, which I’ll bring along to make a tart. I might take along a marinated lamb or pork shoulder (or loin) studded with garlic and rubbed with spices, ready to roast off with little fuss. And I always bring a couple of loaves of bread from Paris since it can be a challenge to find good bread in the countryside. (And I don’t like eating baguettes that can be tied in a knot.) And I always arrive with a couple of bottles of wine, because I don’t want to be known as the guest who drank his hosts out of house and home.

Continue Reading Things I Bring When I’m a Guest for a Weekend (or Week)…

West Country Girl

West Country Girl-3

There’s a new girl (and guy) in town. And she owns a small crêperie which is one of my favorite little addresses in Paris and worth a visit, in spite what some might feel is a relatively obscure address.

table and charis business cards

To me, though, it’s not all that obscure because I’ve forged a pretty clear path to their front door ever since they opened. The original owner, Sophie Le Floc’h, has opened a crêperie in Brussels called West End, and handed over the reins to new owners, the young team of Marc Kinder and Pascaline Cordier. Marc runs the front of the house, greeting customers with a friendly smile and pouring cider, while Pascaline mans the griddle, turning out superb buckwheat crêpes, called galettes, in French – or crêpes made with “blé noir,” another name for buckwheat.

You can order crêpes filled with camembert and bacon, chèvre and spinach, salmon and pine nuts, bacon and mushrooms, or andouille sausage (which they say, correctly, that you have to be French to appreciate) from the menu. I usually stick with complète, a buckwheat galette filled with ham and melted cheese topped with a fresh egg, sunny-side-up, resting on top.

salted butter caramel

If you don’t order the reasonably-priced prix-fix menu at lunch, or even if you do, you can start with a pot of homemade rillettes of sardines, a delicious spread they make in-house. If available, the fresh oysters are excellent, arriving at their door direct from Brittany. The typical drink is sparkling apple cider from Brittany, slightly alcoholic, and is the best accompaniment to the crêpes. Ask Marc about the difference and he’ll explain each one, including the ones that are doux (sweet) or brut (dry). A few of the ciders are organic as well.

When it comes to dessert, homemade salted butter caramel is the way to go. Better yet, the galette with a baked apple and caramel is hard to beat! Lastly, the coffee they serve is really good, which is a sign of a thoughtful restaurant owner. The care that they take with the final coda on the meal is the last impression that’s made before you walk out the door and here they draw shots of excellent espresso – and they do them right. The end to a terrific meal, from start to finish.

salted butter caramel west country girl

West Country Girl
6, passage Saint-Ambroise (11th)
Tél: 01 47 00 72 54
Métro: Saint-Ambroise
Reservations recommended.

(Note that the restaurant is located on a small side street. It’s best if you can make yourself a little map to make it easier to get there from the métro station, which is close-by.)



Related Posts and Links

Restaurant Review Policy

Where to Get the Best Crêpes in Paris

Paris Restaurant Archives

Buckwheat Crêpe Recipe

Breizh Café

Two Dining Guides to Paris

Sardine Pâté Recipe

sardine tail

If we Americans are good at anything, it’s shopping. It’s in our genes and we were simply born to shop. And we’re also good at getting deals. I don’t think many people pay full-price for anything anymore, and unless something is discounted, we won’t buy it.

When I moved to France, folks were amazed at my ability to search out le deal. I felt silly going into the local papeterie and buying 8 sheets of paper for €4, when I could get a whole ream at Office Depot for about the same price. Except no one told the French Office Depot team that Office Depot is supposed to be a discount store, and after I took Romain to one in New York, where everything was essentially free, he was shocked, and said, “Office Depot in Paris is the last place you go if you need something.”

pita chips

Nevertheless, I keep hearing about ‘recession-friendly’ prices and ‘budget-friendly’ budgets, and whatever. I’m a bit skeptical of the whole thing since someone in the states was telling me that they bought their new, jumbo flat-screen television online to save the tax, because they were trying to save some money. Um, and why are they buying a new jumbo flat-screen television then?

I guess I shouldn’t talk, though, because I’m a shopper, too.

Continue Reading Sardine Pâté Recipe…

the 64 cent fish

sardines

Proving that eating fresh, flavorful, sustainable food doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming, or elitist, I walked to my local market this morning and bought these two sardines.

I decided a few months ago to try and limit my fish-eating to sustainable species, which meant bypassing my formerly-beloved tuna steaks and forgoing sushi, in favor of critters like these slender sardines.

This morning, passing by the poissonière, I picked up these lovely little fellas, shiny and bright-eyed, resting on a pile of ice. Unfortunately, the ice probably isn’t all that sustainable—but I’ll take a bit of global-warming in lieu of stinky fish.

Continue Reading the 64 cent fish…