The seasons seem to start a little earlier in France than elsewhere, or maybe that’s just me. I tend to want to jump the gun as soon as I see strawberries or cherries at the market every spring. But I know that if I wait a few weeks, they’ll be a lot more abundant, and a lot better. Not to mention less-expensive, too.

Once they go from “rarity” to available everywhere, I tend to go nuts, buying as much fruit as I can. I often joke that as a Californian, I am genetically-wired to eat fruit all the time. During that brief period when the last of the apples and pears depart, and there’s nothing but pineapples and apples from who-knows-where at the market, I fall into a fruitless funk until strawberries appear. Then I know that everything is going to be okay.

Continue reading…

One of my favorite pastas is Pasta Puttanesca. For some reason, I don’t make it very often, because I always seem to be sautéing fresh greens in olive oil and garlic, or something like that, to toss with noodles. But I love all the ingredients in Pasta Puttanesca; capers, olives, anchovies, crushed red peppers, and lots of garlic, so when faced with what to make…

Continue reading...

Bordeaux

If you haven’t been to Bordeaux in a while, you might be in for a shock, although it’s more like, you’ll be in for a treat. Previously considered a staid city, Bordeaux has rebooted itself, partially thanks to a tram system that makes getting around the formerly congested city a breeze, but also because the TGV now can get you there in around two hours,…

Continue reading...

Let me start by disclosing something. As soon as I saw the title of this book, and subtitle – Dinner: Changing the Game By Melissa Clark, I knew it was going to be a great book. With a title like that, how could it not be? It’s eclectic, exciting, fresh, do-able, and most important, it answers the question: What am I going to make for…

Continue reading...

I take a tough line at calling something “the best.” As anyone who’s tried to get the best chocolate shop, the best bakery, the best bistro, etc., out of me knows I’m always coy with an answer. (Someone, however, once got so upset about it that they went on an online tear about me on one of those bulletin boards. Ouch.) Lest you think I’m not…

Continue reading...

I came to the conclusion a while back that there isn’t a vegetable that’s not better roasted. I backtracked a bit, not just because that idea was too many double-negatives in one sentence, but thought that peas probably aren’t better roasted. I haven’t tried them; the idea of tiny peas being reduced to a shriveled bb’s doesn’t sound appealing to me. And while I know a…

Continue reading...

I’ve been meaning to make Jerusalem bagels ever since I went there, and saw the loopy breads dangling from wagons and off pegs in shops. With all the hummus being consumed everywhere, it was easy to understand why so much bread was necessary. It was the perfect foil for scooping the stuff up, that somehow, kept showing up on tables wherever we went. It took…

Continue reading...

There’s a lot of discussion, and some dissension, about the origin of the Martinez cocktail. It’s made with gin and vermouth, and is served up (without ice), so there are certain similarities for sure. Plus the name, which has led people to speculate that the cocktail was invented in Martinez, California.

Continue reading...

Continuing our edible (and drinkable) adventures in Edinburgh, I insisted after we hit the farmers’ market that we stop at Mary’s Milk Bar. A gazillion readers recommended it, and Charlotte and my friend Lani, were happy when we herded ourselves into Mary Hillard’s cozy shop. I love meeting ice cream makers and Mary was one of the nicest I’ve ever met. She started as a…

Continue reading...