Kig Ha Farz is a homely, but absolutely delicious, Breton specialty that even few French people know about. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever find it served in a restaurant, even in Brittany, which I learned on a recent trip to the region. I told friends that we were staying with that I wanted to prepare it for them, and we spent a few days trying to find a farz sack to make it in. While shopping at the outdoor markets, we asked vendors that sold housewares if they carried them, but not one of them had any idea what Kig ha farz was, let alone carry a sack for making it.

One was even suspicious that we were from one of those “gotcha” tv shows, called enquêtes, in France, where they do undercover investigations. I saw one where they brought a hidden camera to an outdoor market where vendors were selling eggs from battery chicken farms marked as “cage-free.” (All eggs in France are stamped 0-to-3, which’ll tell you how the chickens were raised.) The eggs were sitting in pretty baskets on beds of hay, but when the journalist busted them for selling battery-farmed chicken eggs as cage-free, the vendor started throwing the eggs at them. (And even other customers started yelling at them, which I didn’t quite get, because they were being sold incorrectly marketed eggs.)

We weren’t there to bust anyone, or to have eggs tossed at us. I just wanted to make kig ha farz.

Continue reading…

Yotam Ottolenghi seems to be everyone’s favorite cookbook author. After meeting him, he became mine, too. (But if I could stay in your top ten, that’d be appreciated.) His previous books focused on the savory side of Middle Eastern cooking, but Yotam was a pastry chef prior to being a restaurant co-owner (with Sami Tamimi) and cookbook author, and anyone who’s walked into one of…

Continue reading...

I was a sucker for soft-serve ice cream when I was a kid. The machine that made those swirly cones at Carvel mesmerized me, as well as on the Mister Softee truck, although they didn’t drive around our neighborhood when I was a kid. (Those were the days of the Good Humor truck.) That was how I discovered sprinkles, which we called jimmies in New…

Continue reading...

While visiting friends in the countryside toward the end of the summer (…is it over already?), I met a woman who grew the most lovely little lettuces, which she sold at the local market. Which was basically a table with several baskets of her stunning greens sitting on it. If you haven’t had eaten lettuce just a few minutes (or even hours) out of the…

Continue reading...

Abruptly, it’s fall. The weather turned brisk this week, and I’m starting to wonder which box my scarves and gloves are in? When I lived in San Francisco, where the weather is notoriously fickle, the joke was that the only way to tell what season it is, is to hit the market. True, not everybody is concerned with seasonality. I was recently asked during a…

Continue reading...

A stalwart of the “old guard” of classic Paris bistros has been revived. The reliable Rôtisserie du Beaujolais, across the street from the Seine, had been remodeled and refreshed as Rôtisserie d’Argent, the new name giving a nod to its famous cousin just across the street, the Tour d’Argent. The Michelin-starred restaurant is a few centuries old, and it’s evolved into a mini-empire, composed of…

Continue reading...

It’s been a goofy month. I don’t know if the word “goofy” exists or translates into French, but c’est comme ça, as they say, or “that’s how it is.” It seems like everything got discombobulated; even my vacation plans were thwarted by a server outage and a nasty jellyfish sting, whose only upside was that it was on my thigh – near, but not on, my…

Continue reading...

One great thing about France is you can drive around, stop in any number of small towns, from the Jura to Normandy, and check out regional specialties. People often come to Paris and ask about where they can get a good cassoulet, or bouillabaisse, and they look positively crestfallen when I tell them they really need to go to Gascony or Marseille, respectively, if they…

Continue reading...

It’s a great day when a new bakery opens up in your neighborhood. I don’t mean to brag, but there are six bakeries in my neighborhood. One of those “great days” was when a particularly lame bakery closed, and a really good one opened up in its place. And although I don’t like seeing people go out of business, another bakery that was, for lack…

Continue reading...