Bits & Pieces: (Favorite Links)

Croissants and Pains au chocolat

I always thought that someone could make a mint opening up a good coffee place in Paris. Now there seems to be a few who’ve heeded the call: Coutume Café (47, rue Babylon), KooKa BooRa (62, rue de Martyrs), and Le Bal. Quelle difference!

And since this is the Year of Mexico, in France, a few new Mexican places have opened up serving authentic (or close to authentic) Mexican fare. If you close your eyes, except for the people speaking French instead of Spanish, the super-delicious tacos at Candelaria will make you feel as if you’re right there, in Mexico. And for those who like cocktails, the plain white wooden door in the back leads to a hip cocktail lounge. The Guêpe vert is my favorite, although this isn’t the place for cocktail-lovers who want a quiet space to sip their drinks. (Check out my post Mexican restaurants in Paris for a more complete list.)

I haven’t been yet, but there’s also an American Bar-B-Q in Paris now, too. Yes, really.

Paris bbq

Using your ATM card when traveling is often the best way to get cold, hard cash. However they acquire fees from both your bank at home as well as the bank where you’re getting the money. Double-ouch! Convenient, but pricey. For frequent travelers wishing to avoid sky-high ATM fees, I just found out that Schwab account holders can get an ATM card from them, which you can use worldwide with no fees and any ATM fees from other institutions are refunded at the end of the month. If you’re a customer, ask ’em for a card.

Heidi Swanson’s latest book, Super Natural Everyday is gorgeous and I can’t wait to bake and cook my way through it.

Speaking of books, I never thought sandwiches could look so good! Leave it up to Matt Armendariz

If you live outside of the US and are tired of those annoying “Sorry, this content is not available in your area” messages from the likes of Hulu and Pandora ♥, Witopia will give you an IP address in the United States. It’s probably the best $39 I’ve ever spent. (Thanks to computer whiz Joe Kissell for the tip.)

Memo to Publishers: 8 Things NOT to Say.

Memo to those going on press trips: An Insider’s Guide to Press Trip Etiquette. (Please memorize numbers 1, 6, and 7.)

And as a freelance writer, I had to watch this video about ten times before I stopped laughing. Unfortunately I don’t think they made that conversation up.

Google’s new Recipe Search incited Amanda Hesser to write a plea for allowing recipes not to have to conform to standards that may change the way recipes are written forever. I chimed in later in the comments.

The downside of the recipe search is that my name comes up 3000 times, but not one of the recipe searches leads to the recipe on my site. Um, okay. However I did find plenty of material taken by nefarious means. If it happens to you, aside from feeling bad that folks are trying to make a living that way (instead of, you know, coming up with their own content and recipes) How to Deal with Copyright Theft tells you what options you have.

The fun (and food) – lovin’ gals at Paris by Mouth have a new feature called The Daily Bite, excerpting and highlighting some of the tasty post about Paris, with plenty of listings and archival information.

And the fun (and wine) – lovin’ gars at Ô-Chateau have finally opened their wine bar in Paris. Forty wines are available by the glass, in three various sizes. In addition, there’s spacious tasting rooms for guided wine tastings with their trained sommeliers.

Yowza. The Sweet Life in Paris in paperback just went into its fourth printing, a mere month after it was released. Thanks to all of you who got a book. I wish I could bake each and every one of you a Dulce de Leche brownie and give it to you. But since you already have the recipe in the book, you can make one for yourself and I can save on shipping. Seriously – thanks a bazillion!

Any other expats, if you’re like me, you might find banking terms a little confusing. To avoid telling the bank that they’re welcome to keep all your money, you can check out this practical list of lexicon of French banking terms. (Link opens to downloadable PDF.)

Never miss a post!


  • April 18, 2011 9:26am

    I’m about to move countries and was thinking how to avoid fees and here is my answer…on a food blog ;P

  • April 18, 2011 9:43am
    David Lebovitz

    Sasa: Also some banks and credit unions have agreements that don’t incur fees as well, so it’s good to ask your financial institution. For example, Bank of America customers can use BNP ATMs in Paris (and in other countries, with other banks) with no fees.

    All these conditions are subject to change, so it’s best to ask your particular bank or financial institution. There are some credit cards (Capital One) that don’t incur fees overseas as well.

  • April 18, 2011 11:18am

    Also, Bank of America is partnered with BNP Paribas, so there are no fees when withdrawing cash from their machines. A lifesaver.

  • April 18, 2011 11:20am

    My comment is not related to this post actually… I just wanted to let you know that after a few failures I decided not to try anyone else’s cake or desert recipes :) Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried has been a success and I’m not taking any more risks!
    One of my friends told me that she’s seen your book, Ready For Desert, in a bookstore in Jakarta, so I’m getting it this weekend and ending my search for desert recipes.

  • April 18, 2011 12:53pm

    I got the original hardcover version of ‘The Sweet Life in Paris’ just before the paperback edition came out and loved it to bits! :) Am now planning to order your ‘Ready for Dessert’ book online soon…been postponing it forever now but will do it, I promise! ;)

    And there are so many recipes on this website itself that I really really want to try out..need to get some essential equipment before I do that though. Such a long list of to-dos!

  • Thanks for the Schwab tip – We’ve been calling everyone to try and get a ‘chipped’ credit card before France completely stops taking American ‘magnetic swipe’ credit cards… Most reps we’ve talked to on the phone in the US are clueless…

    Getting on the plane tomorrow, and can’t wait!

  • April 18, 2011 1:42pm
    David Lebovitz

    Sujatha: Hope you like it, too!

    Marie: I’m not on their payroll (although I wish I was..) but unlike many American banks, large brokerage institutions often are more savvy about international affairs and money issues than regular banks.

    (Many US banks now use part-time employees to save money, which can be problematic if you have pressing questions, since they don’t know the answers. At least in my experience.)

  • April 18, 2011 2:03pm

    Great links–regarding your frustration with the ‘3000 non-site searches’–when a blogger makes one of your recipes, do you have any specific protocols you’d like them to follow?

    I’ve made two of your recipes, put your name in the title, and always included two links back to the original your website (just in case the person reading it didn’t notice the link) and noted any small changes I made…do you think that is enough? (Anything else like sending boxes of Rice Krispies and unscented laundry detergent to your apartment?). Linking and noting changes is what I usually do whenever blogging about another writer’s recipe–and I also observe the obvious ethical principle that a blogger should never publish a ‘book’ recipe verbatim that isn’t also available on the web. (Please forgive me if you’ve posted guidelines for using your website recipes elsewhere on your website–I am a frequent reader of your blogs and your books).

    The ‘no imprecise times’ (on another note) is very, very annoying–given that most home cook’s ovens are rarely calibrated perfectly, and slight changes in ingredients can affect cooking times (using different brands of peanut butter is the most obvious example I can think of). I have a vision of someone with a stopwatch by a stove trying to time exactly 12 minutes for a batch of cookies to bake…

  • April 18, 2011 2:17pm
    David Lebovitz

    Hi HeartofGlass: The problem, which has become rampant, is certain sites (including large “recipe” sites) set themselves up as “content farms” (paying people $5 to write a post, like “What color is grass?” or “What is 1 pound in ounces?”) plus they often merely republish recipes they cull from elsewhere. So when someone searches for those online, those sites come up first and since they get ad revenue, they make a lot of money doing so. Since Google is allowing some of those sites into their Recipe Search, I don’t think it serves readers well and encourages large aggregating websites to continue to cull recipes, which isn’t right. Some of the sites often act as “cookbooks” allowing people to cut & paste recipes they find elsewhere on to those sites, too, even though the content is copyrighted. So regular people who think they are using those sites as places to store or even share recipes, are actually helping those sites.

    I write for readers to this site and enjoy the interaction here. And people are more than welcome to visit and print out recipes (there’s no print option for a variety of technical reason..but folks can cut and paste into a Word document), and collect the recipes as they wish.

    Regarding your questions about reusing recipes: When people remake recipes for their sites, from other site and books, if they are “adapting” the recipe (as you, and many other people are), you should rewrite the recipe entirely, as you made it, rather than just changing a few words around for the sake of changing it.

    (I’m not saying you’re doing that – but many do that and while it’s legally correct, I think readers to specific blogs are more interested in hearing the voice of the blog owner than the voice of someone else on their blog. Why just reprint a recipe? If you’re going to do that, you may as well just link to it.)

    I wrote a comprehensive piece on Recipe Attribution, which explains it more in detail.

    I do think the recipe search will be expanded, however, and I do hope they allow for greater flexibility in recipes. As I noted in my comment on Food52, people like Julia Child, Maida Heatter, James Beard, Richard Olney, and Richard Sax would not get their recipes included since they don’t fit that standardized format. And I think all of us would agree that that would be a shame…

  • April 18, 2011 4:13pm

    Congrats on the fourth paperback printing of The Sweet Life in Paris! That’s exciting!

  • April 18, 2011 4:28pm

    Hearty congrats on the 4th printing. Now my problem is – do I go through the links first or make some dulce de leche brownies now…

  • April 18, 2011 4:33pm

    I am STILL laughing at that Freelance Video. And it’s been three months.

  • April 18, 2011 4:49pm

    Thank you for republishing the link to the Food Blog Alliance’s article about copyright!
    Besides “content farms” and aggregating websites who make money by selling ads, it is amazing how many private blogs out there routinely use other people’s photographs without asking for permission. It recently happened to me, again. I love sharing my pictures, but if someone simply harvests them off my blog without asking, I feel truly violated. I wonder if these people also “use” other people’s handbags or whatever.

    I know of at least one new arrival in Paris who had your book in her suitcase.
    I’ll have to ask her to please share your brownie recipe!

    Thank you for sharing all you do, you are a very generous person.

  • April 18, 2011 4:54pm

    Great links! A lot of information in one post.

    The Freelance video was fun, $300 for 1,500 words due the next day? I guess they feel that the author should be pleased to have been paid. The Schwab info was timely and helpful, we are about to embark on our annual summer Italian cooking school jaunt and are always trying to figure out how to get euros without paying exorbitant fees.

    We certainly understand the issue of the google rich snippets. We haven’t yet figured out what to do. Obviously, my mother-in-laws recipes wouldn’t fit in either.

    I also do appreciate your reminding people to write recipes in THEIR own words.

    Congratulations on the 4th printing. If it wasn’t Passover I’d be making those dulce de leche brownies now.

  • Mac
    April 18, 2011 4:58pm

    When I am searching for specific recipe ideas, I find it useful to do my searching through Images rather than Web (text). It allows me to eliminate visually sauce types,styles…etc faster than going to web pages would. It works very well, with the added bonus of finding more obscure and interesting sites (with great photography!)


  • vonmoishe
    April 18, 2011 5:17pm

    I just finished your book. Funny as hell. All I kept thinking was, How can I get the recipe for that almond thing you perfected at Chez Panisse?

  • April 18, 2011 6:15pm

    Re your Amazon link:
    David, I tried to order from amazon through your link. Unfortunately I am too clumsy to find my way through your link onto my account. Would you be so kind and throw me a hint? Merci beaucoup! :-)

  • April 18, 2011 6:22pm

    Sorry, David, I figured it out: Even though it says “David’s Amazon Store”, when I clicked on the shopping cart, I ended up on my account.
    If I put the items on my wish list, and order them later, will amazon still give you the points?

  • April 18, 2011 6:26pm

    Credit cards: The BA Chase Card has no overseas currency charges………..

  • shelby
    April 18, 2011 7:01pm

    David, I love your blog!

    As a Texas girl, I am always looking for Mexican food when I’m away from home – and have always been disappointed – so am looking forward to trying some of the Mexican restaurants you recommend the next time I’m in Paris.

    BTW, I thought the Year of Mexico was canceled? Did they come to some kind of agreement?

  • April 18, 2011 7:16pm

    Saw “Sweet Life” steadily climbing up the Bay Area paper back non-fiction list – Congrats!
    I gave everyone on my list the hard back edition for Christmas a couple of years ago – so easy to order 24 copies gift-wrapped and dispatched. Mmmm, who gets the paper back now………

  • jspecht
    April 18, 2011 7:28pm

    The basic Capitol One Visa card charges no conversion fees on transactions outside of the United States. If you use a Visa card when you travel (an excellent idea if you ever wish to challenge any charge on your card), this is a great card to travel with. Basic Capitol One has no annual fee, although their Venture card does charge one.

  • April 18, 2011 7:28pm

    The breadth and depth of info one can find here every day is astounding. Great info on the Cap One card – I am a cardholder, and never knew that!

    Merci, David. You’re a mensch!

  • April 18, 2011 7:32pm

    Did you hear that Chipotle is finally officially setting up shop in Paris? The store location has already been chosen and is currently being prepped (20 blvd Montmartre 75009).

  • April 18, 2011 7:40pm
    David Lebovitz

    Shelby: They did, but a bunch of us rallied to the cause and we’re celebrating Mexico (and Mexican cuisine) in our own special way.

    Tricia: Glad to hear it’s moving in the right direction ; )

    Marion: Thanks for the tip as well.

    vonmoishe: It’s the Almond Tart recipe, here on the site.

    Merisi: Some people honestly don’t realize that taking content (pictures and text) is wrong and do it inadvertently. (I know, it’s kind of odd since I remember even in elementary school they told us not to do that, nor to even photocopy things…)

    And then, there’s a number of people who don’t care. Although they probably should since recently someone was fined $4000 for using a photo of a beach on their site that someone else had taken.

    (As for the Amazon question, I’m not sure – but thanks for asking..)

    Lael: I know. It’s really something I wish they should address. I don’t believe Google is trying to do something wrong, it’s just that I don’t think their format is a good role model for recipe development. It’ll be interesting to see if it takes off, or not.

  • April 18, 2011 8:35pm

    Please, you got all the coffee you want in Paris! I would kill for a venti cup of ordinary Starbucks coffee in Nice… yeah, yeah I know but seriously, I just need A LOT OF COFFEE and not these tiny espresso things or even worse the watery “Americano”…

  • elaine
    April 18, 2011 10:22pm

    Why did you choose the $39.99 version rather than the more expensive ones? I just want to watch american sitcoms, so is this version strong enough?

    BTW- I love your chocolate chip cookie recipe and every recipe I have ever tried from your site has been a huge yummy success. You rock.

  • Linda H
    April 19, 2011 12:03am

    I’m one of your paperback “Sweet Life” buyers (but I have the hardback “Ready For Dessert.” which is a beautiful, beautiful book.

  • Mikki
    April 19, 2011 12:37am

    great stuff David, though I would love to hear if anyone knows something similar to witopia but to get a UK IP address?? that would make me soooo happy to find there is a way!

  • Doug in San Diego
    April 19, 2011 1:52am

    The banking terms lexicon link on this blog does not work – at least for me. We have accounts at BNP and BofA so using their ATMs works great for us. But my French born wife often has trouble “translating” banking terms for me and I have troubler explaining English terms to her. Would love to have the link. Thanks.

  • Rosa
    April 19, 2011 2:53am

    Congrats on the fourth printing! I actually just bought my copy about a week ago. I can’t wait to crack it open. Sadly, it’s going to have to wait until my finals are over–oh grad school–but it will be a sweet reward. Love your site, every recipe I’ve made has been fabulous!

  • April 19, 2011 7:17am
    David Lebovitz

    Doug: Since it’s a PDF, the link got wonky (I was searching their website, which has no search function and their website, in their own special way that French bank websites operate..well, never mind..) but the link works now and opens to a PDF document and lexicon.

    elaine: I was told that that version was enough for my needs but they have a live chat feature and you can ask the company.

    Alex: But in Nice, you’re close enough to drive to the border to Italy for coffee! : )

  • Gavrielle
    April 19, 2011 9:18am

    Gah, the overseas cash problem! I’ve yet to find a solution that isn’t inconvenient, expensive or both, so I always end up carrying cash. I’m extremely careful and have never had a problem, but I’m NOT recommending it. Why isn’t there a simple way? Which century is this again?

    Congratulations on the fourth printing of Sweet Life! Re Ready For Dessert, I can report that the banana cake with mocha frosting I made as a birthday cake went down like gangbusters. There’s another birthday coming up this week and I was going to make the plum streusel cake until I hit the shops and discovered it’s the exact week that marks the end of the plum season:\. I’m substituting (that terrible word!) tamarillos – I’m hoping their tartness will provide the same effect as the tartness of plums.

  • Kathryn
    April 19, 2011 2:47pm

    I am thrilled to have come across your twitters and blog! I just ordered The Sweet Life of Paris and look forward to enjoying reading it. This fall my husband and I will be traveling to Paris for the first time to celebrate his 50th birthday. The information on your blog will be a useful tool in planning our trip. Thank you!

    Have a safe trip to Atlanta next month for the Food and Wind Festival. It should be a fun time in my fair city. I’m hoping to attend some of the events throughout the weekend.


    p.s. I’m a novice photographer ( Canon user as well ) and have enjoyed your photos.
    I’m having fun with the IPhone apps. for my IPhone. I just purchased a Helga and am having fun taking film photos again, just like back in the day.. :) k

  • April 20, 2011 7:15pm

    Walked pass the Kooka Boora this weekend, but ended up getting coffee down the street :)

  • Progera
    April 21, 2011 6:18am

    Hello sir, I am visiting paris in a week’s time and I have a thing for Mexican food. My gf however thought I was crazy, because she has a thing for French cuisine and considers others lame. When I showed her this post and told her about the various mexican restaurants you’ve put up, she has been saying why would anyone want to have mexican when u r in france and not french People are so prejudiced these days lol. Thanks any way for all those valuable info…

  • manouche
    April 22, 2011 12:12am

    We were in the neighborhood and saw the sign for “Le Vrai Bar-B-Q Americain”. Did the neighborly thing and ordered lunch. Nice owner from Texas – very chatty. We ordered “hickory-smoked pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce”. Meat was tender and looked good, but lacked even a hint of any smoky flavor. The sauce was good quality but obviously canned, and it was definitely a chili sauce – absolutely not BBQ. Frozen fries (I know, they are everywhere), canned “Ranch-Style” beans, “Louisiana Gumbo” (which had been translated to “Ratatouille” on the menu – so the French would understand!!) – was spicy, canned tomato juice with a few pieces of vegetables floating around (neither Gumbo nor Ratatouille), rubbery cornbread from a mix (included flecks of what – dried green chilis?), very fresh coleslaw (which had no flavor, though, only crunch), sodas with loads of ice. It was mercifully inexpensive. Are we being too harsh? Did we expect too much? Even though I have lived in Paris long enough to know better than to expect a lot from “Le Vrai N’importe Quoi”, it still made me angry and sad. Go, if you think you must…

  • April 22, 2011 6:21am

    That photo of the mini pain o chocolate’s reminds me of my last trip to Paris and the South Of France! Mexican food in France? Yeah we tried one a couple of years back in Lyon not like what you get here in San Francisco but was worth trying.

    Reading this blog though takes me back and it feels like I’m in France! Thanks much!

  • mzn
    April 23, 2011 6:07pm

    I am one who just bought your paperback book, David, and I’m really looking forward to reading and baking my way through it. In fact, I saw my husband flipping through it and when I asked him what he thought, he just said “Page 35” which happens to be a recipe for chocolate cake. I think that means he likes the book. ;-)

  • jess
    April 23, 2011 11:27pm

    Thank you David for Witopia! I have netflix now! I’m gonna cry, I think.

  • Steve
    April 29, 2011 2:39pm


    Kooka Boora and Coutume were outstanding suggestions. Last week we went to Kooka Bora twice and had coffee and lunch at Coutume. The lunch at Costum was very good and reasonably price (it softened the blows of the sticker shock of buying a pair of socks at Le Bon Marche just down the rue Babylon). My wife thought the latte at Kooka Bora was the best she ever had and she is a serious addict.