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...

News of a favorite classic French restaurant, Moissonnier, closing from a reader (thanks for the tip, Annette) reminded me of the challenges of running a good restaurant. The food was traditional French, done right, prepared with care by the chef/owner, with his wife tending to the details in the dining room. A drive-by location, and a younger generation not as interested in quenelles in cream sauce…

Continue reading...

In France, you’re either a juilettiste or aoûtien, meaning you take your annual summer vacation in July or August, although many get more than four weeks off (and some get less), so there’s room for a few crossovers as well. I don’t know what the word for someone who takes their summer vacation during both months is…chanceux? (lucky?) – or if there is a word for…

Continue reading...

“Je n’en ai pas besoin, mais…” Those are words I constantly tell myself when I’m at a flea market or brocante (antique or secondhand shop) and come across something that I like (or want). Piles of gorgeous French linens, mortars without (or without) pestles, French jam jars, and no longer loved café pitchers, get a once-over from me, as I ask myself that question: “I…

Continue reading...

Staying with friends in the countryside for a few days last week, we were fortunate to discover that a neighbor was making his own bread, which was excellent. The young man bakes just a few loaves a couple of times a week. Romain, in his wisdom (a trait he may have picked up from me: buy as much as you can, when you come across something…

Continue reading...