Unexpected Beaujolais Nouveau 2009

When he handed me the bread, and I realized that it was warm, I thought, “this is too good to be true”. How can you have a Beaujolais nouveau day without a glass (or three) of Beaujolais? Someone with some power at SNCF (French national railroad) must have been thinking about this, or else it…

end Ch9 day

Short hand in the notebook and constant translation from French to English. After a day of stains on teeth, hands and notebook pages. After barrels here, tanks there, old wood foudres, and multiple blends. Different spices, fruits, and flowers. After all of the power (and alcohol) saturated wines, and after the varying tannin levels… At…

A revelation: Foie gras with raspberries and red bell pepper jelly

How do you make foie gras go with Beaujolais Villages? Start by giving the chef a glass or two. Just so that he can get the creative juices flowing… The young chef at Auberge de Chantemerle came up with an incredibly creative and unique idea that worked beautifully: Foie gras with a jelly of red…

Picnic in the train

Sunday. Train ride to Montpellier. The TGV will take us there in a little over 3 hours. As soon as we are out of Paris, and the window is divided horizontally between blue sky and green fields of summer, we pull out the picnic. We start by opening the wine: a 2003 Meursault Les Tillets…

Maria, Oh! Maria @ Regalade in Beaune

There was only one line in the email: “Does anyone know how to spell La REGALADE and frogs legs or what???” With that we knew that we would have to make a trip to see Maria. Not only to keep our client happy, but also to get some food into our bellies after a long…

spoon of the moment: tuna and raw beet

Inspired while doing the Saturday morning marketing. Tuna belly: the kobe beef of the sea. Fatty. Tender. Complex. Meaty. With the bitter tendency of red meat. Looking at fresh produce at the Organic Market Boulevard des Batignoles (Paris XVII), I saw a bunch of raw beets which inspired me.  Surprising aromas of dried earth and…

spoon of the moment: summer foie gras

I don’t usually think of serving foie gras in the summer time. It seems a little rich for summer blood. Rich because of the creamy texture and inherent fattiness. Fattiness tends to have a slight sweetness to it (think fresh butter, or oil). That’s the ‘gras’. All animal livers have some sort of bitterness to…

Ibu Oka Babi Guling

Ubud. Across the street from the Royal Palace. Ibu Oka (i.e. mama oka’s place) This place is hopping. Locals and tourists rub shoulders to get a piece of this famous roast suckling pig. Open around 11AM and they close when they run out of pigs. That can be anywhere between two and five PM. Better…

summer bulot sandwich

  I started thinking about it as I was walking through the organic market Marché Bio of Boulevard des Battignolles in the 17th arrondissment in Paris: I wanted to make a bulots sandwich. The more I thought about it, the hungrier I got. I’d never had one before. I had some bulots in the fridge…

Sqala: the ultimate Moroccan breakfast

I asked the waiter to explain what some of the choices were. A lot of the words and names of dishes were things I had never heard of. I was trying to make sense of it all… “Or you can have the breakfast assortment.” My eyes widened as he told me all the things that…

Psychedelic risotto @ Castel de Tres Girard

It was what we call bonus sunshine. Sun when everyone said it would rain. The kind of day where you feel strange putting on a big coat. But after an hour’s tasting in a cool cellar, you’re really glad you kept the extra lining in your coat. It’s actually a tough season for tasting in…

the best razor clams: a cinnamon tinged country

 razor clams It’s pretty rare to see razor clams at a fishmonger. Even in France. So when I saw them in the central Market in Casablanca, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Look she has couteaux (razor clams)! Lets get some.” They hadn’t had any the day before. “We’ll take 12 couteaux.” Zoubida counted out loud…

Sqala: mise en bouche

  The Kemia Mauresque, were actually a selection of cooked vegetables that the waiter told us were Moroccan salads. All served cold. Artichoke (farthest away) with tomato was delicately spicy. Tender artichokes. Seemed generally typical of Mediterranean cuisine, something the southern Italians might do. The sautéed spinach with candied lemon (2nd farthest away) was much…

Al Mounia

 We were impressed when we discovered that the taxi driver knew where Al Mounia was. Not only because most of the other petit taxis seemed not to know where even the biggest monuments of the city were. But because we thought, “this must really be Moroccan cuisine!” The comments in the guide book describing the…

Petit Taxis in Casa: getting there

For short distances in Casablanca, there are the Petit Taxis. Little red cars, beat up like old tin cans. The drivers are useless. Its crazy. Half of the time you get in, the driver has no idea where it is that you want to go. So I had a plan : Al Mounia is near the…

Rick’s Café Casablanca

Rick’s café  Good thing we got in on Sunday. There was live jazz at Rick’s. Not quite Sam on the piano, but close enough. The film Casablanca, was entirely done on set. Rick’s remained alive in our minds after watching it until an American woman brought it to real life five years ago. Its on…

Lunch at Central Market Casa: step two

Step two : Take it to Bouchra Zoubida is the oyster lady at Parc Dar Kachon stand in the middle of the market. Apparently she is the matriarch of the Central Market and has been there every day for 39 years. She fed us oysters on the half shell as we stood there. And she explained…

Tang : Bordeaux with Chinese food

Taro root with white truffle oil This is one of his signature amuse bouches. The sweetness of the taro is a perfect vehicle for the gamy complex (almost intoxicating) truffle. Noodles with shitake mushrooms Very South-East Asian in style. Some small shrimps in there gave a delicate taste of the sea. And shitakes don’t give…