The New Paris Dispatch #5

12 February 2018
Belleville Brûlerie at L'Exception Paris

After an unintentional hiatus (we moved apartments at the beginning of the month! More on that soon…), I’m happy to be back with the first 2018 installment of The New Paris Dispatch, a quick-fire look at changes and updates in the capital. Racines is back with Simone Tondo at the helm! Racines is a name synonymous with quality bistro cooking but it had largely fallen by the wayside in recent years as an endless crop of new establishments have stepped into the spotlight. Fortunately, the compact old-world favorite inside the Passage des Panoramas has gotten an overhaul with the arrival of Sardinian chef Simone Tondo. After Roseval and most recently Tondo, his namesake upscale restaurant in the 12th arrondissement, he’s back with a cuisine and an open-kitchen  that resembles his style best: a cross between the bistro and an osteria with the technique of a classically trained French chef and all the heart and spirit of Italian cooking. The menu is about great home-style cooking and features three starters (meat, veggie and fish), three main dishes (meat, fish and a pasta — my favorite), French cheeses, two dessert options (get the tiramisu), and beautiful wines. It was one of the […]…

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The New Paris Dispatch #4

6 December 2017
Claus petit dejeuner left bank Paris

The New Paris Dispatch series brings you quick news updates from Paris in everything from food and shopping to culture and urban development. Claus takes breakfast to the left bank Claus: La Maison du Petit-Déjeuner has celebrated the art of the hearty breakfast for a number of years in the 1st arrondissement but now left-bankers can finally get their fix. Expect a brighter interior but all the same, well-executed specialities from eggs, pastries, fresh yogurts, fruit, greens, and coffees, in the Saint-Germain neighborhood. 2 rue Clément, 75006  Meet the Locals tour I’ve taken my fair share of walking tours, food tours, historical tours, and cultural tours all over France but rarely have they involved role playing. I recently had the opportunity to try out the Heroes of the French Revolution tour from Meet the Locals and found it a thoroughly enjoyable, clever, and engaging way to understand not only the context of a tumultuous period in French history but the figures that played a role in its outcome. I won’t give away the secrets of the tour but know that the walk unfolds through the lens of individual characters from the revolution (bonus: good for kids!). Thank you to Sophie, […]…

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The New Paris Dispatch #1

6 August 2017
The Beast Paris

Welcome to a new series bringing you quick news updates from Paris in everything from food and shopping to culture and urban development.   CREAM IS NO MORE  Belleville’s popular coffee shop Cream has closed its doors. It has been purchased by roaster Belleville Brûlerie and, according to a quick exchange with their communication director, will become some sort of a tasting space-slash-coffee shop hybrid. We’ll see when it opens in September. 50 rue de Belleville, 75020 THE BEAST HAS A BIG BROTHER Founded by Thomas Abramowicz (see the food chapter of “The New Paris”!), the city’s best barbecue now has a bigger sister. The Beast 2 is located on rue de Belleville, right next door to cocktail bar La Commune (also in The New Paris) and has all the much-loved dishes and sides as the original location but now with fish, vegetarian, and salad options. They also have a short but sharp cocktail offering and, in addition to The Beast brew by Deck & Donohue on tap, the D&D IPA. But the real surprise here is what awaits downstairs. Son of a Beast is a separate restaurant with a Chinese tasting menu. Thomas wanted to explore how barbecue could […]…

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Pastry Favorite: Kouign Amann

25 June 2017

“I feel like I need something crunchy” was a refrain I heard frequently from my father growing up. For him, a meal was complete when there was some degree of crunch or crackle. When it didn’t, he’d seek it out, rummaging through the cabinet for a handful of nuts or pretzels, some crispy granola or a hard cookie studded with any manner of delicious filling that I’d invariably snatch away from him. Having evidently inherited this penchant, the almost ineffable need for crunch is something I understand intimately. It’s as much about the sensation the sound produces as the taste of the food itself. When I moved to Paris ten years ago and followed my belly around the city to assess the breadth of the bread and pastry offering (sweets first, savory second), the crunch-friendly options were legion but not created equal. As far as breakfast pastries went, I was team-croissant until I had my first, awe-inspiring experience with a still little-known Breton pastry called the Kouign Amann. The two are similar insofar as they both are prepared from laminated dough and a liberal layering of butter, but the KA is denser and, most importantly, crispier throughout thanks to the […]…

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Creativity in Chocolate with La Maison du Chocolat

29 November 2016
La Maison du Chocolat Petrossian Collaboration

One of the chapters of my book that I found the most fascinating to research and write was the one dedicated to sweets, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for those of you that have followed me over the years. Beyond the beauty of these creations, I was on a mission to understand more about the industry and its evolutions overall. Locals and visitors might have a passing knowledge of the ways in which pastry and chocolate have changed in recent years — perhaps they recognize new flavors or new forms or even more creative packaging — but what I learned is that the shifts run much deeper. One of the references in my research was Nicolas Cloiseau, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France in chocolate and the creative director of La Maison du Chocolat, his home for the last twenty years. What intrigues me about Cloiseau’s work is not only his perpetual task of reinvention and keeping classics “fresh” but how he tries to innovate without steering regular chocolate clients too far off course. He’s adventurous but just so. He’s also smart: he knows that it’s a gradual process to get chocolate lovers to take a break from their reliable favorites and […]…

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