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March 2018 Newsletter

Sometimes, things can feel overly challenging in France. But they often come with rewards. Getting deliveries is a good case in point. I recently ordered something on Amazon with two-day delivery, which took nine days to arrive. Grrr. Sure, it's not the end of the world. But when you're expecting a delivery in Paris, as a French woman told me when I moved here, "You need to be standing there, with the door open, with your name written on your forehead" in order to get it.

The local FedEx guys knows me now and is super-nice to me, I think because I'm usually at home. (And I give him cookies.) Plus I don't live on the top floor anymore and who wants to walk up six flights of stairs with a package only to find no one home, and they have to go back down and try to deliver again? I've offered to take packages for neighbors, which surprises the delivery fellow - it's not something common in Paris - but it doesn't bother me.

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I spent a lot of time grousing about that wayward package; tracking it down, became my second (...or fifth?) part-time job in February. When it finally arrived, it was such a joyful event, that I forgot all the work that it took to get it. So I suspect that they may do things like that on purpose, just to make you even happier when something turns out okay.

A week later, I got this especially charming "missed delivery" slip (above). Instead of just slapping a sticker on my door that no one was home, the delivery person wrote a very nice note, starting off with a cheery "Bonjour!" and ending with "Thank you for your understanding." It's the flip side of France. One side can be tough to navigate, but the rewards are often sweeter, and feel even more charming, when they finally arrive.


I spent a lot of time on my book L'appart, working on the tone of explaining certain facets of French culture while not being critical; but as an observer (of my own life, and my own foibles), and to explain why some of the things that happened to me. It's a pretty deep dive to leave your culture and try to set down roots in another. It's not easy anywhere, as there's a lot to learn. And when you buy and renovate an apartment, it's like going to military academy finishing school - you gotta shape up, or ship out.

If you'd like to read more about my journey, I was recently featured in Nuvo magazine with a very good interview and story by Lesley Chesterman, who "gets" it. Although I think I should have cleaned up my kitchen before they took the photos!

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In other news, I'm sorry to admit that I didn't do so well at avoiding brocantes in Paris last month.

I love poking through boxes at flea markets, or in some cases, suitcases, looking for buried treasures. Especially when I can get them for only one or two euros, which I do after some hard bargaining. Tip: Grab a whole bunch of stuff that you're interested in, then negotiate the best price if you take all of it.

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For tips on finding out when and where the brocantes and flea markets in Paris are, check out that post. If you're planning on visiting this spring, you can expect more flea markets to pop up in Paris as the weather warms up. If you can't wait, there's also a daily flea market at the Marché d'Aligre with is worth checking out, and takes place year round.

In between, uh...finding room for all the new stuff I picked up, I updated a few blog posts, including Almond Tart (below), my all-time favorite Granola recipe, and Salmon Rillettes, a favorite French spread, with new photos. When I made them all last month, I was reminded how good they were. And thanks to my scrounging through boxes on a rather cold Saturday morning, I've got some new (well, new to me...) plates, bowls, and flatware, to serve them with.

- David

almond tart recipe

Links I'm Liking

Paris France Photos-9

Are the French rude? Informative video on the ins and outs of France manners (France24)

Clear, drinkable yogurt has arrived - but if you ask me, not sure if that's a good thing... (Food & Wine)

Going to Lyon and looking for a good bouchon (traditional restaurant)? Check out Bring Your Appetite to Lyon (Medium)

Chef and restaurant owner Rick Bayless gives some thoughts on Creating a Positive Professional Restaurant Culture

Does it matter if the hot guy from Queer Eye knows how to cook? (Junkee)

Rent a private jet for an Instagram shot? Um, no thanks… (Guest of a Guest)

Wonder what all those Wi-Fi enabled home devices are really watching? Spoiler: You (Gizmodo)

Head's up: Strike in Paris on March 22nd to protest labor reforms. If traveling by train or airplane, check the schedule before you go (Le Parisien)

Why would anyone start another food blog? (Brocavore)

Bookmarked. This guide to eating your way through Koreatown in Los Angeles, that makes me very, very hungry (LA Times)

Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe-8

Recent Recipes on My Blog

I revisited these oh-so-good Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies (above)

Had trouble finding a place to "go" in France? I give some answers at Faire pipi

Echo Deli in Paris serves up ultra-fresh food, using French ingredients with cues from California

Hearty farro finds it's way into this wintery Risotto (or Farrotto) with Radicchio and Bacon

A visit to Benoît Castel pastry shop in Paris.

From South Africa, via Sqirl in L.A., I fell - hard - for these moist Malva Pudding cakes

- dl

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