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March 2019 Newsletter

I seem to have been the last person they told in Paris that today was March 1st, because I went to get some métro tickets this morning and found substantial lines at all the machines. Everybody was refilling their monthly passes and since I don't commute to work, I'm blissfully unaware of the morning rush hour commute. (That said, I'm grouchy in the morning, so probably best for all involved if I'm not part of the melee.)

I also had to get some official pictures, which, in France, you do at machines in the métro stations. I tried yesterday and dropped a substantial amount of coins in the machine, which kept telling me to add a few euros more, for it to work. So I did, figuring it was just a glitch. After I had added so many coins that it started feeling like a slot machine, I realized - like slot machines - it was time to fold 'em (or, in this case, stop adding coins...) and try again the next day at another machine.

One thing the French are very good at is not smiling. That's not a swipe at anyone; it's just that Americans are trained to smile all the time and we just can't help it. That, however, doesn't come in handy when it's time to take a photo officielle, and if there's any hint of a smile, or even teeth showing, the photo won't be accepted and you'll have to go back and get another one.

Somehow - le sigh - French people look good without smiling, while I look like someone who had lived a life of solitude in a hole in the ground, and just came up for a photo. I was going to share it with you but fear you'll never think of me as the happy-go-lucky fellow that I am. (Except if you run into me first thing in the morning. Then you'll get it.)

I took a break the first few weeks in February, to relax, refresh, and recharge. Most of my travel is for business reasons, or to "do" something. But this time, I went to Vietnam with no lists of places to go, no cities I needed to visit, no restaurants I had to hit, and nothing to do but discover Vietnam.

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It was nothing like I imagined it. Actually, that's not quite true. I couldn't imagine what it would be like, so it was a true adventure. I've been to Thailand, but the vibe (and food) are very different in Vietnam, a country that's been through a lot, and still struggling with some issues, but the people have a resilience that's quite astonishing considering their history.

The food was terrific. Lots of fresh fruits piled on tables at markets, and even on the sides of the roads, noodle carts parked on the sidewalks, and friendly coffee shops serving Vietnamese coffee, something that once you take a sip of, you are powerless to resist. It's so good.

A number of readers were clamoring for Vietnamese recipes and I have a few on my blog, such as Caramel Clay Pot Chicken, Cold Rice Noodle Salad, and Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles. Yup, I'm recast my new favorite coffee drink as popsicles - and you're welcome. If you want more Vietnamese recipes, I recommend the books by my friend Andrea Nguyen, which include Pho, Into the Vietnam Kitchen, and her newest, Vietnamese Food Any Day, simple recipes intended to be used with ingredients that you can likely find at your local supermarket.

I was also inspired by the HUGE citrons I saw in Vietnam, and when I came home, I candied one...

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For some reason, I was the belle of the ball in February and here are some places you can find me around the web, and on tv:

-I was featured in PUNCH by award-winning spirits writer, Brad Thomas Parsons, where I compare a classic American bar to a Parisian café, as well as talk about my favorite cocktail, and where to get it.

-Dwell magazine came to Paris to visit me in my kitchen, and you'll find pictures of where I bake and cook, in their current issue and on their website.

-Bake From Scratch magazine profiled me (also in my kitchen...I guess because that's where I usually am!) along with a recipe. The whole March/April is all about France, and you can check it out on their website or at your local magazine stand or seller.

-I recorded a video with Oliver Gee of The Earful Tower podcast, and we poked around my kitchen as well.

-And I went up against the chef on Beat Bobby Flay, which will air on Food Network March 28 (10:30pm, 9:30c) and March 29 (1:30am, 12:30c). It was a challenge full of surprises (the best was I got to meet Alton Brown and Valerie Bertinelli). Check out the program on those dates if you want to see me (maybe) go up against Bobby Flay - no spoilers!

A bientôt,
- David

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Upcoming San Francisco Appearance

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I'll be at Omnivore Books in San Francisco on March 14th from 6:30 to 7:30pm. It's one of my favorite bookstores and I'd happy to come back!

The event is free and open to all. If you'd like, you're welcome to RSVP on the Facebook Event Page. They'll have copies of most of my books on hand.

If you can't make it to the event, but would like a signed book, you can contact the bookstore and they'll be happy to have me sign a copy and send it to you. You can also contact Omnivore Books and prepurchase a book, even if you'll be there in person, to make sure you get one.

(There's an order form on their website for copies of The Perfect Scoop, but you're welcome to call the store to order copies of other books, which they'll ship to you.)

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Links I'm Liking

For $34,000, you can have the Louvre to yourself (Robb Report)

In Gascony, Duck Fat is still king (Saveur)

How Chinese restaurants are shut out of the organic food movement (SFGate)

Heads up! Paris changes its bus routes (RATP)

The secret (and terrifying, from what they see) lives of Facebook moderators (The Verge)

From the "no comment" file: The rise (and rise) of Instagram's "Foodgod" (LA Times, via Dianne Jacob)

Crushing, hard, on these offset baker's spatulas [Ordering info is in the comments] (Now Serving LA)

New KitchenAid attachment weights and sifts flour, right into the bowl (Amazon)

Cauliflower Gnocchi? Why not... (Simply Recipes)

BlogHer Food Blogger conference returns (BlogHer)

Is this the perfect pastry dough?** (Taste)

The continuing saga of the much-maligned Bastille opera house in Paris (NYT)

Paris sues Airbnb for $14.2 million dollars (Tech Crunch)

The life, and death, of frozen yogurt (Taste)

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Recent Recipes and Posts on My Blog

My trip to Vietnam, part 1 and part 2.

Perk up your breakfast with Pink Grapefruit and Vermouth Marmalade.

A Visit to Red Boat Fish Sauce.

I updated My Favorite Utility Knife. It's a keeper!

 
 
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