June 2014 Newsletter Well, last month was quite a month. I haven't been so popular since high school! (Um, just kidding...) To channel my inner Calif

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June 2014 Newsletter

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Well, last month was quite a month. I haven't been so popular since high school! (Um, just kidding...) To channel my inner Californian, my book tour was totally awesome. And before I go on, I want to thank everyone - yes, each and every one of you - who came to a signing or an event. People kept asking me if I was exhausted, and honestly, I probably would have created a spectacle and dropped, if everyone hadn't been so incredibly nice when coming by to chat, to share a meal, or to get their books signed.

My Paris Kitchen hi res

In the words of Bette Midler, you were truly "the wind beneath my wings." Except on the day that our plane was just about to take off, and had to return to the gate for more fuel and we had to circle Miami for a few hours while a tornado warning passed, making me late for my night out with Pitbull. (Long story...) So evidently whoever was the wind beneath my wings that day, was taking a break.

Anyhow, I've recalled a few snippets of all the fun below. But I was happy to get home, not because my four-week supply of socks (and unmentionables) was running low, but because the Paris markets were bursting forth with small nectarines and apricots, and baskets and baskets of luscious, sweet strawberries. I've got a few ideas for using them that I'm hoping to share next month. Which I hope turn out better than the experiment I was hoping to share for using up a bundle of rainbow Swiss chard stems that I found myself with, that didn't fare so well in the spiced/pickled mash-up that's in a couple of jars, in my refrigerator.

(However if anyone has a good recipe that calls for soggy, vinegar-laden, once-beautiful, yellow Swiss chard stems, I'm all ears.)

In addition to a cavalcade of marvelous fruit, the warmer weather bodes well for what's on every French person's mind: Les vacances! (Vacation!) My other-half was surprised when I said that in San Francisco, I don't recall being all that worked up about summer vacation - until I explained to him that there are no seasons in San Francisco and summer is merely a "concept," not a reality, in foggy San Francisco.

So I'm trying to get into the swing of things and plan some trips for the coming months, including one back to Italy, as well as heading to a few places around France, preferably near a beach.

Well, once I'm done with all the laundry from my last trip...! - David


U.S. Visit Recap

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If I had gone everywhere I, and others, wanted me to go, I would be on the road 'til 2019. And that doesn't include all the Asian countries I wanted to hit, as well as Mexico and Hawaii. (And New Zealand and Australia.) But I had to start somewhere, and that was in Texas.

I was fortunate to have had some great bbq, and I learned what a "meat coma" was, Texas-style. I'm not a huge beef-eater, but I did my best to plow through a number of beef ribs and brisket. I also had a great haircut, which came with a free lollypop at the end. Take that, hipster haircut places!

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I was in for a somewhat unpleasant surprise at one of my hotels, and wasn't sure I wanted to climb into this bed. I wondered if it was some kind of game of whack-a-mole, or if the zombies were rising from the deep (or the mattress) - but I made it through the night okay. Before moving on to...

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...Los Angeles!

Quelle difference! That sunny spot you see on my right was the "breakfast room" at my hotel, and made each morning a little - er, a lot - more pleasant. (And the bed was less unsettling, too.) And it was so nice to be sitting under the sun, enjoying my morning coffee. I forgot how much I missed the sunshine of California!

In Los Angeles, I had a pretty hectic schedule, but was able to sneak in a visit with my family, who took me to République for dinner and drinks.

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I wasn't able to take pictures and write about everywhere I went, because I was racing from place-to-place, so people had to bear with me as I became a true "urban warrior," writing, corresponding, and blogging as I went.

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I did get to go to some farmers' markets, including ones in San Francisco, Hollywood, and Washington, D.C., I spent a whole morning at the Hollywood market in Los Angeles, and was happy to run into Robert and Heidi of Kenter Canyon Farms. I worked with them both at Chez Panisse (Heidi grew lettuce for the restaurant and Robert was a waiter), and was thrilled to taste the excellent bread they made with ancient grains they are growing at their farm. It's no wonder they sell out daily!

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While in Washington, DC, aside from a great dinner at a friend's house, firing up 'Smores in her backyard and drinking rosé, if I didn't get to anything else, I raced over to the American Museum of Natural History for the Food exhibition, tracing the evolution of eating/dining/farming in the United States from 1950 to 2000.

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One thing that hasn't changed is our love of doughnuts. Those bacon-topped beauties you see here are from our friends across the border, in Vancouver, Canada, where I enjoyed two outstanding Japanese meals, and a dinner event as well. It was all too fast and my dream is to return to Vancouver and just eat, eat...and eat!

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Even Googlers love doughnuts, as I found out when I visited the Google campus in Mountain View, an hour south of San Francisco. I got to eat in the employee cafeteria and see all the delicious things the Googlers get to eat when they're not hunched over their computers, searching for stuff.

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And when they do get out, aside from sticking their heads through doughnuts (er...I think I'm the only one that does the touristy thing there...), they can pedal away, multitasking by churning up ice cream at the same time as burning off the calories. #win

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Back in San Francisco, I got to say hi to Josey Baker, who shared his great recipe for Adventure Bread, loaded with nuts and seeds. And took a moment to pop into b. pâtisserie with John Birdsall for an interview, snacking on kouign amann, lemon tartlets, and bittersweet chocolate cookies.

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Since I kept missing it on other trips, I stopped into The Ice Cream Bar in my old neighborhood, which made me angry I had sold my place there. (In addition to the fact that the house across the street was just sold for over 4 million dollars...and I won't tell you how much I paid, and sold, my place for.)

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I didn't sleep much in New York - partially because I was scared of bedbugs - but the food more than made up for it. The team at Tasting Table did a super job with the party they organized for me. And although I was trying not to drink too much on this trip (wine, coffee, cocktails, etc...), I couldn't resist a few sips.

Like the City of Light they made at Lucques in Los Angeles, the cocktails at Tasting Table were great. But the staff was equally top-notch, doing a great job with the food...as did Boat Street Cafe in Seattle, Buck's Fishing & Camping in Washington, D.C., Camino in Oakland, and Left Bank in Larkspur.

All the meals, drinks, hotels, airports, meet-ups, books, farmers' markets, and people made for a great book tour. And although it's nice to be home, enfin, I had a great time and hope to come back and do it again someday.

(Although with more cocktails and 'Smores, and fewer bumpy beds.)


June Book Events in Paris & London

Meanwhile, back home, I've got two events planned for the first week of June:

I'll be in London this coming Monday, June 2nd, doing a book signing event with Toast, featuring cheeses, some nibbles, and a cocktail. (Yay!) Space is limited. You can sign up here.

And on Saturday, June 7th, I'll be at WHSmith in Paris, signing books at their store. The book signing will take place from 3:30 to 5pm. Stop by and get a book signed, and say hi!

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