February 2013 I don’t normally talk too much about books I’m working on, mostly when people do it, by the time the book lands, I’m not always as exci

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February 2013


I don’t normally talk too much about books I’m working on, mostly when people do it, by the time the book lands, I’m not always as excited as I should be about it. But I’ll just mention that I’m rounding the corner to a deadline which was missed because of construction delays (and subsequent revisions, and a mess of other things that were, well...a mess) chez David. So once it’s in, I feel like I will be a normal person again. I love writing books because it lets me explore a topic. But it can be painstaking work, especially making sure recipes are all in order. (Kinda like writing a newsletter with new glasses, and making sure there are no typos.) One missing ingredient or miscalculation can throw a whole recipe off. And when you’re staring at pages of 80,000 to 100,000 words, missing an "a" or adding an extra "o" to "tablespooon" is certainly possible, but vexing for readers - as well as us authors.

(I recently had dinner with another cookbook author and we both were comparing how we were losing sleep over the yield size in a recipe. I spent a a few days - and nights - wondering if one recipe was really sufficient for 4 people, or if it was enough for 6.)

(And speaking of goofs, fortunately not mine, I once saw a cookbook that had a recipe for biscotti that called for 1/2 cup of baking powder, which I assumed was 1/2 teaspoon or tablespoon..yikes, imagine the oven clean-up after that one!)

So the time finally came recently when I needed full-on, full-time eyeglasses. When I first got reading glasses a few years back, due to my age, the opthalmogiste (am not sure is that’s feminine in French, but since mine is a woman, I’ll go with -giste) said to me, “What took you so long?” So now, I finally wear ‘cheaters’ which were supposed to make me see better, but since they are progressives (line-free bifocals) the entire world was curved and moving quickly wherever I looked. Consequently I felt seasick for about a week, so I went back to the store to change them. I resisted showing them (physically) how seasick they made me feel, but I think they got the message when a green fellow showed up a week after picking up his glasses.

In contrast to some of the hard-line anti-return policies in Paris (if you return something at the BHV department store, you need to go to one cashier to get the form for the return, another desk to get the return authorized, then another form to bring back to the cashier, then head to the nearest café for a glass of wine...and another friend told me she tried to return a pair of pants with all the labels still attached, for another size, and the saleswoman refused, lifting the pants to her nose and smelling them, then recoiling in front of all the other customers, saying it was obvious she had worn them) it’s been a while since I’ve returned anything - (and with crotch-sniffing employees, is it any wonder?..although perhaps in certain situations, I suppose...) - so perhaps times have changed, but the eyeglass store folks could not have been nicer. Quelle difference! And next time I go, I'm bringing them a few treats.

I don’t know the French name for ‘nerd’ but I feel like one with my new glasses, which are still taking some getting used to. So if you come to Paris and see some guy wavering down the sidewalk, veering from side-to-side, you might want to stay out of his way. But I’m not feeling quesy any more, so at least you won’t have to worry about that. Nor will I.



News from Paris

newsletter salad

Here's some stuff that's going on in Paris...

A homemade tortilla shop is opening soon! Check out their website for details.
I love the cocktail bar, Glass, up near Pigalle, opened by the folks of the fabulous Candelaria restaurant and bar in the Marais.
I had an amazing meal at Septime lately, which kind of stunned me it was so good. And the service was great as well.
Frenchie Wine Bar is justifiably popular and now it’s expanded with more seats and a full-on kitchen. I had a super meal here the other night.

(And, welcome to 2013! The sharp folks at Frenchie restaurant and Septime are both taking reservations online via their respective websites.)

The kids of Paris by Mouth have been writing up the Paris artisan beer movement, which has been hitting its stride and there's an upcoming pop-up craft beer tasting and dinner.
I’m excited about all the new coffee places opened up in Paris, mostly by our friends in Australia, but a few locals have hit the beans. Check out the additions on the bottom of my Where to Get Good Coffee in Paris, which I update regularly. I've highlighted Kooka Borra and La Caféotheque already, with another one to come in February.
Josh Adler, formerly of Spring in Paris, and Bi-Rite in San Francisco, is launching Paris Wine Company, a French wine club and tastings. You can either come here and taste wine with him, or have his personal selections delivered right to your door.


News from Here & There

root vegetables
Someone asked me (and a few others) about bread and bread-makers in Paris, in an insightful arricle: France's 30k bakers leaven creativity and fiscal reality.
Want advice? Here are some great tips on the etiquette of Asking for a Favor and How to Ask for Help..and Get a Reponse (Link via C&Z.)
Folks loved (including myself!) the Chocolate-Buckwheat Cake from Aran Goyoaga's new book, Small Plates and Sweet Treats. It's simple and super-chocolaty, and was quite the hit around here.
Clients from Hell is hilarious, whether you're a freelancer or not.
My favorite honey in France (or anywhere else in the world) now has a website and ships!

If you read my post on French honey, I stuck it in there, but thought I would bring it back to folks’ attention. It’s likely overseas shipping is spendy (and the idea of the post was to prompt folks to explore local honey where they live). But if you’re coming to France on a trip, you can have it delivered to an address in France (hotel, apartment, etc) so it’s waiting for you when you arrive.

My pal Matt Armendariz just came out with a book, Food Photography for Bloggers, and I had a fun interview with him.
French bureaucracy is certainly legendary and Prêt à Voyager attempts to explain it. Well, as best as she/anyone can.
Finally, if you need a laugh, see how a pro nails it; the great Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles.

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