April 2014 Newsletter When I starting working on this issue of the newsletter, the main feature was supposed to be addresses and tips for visiting -

       
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April 2014 Newsletter

Paris flea market -14

When I starting working on this issue of the newsletter, the main feature was supposed to be addresses and tips for visiting - and scoring things - at the roving flea markets of Paris. However as I wrote (and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote), I realized that there was enough information for a full-on blog post. So if you want to score some bargains in Paris, check out my post: Paris Flea Markets and Thrift Stores.

So now that that's out of the way, the other big news is that my newest book, My Paris Kitchen, will be released and available to all next week!

Almond-Honey Squares recipe-8

Writing a cookbook, or any kind of book, is a massive undertaking. And this hybrid book is a narrative, containing stories about life in Paris, as well as over a hundred recipes (and hundreds of photos) of the food I make in my kitchen. Also on the pages are recipes and photos of what's served in bistros (and on the streets), and in the chocolate and pastry shops, that make Paris the beloved culinary capital that it is.

To mark the release of the book, I'll be doing a couple of events in Paris, then going on book tour in the US. It would be great to meet as many of you as possible. At present, I'll be in Paris, Texas (not Paris, Texas – but in Paris, France and various cities in Texas), Los Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Miami, and Washington, DC. I'm gonna be busy. And likely waiting in lines in a lot of airports. (Help!)

vin d'orange

But by the time I reach you, I should be in fine form and will be happy to meet and sign your book. If you can't make it to an event, Omnivore Books in San Francisco or Book Larder in Seattle will be happy to send you a personalized copy.

(If you live outside of the U.S., you can order My Paris Kitchen from Book Depository, which offers free international delivery.)

In other news… well, I guess there isn't any, since I've already told you about all my favorite Paris flea markets. Plus, it’s likely you’ve already put your shoes on to head to your local bookstore to buy a book (or, without your shoes, clicking online). And I hope wherever you are, you're enjoying some nice spring weather…as we are in Paris.

Oh, and I got in just under the wire by making a last-minute batch of vin d'orange (orange wine) - from my book, Ready for Dessert, combining 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, 5 cups (1,2l) white wine, 1 cup (250ml) vodka, 3 Seville oranges and a lemon (all quartered), and a little piece of vanilla bean together to marinate for a month or so. In fact, I look forward to my vin d'orange being ready and waiting for me when I get back from my book tour!

- David

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Cheese-Making Kit

bread coffee Paris-2

We get the most amazing cheeses in France. They're so good that sometimes when I am eating them, I can't believe I get to live in this country. But before you start feeling overly jealous, the one cheese we don't get is queso fresco, the crumbly Mexican cheese that is imperative crumbled over tacos or carnitas.

carnitas

So I was thrilled when my friends, the owners of La Cuisine cooking school in Paris, handed me a cheese-making kit they brought me from Williams-Sonoma, specifically for making Mexican cheese. ¡Ay, caramba!

bread coffee Paris

The queso fresco was very easy to make; you just heat milk, add the acidic powder that comes with it, and then drain it in the neat little plastic strainer that's provided. And lo and behold, you'll have authentic mound of queso fresco, fait maison. Williams-Sonoma also has other cheese-making kits (one for feta and another for goat cheese. The queso fresco kit came with easy-to-follow instructions that smoothly walk you through the process. (I just noticed they have the queso fresco kit on sale for only $11.99! - although be aware that prices are subject to change.)

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Paris Food Notes

I met up with my pal Meg, early one evening at Lockwood, a newish spot in town that does double-duty. During the day, the place is a coffee shop. At night, the lights dim and the bottles dangling from the ceiling are used to create an edited selection of cocktails, such as Negronis and Spritzs, as well as some original creations inspired by the slightly Tex-country décor. The stools are a bit rickety and I was certain that I was going to take a tumble (which would not in any way be related to the cocktails), and I told everyone that if I did, no pics were allowed.

I liked that the cocktail list focused on bitters, although the cocktails weren't necessarily as tart/tangy, or as smoky, as I like. (They didn't have rye whiskey, which I think should be obligatory in a cocktail bar. Hello, Manhattans!) We all eventually moved on to Negronis, which were excellent. The staff was super nice and friendly, which is becoming more and more common in Paris. And since the chef is from Texas, there is a small menu of bar foods, like quesadillas and fried chicken sandwiches, which we didn't try because Lockwood takes a page from our neighbors in Italy to create an aperitivo-- a small buffet or plates of food that are free to accompany the cocktails in the early evening. (Yes, something free to eat in Paris.) You can walk up to the counter for olives, excellent pickled cucumbers, charcuterie, and radishes with butter. A nice concept that helps bridge the gap between cocktail hour and dinner, and I hope it catches on.

bread coffee Paris-4

Speaking of our neighbors in Italy, I was taking a stroll through Père Lachaise cemetery on a warm spring day, remarking to myself how beautiful it is. On my way home, I checked out Le retour à la terre to see if they had citrons. (They didn't.) Then I stopped into a mini Italian supermarket, Casitalia (120 rue des Pyrénés, M: Alexandres Dumas or Maraîchiers) that I'd passed a few times before, but never went into.

Unlike other Italian épiceries in Paris that are not self-service, and have more high-end products, this little grocery store is stocked like a small supermarket in Italy, carrying medium-end items, and everyday foodstuffs. (Whenever I’m in a foreign country, I insist on going to an actual supermarket. I think they're the best places to see how the locals really eat.)

I had fun strolling the aisles, and noticed a number of things you don't often see in Paris such as ricotta salata (dried ricotta cheese, perfect for crumbling over pasta), spicy dried sausage similar to pepperoni, and Illy coffee, for a few euros less per container than most places in town.

The shop is open Monday afternoon through Thursday from 9:30am to 2pm, then closed for lunch, reopening from 4 to 8pm. On Friday and Saturday, the shop is open from 9:30am to 8pm. Tel: 01 43 48 59 44

bread coffee Paris-5

Some of the most spectacular bread in Paris is far from the madding crowd, and one of my all-time favorites is L'Autre Boulange (43, rue de Montreuil, 11th, Tel: 01 43 72 86 04), on a fairly non-descript street over near Faidherbe-Chaligny métro. (I actually found a nice apartment there, which I wanted specifically so this would be my neighborhood bakery. It had a great garden in the courtyard, but was a bit too small and couldn't be modified. Plus the bedroom was on a balcony with no walls, accessible only by a rickety ladder. And I imagined one night, perhaps after too many Negronis, taking a tumble. So I didn't take it.)

Their breads are wood-fired and although I'm a big fan of their grainy, hearty Germanic-style loaves, their pain aux céréales (above) is my new crush. The oval loaves have a bit of whole wheat flour baked into them, so instead of being airy and light, they're rich and hearty. The bakery also makes low-gluten breads, for those sensitive to gluten, and a nice variety of snacks, like spice cookies, fruit tartlets, and other goodies. I've been a fan of this bakery ever since I first walked in, nearly eleven years ago. And I’m happy to be going back on a more frequent basis now that I've rediscovered them.

(Note: The main bakery is closed midday– from 1:30-3:30pm, as well as closed all day Sunday and Monday. They also have a depot de pain at 12, place de la Nation, 12th, where they sell their bread as well.)

April newsletter-6

If I post a picture of my lunch on social media without letting people know where I am, I am swamped with "Where ARE you!?!" (hey, if ya want to pick up the check, I'll take the time to tap out the name and address...) On March 20, at 1:25 P.M., after an unsuccessful trip to the Apple Store to try to figure out why I can't upload pictures to my iPad so I'll have to tote my heavier Macbook with me on my book tour if I want to blog while I'm gone, I biked over to the rue Sainte-Anne, and popped into a decent looking Korean joint: Hangari.

April newsletter-5

The Korean restaurants in Paris aren't very authentic (partially because French diners aren't fond of spices and fire, although more and more are expanding their taste buds). Hangari (7, rue de Louvois, 2nd, Tel: 01 44 50 44 50) certainly didn't challenge me with the kal bi bbq beef or their banchan, the little plates of pickles and so forth. But for a quick lunch, with prices of €11-€15 for a few dumplings, a couple of rounds pa jeon, and a beverage (one choice is a 25cl of wine, about one-third of a bottle!), it wasn't bad. There was was a mix of Koreans and French, and me. Next time, I'll go with the bibimbap. (Although I still think Gubino, a block or so away, has better Korean food, I’ll give Hangari another chance. )

April newsletter-7

The coffee culture continues its creep through Paris. There's been a remarkably large increase in fashionable men with beards, pegged pants, and vintage-style eyewear (i.e. les hipsters) to the west of the Palais Royale, yet the neighborhood is still an interesting place to explore, in spite of all the cuffed pants. A favorite coffee shop is Télescope. I still haven't taken to the espresso coffees being pulled around Paris, and realize that better bets are the filtered coffees and espresso drinks. My noisette (espresso with a hazelnut or noisette, of milk) that I always order at Télescope was excellent as always, and they have great oatmeal cookies.

Fragments is a new coffee spot near the Marais, in an area where there isn't much else in terms of coffee. Having moved down from the hills of the 18th, to a modern space straddling the Bastille and the Marais, owner Youssef Li carefully concocts filtered coffees and espresso drinks in spartan surroundings. I had a quick espresso and two tiny madeleines, which were light and delicate. I had my eye on the food they were offering-- salads and sandwiches, all made with fresh ingredients—but it was mid-afternoon so I didn't stay. But I'll be back since I'm over in that area often.

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Apps I'm Using

Delectables

I'm no wine expert but often I'll taste something and want to remember it, and perhaps try and track down a bottle. Sometimes I take a picture of the label, which, of course, quickly gets forgotten as my phone fills up with other photos.

Delectables is a free wine app that lets you take a snapshot of any wine label, which it will read, then help categorize it for you – automatically registering the winemaker and the year. You can add information such as where you had it or whatever else you want, and there is a quick feature that allows you to give it a smiley face, or other options, as a quick reminder of how you feel about it. (Because if you're at the dinner table with others, you don't always want to sit there and tap out an essay on your phone.) The app is also a social media tool and you can share and read what others say about the wine.

A good number people are reading, well, everything -including blogs - on mobile devices now, and one of the most efficient and streamlined ways to keep track of them all is Blog Lovin'. You can store all your favorite blogs in one place, which gets updated regularly as the blogs get updated. You can also use it to discover new blogs in categories that interest you. I have it on my iPad and like it a lot. (Flipboard works similarly, and I use that as well.) If you're looking for a way to organize the blogs that you read, Blog Lovin' is the best solution I've found.

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I've also (finally) joined the hoards and taken to Uber in Paris, as well as Le Cab; Uber is a little pricier but they seem to have better availability. The other night in the Marais, we were stuck with no cabs in sight and some packages to heft home. In less than two minutes, our clean Uber car arrived, the friendly driver helped us with our boxes, and whisked us home. It was a few euros more than a cab, but at 1:19am...who's complaining? (You can use this promo code to sign up and get €20 credit to try Uber.)

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Favorite Posts from My Site in March

Enfin, a recipe that produces perfectly crispy tofu – in the oven!


A trip to the massive Salon de l'Agriculture in Paris.


Gastrique is a fancy name for a simpler French sweet and sour sauce. Made with just two ingredients.


Make one of my favorite French sweets at home: Caramelized almond- honey squares.


A recent article prompted me to share Some Thoughts on French Cuisine.


Well, that's all. I hope those of you that get yourself a copy of My Paris Kitchen enjoy it. And I look forward to meeting some of you on the road in April and May!

My Paris Kitchen hi res
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